The TBS Racetracker is an extremely handy piece of equipment that lets you keep track of your lap times without having to put any extra equipment on your quad. It’s a great tool for those who enjoy racing as it helps you keep track of your progress and push yourself to get faster. However, one issue it suffers from is extremely poor Bluetooth range. Out of the box, I could barely walk 10 feet away from the unit without losing signal. Since the idea of the Racetracker is to leave it at the start gate and have your phone record and call out lap timings, this is quite an issue since you either have to stand very near the gate (dangerous) or leave your phone near the tracker ad check times later (which loses some of the functionality).
However it is possible to improve the Bluetooth range of the Racetracker. All it takes is to replace the stock antenna with a better 2.4GHz antenna. Some people use a regular FrSky receiver antenna, and others use a WiFi router antenna with a u.fl to SMA/RP-SMA pigtail. I chose to use the ‘official’ TBS Range Extension kit for a convenient and neat installation. I bought mine from GetTBS. Since it does not come with instructions, in this post I’ll be showing you how to install the range extension kit.
These are the parts included in the range extender kit:
- 1x U.FL to SMA pigtail
- 1x 2.5dBi 2.4GHZ SMA antenna
- 1x plastic front case
This is how you install the range extender:
- Prepare the new case: A hole for the SMA connector must be cut out. The top of the plastic piece included in the kit has a slotted hole (marked in the image below). that can easily be cut out. If you have a Racetracker from later batches, it should already have this slotted hole.
- Open the Racetracker: Slide a flat head screwdriver into the 2 joints on the back of the Racetracker and apply a little leverage to pop it open.
- Remove the PCB: Unscrew the 4 hex bolts holding the Racetracker PCB to the case and gently lift it out. Be careful as the Racetracker’s Lithium Ion battery pack is soldered directly to the PCB with a short length of wire.
- Remove the stock antenna: On the back of the PCB there is an antenna attached with a U.FL connector. Gently pop it out and cut the piece of plastic that holds it onto the PCB.
- Install the new pigtail: Simply attach the U.FL connector of the pigtail to the one on the PCB. Then use the included nut to secure the SMA connector in the hole in the case.
- Close the Racetracker: Put the PCB and battery back into place and tighten the bolts that hold it in. Then snap the front and back halves of the outer case together, ensuring the pigtail is out of the way.
- You’re done!: Just screw on the new antenna and enjoy 2-3 times the stock range.