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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:05 pm
Posts: 2009
Location: Spencer, IA
Radio Labs has introduced a new long range WiFi internet wireless antenna (CapiFi) that I have installed in my 2002 Born Free 26' RSB motorcoach by attaching it to the existing Winegard Batwing TV Antenna. I have experienced weak and unreliable wireless internet operation in some RV campgrounds using just the internal wireless card in my laptop computer. This system provides much improved and reliable wireless internet operation because the CapiFi antenna is outside the coach and located 3-1/2' above the coach roof providing a line of sight view of the campground wireless antenna location above obstructions such as nearby tall RVs. Having the antenna outside the coach also eliminates the attenuation caused just by the signals having to pass thru the walls of the coach itself.

The CapiFi antenna has a built-in wireless receiver and transmitter and comes equipped with a 15' length of USB cable. In my coach, an additional 10' USB extension cable was required to reach my laptop location on the table near the front of the coach.

A) Photos #1 & #2 need no explanation.

B) Photo #3 - the blue base of the CapiFi antenna is threaded for a standard 1.0" diameter pipe so the Shakespeare P/N SHA4705 Pipe Adapter provides a means to attach the CapiFi to the 1.0" diameter by 2-1/2 aluminum tube mast using two locking set screws. Recommend that the two set screws be treated with a mild grade of Loctite to prevent them coming loose from travel vibration.

C) Photo #4 - this photo shows how the mast for the CapiFi was attached to the retractable frame of the Winegard Batwing TV antenna. Quantity three 1/4" holes were drilled thru the aluminum mast at a spacing of 5.75" as shown. The three 1/4-28 x 7/8" coupling nuts were used as spacers to raise the mast above the top 1.0" square tube to provide room for the TV antenna coax that feeds in and out of the tube as shown. Three small pilot holes should be drilled into the top of that 1.0" square tube to match the three holes drilled thru the 1.0" diameter mast. Then the quantity three #10 x 2-1/2 long sheet metal screws are used to attached the round mast to the square tube thru the coupling nut spacers as shown.

D) Photos #5 & #6 show how the USB cable from the CapiFi enter the coach. The details of this entry will vary from one model Born Free coach to another. The photos show what was done for a 2002 Born Free 26' RSB coach. In all coaches, the best entry method is via the refrigerator vent. This coach has a upper cabinet located directly adjacent to the left side of the Norcold refrigerator. A 5/8" diameter hole was drilled thru the back cabinet wall 6" down from the ceiling and 12" from the right wall of the coach. A 5/8" hole is required in order to pass thru the USB connector on the end of the 15' long cable from the CapiFi. This cable was then routed down along rear wall of the cabinet and across the floor to the lower left corner of the side cabinet door opening.

IMPORTANT: Even though it is not shown in Photo #6, make sure to seal the 5/8" diameter hole with the gray USB cable coming thru the hole. If not sealed, gases from the refrigerator's propane burner could leak into the coach's living compartment. I used builders clay to seal the hole around the cable.

E) Photo #7 - this photo shows the USB cable routed above the coach entry door and behind the upholstery panel located there. The 15' USB cable as part of the CapiFi is too short to reach a usable location to connect to a laptop computer. A 10' USB extension cable adds enough length for that purpose. Note that the cable entering the upholstery panel on the right is white but black when exiting the panel on the left. That is be junction between the 15' CaptiFi USB cable and the 10" USB extension cable is located behind this panel.

F) Photo #8 - this photo shows the 10' USB extension cable routed above the right side coach window frame above the two captain's chairs and pull-up table. As shown, the USB extension cable has sufficient length to easily reach a laptop sitting on that table.

Go to this website for information and pricing on the CapiFi USB High Power WiFi internet antenna: http://www.radiolabs.com/

PARTS LIST

1 - CapiFi USB WiFi Antenna - $140.00
1 - Shakespeare P/N SHA4705 Pipe Adapter - $10.00
1 - 10' USB Extension Cable, Staples Model 18804 - $25.00
1 - 1.0" OD x 2-1/2' long aluminum tube* - $10.00
3 - 1/4 - 28 x 7/8' Coupling Nuts - $3.40 each/$10.20 total
3 - #10 x 2-1/2" long sheet metal screws - $0.35 each/$1.05 total
Miscellaneous installation materials - black cable ties, etc

* I purchased a polished 1.0" diameter 5' long aluminum shower curtain rod (actually a hollow tube) from Menards and cut it in half to get the 2-1/2' length desired for this component.


Attachments:
File comment: Photo #1 - This a view of the Winegard Batwing TV antenna and attached CapiFi WiFi antenna in the erected position above the coach.
CapiFi Long Range WiFi Antenna above Wingard Batwing TV Antenna.jpg
CapiFi Long Range WiFi Antenna above Wingard Batwing TV Antenna.jpg [ 54.4 KiB | Viewed 7520 times ]
File comment: Photo #2 - This photo shows the Winegard Batwing TV antenna and the attached CapiFi WiFi antenna in the retracted (stowed) position
CapiFi & Batwing Antennas Stowed Photo.jpg
CapiFi & Batwing Antennas Stowed Photo.jpg [ 139.3 KiB | Viewed 7521 times ]
File comment: Photo #3 - This photo shows the assembly of the CapiFi antenna to the 1.0" OD aluminum tube mast that is 2-1/2' long
CapiFi & aluminum mast fabrication details.jpg
CapiFi & aluminum mast fabrication details.jpg [ 55.51 KiB | Viewed 7522 times ]
File comment: Photo #4 - This photo shows the details of attaching the 2-1/2' mast for the CapiFi antenna to the Winegard Batwing TV antenna structure.
CapiFi Antenna Mast to Batwing Antenna Attachment Detail Photo.jpg
CapiFi Antenna Mast to Batwing Antenna Attachment Detail Photo.jpg [ 72.1 KiB | Viewed 7523 times ]
File comment: Photo #5 - This photo shows where the white CapiFi USB Cable enters the coach thru a hole in the screen at the top of the refrigerator vent. This photo taken with the top side vent cover removed. The black cable is the existing Winegard TV antenna coax.
Refrigerator Vent Cable Routing Detail.jpg
Refrigerator Vent Cable Routing Detail.jpg [ 71.72 KiB | Viewed 7529 times ]
File comment: Photo #6 - This photo shows the CapiFi USB Cable routing inside the upper cabinet located just to the left of the Norcold refrigerator. Seal the 5/8" diameter hole with builders clay to prevent gases from the refrigerator's propane burner leaking int
CapiFi USB Cable Interior Cabinet Routing Photo.jpg
CapiFi USB Cable Interior Cabinet Routing Photo.jpg [ 101.41 KiB | Viewed 7537 times ]
File comment: Photo #7 - This photo shows the CapiFi USB Cable and the 10' USB Extension Cable routed above the coach access door. The junction of these two cables is hidden behind the upholstery panel above the door.
CapiFi USB Cable Routing Above Door Photo.jpg
CapiFi USB Cable Routing Above Door Photo.jpg [ 84.41 KiB | Viewed 7540 times ]
File comment: Photo #8 - This photo shows the USB Extension Cable routed above the window frame on the right side of the coach providing enough length to connect to a laptop.
CapiFi USB Cable Routing Above Window   Frame Photo.jpg
CapiFi USB Cable Routing Above Window Frame Photo.jpg [ 66.73 KiB | Viewed 7545 times ]

_________________
Bill Hemme - Spencer, Iowa
E-mail: whemme@earthlink.net
2002 Born Free (Ford E-450 V10) 26' RSB
2016 VW Golf GTI - toad


Last edited by whemme on Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:14 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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