Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wide Beam High Gain 3G Antenna

G Spotter AntennaGeorge Bray mentioned he has got good results using a G Spotter Antenna for 3G wireless access. This antenna costs about ten times as much as the Panorama Data Card Antenna I have and I wonder what is in the black box of the G Spotter.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 14, 2009

3 make it difficult to buy products

Having destroyed my Huawei D100 3G Wireless Router I attempted to buy another one from 3. This has proved very difficult. I had assumed as I knew exactly the product I wanted and was to buy it from the same company as the previous unit, this would be easy. I imagined just waling in and saying "please sell me another one of these". The store I asked at had none and could not check with other 3 stores, as different types of stores are on different stock systems. I tried calling 3 but only their national number is listed on their web site and I then had to get through a voice response system which assumed I wanted a phone or Internet service. The operator I eventually talked to had never heard of "Canberra". I had to explain it was in the "Australian Capital Territory" which was abbreviated to "ACT". Theythen connected me to a phone line which did not answer. It looks like I have to visit each 3 Stiore and ask for the product.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Destroyed my router with netbook power supply

Huawei D100 3G RouterA few minutes ago I plugged the 20 Volt power supply from my Kogan netbook into my Huawei D100 3G Wireless Router. The router is designed to run on 12 volts and as a result no longer works. Can anyone suggest how to fix the router (it is possible just a component in the power regulator has been destroyed)? I know I am not the first to plug a Kogan power supply into this model router by mistake (one black plug looks much like another). More generally we need some standards for power plugs to stop this happening. One solution would be to USB.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Getting 9 Volts from USB

USB Adaptor 5 Volt to 9 VoltThe "USB Mobile Phone Adaptor Kit" I ordered from Swamp Industries turned up in the mail the next day. The kit is impressive, with both car and mains USB adaptors to supply power and assorted plugs for differnet phones . However, the USB Adaptor, which boosts 5 Volts from a USB socket to 9 Volts, does not supply sufficient current to run my Huawei D100 3G Router and HUAWEI E169 3G USB modem.

The modem with the US wireless 3G modem plugged in uses about 270 mA, which should be just within what the USB adaptor supplies (300 mA +-5% at 9 Volts). However, the router uses up to 500 mA for a few seconds when it first starts up. When I turn the router on it starts to boot, then the green light on the USB adaptor turns red (presumably to indicate it is overloaded) and the modem goes off.

One good point is that the adaptor doesn't seem to be harmed by the overoad and is able to protect itself. So I did a quick calculation and decided that a 80 uF capacitor would store sufficient power while the router boots (the calculation involves Amps, Volts, Watts, Jules, and Farads). So, in theory, if I connect the capacitor (which will cost about $2) across the power terminals of the DC supply from the USB adaptor and wait a few seconds before turning on the router, the capacitor will be charged up with enough power to supply the router when it starts and it should then run fine.

If there are no more postings for a few days, that will be because my netbook has blown up, while trying this. ;-)

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 31, 2009

Powering a 12 Volt Router from USB

USB Adaptor 5 Volt to 9 VoltConnecting the HUAWEI E169 3G USB modem to the Kogan Agora Netbook is proving harder than expected. While there are descriptions on the web of simply plugging the modem in and restarting the computer, the Kogan does not seem to recognise the device. Some manual modifications of setting have not helped. So I decided to take a different approach: when plugged into the Huawei D100 3G Router the modem works fine with the Kogan. The settings for the modem are stored in the router. This has the added advantage of the firewall in the modem and that the device can be shared by several computers.

But the router runs on 12 Volts from and mains power supply. How would I use it when away from a power socket when the Netbook is running on batteries? My first thought was to run the router on the power from a USB plug of the computer. I found that the Kogan's USB sockets supply plenty of power, being able to run an external DVD drive or hard disk. With my previous laptop I had to use two USB sockets to get enough power for an external drive.

The catch is that no one seems to make a USB to 12 Volt adaptor (there are plenty of 12 Volt to USB adaptors). In fact there are numerous web postings saying this is not possible. It is possible, but needs extra electronics to turn the 5 Volts supply by the USB socket into 12 Volts.

Digital MultimeterNot being able to find a 12 Volt adaptor, I thought I would make the problem easier by trying a lower voltage. Most digital electronics actually run on 5 Volts or less. The 12 Volts supplied to equipment is converted down. So first I tried the router at 5 Volts, using the USB adaptor cable which came with the external DVD drive. This was after I checked the voltage and polarity of the power with a multimeter). This did not work, clearly more than 5 Volts was needed.

Previously I had run a router designed for 12 Volts on a 9 Volt supply, with no problems. So I tried this with the Huawei D100 3G Router and found it works fine on 9 Volts (it has been running for 12 hours this way).

So then I looked for a USB to 9 Volt adaptor. There were numerous queries about such devices on the web and replies saying it was not possible. But I found one about a "USB Power Supply for Video Sunglasses" which used a DC-DC converter (voltage converter) from a phone charger accessory kit described as a "9V Nokia Booster for Wireless Phone Charger".

