Adding a second wifi antenna to Acer Idea 500/510

I upgraded the Wifi card in my Acer Idea 510 some time ago to a 802.11n model that supports 300mbps, but for some time I have known that I have not been getting the full performance from this card, mainly because it has been operating with only 1 antenna connected. This would often result in stuttering and buffering when trying to play 1080p movies over the wifi from my NAS. To get the full performance from this card requires connecting a second antenna, but there is only one available on the Acer Idea.

Then I stumbled across a post on avforums where some chap had added a second antenna and it got me thinking “of course why not?!” Smile

First I needed an RP-SMA pigtail and extra antenna, I got these both from Amazon for about 3 quid all-in including postage (all the way from China)!…

I originally drilled a 6mm hole in the back of the case but found it wasn’t big enough, so opened it up to 6.5mm. I did this carefully using a hand drill, drilling from the outside to the inside so that the drill bit would pull the swarf back up the bit and out of the case. I stuck a sticky label loosely behind where I was going to drill to collect any swarf that ended up inside the case, in order to prevent it dropping onto the motherboard. This worked fine for me but you do have to be extremely careful if you are going to do this without removing the motherboard, you don’t want to short something out when you power it back on!

You can see in the following pics where I drilled the hole between the LAN port and TV antenna connectors and screwed in the connector, you can also see all the swarf on the table and the sticky labels I used to collect any remnants inside the case:


Here’s a pic from behind:


Here you can see both pigtails connected to the upgraded Wifi card:


In this pic you can see both antennas connected, the newer one is much bigger than the stock one, I might order another one so they match:


Finally I did a quick performance test by copying a large movie across to my NAS and I got around 9MB/s, which is about triple what I was getting before:


Another test involved playing a 1080p MP4 file directly from my NAS over the wifi, sure enough it played fine, whereas before it would stutter and buffer.

Mission accomplished! Smile

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