I have a customer
that for reasons of aesthetics, would like to paint the Access Points. Should
this be encouraged? Additionally, does this void the warranty? Any third party
I would recommend
do not paint the
for the following reasons:
Painting is a
skill that varies in quality, often with unexpected side effects such as paint
getting into RF and Ethernet connectors etc.
The color can
affect the thermal and MTBF properties of the device.
Paint can plug
critical holes needed for venting heat and/or draining moisture.
contain conductive properties that can diminish the RF performance.
A painted product
is considered a customer “modified” product rendering it unserviceable,
therefore the manufacturer’s warranty is considered void.
means the product was returned in a fashion differently than how it was sold.
We need to be able to refurbish the product (as warranty repairs are often
replacements) for expediency therefore it is not practical to repair and return
a modified item.
Rather than actually
applying paint, a preferred solution to painting would be the use of colored
plastic covers, referred to as "skins" many 3rd party companies
offer these kinds of products (from custom colored skins) commonly available.
Other companies that
offer 3D print services that can make custom enclosures in any shape or form.
Care should be taken when fully enclosing an Access Point to make sure proper
heat placement occurs so you do not significantly reduce the thermal
characteristics perhaps causing premature failures or a reduction in MTBF (Mean
Time Between Failure).
Figure 1. Oberon offers
vanity covers (Skin) for Cisco APs
If the goal is to
change the color of the antennas on an AP, another option might be to use
colored polyvinyl chloride tape for example, different colors of electrical
tape offered by 3M.
Figure 2. PVC Tape or
sheeting material may be used
Using third party 3D
print services for custom solutions is also an option for example, companies
www.shapeways.com can make custom cover plates
or other 3D printed solutions that can then be painted yes still able to be
removed later if warranty service is required.
Figure 3. Example of a 3D
Figure 4. Example of a 3D
printed cover installed
When possible use
modifications that can be removed so the device can be returned for service in
the same condition that it was provided as at time of purchase.
Otherwise it is
likely the warranty would be void.
If a customer makes a
decision that it is acceptable to void the warranty and chooses to paint the
device anyway, here are some guidelines when painting RF (Access Point)
Use a paint that
has no conductive properties (i.e. metal colored flakes etc.)
Here are some paints
that were tested that displayed good RF characteristics.
| Brand Name
| Product Line
| Spray Can Part Number
| Gallons Part Number
| Gray Primer
| 7769 (Aluminum Primer)
| Light Machine Gray
| Dark Machine Gray
| 7786 (Smoke Gray)
| Hunter Green
| Dark Brown
| Gloss Black
Rust-Oleum brand can
be found at
Figure 5. When painting do not get paint
into any of the connectors (tape them properly)
Painting is all about
skill and the ability to properly prepare the device to accept paint. Try to
test paint on a similar material (or on a spot that is not visible first) to
If the device is
outside consider the sun will impact the temperature of the device, as a device
painted black will have more solar heat then say one that is painted white in
plastic covers or other enclosures perhaps painting the enclosure rather than
then actual device when possible/practical to do so.