Mac Pro 2009 Bluetooth Fix

This came about after buying a Magic Mouse and finding that the mouse wasn’t working how it should. The pointer was lagging and the mouse would disconnect and reconnect at random .

Taking a look on the net I found lots who have the same problem even with older Mac Pros. There is a fix for the older models which involves swapping antenna wires that go to the bluetooth card. Now I can’t verify this but some say the labels on the antenna cables are wrong but it could be that the wire swap fix uses the airport antenna instead of the bluetooth antenna ?

More info on the wire swap fix can be found here

http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/Mac_Pro/Bluetooth_MacPro_install/Bluetooth_MacPro_install.html

If you contact Apple for a repair they will change your Bluetooth module and the problem will still be there, Don’t even waist money or time on tech support phone calls or spent time and petrol driving to your closest Apple Store just save lots of stress spend a few minutes to read this blog and understand what the problem is and how YOU can sort it yourself.

So I decided to take a closer look and came to the conclusion that the Mac Pro bluetooth antenna does not work as it should. This could be down to bad placement, bad designed antenna or the metal of the case.

Where is the bluetooth antenna ?

If you try to follow the bluetooth antenna cable you see it goes behind the motherboard but impossible to follow.

I wanted to know so out came my motherboard. You can see from the picture below that is on the right sort of behind the PCI blanks.

The antenna is flat, about half inch wide and 3 inch tall. Looks pretty rubbish. Sorry I didn’t take any photos.

After more research I have found 2 possible fixes both costing about £10.

After more research I have found 3  possible fixes 2 of them costing about £10 and one free.

The Free and easiest

Move your Tower closer to your mouse. Mine is under my thick desk about a meter away.

Reports that 50cm tower to mouse works fine.

For some people like me this is not an option as I want my tower under my desk and not on it.

The second way  (EASY) Cost £10

The first and easiest.

Buy yourself a usb adaptor plug it in and off you go.. Well not exactly. SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF PAGE ON WHICH USB ADAPTOR IS BEST

See update 2 about where to plug the usb adaptor in.

Adding a Usb bluetooth adaptor will get your Bluetooth working but you might not be able to wake up from BT or might have problems after with scrolling.

It seems that 2 bluetooths together aren’t so happy. So to fix this you will need to disconnect the original apple bluetooth located on the motherboard .

1: Remove power cable .

2: Remove case cover

3. Remove processor tray.

4. Locate bluetooth card and disconned the small plug on the left hand side.

5. Put back in reverse order.

TEST.

BLUETOOTH FIX  USING ORIGINAL BLUETOOTH CARD

I prefer this way as I’m not adding any hardware as such I’m just replacing the antenna. This way no usb ports are being used and you use your original bluetooth card.

You will need to buy 2 things. EBAY is your friend. I got mine from ipodaccessorieshop in the UK

Doing this will not invalidate your warranty. It’s a 5 minute job to remove before your Mac goes for repair.

This is also the best way if you want to wake up from BT as everything should work fine after.

A wifi antenna. As wifi uses the same frequency as bluetooth.

A U.FL Mini Pci to RP-SMA CABLE to connect from the bluetooth card to the new antenna.

1: Remove power cable .

2: Remove case cover

3. Remove processor tray.

4.  Undo the 2 screws and remove the PCI holder plate

5. Press the button on the fan and at the same time push the metal bar on the left side of the graphics card to the left

6. While the metal bar is on the left pull the graphics card towards you to remove it. Put card in a safe place where you won’t stand on it or spill you tea on it.

7.Remove a PCI blank and drill a 6.5mm hole in the middle.

8. Fit the RP-SMA connector and tighten the locking nut.

9. Put a little insulation tape on the other end as we need to fish this behind a support and don’t was to short anything on the motherboard.

10. Pass cable behind support and fit the PCI  blank into place

11. Disconnect the old antenna.Its a very small plug and you must pull it  forward towards you (away from motherboard)  and connect the new U.FL cable. Tie up and insulate the old antenna cable to avoid short circuits.

12. Refit all in reverse .

13. Screw  new antenna into back.

TEST

My bluetooth works fine now with my original bluetooth card and new antenna. I have tried it from far away as possible 5-6 metres and works fine.

The other thing to do is add your mouse as a  favorite in the bluetooth preferences.

Your comments are welcome…

UPDATE 1

It seems that some people still have problems waking up the computer or an unresponsive mouse after wake up. It could be down to the type of usb bluetooth adaptor you are using. Apple recommends a D-Link DBT-120 USB-to-Bluetooth adapter, revision B2 or later

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/8810.html

UPDATE 2 .

Some reports of the  Magic Mouse still stuttering when using  usb bluetooth adaptor due to placement of the adaptor .

I would recommend plugging it into your keyboard, monitor or something relatively close to your  Magic Mouse..

UPDATE 3.

Added a 3rd easy and free way to improve bluetooth reception by moving your Mac Pro tower nearer your Magic Mouse

have a nice day and happy fixing.

UPDATE 4.

Reports that the Targus USB adapter that Staples sells for $25 works even with wake up. Targus USB adapter that Staples sells does not work properly after wake up.

UPDATE 5.

Apple recommends a D-Link DBT-120 USB-to-Bluetooth adapter, revision B2 or later

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/8810.html

Reports that the latest version v.C1 is not working .

Update 6.

It would seem that it is the case causing the bad bluetooth signal.  The material or the coating of the case is somehow interfering /blocking the signal getting out of the case. Which might also explain why some people have better bluetooth results with the side cover left off.

UPDATE 7.

Added a link which explains the wire swap fix for older models

The main discussion  is here,

http://discussions.info.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2231119&start=180&tstart=0

I will keep updating as I find out more.

UPDATE 8.

Added better way to remove graphics card without removing fan.. thanks pete

UPDATE 9.

If after the modification your still having problems you could try a larger better quality antenna like a 38CM Alfa 9dBi.. Thanks Stelios



Remember if it’s not broke don’t fix it.

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