Having your antenna tracker some meters away can improve your reception due to less interferences from your GCS and it gives you more flexibility in choosing the right places for each GCS and tracker itself (e.g. sitting in a tent or just a shady place, obstacles,…). Using a long standard USB extension cable often limits current needed for your wifi card and with longer cable length more interferences may appear.
So my idea was to use a long USB 2.0 extension cable (with built-in signal amplifier, allow up to 30 meters) for USB data transmission only and to supply your wifi card with an external 5V BEC fed from your tracker’s battery.
I tried to use easily available parts and a minimum of additional tinkering on your cards or cabling. To my big surprise, building this took 15 minutes and works pretty good!
All you need is :
- active USB 2.0 extension cable with signal amplifier, available in several length.
(I used this one: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B004HZDKFG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_QZXWJYZ8WTN2VMDJEJFJ?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1)
- 5V BEC ( I used a small 5V 1.5A BEC, enough for the card, ensure it delivers stable 5 Volts)
- USB adapter Board (at least with male/female USB connectors and solder pads to connect BEC) , like this one :
€ 0,62 18%OFF | USB Kopf Schalttafel Männlichen USB Stecker zu Typ-c Micro Weiblich USB 2,54-4P transfer test board USB adapter platte XY-USB4
The only thing you have to do:
1)Solder 5V and GND from the external BEC to adapter board.
2) Cut the 5V pin from the MALE USB-connector on the board. (Use pliers or sth. similar)
Then connect the USB extension cable to your Groundpi and connect it on the other end to the modified USB adapter. Last step is to connect your Antenna Tracker’s wifi card to the female USB connector and supply the BEC with your Tracker’s battery (or another power source).
I tried it with 10 meters and had a solid and error-free data transmission from the wifi card.
Some additional pictures from building :