Unusable / weak CHIP hotspot

Hello from South Africa,

Received my DIY kit yesterday evening.

Connecting it all up according to the guide was fairly simple.

The first thing that I noticed was that the SDR gets VERY hot. I’ve seen other postings that make reference to this running hot but it is nothing like my other SDR dongles …

Also, the guide and various postings refer to a GREEN LED on the LNA. My LNA has a red LED. I assume that it is correct - maybe just a different version of hardware but because of the hot running of the SDR I am a bit concerned.

Then, the other thing , it is very difficult to connect to the Outernet hotspot. By that I mean that the SSID is visible but it only accepts 1 in 20 attempts to connect to it.

Using the Android WiFi analyser it looks like the CHIP/SDR/LNA creates a very noisy RF environment which impacts on the performance of other WiFi access points in the area.

The satellite reception appears ok with a SNR of 7db and files are definitely coming down.

Any feedback would be welcome.


p.s. I had to shut off the CHIP/SDR/LNA in order to connect to my wifi to send this :frowning:

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Mine just had the same problem/s…finally died. Had to get replacement from outernet sent. I assume you are referring to the CHIP computer. You might want to drop them an email telling them about this because I just got mine the other day and had the same symptoms as yours so there is obviously some correlation and there may be more bad CHIPs in their stock!


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Yes, the SDR will get hot. I think around 39C, possibly higher. But we’ve had these running for weeks/months on end. There could definitely be some issues with the CHIPs, as all of our current inventory are Alpha CHIPs.

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Hi Syed,

My SDR is way hotter than 39c. It’s close to 60c but as it appears to be working ok I don’t think anything is to be done yet.

On the other hand the Wi-Fi hotspot created by the CHIP is unusable which effectively makes the system unusable. I managed to connect once in 4 hours last night and then only for 3 minutes - enough to confirm that data had been downloaded during the day.

Unfortunately being in South Africa means that the shipping costs to return the unit is more than the cost of the replacement :frowning:

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No need to return that CHIP. As an FYI, we’ve been told that CHIP can operate without issue up to 70C, though that does not solve the wifi problem.

What was your order number?

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I find 70C highly unlikely for more than just a few seconds. Most chip manfacturers rate their processors conservatively at little more than 60C max…

It’s not the CHIP that’s running hot, it’s the SDR. But as I said it has been reported as normal by others and it has run non stop for a couple of days now apparently without problems.

I had to deal with other issues yesterday and I just left the unit powered up to download. Last evening I tried to connect again and it connected first time and every time.

I’m even able to remain connected at a distance of 10m through two brick walls.

As I’ve made no changes and nothing in the environment has changed (except slightly cooler weather) for the time being I will just continue with a few power cycles and see what happens.

My order number was #1900.

I’m going to take back my comment about the CHIP not running hot - It is but I don’t think that it’s as high as 70c.

As the weather has been cooler yesterday and today I suspect the performance of the Wi-Fi may in fact be related to the temperature of the CHIP. I’ll keep an eye on this.

I have a couple of stepper motor driver heat sinks which look like the might fit onto one or two of the chips with thermal tape. Syed, any advice on this? Which chips? Impact on WiFi transmission/reception i.e. Wi-Fi Antenna location?

The wifi module gets really hot; you may want to experiment with that. Just be sure not to cover the small, ceramic chip antenna (too many ‘chips’) at the edge of the board. Of course, even by avoiding any contact with the antenna, there may still be signal degradation. RF is like black magic.

I don’t think the R8 (CPU/SoC) gets all that hot, but you can try that. It’s the larges chip on the CHIP. Would you happen to have an infrared temperature sensor?

@zoltan Do you recall the hot spots on CHIP?

There are solder pads on the underside of the CHIP [it’s the grouping of the four pads at the “bottom right” of the R8 if the USB ports are oriented “up”] to use for an antenna.

Please note this voids your unit and goes against FCC rules apparently!?

Mine runs hot but functional.

Good reception, good data.

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the SDR in the kit is from rtl-sdr.com, I’ve been using their dongles for years without malfunction. It is supposed to get hot, be ause the external metal case acts as a heat sink.
I’ve also had issues connecting to the chip, Wifi module is horrible. I leave it for 5-10 minutes to stabilise, then all is OK.