The booster is a small black box with a USB plug on one end and a USB socket on the other. The device converts 5 Volts to 9 Volts at 300 mA and is designed for charging old Nokia mobile phones. The instructions warn this should only be used with a 9 Volt device: plugging a standard 5 Volt powered USB device into the unit could damage the device.

As I already had a USB adaptor from the DVD which plugs into the router, it should be a simple matter to plug the voltage booster into the Netbook, plug the USB adaptor cable into that and that into the router. But where in the world do I buy such an adaptor and how long will it take to get to Australia?

As the device was for a Nokia phone, I looked at the Nokia catalogue, which had a "Nokia Charger via USB port CA-100". However, this appeared to be for newer phones which use a lower voltage. I looked at Ryda, who sell a "Nokia CA-70 USB Data Cable with Intergrated Charger". This looked more than I needed and I was still not sure it would supply the needed voltage.

After more searching I found the "Charger Sony K750 W830c w958 Z558 M608 W300 J220 K310" offered on Ebay by Swamp Industries. This appeared to be the same adaptor kit as used for the video sunglasses. I checked to see the company details on the web to see how long this would take to import into Australia and found the company is based in Canberra (where I am). Also I found the kit includes an Australian mains to USB power adaptor, which would be handy. On the company's own web site the kit is described as "Universal USB Mobile Car Wall PC Charger Nokia, Blackberry" and was half the price on the company web site as on eBay. So I ordered one.

It will be interesting to see when it turns up. It is also curious that having searched the world online, I found the product I wanted offered by someone a few kilometres away. I was tempted to phone the company and ask to collect the unit in person, but this is probably a part time mail order company with no shop. I do have the satisfaction of having a name to put to the company, as when I paid via PayPal, the system gave me the person email address of who was getting the payment.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 09, 2009

External 3G Data Card Antenna

 Panorama GPRS & 3G Data Card Clip & Desk AntennaMy 3G wireless modem has difficulty connecting to the Optus network for the Virgin Mobile Broadband service from my desk (seems to work okay most other places in Canberra and Sydney). So I purchased a Panorama Data Card Antenna from Allphones for $AU29.95. This works very well. The hardest part was having the sales staff check this was the right antenna.

The antenna is about 120mm high and 10 mm in diameter. It comes with a 500mm cable and a plug for the HUAWEI E169 wireless USB modem. You flip up a small circular cover on the side of the modem and plug the antenna in. There is a small clip to attach the antenna to the screen of a laptop and an alternative desk stand is included. One clever touch is that the desk stand has a tab underneath to hold the laptop clip, so it doesn't get lost. The desk stand is a bit too lightweight and the antenna tends to tip over easily. But the is the only problem I have found.

This is more antenna than I need, and it is a shame they do not make a simpler unit which is just a whip with the plug on the bottom. This would work well when the modem is in the matching Huawei D100 3G Router. Alternatively there may be a way to modify the clip or stand so the antenna could be mounted neatly on top of the router, hiding the cable and plug.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ruggedised cellular wireless routers

http://www.call-direct.com.au/CDR-780seu.phpOne of the exhibitors at APCOA 2009 is CallDirect with ruggedised cellular wireless routers. These do much the same thing as the Huawei 3G Router I have to connect to the Internet via a 3G mobile phone network. But the CallDirect equipment is designed for use in harsh environments.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Huawei D100 3G Router

Huawei D100 3G RouterAccording to reports on Whirlpool.net.au, the Huawei D100 3G Router sold in Australia by "3" as the 3 Wi-Fi Router for $129 will work with some Virgin Broadband USB wireless modems. The 3 web site says it is compatible with the: E220, E160G & E169G. The router has WiFi and an Ethernet port. So one computer can be connected via the Ethernet cable and several others can share the same 3G Internet connection at the same time via the WiFi.

The D100 got an okay review from Ross Catanzariti. UK Gadgeteer seem to suggest that the unit has the option of a 950mAh Li-Ion battery, which is not fitted to the units sold by 3.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 11, 2008

La Fonera 2.0 Linux Wireless Broadband in Australia?

La Fonera 2.0 WiFi routerFon offer a WiFi router which includes a community service in some countries. The idea is that you allow others to share some of your broadband connect via WiFi and in return you can share some of theirs when travelling. The latest version of the router has a USB port and there is an Wiki where applications for the Linux software are discussed. The idea is you can plug in Scanners, Webcams and Printers. But the applicaiton which interests me is to plug in my 3G USB modem, to make a small wireless router.

The Fon hardware is $US49.95, which is less than most 3G routers. 3G modems get a brief mention in the Wiki and there is mention elsewhere of some Huawei H200 and some Sierra modems working.However, Fon do not appear to be shipping to Australia. Also the software is current beta.

Labels: , ,