Dell Laptop WI-FI High Gain Antenna Mod, Increase Internal Network Cards Range and Signal !!!

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Introduction: Dell Laptop WI-FI High Gain Antenna Mod, Increase Internal Network Cards Range and Signal !!!

Hello, This is my first instructable. Today Im going to sho you how to significantly increase the range and signal power of your laptop for about 15$. I have a Dell E1505 but this can be easily adapted to other brands of laptops. Its very Easy and quick mod but you must be very careful not to hurt your laptop... cuz that would suck, and im not buying ya another one. So Here we go !


Specs on laptop are:
Dell - E1505 - 2.0ghz - 2gb - 100gb - Ati x1400 - 1680x1050 tbhg - 9 cell - Dell Wireless 1500 Draft 802.11n Wireless Mini-Card

Step 1: Things You Will Need

Things you need :

U.FL male to RP-SMA Pigtail Cable ( make to get RP-SMA Not SMA )
2.4GHz 10 dBi Gain Wireless WIFI Antenna ( any antenna will do )
Flat # 2 screew driver
Philips #2 screw driver
Small plyers
Needle nose plyers
Dremel with a strait cutting bit ( you could use a drill but dont push to hard )
Optional -1 Tool stealing always getin in the way lovable ferret :)

Link to cable and antenna I used from Ebay @ $10 - $15
http://tiny.cc/antenna
http://tiny.cc/cable183

Step 2: Disassembly

First step Remove Battery, power cord, upper cover, silly ferret, and keyboard from laptop. then remove stock antenna plugs from wireless card and then remove wireless card by pushing back the two clips that hold it in. Now take a quick look inside where you will be cutting to see how tight its gunna be. You sure dont have much room for error do ya.

Step 3: Reassembly

Then with a dremel or similar tool cut a small hole the same size as the two audio holes next to it and the same spacing( like three holes were meant to be there. Now feed the new cable up into the hole from the inside, and secure it with the nut on the outside.Tip: If you have some locktite use a dab to keep the nut from ever getting loose.Then reinstall the card and plug the U.FL side of your new cable into your wireless cards auxiliary antenna connector(thats the black one). you could use the main connector if you want don't think it matters much. I used auxiliary because i figured the main stock connector has a bigger anntena.
Now finally reassemble the laptop in reverse ( don't forget to reattach the key board cable like i did and have to do it all over again...lol ) then screw in your new antenna and find all the tools the ferret hid wile you weren't watching.

Step 4: Finnished Product

Well hopefully every thing went ok and you can now screw in your choice of antenna. and go google somthing :) I think it came out prety clean looking dont you. Before I moded this I could only see one network ( mine ) now i can see @ 6 networks. in city I see @ 30 or more networks !!!

Step 5: Bouns to Be Continued........

Here is a little tase of how far you can go with this. This is a pic of my dell with the antenna mod and a 1watt 2.4ghz wifi amplifier @30db gain, moded to run off usb power with a 15db anntena !!!

Take a look at the signal after this they were off the screen !!! I was in my car in the middle of a townhouse parking lot.

If there is any interest I will do an instructable on how to mod the amp to work from usb power :)


Well if you liked my Instructable show some love and comment :P

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60 Discussions

Do not try this with a Dell Studio 1555 laptop. On te 1555, the WLAN card is in the middle of the computer in the back just under the touchpad, so the purchased pigtail won't reach the edge of the computer. It doesn't matter anyway, since there is no space anywhere to mount the pigtail jack in the case unless the USB port is removed from the upper right beside the power jack.

2 replies

Actually, I looked carefully again and found a spot beside the camera card reader, and the pigtail I bought reached the WiFi card. Unfortunately, after the installation, my signal strength from the external antenna connected to the aux. port on the card was almost exactly the same as the signal from the main internal antenna. To make sure I was using the external antenna, I disconnected the white (main) wire and configured the hardware manager to use the aux. antenna. Maybe I need a better WiFi card.

