Just a little soldering required.
Good headsets are one of the PC peripherals it can really be worth investing in but there’s nothing worse than dropping a few hundred bucks on a great headset only to have it let you down when out of range. That is unless you can perform a simple $5 hack like this DIY champion.
Hackster (opens in new tab) spotted this great mod created by Hackaday User rafii6312 (opens in new tab) which triples the range of their Corsair HS80 wireless headset (opens in new tab). This is a headset known for having great audio quality, but not the best wireless range. It’s a fairly simple hack that only requires messing with the headset’s 2.4GHz dongle that plugs into the PC. Some light soldering is required, but other than that it shouldn’t be a difficult procedure.
However, it is worth noting that it certainly voids your warranty, especially as there’s no way to open the receiver without breaking the housing. So you definitely won’t be able to send these back to Corsair if something goes wrong further down the line.
The hack starts by breaking open that USB, and you’ll want to check out the instructions on Hackaday (opens in new tab) complete with pictures for the best way to do this. Also be extra careful with this step as there are some components on the bottom side that you want to avoid damaging or losing.
(Image credit: Colorwave)
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Once you’re in, you want to remove the chip antenna by de-soldering. Once you’ve heated the old solder enough to remove the chip, you want to then replace it with a new antenna. In this example they’ve used a makeshift SMA adapter and then stripped down an antenna cable to attach to it. Antenna cables are quite fragile so it’s worth being careful with these steps.
At this point, rafii6312 notes that the old dongle case no longer fits well, so they’ve 3D printed a new one but you might not need to go through this step depending. They did upload the files to the project so you can grab them if you need. The end look is a slightly bigger USB dongle with a huge antenna sticking out of it, which is perfect for plugging into a back port on your PC.
Once done, rafii6312 reported a huge improvement from this new larger antenna. Where they previously couldn’t go 8 metres away without it beeping about losing connection, now they’re roaming freely around their house up to three rooms away without trouble. That’s a great improvement for ten minutes of their time, plus a little 3D printing thrown in.
The Corsair HS80 is one of the best wireless gaming headsets (opens in new tab) you can get when it comes to spatial audio. But the wireless range has always been a bit of a disappointment, especially when there’s no Bluetooth or 3.5mm options to back it up. This hack looks like a great way to make up for one of the main flaws of this otherwise great headset, but it’s not really something user should have to implement themselves. Let’s hope Corsair is paying attention for its next range of devices.