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Wifi Performance on Flytouch 3Support

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  1. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    Like many other posters, I've found that the WiFi performance on my Flytouch 3 leaves a lot to be desired. On another forum, someone suggested using an 802.11N dongle. Does anyone know if this will work with the Flytouch?

    Are there any firmware upgrades that will improve reception? How about using a different antenna - also suggested inother forums.

    In any event, if there is an FG out there that can address this issue, I'm sure lots of us would like to hear what you have to say.

  2. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    Yea...me too! I have been toying with the idea of cracking the case and hacking an 802.11N stripped USB board in place of the installed B/G model.
    My biggest fear is that the N model, regardless of manufacture, might require a driver.
    some of the n's have dual and even triple antenna connections, but have only seen them on mini-pci or pcie wifi card. Not sure if all USB dongles have snap-on antenna connectors so might require soldering a SMA pigtail onto the board and routing said pigtail where a hole could be made in the case side somewhere.
  3. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    I'm continuing to research the WiFi reception issue and came across (on another forum) a user who said he had terrific results with a USB antenna booster called the N3 from a Florida company called Rokland Technologies. His tablet is a Flytouch 2. Although the N3 is touted as solution for Mac and PC, he said he just plugged it into one of the USB ports on his tablets and it worked.

    I emailed Rokland asking if they had any caveats about using their device with these low-cost Chinese tablets, but haven't received a reply yet. If I do, I'll post it here. The N3 can be purchased on eBay for $40 or off the Company's website for a bit more.
  4. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    I gotta go look at this N3 you refer to and see if it's feasible to strip it out of the case, remove the usb connector, and solder it in place of the the existing b/g unit.

    This is good tho! this is what hacking is all about...LOL!

    Mostly my interest is 150mb or a 300mb connection that is impossible with the existing B/G unit , but longer range is almost as important especially if one is out wardriving. I think a simple antenna connector mounted thru the case side would open up a whole new world longer ranges....even with a weak and wimpy 56mb b/g that it's got.

    here's some links to pics of teardowns:
  5. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    Here is the reply I received from Rokland Technologies regarding the suitability of its N3 device to boost wifi reception on the Flytouch. I would like to hear from the hackers out there who have created firmware versions to know if their versions contain the appropriate drivers.

    Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we do not have much information
    regarding Android compatibility of the n3.

    We have had 2 reports of the unit being plug and play on the Flytouch II.
    For our part we did try it on a generic 7 inch tablet we had purchased on
    eBay from China and it did work.

    I think the requirements are:

    1. Android tablet with normal size USB port that has not had the output
    power restricted
    2. Android tablet with drivers built into the OS

    My guess would be the major brands don't put in 3rd party drivers and
    probably power limit the USB port (as Apple does on the iPad with their
    camera connection kit USB port) to prevent users from using various
    accessories. So you will probably have better luck with an off-brand tablet.

    However we have had several purchase-and-returns from Android customers who were not able to get the device to work, though they did not report which tablets they had.

    You can buy and return if it does not work, but a 10% restock fee does apply on non-defective returns though due to it having to be resold as open box.

    We are looking to open a wiki site soon devoted to this topic to hopefully
    have more concrete evidence of what tablets will support it and which will
  6. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    Welllll........isn't that interesting?!?
    1.) May need to talk to Tim and find out if the power settings are restricted in these ROMs he's been coding and if the drivers are still intact.

    2.) Either you or I could outright buy the thing and send it back if it didn't work.

    3.) Alot of the simpler N wifi usb dongles I looked at are cheap enuf that it might be worth the gamble to just spend the $10 or so to try it out. Worst case is that you'd still have an operable 802.11N dongle for testing and such!

    Your call, bro!
  7. simon194

    simon194 Well-Known Member

    My clone FT3 has a Ralink RT2070L Wifi chip in it. This particular chip is a b/g/n chip, I wonder if there are any android drivers that will support it fully and not just the b/g side of it.
    kb7urx likes this.
  8. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    I had noticed that in several different pics and references to the 2070L chip and just figured it may have been a typo or the wrong picture!
    Sure would be nice if it was no more than just a software/firmware switch.
    Thanks for that bit of info tho....it'll be more helpful than the process of trial and error!

    It would also be helpful if someone knowledgeable about these imbedded WLAN devices to chime in here......more knowledgeable than me anyway!:D
  9. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    I placed an order for the N3 this morning. I'll post the results here when I receive it. Maybe someone else could try one of the inexpensive N dongles and let us all know if that works - or not!

