Tuesday, July 2, 2024
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How To Install Starlink Flat High-Performance Kit

We recently reviewed the Starlink Flat High-Performance Kit to learn if it’s the best mobile Wi-Fi solution for RVers. If you’re considering adding that Starlink Kit to your RV, you should know how to install Starlink. Luckily, the difficulty level for the installation is intermediate. 

I consider myself mildly handy, but I’ve been around RVs for nearly two decades, and my biggest fear about tackling this installation was drilling into the roof. Luckily, the kit came with very clear installation instructions. Read through them before starting the installation, and if you don’t feel comfortable installing Starlink on your own, contact our performance and installation department.

Important Tip: Before you begin, I recommend taking a picture of the product information label on the back of the antenna. You’ll need information from this label to activate the antenna and set up your service plan. Don’t repeat my mistake and have to remove the antenna from the wedge mount to get that information!

Example of Starlink kit and tools required for the installation
Photo by Camping World

The exact tools you’ll require for your installation may vary depending on your RV’s roof material. For example, the spade bit mentioned below is really best for wood-decked roofs. Even then, it could snag and rip your rubber roof membrane. 

Technician Tip: If using a spade bit, ensure it’s sharp and remove the membrane from the bore site with a sharp knife before drilling. A carbide-tipped hole saw is a better universal option because it can make a clean cut through almost any material.

Here are the recommended tools to acquire before installing this Starlink kit on an RV with a wood or plywood roof: 

  • Drill
  • Pencil
  • Socket wrench
  • ¾” Spade bit (you may need a 12” extension depending on your RV roof thickness)
  • Hex keys (3/32”, 3/16”, and ⅛”)
  • Drill bits (3/32”, ¼”, and ½”)
  • 7/16” wrench
  • 7/16” socket
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Box cutter
  • Caulking gun
  • Self-leveling lap sealant

These are the additional supplies I acquired to route the cable and tidy up the interior: 

  • Cordmate Cord Protector
  • Monster Plastic Home Theater Wall Plate

With these tools in hand, here are the basic steps for how to install the Starlink Flat High-Performance Kit:

Step 1: Plan Your Install

Man cleaning an RV roof surface to prepare for how to install Starlink
Photo by Camping World

Starlink’s instructions actually provide three installation methods: 

  1. Using machine screws and nuts for surfaces with backside access
  2. Using lag bolts for wood or plywood
  3. Using blind hole nuts and machine screws for composite surfaces

With a stick-and-tin trailer, I chose option #2. But planning didn’t stop there. You’ll need to choose a structurally sound, horizontal surface away from other roof-mounted RV equipment that could obstruct the antenna’s field of view. You’ll also need to plan your mounting location so that the low end of your antenna points toward the front of your trailer or motorhome. (Think aerodynamics!) 

If you’re unsure of your RV roof material, I recommend consulting the manufacturer. 

That said, I will detail how to install Starlink using option #2 and point out additional tips you won’t find in the Starlink setup manual. The manual does have clear instructions for the other two methods, but I can’t speak to their unwritten intricacies at this time. 

Step 2: Secure the Wedge Mount

Man securing wedge mount for Starlink installation
Photo by Camping World

With the following tools and equipment, safely ascend to your RV roof (I used my new telescoping ladder – 10/10 highly recommend if your RV doesn’t have a fixed ladder): 

  • Wedge mount
  • Antenna cable
  • Pencil
  • Drill and drill bits (3/32” and ¼”)
  • 7/16” socket
  • Socket wrench
  • Lag bolts
  • Rubber sealing washers
  • Silicone sealant

With these supplies on the roof, use the wedge mount as a guide to mark your mounting location. Mark all four corner hole locations and then set the mount aside. Then follow these steps:

  1. Use the 3/32” bit to drill four holes at your marked locations. Remove any burrs or roof material debris around the holes.
  2. Place a rubber sealing washer around each hole and set the wedge mount on top of the washers, aligning the mounting holes.
  3. Apply a liberal amount of silicone sealant into each mounting hole.
  4. One by one, apply silicone sealant to the threads of each lag bolt and insert them into the mounting holes with a washer. Use your drill with the 7/16” socket to drive the bolts 90% in. 
  5. With all four lag bolts threaded to 90%, transfer the 7/16” socket to the socket wrench and tighten to snug, plus an additional quarter-turn. Do not overtighten the lag bolts!

Step 3: Route Your Cable

Man securing Starlink cable pass through kit
Photo by Camping World

Here’s where we’ll drill through the RV’s roof to route the cable inside. Starlink says you can use any method to route your cable to the interior. But with the included Cable Pass-Through Kit and weatherproofing components, I decided that routing the cable straight down through the roof was my easiest – and likely safest – path. 

I ran into trouble because my ¾” spade bit was only six inches long—not long enough to penetrate and offer a clear path to route the cable to my RV’s interior. So, I paused my installation and ran back to the hardware store for a 12” extension, which ultimately got the job done.

In hindsight, you may also want to set a towel or blanket inside your RV below the location where you’ll drill through the roof. This will help protect your furniture or flooring and capture any debris that falls through when you drill. 

