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Installation

I am not going to explain how to take apart the PSP. If you want some help with this, please read the detailed article available here at Informit.com for a step by step guide on disassembling the device. Also note that it is not necessary to take the PSP apart to accomplish this. In theory, you could cut-drill-melt or otherwise gain access to the internal connector by working through the plastic case from the backside. However, given the tight space and the chance for debris, it would probably be safer to take the PSP apart.

Once you have the PSP completely apart (and I do mean completely), you will be able to see the antenna and its U.FL connector on the WNIC. It takes a bit of force to remove the antenna from the network card, but trust me, it will come off. Be sure to remove it using a perpendicular force from the network card. This is a standard male/female socket with a small pin that you do not want to bend or break.

With the antenna off, you next have to make a hole in the PSP case for the new pigtail to pass through. This can be accomplished many different ways. I actually melted the case using a soldering iron and slowly worked the hot plastic to create a small hole with smooth sides. You could alternately use a drill and poke a series of holes through the side of the PSP.

Figure 4 illustrates the placement of the opening. It needs to be at this location for several reasons. First, it is important to note the PSP case actually will keep the U.FL connector in place and firmly seated. Once the device is put back together, a small knob seats up against the U.FL connector to hold it firmly in place. If you damage or inadvertently remove this knob, the pigtail will easily come disconnected from the PSP. Second, most upgrade dongles will be made of a wire that is significantly more firm than the original antenna. As a result, it is hard to bend the wire. And finally, it is important to note how the pigtail will affect game play. By slipping it out the side of the case, the pigtail should slip nicely between your fingers and not affect the controller.

Figure 4

Figure 4: Hole placement

What antenna to use?

When considering what type of external antenna would go well with the PSP, I immediately thought of a small omni directional 5dBi. This type of antenna would be small enough to keep the PSP portable, but still give be enough extra signal strength to make the modification worthwhile. In addition, if I purchased an antenna/pigtail combination, I could always replace the 5dBi omni directional antenna with a 35dBi dish antenna should the need arise. Not that I ever expect to play my PSP over a 30+ mile wifi link, but it is always best to leave room for growth!

Purchasing the antenna was rather easy. I started with Ebay and eventually landed at this link. From this site, I was able to purchase the *RV24-5RD-UFL* antenna for $20.00. Drew from alamedawireless.org also sent me a Froogle link should you only need a pigtail. Regardless of which choice, just make sure your antenna/pigtail has a female U.FL connector on the end! Otherwise, you will not be able to connect it to the WNIC.

The next step is a bit tricky. In order to connect the pigtail to the WNIC, you will have to partially install the network card and then insert the pigtail wire through the hole while carefully aligning the U.FL connectors with each other. Any other method failed for me because the slightest twist or motion of the WNIC caused the connector to separate.

Once the U.FL connector is aligned, push the WNIC firmly into the PSP. This will caused the connectors to snap together. Then immediately tighten the WNIC guard into place. With this done, you can reassemble the PSP and get ready for the testing stage of this modification. Figure 5 provides a shot of what the PSP looks like from the back with the antenna connected!

Figure 5

Figure 5: Successful modification

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