    Would be great to know how to determine what drivers are imbedded in the system. Anyone know how to tell?
  10. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    I'll do it! I've been needing an excuse to get one of those anyway for testing some the gaming PCs I build!

    Inasmuchas knowing what drivers and where to look, I'd have to venture a guess and say they would almost have to be in the firmware directory, and loadable upon demand.
    We really need someone to step up who knows their way around the intricacies of the FT3 OS....otherwise, I'm just guessing!:cool:

    The first thing Im gonna do tho is install a RP-SMA chassis mount connector thru the left side panel of the FT for a 5-7dB external antenna. Then remove and re-solder the feedline from the connector to the antenna feedpoint on the board. This will give it alot more versatility where different styles and gain antennas can be evaluated. I also plan to document every step so others can do this without having to guess at it.
    Let it be my 1st contribution to the forum! Some are good at software....I'm good at hardware!
  11. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    The N3 arrived. It powers up from either USB port on the FT3, but does not extend the wifi range. My gut tells me that it is a driver issue. I'm going to try Tim's firmware (now using Chillhacker's) and see if it makes a difference.

    I'll echo what kb7urx said - we need advice from someone who knows what is in that firmware in relation to the wifi subject.

    We know that the device works on FT2, which I presume came with Android 2.1. Somewhere out there in Cyberspace is the right driver.
  12. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    The N3 manufacturer, Rokland, may be interested in haveing someone write an Android driver. If any of you have the talent to do this, I recommend that you contact the company.
  13. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    Not meaning to sound like a know-it-all, but are you sure you were actually connected thru the N3 or still on the stock adapter?

    My understanding is that you have to turn the stock adapter off before plugging in the N3.(then again...that may have been an earlier OS)
  14. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    Kb7urx - you are for sure a lot more knowledgeable than me. What is a stock adapter and how do I turn it off? I still have the N3 and will try it again if I know how to do that. All I can tell you is that the N3 powers on when plugged into either USB port, but there is no data transmission. (The power light will blink when data is being transmitted, but it stays solid).

    I have been in contact with one of the Rokland executives, and here is an excerpt from one of our recent communications that may be of interest to this forum.

    "Development for this platform is a lot different then development for
    platforms 10 years ago. With Windows you could write one driver and it would more or less work on all Windows computers until the next version of Windows came out. With Android, device manufacturers can restrict what software can be installed, can cause drivers to quit working after updates, and can even limit power output over the USB port by coding. We had looked into iPad driver development and when iOS 4.3 came out, a software change cut USB output over the camera connection port from 100mW to 20mW. 100mW was never strong enough for our product anyway, but some keyboard companies that advertised their product as iPad compatible suddenly found out that was no longer so. Varying USB output among Android tablets is also a concern, as low power may not mean the product won't work, but it may have a much lower signal compared to using on another tablet with higher power output over USB.

    And unlike iPad, with Android we are dealing with many device makers with
    varying software and hardware differences. You have a wealth of various
    generics, and then major brand names. Even the Barnes and Noble Nooks runs Android, but it is a very different device than the Flytouch or Viewsonic Android tablets."
  15. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    LOL.....well, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I'm nearly as in the dark with these tablets as you are.

    What I meant was that maybe the internal wifi adapter, (meaning the one built into the android...which by the way also runs on usb), needs to be turned off before the N3 will be recognized.

    Try this:
    settings...>wireless & networks...>wifi...>turn off.
    then go back and try the n3.
    If that doesn't do it, leave it off, plug in the n3, do a reboot.

    If the android still doesn't recognize the n3, try turning the internal wifi back on, wait til it gets an IP address and connects, then watch the n3 for activitiy.

    If that still doesn't work, you may have to physically open the case and disconnect the wifi adapter's hard-wired USB connection inside, but try the other things first.

    Something else you might try is physically turning off the internal wifi with the switch on the top RH side corner of the android before jacking the N3 into a usb port.
  16. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    Tried your suggestions - except for the one requiring rewiring and none were successful. Too bad. I'm going to return the N3.

    I wonder if the manufacturers of these Chinese tablets read these forums.
  17. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    I went and voided the warrenty on my FT3 yesterday by installing a SMA-RP connector thru the case side in place of the stylus hole (which I never use anyway).

    The only caveats to remember are that you'll have to enlarge the hole and a bit of the plastic screen chassis to accommodate the SMA connector, and either file or lathe any chamfer or shoulder of the connector that is a larger diameter than the threaded portion. You'll also need a fine-tipped soldering iron and around 680 degree temp or you will lift the pad on the center conductor connection on the board.

