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  1. #1


    Wireless Antenna

    I've been looking at the design of the wireless system, posted this over at forums.ouya.tv and thought it might spark something here.

    There are many devices successfully using the Broadcom BCM 4330, which the AzureWave AW-NH660 inside the OUYA is based on.
    So the chip is OK, we just have to alter the antenna configuration to hopefully improve the signal.



    The white thing with the eights at U11 is a 2.4GHz chip antenna, though I still can't find the exact model.

    The 3 pads at JC1... after poking around the internet some more I'm now fairly sure they are for a mini RF connector.



    It appears the OUYA team went with a chip antenna instead of one plugged into a U.FL connector and the board was set up for either option.

    Now we just need a brave soul to solder on a U.FL connector or an antenna and test it out. (probably would have to desolder the chip antenna as well, not sure though)

    I also did some tests with the case on and off:

    Got this apk from the Amazon app store that will graph your wifi dBm http://www.ampedwireless.com/wifianalytics/

    Tested with the case on and off ~50ft from my access point through 3 walls. I don't usually get great reception in that room with other devices so I was actually surprised the OUYA didn't have problems.

    Case on, then off.


    You can see that the dBm only raises by a few points. I was able to decrease the dBm by about the same amount by putting my hand over the WiFi area of the board, so I'd say the case is not causing much interference.

  2. #2
    OUYA Devotee Michael Thompson's Avatar
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    I work in Quality Control for a growing industrial equipment company, I'm a hardware hacker and have an Ouya console on the way.

    I also have a couple of UFL to SMA bulkhead and UFL to PCB antenna cable assemblies that I originally purchased to mod an old netbook, but could easily re-purpose to hack my Ouya console when it arrives.

    I just have to obtain the connector and check out my Ouya to see how the traces go for that chip antenna.
    With the SMA bulkhead connector assembly one can use a wide array of industry standard and home-brew antenna solutions from inexpensive omnidirectional antennas to directional antennas for greater range.

    Looks like cooling and WiFi mods are in the offing for starters!
    Good stuff!
    Black 16GB Ouya - Mods: black Xbox thumb sticks
    Original 8GB Ouya - Mods: black Xbox thumb sticks, central brass foot, Noctua fan, additional copper heat sinks, external WiFi antenna, cold air intake

  3. #3


    Well I connected a plain wire in parallel to the original antenna as first test.
    It did already help quite a bit!

    There is no need to remove the original antenna, just turn this resistor, it needs to be soldered to the free pad:

    (yes it is quite small)

    And test the temperature of the Wireless IC before and after soldering. In HF tech if you are unlucky a small mistake can cause high power loss heating up the chip and damaging it!
    Last edited by user82; 07-03-2013 at 07:48 AM.

  4. #4
    OUYAForum Fan T3KN0GH057's Avatar
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    also this may be slightly off topic but i think there is also some problem on the software end as well, as I notice that whenever I use a wired controller (a pc dualshock knock-off) and turn off bluetooth, my wireless connection is considerably faster and more reliable... I have the exact same wi-fi chipset in my laptop, and [physically] sitting beside the ouya it blows away the performance of OUYA's wi-fi, until i turn off Bluetooth on the OUYA and then performance is exactly the same.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by user82 View Post
    Well I connected a plain wire in parallel to the original antenna as first test.
    It did already help quite a bit!

    There is no need to remove the original antenna, just turn this resistor, it needs to be soldered to the free pad
    Great work on both fronts. Did you attach the wire before or after the original antenna? I've read that for 2.4GHz the antenna should be around 30mm and that copper ground wire works well. Excited to do some testing later.


    I did a bit of testing. Initially I wanted to solder a 30mm wire to the chip antenna, but I realized this copper plated clip from Radioshack I had was about 30mm and would require no soldering.

    I clipped it on before the chip antenna and the signal improved measurably!





    This was done with the metal case on and the top off in approximately the same location/conditions as my last test.

    You can see that the dBm hovers just below -70 like the other test, but then when the clip is attached it goes up and hovers around -64.
    Last edited by Schizophretard; 02-04-2014 at 02:04 AM.