I think problem might not even on WiFi card; as we are referencing them as 'Primary' / 'Aux' antenna is not what we thinking. Can you remember, almost all internal card come with 'BlueTooth' capability? I did find various android device having 3 separate antenna + connector + pigtail cable for WiFi + GPS + GSM/WCDMA/EDGE etc. On laptop/netbook environment all most all I opend I found having to connectors occupied and they are working together with their different roll; One is TX and Other is RX ( One connector is dedicated to scan/receive signal and comparing with other for noise reduction and other solely used for RF power transmitting away. And as both of connector share same 'Ground Plate' scenario become more complicated as you might introducing total new kind of environment where both antenna fighting each other or even your attached antenna is not for WiFi range at all! Try changing few other available antena around before go for final dicission... Good Luck

I would love to do this mod with usb booster to my inspiration 1525 as it can not connectv to o my network 20m's away! my samsung 10.1 can go 40m's hahaha it will be acting as a server in my outside garage.
cant wait for the updates!

could you tell me if it would be possible to do this kinda mod on a dell inspirion 15r 3521??? ive wanted to do an antenna mod for better coverage

HI interested indeed of your usb wifi amp so it doesnt come already usb? but yes instructions would be great.

5 replies

Hey guys... Well I havent got around to do usb amp isble. So I just tell ya how in words. Its realy simple. The amp came with a wall wart power adaptor, but thats not to travel friendly. Usb plugs have @ 5.0v available to power things. You can pick up an amp from Ebay for @ $60.00. I used a 1watt amp. Then you need a usb plug, I just choped 12" off an old usb mouse. So in the usb plug red is positive and black is obviously negative. They are the 2 outer most pins. The 2 inner data ones we wont be using. Now open up the amp with the 2 screws, and very carefully remove the power plug jack. I used a dremel. there will be 3 solder points under the jack. If I remember correctly the far left is positive and the middle is negative. I just touched the wires to it for a second till the amp light came on to find the right pin. Now feed the usb cable through the hole where the power jack used to be and tie a knot so it wont get pulled out. Now solder the Red and Black Usb wires to the solder pads on the amp. Close her back up and shes ready to go :) I used it at BWI airport the other day and picked up like four pages of routers....lol

hi there, I've been planing on doing this to my " inspiron 1525 " but would like to know if a twin antenna set up would work better.

That is a great modification that you have done. It was the inspiration for performing a similar mod to a dell inspiron 5150. The antenna mod works great.
I ordered a 1 watt broadband amp to use with the laptop and it also works great but I'm wondering about the specs on the amp that you used as the wall adapter is 6vdc @ 2000 ma, this power requirement far exceeds usb power. Can the amp be used at lower power? Right now I'm thinking about making an external battery pack with a charger for portability.
Wish me luck and again great work
Dan

I dont have any background in elec and comp field at all...I would need more help from you guys please tell me exactly model# of the amp you were using xxgemini so far I found one on ebay # 280246755001 Not so sure if this is the one you used. I wish we could have some pics from you very soon. Just wanna build an amp for my dell inspiron too. Thanks!

Is this possible to be put on mobile phones for Signal Boosting? I will be needing one when I go to remoted areas. Thank you.

i have this same laptop an i buil it to wifi mod

this is the picture
http://i.imgur.com/jdL0p.jpg

How do you supply energy to the amplifier through USB cable?

What does the end of the antenna look like?. I found a bunch on ebay that look like it but I need to know if the RP-SMA connector will fit in the end of it. Can you take a pic or something. Thanks

 great instructable, iv always wanted to know if this was possible

this is me expressing my interest for the amplifier mod looks great!!

PLZ DO AN INSTRUCTABLE FOR THIS TOO! UR FIRST ONE WAS GREAT! THANK YOU! I would totally appreciate it if you could email me cj082108@live.com when you have an instructable with a link to the page. thanks
cj

I successfully completed the mod on my Compaq Presario.  However, I received no increase in signal compared to the factory setup.  At least now I have an external point to possibly hook up an amplifier.  

I have a question, can you remove this antenna and still get reception? if so, is it better or equal to the original built in antenna? Thanks for the help, Jeff