ESP32 Antenna Issues inside case

I am trying to set up a ESPHome Bluetooth proxy that scans presence of cars. The cars have some BLE beacons. That part works well. The problem I am facing. If I place the ESP32 that i use with ESPHome it cannot connect to wifi if inside a case. If the case has no lid it can connect. Is it normal for PLA 3d printer case to block the wifi signal ? Any other solutions other than external antenna. I wanted to put a bunch of those around the house the external antenna does not pass the Wife approval.

I’ve never had an issue with a PLA or PETG case. It may just be the angle of the device itself. If you need a little more range you could use a ESP32-WROOM-32U with the external antenna.

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Is it possible to put an external antenna inside the case? 2.4ghz antenna only about 3 inches tall. Alternative would be use copper tape and put on outside of box as an antenna at the correct length connected to esp32 U. I have used copper tape on a window pane as an antenna for a 433mhz project. My wife never spotted it.

I use external antenna in this case and get bluetooth signal through brick wall. Couldn’t even get signal in same room with ESP32 and small antenna on the board.

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Wow where did you find this design

Big Clive on youtube
Saw one being torn apart on youtube so bought a few from a discount store at only £3 each. I modified them for a project case

I know you said no external antenna, but…

This is an early version of something we worked on a few years ago but never launched. It’s a project box with a hole drilled in it for the antenna connection. The ESP inside is a 32U I think (maybe AI-Thinker instead of Espressif)…anyways, it has a little outlet where you plug in the antenna wire.

After adding the antenna, the reception was very good. The antenna handles both BLE and WIFI, so both were improved.

Of course, I agree with your wife that this picture is ugly because of how far out the antenna sticks out from the box. We later found some other antennas that did not stick out this far; instead, they sorta hugged the side of the project box and looked nice and pro. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of one of those.

Maybe photoshop this image and re-apply for wife approval? :grinning:

For external antenna setups you can look to SMA extension cables which are good for up to 300m if you want to have more options to mount the antenna in a place closer to where you want it hidden and have the board more accessible when you need to maintain it.