Working out a good way to install the Starlink took quite a bit of thinking and time. The dish and router were very easy, with the cabling being the time consuming part. This included learning how to make the connections to the cable.
The design requirement for this installation is; it should be quicker to setup the Starlink, than it takes to make a cup of coffee. This allows the coffee to be enjoyed while checking email and surfing the Internet.
The dish, also known as Dishy McFlatface, comes with it’s own little stand. We added a second mounting option based on the Starlink ground pole.
The dish snaps into the stand provided in the kit, and being portable can be placed in a location that has a clear view of the sky. This is especially useful when Molly is under the shade of trees, and if the dish was mounted to Molly, then the trees would likely obscure any satellite reception. If high winds are expected, then we will have to either secure the stand to the ground or not use the ground stand at all.
Our second option is based on the Starlink Ground Pole Mount. This mount ships as two separate poles. Slip one pole into the other, and with three stiff taps to the ground, the once separate poles are joined for life.
For our installation, the pole was 30cms (1 foot) longer than it needed to be, so a hacksaw fixed that problem. As an added advantage, the shortened pole is also now able to fit into our rear storage locker, which is where we store it while driving. Our pole is now 1.88 m (74 inches) long. We had a plastic end cap laying around, and that was used to cap the freshly cut end, and prevents the metal surface of the pole grinding against the metal surface of the rear bumper.
This factory ground pole has a significant advantage over other pole options, as one end is shaped to allow the dish to snap onto the pole. They are made for each other.
The pole is attached to a bracket on the rear bumper with two quick release F34 truss clamps. The truss clamps we purchased had wing nuts, and these were replaced with metric stainless steel bolts, to be consistent with the hardware standard of the truck and to ensure they do not rattle free on rough roads.
To set up the dish on the pole, the dish is snapped to one end of the pole, the data cable is attached at both ends (dish end and junction box end) and then the pole is raised into position and clamped to the rear bumper mount. The installation takes about 30 seconds.
Making the installation probably took about two hours and and we are very pleased with the end result. It is very sturdy indeed.
The router is located behind one of our internal cabinets in a void space. There is no room for the router in our electrical cabinet. Fortunately the router does not need to be seen.
The Starlink router is connected to the house router over wifi and acts a WAN connecrtion. We use wifi mainly because we have run out of ports on our house router, but also because the Starlink router does not have an ethernet port. An optional ethernet adaptor is available, but is just another thing to worry about and secure. The wifi works fine.
Designing and creating a cabling and connectors was the complicated part. We wanted a system that would allow us to setup and teardown the dish quickly and without having to pass cables through windows or doors which then have to be cracked open, letting in little creatures. The solution is a junction box located outside the house. On the side of the junction box there is a suitable weather sealed port where we can plug the cable from the dish. There is also a permanent cable from the junction box, through the floor of the house and then onto the router. Selecting the right type of connector for the job took a little bit of internet research. Learning how to make the cables took even longer.
This first phase was a cable prototype to ensure the fancy connectors would work on the bench and sort out how to wire things up.
The Starlink supplied cable has their own proprietary weather-sealed plug, and we could not find anywhere on the Internet to buy these. So, we purchased a second extension cable from the Starlink store, the longer 150 foot (45 m) version, and this cable will be dedicated to the portable mount, and will provide a little extra reach when needed. We then sacrificed the original 75 foot (25 m) cable for the parts needed to make a new shorter cables.
It is a little nerve racking to cut into a perfectly good cable, but we knew we had the second cable if anything went too badly wrong. Now that we have the original cable connected up and fully installed, we will someday soon modify the second cable, as it will also need to have a new plug added to it.
For the connectors, we decided on the Neutrik NE8MC6-MO etherCON CAT6 Cable Plug as the male end and the Neutrik NE8FDY-C6-B etherCON Cat 6 D-Shape Panel Connector for the female end. This connector set is very rugged and provides high noise immunity and EMI protection, is dust-proof and is waterproof when mated. And when not mated, the panel connector is protected by a Neutrik SCCD-W Spring-Loaded Cover. This connector set is outside and potentially in a dusty environment. It has an IP65 when not in use which increases to IP67 when connected. The connector set will go into a junction box, which was purchased form Amazon, being the Makerele Waterproof Electrical Outdoor Junction Box with dimensions of 180mm x 80mm x 70mm with a weather rating of IP67.
The connector set and junction box is located at the rear of the truck near the dish mount and the license plate. This location will get lots of dust, so might need to move it later if this becomes a problem.
Update: After spending a week on the road in very dusty conditions, the good news, the dust proof cover works great.
The router is permanently cabled to the junction box, and either the pole mount cable or the portable mount cable can be connected to the junction box depending on which mount is being used.
We have added a rodent deterring and chew resistance sleeving to the portable mount cable, to give the cable a little more protection when laid on the ground and obviously to deter critters from making our cable into their lunch. The pole mount cable got regular black sleeving for added protection.
It took a long time to work out the correct wiring for the connector set. And then it took a long time to work out how the connector set bits all fit together. Also, the connections are not simple pass-though connectors, and this also had to be worked out.
We extended the work done by Tucks Truck outlined in this post. The male end was wired up following the color code of the original Starlink’s cable, although it is not wired in a standard configuration. This also means that the female end is also not wired up in a standard way.
The order of the wires on the female connector are
The order of the wires on the male end are
The female connector is located in the junction box. The Starlink cable is quite thick, so for the male connector, we trimmed a few millimeters off the end of the plastic cable carrier so the two fittings would screw together snugly.
The Starlink router and dish consumes about 50 watts (or approximately 4 amps) on average. The inverter is used to power the router, and also has to be on which consumes about another 20 watts.