  6. #6
    OUYAForum Fan Manaurys's Avatar
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    Re: Wireless Antenna

    The poor wireless signal is caused by the metal case of the ouya if you get a plastic case it will improve the wifi signal without adding any other artifact

  7. #7
    OUYAForum Fan madmax2069's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manaurys View Post
    The poor wireless signal is caused by the metal case of the ouya if you get a plastic case it will improve the wifi signal without adding any other artifact
    Did you not see the pictures?

    It doesn't matter if the case is on or off, it doesn't change the signal much with it in the case vs out of the case, its the crappy wifi antenna that they use that's the issue, did you even see the picture of the signal with the clip on the antenna on how much it improved the signal?
    Last edited by madmax2069; 07-11-2013 at 09:57 PM.

  8. #8
    OUYAForum Fan Manaurys's Avatar
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    Re: Wireless Antenna

    Quote Originally Posted by madmax2069 View Post
    Did you not see the pictures?

    It doesn't matter if the case is on or off, it doesn't change the signal much with it in the case vs out of the case, its the crappy wifi antenna that they use that's the issue, did you even see the picture of the signal with the clip on the antenna on how much it improved the signal?
    I know but some people got it to work that way i see it improves with the clip but you how it is people don't want to do this if their having wifi troubles

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Manaurys View Post
    I know but some people got it to work that way i see it improves with the clip but you how it is people don't want to do this if their having wifi troubles
    Actually it's been proven by the modders across multiple forums that taking it out of the metal case does NOT increase the wireless signal in any significant manner. This was something that people thought BEFORE all the modding and testing started. Placing the OUYA in the same place with or without the case is relatively the same weak signal.

    The problem is more software than anything, but of course a stronger antenna will always work.

    Thanks for this OP, really good info!

  10. #10


    So, I got a U.FL connector in from Sparkfun today, and figured that I would have a go at putting it on the board. I made a few mistakes, but eventually got it to work!

    Here you can see my wifi before the mod. It is hovering at around -60dB.
    https://www.dropbox.com/sc/r8lflnbwzshg9ka/octG19O3Lz

    Here is the connector on my finger to give you some idea of the scale that we are talking about here!
    https://www.dropbox.com/sc/wh27lr3g8wr51si/rbNpn5lR3x

    Here is the connector just sitting on the board, waiting to be soldered.
    https://www.dropbox.com/sc/i4l2wk5mm5uyuvc/lyiLaAGAUM

    The first thing that I did was remove the small resistor that goes to the SMD chip antenna. It was a little tricky, but I got it off without too much trouble. While I had it off I took the opportunity to measure its resistance, and am I glad that I did! Turns out that it is an SMD jumper, aka 0 Ohm resistor. This turned out to be a very good thing as I later ended up with it stuck in a ball of solder.

    I managed to solder the connector on, but I misjudged how much heat the retaining/ground pads needed to reflow the solder. They are sitting on what must be a huge, and heavy duty, ground plane that took even my 50W soldering iron a few seconds to heat up enough to melt the solder. Of course, I didn't realize this when I first soldered down the connector, so I ended up pulling up the signal pad.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sc/bnh3u1mbzqg6cth/Iat95ydM_P

    So I ended up pegging the connector down to the ground pads (it ended up slightly crooked, but sturdy) and then soldering a tiny wire from some desoldering braid from the first pad of when the SMD should have been to the signal pin of the antenna connector. I checked everything with my multimeter, and it all checked out.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sc/cfn2107gy22q0d5/7A5FshRq-c

    I fed the antenna wire up through one of the rear screw holes for the time being and used some electrical tape to hold it in place on the Ouya. Eventually I hope to drill a mounting hole in the Ouya case, but this worked for testing.

    And these are the results!

    https://www.dropbox.com/sc/p91mtcyailej5mb/CNH2HFfmw1

    Around 5dB gain, or about 3x better reception! Not too shabby! I also tested out my connection with the Speedtest.net Android app, and where before I was lucky to get 3Mbit down, I am now consistently getting 10+. Oh, and I haven't had to wait for a Youtube video to buffer since the mod. I'll let you all know if the performance remains consistent.
    Last edited by Fredjikrang; 07-14-2013 at 06:49 AM. Reason: Dropbox fotos not working

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