Converting an AirPort Express to an Antenna Express
What You Need
a power drill
a 9/64 drill bit
a 3/16 drill bit
*optional* protective tape
DVM (Digital Volt Meter)
WARNING: IF YOU DO THIS WRONG IT WILL FRY YOUR AIRPORT
If you are tool belt challenged, stop NOW
Get an Airport Express
Purchase a new AirPort Express Basestation from an Apple reseller. Should cost about $99.00
It should look like this.
Protect Your Investment!
Cover the AirPort Express with protective tape. This is a nice piece of hardware, and it would be a shame to get it scratched up.
Mark Antenna Holes
You now need to mark where you’re going to drill the holes for the antenna bases to come through. Take a ruler (or even better, a trisquare) and make line .5″ from the front (the side with a little dot) and from either side on the top of the AirPort. Where they cross is where your antenna will come through.
Take it Apart
Now turn your AirPort Express over. This is where the unit separates. You’re going use your paddles to remove the bottom. Stick the paddle in and gently pry the bottom out.
Drill Pilot Holes
Go to the top again. We’re going to drill our pilot hole now. Using your 9/64 bit, drill a hole at the cross marks you drew on the top of the unit.
Turn it over and Look for Holes
If you turn it over again, you’ll see where the holes come out of the bottom. It should be about where they come out in this picture.
Ok, next we need to get the delicate electronics out of the case. Start by taking the Allen wrench and removing the screw. They’re where the picture shows where they are.
After you get the screws out, use a small screw driver to remove the electronics.
Now we’re going to drill a bigger hole with a 3/16 bit. This hole is for the hardware the antennas go on. The first hole that went all the way through serves as both a pilot hole and a hole for the antenna wires.
Push the antenna attachment bases through the back.
Secure the base with a nut.
Put Electronics Back
Now get the electronics you took out earlier and put wires from the back of the bases you just installed through the holes you drilled earlier.
For this step, you’re going to take the electronics section and turn it back over, as we need to solder the wires from the antennas to it now.
Solder to Chips
Strip a small section of plastic off and pull the wires back. Solder the center wire to the center prong of the U1514 and U1515 chip. Solder the outside wires to the gold circular test port.
Turn the electronics over and screw back in.
Tape the loose wires down and put the bottom back on.
Screw on the Antennas