Building a Cantenna from a Pringles can

Cantenna made from a Pringles potato chip can.

Cantenna made from a Pringles potato chip can.

A couple of months ago I blogged about how hard it is to find reliable measured data for a Cantenna (also known as the Pin-fed circular waveguide antenna) which we wanted to use to verify our Antenna Magus design. You can read the blog here. We decided to make and measure one ourselves.

After designing a Cantenna at 2.45 GHz, Wilco (a 2nd year engineering student from the university, doing vacation work for us) went to the local grocery store to see if he could find a can with the right dimensions. All the cans with the right diameter at 2.45 GHz were too short so he bought a can of large Pringles chips. After we ate the chips he adjusted the design to fit the inner diameter of the Pringles can and cut it to the right length. The new design worked at 2.85 GHz. The inside of the can is lined with a thin aluminium sheet with a thin wax coating which saved a lot of effort not having to stick conducting material on the inside ourselves.

He soldered the sma connector onto a small copper plate (shown in the next image) and attached it to the waveguide with two small screws after sanding off the wax coating on the inside to assure good contact with the aluminum.

Sma connector soldered onto a small copper sheet

Sma connector soldered onto a small copper sheet

The following image shows the inside of the antenna with the connector and pin. We measured s11 and compared it with the simulation (see graph below) which had pretty good correlation. Most industrial cantennas have a thin dielectric coating on the outside of the waveguide to prevent unwanted surface currents. We didn’t measure the dielectric properties of the Pringles can but it seems like a very cheap, practical antenna with 8 dBi gain and 20% bandwidth at 2.85 GHz.

Inside of the Pringles cantenna showing the connector and pin

Inside of the Pringles cantenna showing the connector and pin

|S11| measured vs simulated results

|S11| measured vs simulated results

Cantenna sketch with physical dimentions.

Cantenna sketch with physical dimentions.

For those who might want to try to make this antenna, I added the above sketch showing the required physical parameters that will work using a Pringles can operating at 2.85 GHz center frequency.

Author: Robert Kellerman

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3 Responses to “Building a Cantenna from a Pringles can”

  1. Neilen says:

    Aah, yes, I always had in the back of my mind that a Pringles can isn’t quite the right dimensions for a WiFi antenna. Neat trick for getting around the waxy coating though! Amazing that such lo-fi construction techniques can yield a pretty decently working antenna.

    I do wonder, though, if one could not tweak the antenna to work at 2.45 GHz. Longer feed pin perhaps? Or is it below cut-off of the circular waveguide mode?

  2. my wifi antenna is nickel and chrome plated, i think it also uses OFC metal or something~’`

  3. spinoxx says:

    can u help me..how i can make cantenna will work at 925Mhz? sorry if my englis not good.. i?m indonesian.. txs..
    and i?m so happy if u want send the answer to my email?

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