With those notes in mind, here are the steps for routing the cable from the antenna inside: 

  1. Use your drill with the ¾” spade bit (and possibly an extension) to drill a clearance hole into your RV. Remove any roof debris, wood burrs, or insulation materials to ensure the surface around the hole is clear. 
  2. Using soapy water and your drill with the ¼” bit, wet the drill tube and slowly drill a hole through the middle of the rubber plug that came with the pass-through kit.
  3. Use your box cutter to cut the rubber plug from the cable hole to the outer wall. This will allow you to open the plug and insert the cable.
  4. Feed your cable from outside through the clearance hole. The cable that comes with the kit is 8 meters (~26 feet) long, so you’ll have flexibility for router/power mounting locations inside. But you’ll want to thread most of the cable through at this point (leaving 1.5 feet outside). This step will likely require descending your ladder and going inside your RV to ensure the cable is feeding through as intended (unless you have an install helper).
  5. Use the caulking gun to run a thin layer of lap sealant around the mounting hole before placing the rubber gasket on top of the sealant. Combine the two halves of the plastic base and mount that base onto the rubber gasket. Ensure the gasket holes are aligned.
  6. Use the four wood screws to screw the base down before wrapping the rubber plug around the cable and pressing the plug into the base. Apply lap sealant to the edge of the base and the tops of the screws.
  7. Press the two halves of the outer shell together and place the shell onto the base. Ensure the holes in the inner and outer shells align.
  8. One by one, apply silicone sealant to each of the four machine screws and hand tighten them with your screwdriver until snug. 

Step 4: Install the Antenna

Antenna install when learning how to install Starlink
Photo by Camping World

If you haven’t already, take a picture of the product information label on the back of the antenna before installing it. 

With that important step (unmentioned in the manual) complete, it’s time to secure the antenna to the wedge mount. To do so, you’ll need the following equipment with you on your RV’s roof: 

  • Antenna
  • Hex keys (⅛” and 3/16”)
  • Thread locker
  • Shoulder bolts
  • ½” machine screws

With these items at the ready, here are your next installation steps: 

  1. Find a clean, debris-free surface to place the antenna face down.
  2. Apply thread locker to the threads of the two shoulder bolts and install them into the threaded holes closest to the cable port (the low end). Use the ⅛” hex key to tighten to hand tight.
  3. Pick the antenna up, turn it over, and align the shoulder bolts into the keyways on the low end of the wedge mount. Slide the antenna forward to lock it into place.
  4. Apply thread locker to the threads of the two remaining ½” machine screws and insert them into the threaded holes furthest from the cable port (high end) with washers. 
  5. Tighten the machine screws with the 3/16” hex key until snug, plus a quarter-turn. Do not overtighten these screws! Starlink notes that using anything other than the intended ½” machine screws can damage the antenna.
  6. Plug the cable into the port at the base (low end) of the antenna. Ideally, the antenna should not make sharp turns to avoid unnecessary stress that could cause damage. Starlink recommends using a minimum bend radius of two inches. 

How To Mount the Router and Power Source

Man mounting power box for Starlink flat high-performance kit installation
Photo by Camping World

Congratulations! The exterior part of your installation is done. Unfortunately, this is also where I found the Starlink installation guide ends. However, you must still mount the router and power source and route the cables inside your RV so they aren’t hanging in the way. 

The mounts that come with the kit for the router and power source are easy to install using screws and plastic anchors. But you can also identify the studs in your RV’s sidewalls for the most secure mount possible. 

Additionally, Starlink recommends placing the router in a central location outside any RV cabinetry for the best performance. With a small camper like mine, a central location wasn’t an issue, but the only available wall space was on a shared wall with my TV mount. 

Like the wedge mount, I recommend marking the two drill locations for each mount before drilling and installing using the included screws and anchors. Then, plug the cables into the router and power source before setting them in their mounts. 

Complete your interior installation however you like, but know that you’ll likely need additional supplies to tuck the cables out of the way and finish the installation in an aesthetically pleasing manner. 

Technician Tip: This antenna can pull 10-15 amps from the battery bank. This is no big deal if driving or connected to shore power, but you’ll want to be aware of this for power management reasons when boondocking.

If you haven’t already downloaded the Starlink app, you can do so now. Your RV must be connected to shore power or a generator to power the router, which is essential for your Starlink antenna to show up once you’ve downloaded the app and created an account. 

Follow the app’s instructions to set up your preferred Starlink service plan. Customize your Wi-Fi name, network password, and other settings. For what it’s worth, the network first displayed the name ‘STINKY’ once I set up my device and service, but I quickly renamed it to ‘BestWIFIEver’ to inspire a bit more confidence in my new Starlink Flat High-Performance antenna.

To pause Starlink service, open the app, navigate to your profile, and then to Manage Subscription. On this screen, you can swipe to Pause Service until your next RV trip. When you’re ready to resume Starlink RV service, return to this screen and use the slider to start a new monthly billing cycle.

Hopefully, you’re enjoying your new Starlink internet service for your RV. Contact Starlink directly for troubleshooting tips and more information about service plans. 

What questions do you have about how to install the Starlink flat high-performance kit? Please let us know in the comments below.

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