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I am just trying to find info about connecting an external antenna to the board. Is it possible to use some of the pins to solder to the coaxial cable and connect to the external antenna?

I want to use an antenna: 3db wifi antenna

If anyone can guide me please, that would be wonderful. What pins should I use and what code in micro python can I use for that purpose?

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  • 1
    There would be no code and you would not use the pins, you would solder to somewhere on the board (and I am not sure if you would also have to scrape off some existing connections) - it is certainly not possible to use any pin as a wi-fi antenna
    – user253751
    Feb 16, 2023 at 23:13
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's not possible to enhance the hardware in that way.
    – Dougie
    Feb 16, 2023 at 23:52
  • use a repeater to extend the WiFi range legally
    – jsotola
    Feb 17, 2023 at 0:29

5 Answers 5

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You can't!

There may be unofficial kludges, but unless the device was designed and certified with an external antenna would be unsupported (if not illegal).

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The previous answers are a bit ridiculous. You would NOT need to get a Pi Pico 'recertified' if you modded it to allow the use of an external antenna. You can swap external antennas on your wifi hotspot or router, you can add a 'cantenna' or yagi to your router or the wifi card in your laptop. As long as you don't amplify the signal electronically over the FCC limits (see https://www.air802.com/fcc-rules-and-regulations.html) you would be hard pressed to exceed allowable EIRP. A 3db gain antenna is certainly not going to be a problem when added to the Pico with its max radio transmission wattage of around 125mw.

Replacing the onboard antenna by cutting the feed trace and soldering on a coax connector would require some fine soldering skills. They are very tiny, very fiddly, and the plastic melts VERY easily (https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/te-connectivity-amp-connectors/1909763-1/4729711). I would advise just cutting the u.FL connector off the end of the cable of your new antenna, stripping it back 1/8" or so, and soldering the center and shield directly to the feed and ground on the board, as close as possible to the radio chip. to the board. Also, this will disable to onboard antenna.

Changing only the antenna just dictates the shape of the transmission pattern. With higher gain antennas the signal will be more directional (stronger transmission and more sensitive receive in some directions, less in others). The total radiated power will be the same. So, pay attention to antenna placement for best effect.

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  • This is true, but is not allowed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation or Raspberry Pi Trading Ltd as they WOULD have to re-certify the WiFi with an alternative antenna to be sure radiated power was identical. The rules are there to protect everyone from interference.
    – Dougie
    May 25, 2023 at 5:31
  • "Not allowed" isn't really accurate. "Not supported" is more accurate. Sep 12, 2023 at 19:46
  • Regarding the original answer, there may be an impedance mismatch between the new antenna and the trace, since the feedline for the on-board antenna is not guaranteed to be 50 Ohm. This mismatch may negate the gain of an external antenna. Sep 12, 2023 at 19:47
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The Pico W uses a separate chip to handle the rf portion of the wifi function: the CYW43439 wireless chip made by Infineon. Please refer to Infineon's website for the CYW43439 datasheet that has details re antenna connections and rf circuitry. NB that the CYW43439 does not include an antenna, but the RPi documentation informs us that the on-board antenna is licensed through ABRACON.

All of that said, WiFi antennas are mostly commodity items, and replacing the ABRACON-designed unit with an external antenna is certainly within the realm of possibility. Before undertaking such a modification however, you should realize that the Pico W's certification is based on the use of the standard, on-board antenna; meaning that you cannot legally sell (or even use in some cases) a modified Pico W without going through another certification procedure. Check with your local bureaucracy for details :)

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I too am after a solution to this, many projects get built into metal enclosures which kind of break the WiFi, so I'd much prefer a pico with a standard WiFi ipex connector so I can use a regular off the shelf antenna attached to the back panel on an SMA connector as most equipment suppliers do. So 'Raspberry pi foundation' please consider a new version.

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Bonjour, Je suis dans le meme cas que vous avec un Pico-w placé dans un rack métal qui me cause problème pour le wifi ( décrochage à plus d'un mètre du pico avec la tablette ) . J'ai trouver ceci : https://www.amazon.com.be/-/nl/DollaTek-draadloze-transceiver-antistatische-schuimantenne/dp/B07PQPFTWZ/ref=asc_df_B07PQPFTWZ/?tag=begogshpadd0d-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid=633051846203&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1996117949541715626&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=20060&hvtargid=pla-1189460927948&psc=1&mcid=906f3a15d4393f058e12950c77b23034

Si intéressé on peut en discuter .
Fabrice

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