Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baling wire and duct tape wireless

I may have actually have impressed my son this week. We received a used computer from my dad that was better than our office desktop computer, so I was swapping computers around to make the older one into a box the kids could use. The main thing I had to do to it was install a wireless card. But after installing the card and its drivers, I still couldn't pick up my house wireless network. 

But every now and then I would briefly detect it. So I thought the problem was with the antenna. I unscrewed it and got out a piece of wire and an old radio antenna from my junk box. I duct taped one end of the wire to the antenna, and taped the other end to the antenna port on the card, then balanced the antenna on top of the computer with a wad of play dough. 

And it worked. We got a strong signal and the internet was ours....briefly. Duct tape isn't holding it forever. I'm going to have to get hold of a connector or something...maybe I can cannibalize the faulty antenna for that. But it was a lot of fun to channel MacGyver for a minute and prove my theory. 


  1. That's very cool. Remember that MacGyver never had to build anything that lasted more than a few minutes, IIRC. You wouldn't want the guy building or repairing a fine German automobile, for example.

    But kitbashing something that gets the job done well on a temporary basis out of little more than household junk, that's pure MacGyver, baby.

  2. Alas, this was quite MacGyvery: I never got the signal to hold for long. I ended up replacing the card with a USB wireless gadget. But it was a fun experiment.