Archive for ‘Domicile’

June 27, 2013

Extending the range on Hampton Bay Wireless Ceiling Fan Controller (Battery Operated)

Before I start, let me say that there are a number of these types of products out there. Some of them connect to the A/C power and provide switch cut-off.  This mod is not about those. 😉

So there are several battery operated ceiling fan controllers available that fit the normal decor rectangular wall plates.  Several of them operate on 9v or 12v batteries.  I have a few that operate on the 9v type.  I placed some low-voltage gang plates on the walls to add additional fan controls in some key positions that were not the actual switch. (such as by the bed, where that seems obviously convenient.)

The problem I found was that operation was intermittent, especially if your arm or hand was in the wrong place between the unit and the fan or the battery was getting low. So I decided to mod them to fix this.

I hit up and picked up a pair of external wifi antennas. They were cheap, like 5-10$ for the pair.


I unscrewed the case shell, via two screws and separated the front face plate from the rear circuit board.

I trimmed the wire on the antenna to a shorter length.


I located the antenna trace on the circuit board. (usually the long L or F looking trace along the perimeter.) Using my trusty 3m sanding pen, I sanded away the protective coating on an accessible part.

Then I trimmed back the insulation jacket and shield wire about 7mm and the insulation from the antenna a few mm.


I soldered the antenna lead to the trace on the motherboard.


Then I cut a notch in the rear casing to allow the antenna wire through.


Now I just buttoned the two halves back together and shoved the antenna up the wall over top of the remote controller.

Wala! Works much more consistently.