Released on October 23, 2012. Core i5 or Core i7 Processor. Apple Fusion Drive.

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Challenge! Converting the WiFi/Bluetooth to external

Hi everyone! I come to you today with a very difficult mission, or at least for those of you who are kind, brave, curious, defiant or just bored enough to help me out.

As many owners of Late 2012 Mac minis may know, Apple did a terrible job of shielding the wifi/bluetooth card from the interference from the USB 3.0 ports. Thus creating poor signal quality and interference. I know many people have had different degrees of success by improving the shielding around the module, but I was thinking: what if I could make the module external?

That would be awesome, but when I look at the connection between the card and the computer's main board I see it is a flat ribbon cable with strange (at least to me) internal connectors. I guess what I need is some sort of extension cable, but I never seen one in existence. Here is an image from the iFixIt guide where I have highlighted the connection:

Block Image

I can 3D print a case and deal with the antennae, but any info on this connectors/cables?

I know it's not as easy as making a USB ir receiver from a MacBook Pro part, but there has to be a way :^)

Update (07/17/2015)

Hi Dan!

I appreciate you taking the time to help me out here.

As for your first suggestion, my mini has already been modded with a second SSD kit. Also I was hoping since it is a flat cable I could somehow get it out of the case through the ventilation holes. Starting to sound like a Mission Impossible movie here. This way I can put it back in if I need to. No comment on how that part sounded.

Also I had considered going for an external bluetooth module (mi Mac mini is connected through ethernet so I don't use WiFi at all, not even for AirDrop). The problem with this route is that the Handoff and Continuity features don't work out of the box so I would end up having to install some untrusted 3rd party Activator, which I know exists but I would prefer to avoid. The idea is to have native support.

Now the repair kit you mention I was hoping to avoid. It will probably fix my problem but I wanted to seize the opportunity not only to fix but to improve. My mini's placement is not optimal for wireless signals, it sits on a TV rack under the TV and a row of electronics. Every division in the rack is optimal for each device (hand built it myself) so rearranging them is not an option. But if my approach is not possible then I guess I'll end up going this way.

Thanks again for your time and effort.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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How about turning the problem around here. Instead of modifying your Mac Mini, think how one can do the same thing with an external device. That way your system could be sold if you want to get a newer or different model later.

An external USB WiFi adapter could achieve the same thing. Or, an Ethernet connected Apple AirPort unit.

I should also point out Apple has a repair kit for this system to address the crosstalk problem. Did you try getting it fixed with the kit yet?


Yes, handoff does change things as you do need the combined Bluetooth & WiFi services within your system.

As to your TV rack if it's wood it won't have that much signal blocking (unlike metal).

How big an orbit are you thinking you need here? I've found I would like a tighter orbit for handoff as it tends to jump too soon to between my iMac & iPhone.

Putting in a second SSD is not that major a change. There is more than just moving the Airport board externally here. You'll need to mount up the needed attenna's.

Frankly, if that is the direction you're heading it would make better sense just moving the antennas externally than the complete Airport board.

I still think getting your system serviced by Apple (fixing the crosstalk problem) would be the best direction to do first. Then see how it is before you go over the deep end here. ;-)

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dariodb will be eternally grateful.
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