Instructables

Interfacing u.fl connectors

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Picture of interfacing u.fl connectors
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This is about how to use a transmitter / receiver component that uses a communication protocol, like this WiFly rn-xv, or this xbee pro, which doesn't come with a mounted antenna.  It does have a u.fl connector.

Here's how to interface this component with a proper antenna.


 
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Step 1: What is a u.fl connector?

It is a mini coaxial cable connector designed for high radio frequencies up to 6GHz, which means that is has a wire conductor in the center, surrounded by an outer conductor, and an insulation between the two, called a dielectric layer.  Wifi, being 2.4 GHz transmission, often uses a u.fl connector as an adaptor wire for the antennas. 

You can see that the male connector is surface mounted on the pcb of the xbee and wifly rnxv. The female connector is on the end of the coaxial cable. 

Step 2: What you need

If you have a component with a u.fl connector, what do you need to get its signal properly transmitted? 

You need an adaptor cable that goes between the male u.fl connector mounted on the pcb, and you need an antenna. 

But: You need the connection between the antenna to match the connector on the u.fl adaptor cable and there are a few types. 
Just make sure that these match.

How to choose an antenna:
You can use an sma antenna or an rp-sma antenna.
Match the frequency of the antenna rating to your component frequency (2.4 GHz for both the aformentioned xbee and rnxv components)

for the SMA antenna: get an SMA antenna and an SMA to u.fl interface cable adaptor. 
for the rp-sma antenna: get an rp-sma antenna and an rp-sma to u.fl interface cable adaptor.

For this instructable, I'll use an SMA antenna with an SMA to U.fl adaptor, but you can substitute and RP-SMA antenna and an RP-SMA to u.fl adaptor cable. 

Step 3: Attach the SMA antenna to SMA-u.fl cable adaptor

Screw in the male end of the SMA coaxial antenna to the female SMA end on the adaptor cable. 

Step 4: Attach the u.fl connector cable

Picture of Attach the u.fl connector cable
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Delicately but firmly, snap on the female u.fl connector on the end of the u.fl - SMA adaptor cable to the male u.fl connector, surface mount soldered onto your PCB.