Worth a switch to the Stratux RTL-SDR?

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benjisimon
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Worth a switch to the Stratux RTL-SDR?

Post by benjisimon » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:19 pm

Howdy -

Total newbie here, so apologies ahead of time if I make some massive misstep.

Two years ago, I picked up a no-name USB-Mini RTL-SDR device (here's the original auction) to add to the bag of goodies I carry around every day. I've been using it with SDR Touch on Android and it works amazingly well.

The big drawback, as noted in this thread is that these devices tear through battery life.

A google search brought me to the Stratux RTL-SDR page which talks about it being specifically low powered.

Does anyone have any idea if this low power requirement will translate into noticeably better battery life when used in an Android context?

Also, any idea what I'd be giving up? I carry the device as a nod to emergency prepardness, as the first thing that goes in the Washington, DC area when there's any sort of unusual 'event' is the cell phone grid. Fortunately, that use isn't a frequent occurrence, so I mostly just use the radio for goofing around (say listening in on the nearby Airport ATC).

The Stratux is priced quite reasonably, so if there's a chance this will help me in the battery life department I'll almost certainly pick one up (and if folks are curious, I can report my findings). But if it's not going to make any difference, or going to set me back in terms of functionality, I'd love to spare myself the hassle.

Thanks for the help,
Ben

rtlsdrblog
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Re: Worth a switch to the Stratux RTL-SDR?

Post by rtlsdrblog » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:27 am

The Stratux dongle uses about 170mA compared to a standard dongle which uses 270 mA, so 100mA less.

So put that into a battery life calculator https://ncalculators.com/electrical/bat ... ulator.htm:

Assuming you have a 2000mAh battery, and your phone uses just a guess...200mA while running SDRtouch and the screen. So normally with the regular dongle you'd be using a total of 470mA, and the 2000mAh battery would last 4.255 hours. With the Stratux you'd be using 370mA and the battery would last 5.4 hours.

If your phone is more efficient and only uses 100mA with sdrtouch running, then you'd save about 2 hours of battery time.

So with a Stratux dongle and 2000mAh battery you'd probably get anywhere between 1-2 hours of run time more. If you have a 3000mAh battery you'd get maybe 2-3 hours more.

Another option is to use a USB OTG cable that provides a power in port. So you can use an external battery pack at the same time. That will get you many more hours of usage.

benjisimon
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Re: Worth a switch to the Stratux RTL-SDR?

Post by benjisimon » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:09 pm

Thanks for the super detailed reply!

I'm definitely going to pick up a Stratux to see how it performs with my specific setup.

The idea of using a USB OTG with power is also a great point. I'll do some research to see what I can come up with there.

Thanks again for the quick and thorough help.

benjisimon
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Re: Worth a switch to the Stratux RTL-SDR?

Post by benjisimon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:52 pm

I was about to check out with the Stratux when it occurred to me that I should ask another newbie question...

Will the antenna that came with my current device work with the Stratux? You can see my antenna here. It appears to use an MCX based connection.

Do I need any sort of adapter? And regardless of whether it does, or does not fit, I'd be curious what the most portable antenna you can suggest would be. I'm sure this is a laughably vague question, so thanks for bearing with me.

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Re: Worth a switch to the Stratux RTL-SDR?

Post by rtlsdrblog » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:46 am

benjisimon wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:52 pm
I was about to check out with the Stratux when it occurred to me that I should ask another newbie question...

Will the antenna that came with my current device work with the Stratux? You can see my antenna here. It appears to use an MCX based connection.

Do I need any sort of adapter? And regardless of whether it does, or does not fit, I'd be curious what the most portable antenna you can suggest would be. I'm sure this is a laughably vague question, so thanks for bearing with me.
The stratux uses an MCX connection too, so that antenna will be fine.

The whip you have now is an okay portable antenna. You could also find a 1090 MHz "rubber duck" style antenna, but there is none for MCX by itself, so you'd need to use a connector which might put a lot of strain on the connector.

Also remember that the stratux has no enclosure, so you might want to consider building something around it if you're going to be taking it around a lot.

benjisimon
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Re: Worth a switch to the Stratux RTL-SDR?

Post by benjisimon » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:33 pm

Again, thanks for the quick and complete reply, it's just what I needed to know.

Clearly I'll have to figure something out about the enclosure - but I suppose I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

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