Increasing the Range of a Wireless Keyboard – Logitech S510

Begun the new year with some changes in my Home computing infrastructure.

I have had this remote keyboard and mouse from Logitech (Model S 510) for over a year now, and it was allright as long as I used it on my office desktop. But, I decided to change its usage, and started using it in my bedroom, where I have just wired up a new Intel Atom 945GCLF based system to the large LCD TV.The idea is to use this for video, music and Browsing/Youtube.

I want to sit a fair distance away from the TV (monitor) so, all of a sudden I needed longer range.

The keyboard and mouse worked fine from a distance of about 6ft, but beyond that they worked inconsistently. The computer won’t take note of mouse clicks and some keys from keyboards would go missing.

I tried positioning the logitech base unit in various angles and positions but there was not much of use.
Evidently, it needed a different approach. Quick look at the specifications told me it uses 27Mhz – that fell in to citizen band(CB) in HF spectrum. So, I opened the the base unit (had to break the sticker on the behind and I am sure I voided the waranty) and figured the place where the antenna point started and soldered a copper wire there and coiled the wire around a drinking straw.

It did increase the range! I could now operate from distances in excess of 20ft and it even worked through a 9inch concrete wall. Almost 4 times  the range!

But, i could not close the unit back because , and the wire on a straw hanging out was looking ugly. Needed a different solution, that is more elegant. I thought of using an Wi-Fi antenna, though it is meant for the 2-2.5Ghz range, it should still work at CB to a certain extent. But, it still needed a wire to come out of the unit, which meant drilling a hole in base unit or keeping it open!! Both of which were unacceptable.
My requirement was usage from within the room maximum of upto 12 ft. So, I thought up another old trick – Passive Loop. In old days when the radio won’t pick up all the stations, we would keep it close to an external looped wire to hear the radio pick up in strength. I thought since the frequency is somewhat in similar spectrum, it might work here as well.

So, I got a Thick speaker wire, wound it around the base station (about 10-12 loops). And used a cello-tape to bind it together tightly. No physical wiring to the circuit, this would be an external non-invasive solution.

Does it work?

Yes!   I am now using my mouse and Keyboard anywhere within the room, and it works perfectly!