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SDRPlay simple modifictions

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:50 pm
by GrahamC
Good day all,

This morning I made a couple of small and simple mods to my SDRPlay.

First off, I prefer to have an F type connector rather than SMA, so that was one modification.

Secondly, I prefer my antenna connector to be on the back along with the USB connection, so along with the above this was another simple modification.

Thirdly, I like the idea of an LED to indicate that the device is plugged in and the USB is active, so that was another simple.

Lastly, following the example of the person who posted the paper in the playground area about shielding the SDRPlay using adhesive copper tape, I did that also.

Changing the SMA to an F was simple, all I needed was a short pigtail having an F type on one end and a u.Fl on the other. Ebay is your friend and you will find a couple sellers or at least find the parts to make your own as I did. Mounting the F connector on the back side where the USB connector is was as simple as marking out and drilling a 3/8 inch size hole . I put my hole on one side of the case only so that the flat of the connector would sit against the lower part of the case and help keep the connector from turning whilst I tightened the retaining nut. That leaves a small hole on the front side. I haven't decided what I am going to cover it with, likely a small decal of some sort just to give it a more finished look. You could of course put a large size LED in that hole but I better like the looks of the smaller type I used.

The LED is simply connected to the +V and GND pins of the USB socket on the bottom of the PCB. I used a 430 ohm resistor and small 1/8 inch diameter LED. The LED was put in the hole which was drilled undersize and carefully enlarged for a nice friction fit with LED and is in the lower left hand corner of the case when viewed from the front.

Applying the adhesive copper tape shielding to the inside of the case was not that difficult. If you do go this route be sure to use small pieces no larger than about 1/4 the size of the part of the case you are trying to cover. The larger the piece the more difficulty in handling. Don't working and making a few small holes of tears as you can easily patch these as you go along. Be sure to cover the overlapping edges of the case as well. I used nearly a full two feet of 60mm wide copper tape. Adhesive copper tape like this can be found on Ebay sold as shielding for guitars or other such things. It is not expensive and not that difficult to handle. There are also conductive paints available that are used for EMI / RFI shielding and would likely be a bit easier to apply but also more expensive.

And one last simple mod was to put four soft rubber feet on the bottom of the case so that it sits a bit nicer on the table or where ever and doesn't slide around as easily.

Overall, the SDRPlay was OK as it was but I am now a bit happier with my mods. The black plastic case is nice but I did like the original blue and white case a bit better.
SDRPlay showing F connector on rear
SDRPlay_read_F_connector_001.jpg (124.42 KiB) Viewed 6712 times
SDRPlay after moving SMA connector to back and LED in lower left corner
SDRPlay_front_LED_001.jpg (125.08 KiB) Viewed 6712 times

cheers, Graham ve3gtc FN25 near Ottawa Canada

Re: SDRPlay simple modifictions

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:40 pm
by g7jur
The Sdrplay started off with an F connector, but was not liked by many.
Does the shielding make any difference.
If you had used a 5 MM led with a panel mounting clip, you could of fitted it in the hole where the SMA was.

Philip g7jur

Re: SDRPlay simple modifictions

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:27 pm
by GrahamC
Hi Philip,

I considered using the larger size LED and clip in the hole left by the SMA connector but I found the size a bit big and not quite in right place. I am going to put a decal or label or something on the top right corner to cover it up - perhaps a custom SDRPlay label of some sort.

Did the shielding make a difference? I can only answer that qualitatively and I believe that yes, it did make a difference but for now I have not be able to conclusively determine quantitatively to what extent.

I live in a relatively RF quite rural community. Most of my RFI / EMI issues are signal I receive as signal via my antenna from the various switching power supplies, TV's, and networking devices from my near by neighbours. No amount of shielding of the SDRPlay will make any difference in that respect.

cheers, Graham ve3gtc

Re: SDRPlay simple modifictions

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:39 pm
by DaveB
Did the shielding make a difference?
I just wrapped my MkI in a couple of layers of aluminium kitchen foil. A cable tie ensured it was grounded to the antenna. It basically eliminated the 'hash' from the background when listening on an adjacent analogue FM tuner - and removed lots of spikes on the spectrum.