RTL-SDR Tuner Failure

My luck to find new problems, but this morning my Lantern stopped receiving signals. I discovered the CHIP was working fine (although I still have a piece of paper jammed between the white battery connection and the pin strip).

I discovered my LNA was not lit. Seems as though some other folks have reported similar issues of intermittently lighting of the LNA indicator. I wiggled the LNA connection to the SDR, and the light back came on.

I disassembled the RTL-SDR and discovered the SMA connection had been cold soldered, and finally broke loose.

This I can fix this @Syed @Abhishek @zoltan , so don’t need a replacement, but this kind of worrisome performance is something to investigate at your end on some of your other RTL-SDRs.

If other Discussion Group members have this kind of problem, it is very easy to open the RTL-SDR by taking the 4 small Phillips head screws out and sliding the circuit board slightly out of the case. The SMA connection should remain attached if soldered correctly. Ken

Looks like only one of the lugs was taking all the “jiggle” force… The way I abuse the different sdr’s I have here, if one was like that it would last 5 minutes …

Amen - - here’s an update. This RTL-SDR was sent to me at the end of December 2016 as part of some replacements parts for my Alpha Lantern. So it is from a recent shipment to Outernet from the manufacturer. Hope that is of some help to you @Syed

In any case, when I started to fix the connector, I discovered 2 of the ground pins had also fractured off. I didn’t see that initially, but it does show in the picture above.

I was into the Lantern was last Friday when I tested Ferrite Isolators and LNA foil wrapping. Although I was very careful not to stress things, that was probably what exasperated the failure. Cold night temperatures here and possible earthquake activity in Washington did me in.

Radio Shack to the rescue :grinning: I got a replacement connector and fixed the SDR. Ken

To make sure: Are you waiting on any replacement parts right now?

Got everything - - I just received the new CHIP today, and it works fine - - no more giggle and wiggle issues. Glad to see new CHIPS are being shipped with Skylark 4.2 Version installed.

As I said, I fixed the RTL-SDR, but my problem with the RTL-SDRs that were shipped in December may apply to other new recipients of DIY Kits who are having SDR/LNA problems. Ken

The RTL dongle SMA connector/PC board interface, of any brand or flavor, are not really robust enough to endure having other components such as the LNA directly attached, IMO. Even with the bulkhead connection of the RTL case, if the nut backs off just a bit, the connector is subject to much torsion on the solder pads when connecting the LNA, disconnecting, or moving around.

Much better to use a short SMA Male to Female jumper between the LNA and RTL.

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Good point - - the Outernet DIY kits should come with jumpers as they get allot of bumping around during installation. In the Lantern however, if everything stays in place and is held there by the case, it shouldn’t be as critical. Ken

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Agree!! We are working really hard to eliminate SMA adapters and SMA jumpers and have everything on a single integrated PCB to simplify everything.