    There are 3 solder pads on the wifi adapter that an RG-316 feedline can be soldered to but the one closest to the rf amp/mixer chip should not be used. The center conductor of the feedline needs to solder to the smaller of the 3 pads(the one in the middle), and the shield braid needs to be soldered to the outer pad or ground.

    If yours already has an antenna wired and mounted to the left of the battery pack, all you'll need to do is cut the feedline just long enuf to reach the back of the SMA connector you will be mounting.

    The results were better than expected but the feedline length issue is problematic. The point of diminishing returns exists where losses from the feedline, out-weigh the gain of the antenna. This is why I believe that external omnidirectional, phase-gain antennas like those touting 7-10 dbI, don't work very well.....their gains are lost in the length and quality(or lack thereof) of the feedlline.
    HOWEVER....the antennas that DO work well are the little spike antennas , those little 2.5dBI antennas supplied with wifi adapters for PC's that have their own SMA connector in their base.
    I plan on trying one of those little 7dBM "panel" antennas that use directional gain (measured in "dBM" or dB/M, measured as an output signal using the inverse square law for radians, vs "dBI", the "I" meaning "Isotropic").
    I don't have it yet but it's on the way. Stanby for more info!

    And I do have pics but haven't found where I need to host them yet...more to come!
  18. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    Yea...they probably do read these forums, but they obviously don't give a rat's a$$!
  19. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    I admire your gumption, kb7urx. Anxious to hear how it all turns out.

    Meanwhile I bought a pair of 200mbps (that is just the paper rating, you are lucky to get 15 mbps in practice) powerline Ethernet adapters for $40 and now have excellent reception everywhere in the house. It's lucky that the Flytouch tablet has an Ehternet connection. Of course that doesn't help anywhere else but home, so I'm still interested in a WiFi solution. Having to plug in an Ethernet cable is also annoying.
  20. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    Ya know....I threatened to buy some of those extenders awhile back cuz the wife wouldn't let me string Cat5 cable all over the house, but I went the way of wifi N 300m and never looked back! I have a 3-story, 3600 sq. ft log home, and the linksys wireless router I'm using gets into every nook and cranny! In fact...the nearest neighbor, some 100yds away, says he picks up my ssid all the time. I can pick up around 5 from the surrounding neighborhood....mines the only "open-access" around here!
  21. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    I have a 3900 sf 2-story house and a Linksys n-router. I have 3 laptops and 2 phones and all have great wifi reception everywhere. The problem is the Flytouch tablet. It can't pick up the Wifi signal any further than 20 feet away on the same floor.

    The phones (and my cars) have GPS and connect everywhere instantly. The GPS in the Flytouch is problematic. Worthless without the external antenna, which is a pain to fool with, and still frequently loses signal. With GPS reduced to a tiny chip these days, I wonder why the Flytouch unit is so weak. Must be a Chinese copy. :))
  22. kb7urx

    kb7urx Member

    If your superpadIII/FT3 is anything like mine, it doesn't have a wifi antenna to speak of. The only antenna is a resonant stub that's etched on the board. It does act somewhat like a radiator(antenna) but has very poor gain attributes(basically like cheap USB wifi dongle). This would explain the near-sightedness these new FT3's have.
    Since installing the SMA-RP connector on mine tho, I can add an external antenna that doubles andeven quadruples the signal levels.

    If you want, I'll send you a tutorial and pics on how to do the external antenna mod privately. I don't really want to publish it here because I don't want alot of folks pissed at me if they wreck their FT3s cuz MY instructions were poor or missing the facts that one really need a solid background in modifications of electronic devices before attempting this mod.
    It's not rocket science, but there are the inevidble pit-falls that can only be avoided with experience!

    BTW...there is NO internal GPS antenna, so don't expect the GPS function to work unless the external antenna is plugged in. Also, since google maps load via IP, you won't be getting any gps maps unless you have a wifi connection as well. You may be able to find some mapping databases for other apps, but they will consume alot of memory and are best if they can be loaded and run from the SD card.
    uid65252 and sansjunk like this.
  23. mburwen

    mburwen Well-Known Member

    My email is mike@pamg.com. Look forward to getting your info. kb7urx.
  24. alandog79

    alandog79 Member

    you can attach a few pics here. I added a pic to one of my post this am.
  25. dart16

    dart16 Well-Known Member

    The Edimax EW-7711UAN 11n USB wifi dongle is reported to work in the Flytouch3. Just turn the internal wifi off using the physical switch on the top of the pad, insert this dongle and switch on...apparently!!

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