Newbie discoveries - acquiring and fitting Omnia LTE hardware

Some kind folk answered my pre purchase Omnia questions, so here’s some payback from the perspective of a novice:

Be aware that if in the UK, the FCC approved version doesn’t come with a UK mains lead for the power block. I even emailed Turris about this before purchase and they confirmed. Maybe they used to, but not mine. Easily solved by purchasing ‘C7 Figure 8 Power Cord UK 3 Pin Plug to Power Lead’ for less than £5 on eBay UK:

The complete LTE kit is available from third party suppliers, but overpriced. Not available from Turris direct.

Purchasing just the aluminium block heat sink on its own was a mistake. Block was 5.87 EUR , but postage to the UK was 20 EUR. Thing is, you have to make the order first, then you get the e-mail with the combined amount to pay afterwards. If I had bought the Omnia from this same third party company, I’m ‘guessing’ (please check that) the postage for the heat sink would’ve been free.

Then bought the ‘EC25-E Mini PCIe 4G’ modem via eBay from China, which arrived just days after the Omnia. Cost was just £37.43 including postage. In fact, when it arrived, the original third party company was still out of stock of the complete LTE kit.

Bought ‘Pack of 5 U.FL Mini PCI to SMA Female 15cm 1.13 Pigtail Antenna WiFi Cable’ from Amazon Prime for £ 9.35 (free postage). Yes, one cable should be 10cm, but that’s not clear when looking into what third part sellers are supplying. The dual 15cm lengths present little problem, as you can simply reroute the excess. One advantage is that after the modem is in place and the heat sink attached, you now have enough cable to remove your SIM card without needing to detach these cables. I simply pulled the modem out of the slot and placed it (still cable attached) to one side. After a few months of knowing I’ll never need to remove the SIM, I might just satisfy my obsessiveness by getting some 10cm lengths. The cables are very small and quite fiddly to attach. Be careful. They go into the two outermost miniature receivers. The middle one is for GPS. I’ll investigate that another time.

The antennae were bought on Amazon Prime (free postage) ‘Bingfu 4G LTE Antenna SMA Male Aerial 9dBi Compatible with Vodafone, EE, O2, Three 4G LTE Router’ for £13.49

With, the SIM card doesn’t have to be popped/snapped out of its plastic surround. However - and this is where I’m not sure that I’m correct - I couldn’t get a 4G connection. Also, kept reading conflicting advice that the SIM card ‘does’ or ‘does not’ require activation in a phone first. So, I had to now snap it out of its plastic surround to obtain the smaller sized SIM, then ran it in my phone, put back into the router and all worked. Fear not, if you place the outer plastic surround on a flat surface you’ll see which is the right way up, to receive back the now smaller sized SIM. Press carefully and it should stay in place.

Turris have a video for the physical installation of the LTE

However, the position of the SIM slot has changed from that shown in the video. It’s now very fiddly to get the SIMM card into the slot, but can definitely be done without removing the preinstalled WiFi modem next to it. Pay careful attention to which way the SIM slides in as there are no picture/outline markings. This could possibly be why mine didn’t work first time. As I said, not really sure.

The two screws for the modem are already on the board. No need to worry that you might need to purchase them separately. Follow same Omnia video for removing plastic film from bottom of heat sink and sticking it onto the modem. N.B. I nearly got caught by not removing the clear plastic protective film that is also on the top of the extra rubbery heat sink slither (to snug it into place I guess). Also, if you place the metal cover back, then for whatever reason decide to slide it off again, you could dislodge this top rubbery piece. Double check.

You might think you can tighten the antennae with your fingers. You can’t. If you do, then once it’s all back together again, the twisting action of the antennae will loosen it from the cable, meaning you’ll have to remove the cover again. I used a pair of large tweezers to grip the inside nut, then a small adjustable spanner. Didn’t have the recommended item on hand.

If using only an LTE connection, be aware that you first need a fixed line WAN to install the LTE software. Maybe you can download this independently? Something I didn’t even consider at the time.

Lastly - and this is where it gets weird - I bought a slab (200mm x 200mm x 20mm) of solid aluminium. As I’m surrounded by so much foam (don’t ask), and even the table is covered in foam, I can’t risk leaving it unattended, what with stories of it getting very hot. As it is, the temperature isn’t anything to worry about. On an aesthetic level, that slab of aluminium satisfies my need for everything to look just so. It’s perfect. Piece of mind too.

Afraid I can’t help on the software, as I’m already way above my skill level with this box of tricks. However, all seems to be good, except for issues with Haas Honeypot.

To finish: I feared I might’ve ordered the wrong parts, or that I’d not be able to get it working. It’s now done. If I can do it with zero knowledge, anyone can. Hope that helps another newbie out there.