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RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:14 pm
by 10robinho
We all saw new RPI3 announcement.

I was wondering if anyone knows if it will have an option for having external antenna?
I'm not an expert in this field but I know that RPI can't have metal case in case of antenna on board (if you want usable wireless).

It's a question for us who make industrial applications and have metal boxes.

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:16 pm
by DirkS

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:24 pm
by chrisoh
Any idea which pads?
Looking at this, I can't see the appropriate pads on the underside of the Pi 3?

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:54 pm
by 10robinho
chrisoh wrote:Any idea which pads?
Looking at this, I can't see the appropriate pads on the underside of the Pi 3?
I've found it on FCC photos. On bottom side besides GPIO 2 pin. Pads are on 45° angle (they were probably thigh with space).

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:57 pm
by jamesh
Looking at my Pi3, there is a tiny pad underneath what I think is the aerial chip. Would be a bugger to solder to. There are some copper pads close by which would be easier.

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:01 pm
by chrisoh
Can you point them out, I don't see the (3?) accessible endpoints?
Image

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:41 pm
by 10robinho
chrisoh wrote:Can you point them out, I don't see the (3?) accessible endpoints?
That is good place but photo is bad. It looks like missing upper pad. Just below GPIO 2.

If you look at last photo from FCC it's much more clear.

EDIT: I tried not to be lazy and show my GIMP skills :) Here it is:
Image

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:46 pm
by chrisoh
10robinho wrote:
chrisoh wrote:Can you point them out, I don't see the (3?) accessible endpoints?
That is good place but photo is bad. It looks like missing upper pad. Just below GPIO 2.

If you look at last photo from FCC it's much more clear.
Good catch! Looks like the first and last photos are different boards.
Certainly looks doable, hard part is finding a u.FL connector in my parts box :lol:

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:58 pm
by 10robinho
Now it would be super-cool if someone makes cheap sticker-like antenna.
Maybe it already exists, but I'm not informed.

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:07 pm
by mahjongg
the built in ceramic antenna will probably give better performance than most external antenna's you can connect, really the only reason I could imagine to add an external antenna is when you stick the PI into a metal box, but the FLIRC enclosure, the principal metal box made as a passive heatsink for the PI already has a plastic opening to let the WiFi signals through.

specs of the ceramic antenna can be found here: http://www.2j-antennae.com/images/products/2JE07d.pdf

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:48 am
by chrisoh
Not possible, only two pads are present on the production boards.
20160302_114115_rs.jpg
20160302_114115_rs.jpg (38.84 KiB) Viewed 10420 times

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:04 pm
by lb
Uhm, just scrape away a bit of the soldermask? Looks like a PCB design error, but it's not a big deal.

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:59 pm
by chrisoh
lb wrote:Uhm, just scrape away a bit of the soldermask? Looks like a PCB design error, but it's not a big deal.
I'll let someone else try that first :D

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:15 pm
by Wortelsoft
Would it be possible to have a plastic "window" in the case the same as mobile phone manufacturers do? E.g. like the back of the Nexus 6P.

Re: RPI3: Wireless and Bluetooth antenna

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:03 am
by mahjongg
10robinho wrote:
Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:14 pm
I was wondering if anyone knows if it will have an option for having external antenna?
There is NO legal way to add an external antenna!

The FL connector footpad you see near the WiFi chip is incomplete on purpose, to prevent naive users to add their own FL connector for an external antenna.
It is only there to assist in testing with test equipment.
Using it for an antenna will break FCC (and other similar) regulations.
Also, you need to do more than just adding the FL connector, just adding it, and an antenna will NOT work, as it was never meant to be an antenna connector.