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hungry ghost

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2007
33
0
Ok, just cleaned out my Mac Pro 2.1; was very careful (so I thought) but now see that in removing/replacing the front fan, it's pulled out the cable for the Bluetooth card.

I'm not all that confident of taking a hot soldering iron into that area, the connector's tiny and I am wary of touching the nearby components. What would be the best fix? Could solder glue be an option?

di-EY8IK8.jpeg
 

t8er8

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2017
252
100
Quebec, Canada
Ok, just cleaned out my Mac Pro 2.1; was very careful (so I thought) but now see that in removing/replacing the front fan, it's pulled out the cable for the Bluetooth card.

I'm not all that confident of taking a hot soldering iron into that area, the connector's tiny and I am wary of touching the nearby components. What would be the best fix? Could solder glue be an option?

di-EY8IK8.jpeg
You’re probably better off getting a new plug cable, I’m not sure what’s on the other end of the cable but if it’s another pop-in plug like the one on the Bluetooth module, you can find those in electronics parts stores and online. Trying to use solder to put that back together is not a fun process and if anything you’d need to make sure it’s out of the computer. Or you could strip some other wire, take off that broken plug on the bt module, and solder the wire onto the plug area, that’s a more permanent but viable solution
 

sailmac

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2008
333
86
If I'm correct, the "other end" of that cable is the flat BT antenna inconveniently mounted in a space hidden in the case where the PCIe slot covers are located. If so, then replacing that broken cable includes significant disassembly to access the BT antenna (and possibly replacing it if the cable is permanently connected to the antenna).

An alternative approach would be to
• buy a BT-to-external antenna cable
• drill a 1/4" hole in a spare PCIe slot cover if one of your PCIe slots is unused (or drill into free space in a card's slot cover if you have a card installed that doesn't have connector ports taking up all of the space)(if you don't have space on a slot cover then drill the hole in a convenient place in the back of the case)(be careful not to contaminate components with metal shavings)
• attach an external antenna

Upside is you gain much improved BT signal strength compared to what Apple built into the case. I've done this on both a 3,1 and 5,1. It might sound complicated, but really it's not. The 2,1 should be very much like the 3,1 -- can just use fingers or a spudger to tuck the excess cable along the top of the motherboard space where other thin cables are routed.

If you're interested, the parts I used are

Pigtail: U.FL to RP-SMA Female Bulkhead with o-ring - 24 inches

TP-Link 2.4GHz 8dBi Indoor Desktop Omni-directional Antenna, 802.11n/b/g, 1.3m/4ft cable, Magnetic Base (TL-ANT2408C)

This pigtail is easy to work with. Looks like this particular antenna is no longer available on Amazon, but plenty of similar antennas out in the wild which will work just fine.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G5
Jun 13, 2016
12,680
12,947
Just mask off the surrounding area and solder back on.
It's a two wire cable and it's hellish to solder this again without proper tools. The best way to solve is to buy a extension and slice one end then mend the wire mesh and cable separately if you want to still use the original antenna or do like @sailmac suggest.
 

crjackson2134

macrumors 601
Mar 6, 2013
4,815
1,945
Charlotte, NC
It's a two wire cable and it's hellish to solder this again without proper tools. The best way to solve is to buy a extension and slice one end then mend the wire mesh and cable separately if you want to still use the original antenna or do like @sailmac suggest.

Sounds like a tear down job. Never an easy way out...
 

hungry ghost

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2007
33
0
Thanks everyone for all the replies, much as I like the idea of a neat solution all in the case, it sounds like more than I can handle to repair the cable itself. @tsialex — not sure even with an extension how I could manage a fix without soldering (even one wire looks too tricky at that size) unless I misunderstood?

@sailmac — good info, a new antenna sounds like a good solution but as I've got a spare USB port I'll try that first.

Would any USB BT adapter work on the 2.1 (running El Capitan so firmware has been updated)?
 

sailmac

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2008
333
86
Would any USB BT adapter work on the 2.1 (running El Capitan so firmware has been updated)?

Except for knock-offs, yes just about any BT adapter is worth a try. I seem to recall the D-LINK DBT-120 was blessed by Apple but also many other models reported successful by users.

I did try a RocketFish BT adapter on my 3,1 (Mountain Lion or Mavericks I don't quite recall) before going the external antenna route. The signal strength was excellent but it caused sleep issues I couldn't overcome (in particular BT peripherals wouldn't wake the system from sleep, also randomly had to hard shutdown/boot) which I didn't want to tolerate. You have different hardware and different OS so YMMV.

If the BT adapter works for you and you decide to run with it, it may be a good idea to remove the internal BT module from the board (just two screws, although I encountered threadlock on one of mine). That way the system doesn't cope with two BT devices. Even if you use the Bluetooth Explorer (Xcode app) to set the preferred device, the system may default back to the internal card upon reboot and oddity can ensue. Again, YMMV.
[doublepost=1551559783][/doublepost]With regards to @Macshrauber suggestion to use a spare wifi antenna cable, I found in my archives a PDF from a 2,1 owner showing how.
 

Attachments

  • Mac Pro Bluetooth Antenna 2_1.pdf
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DPUser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 17, 2012
986
297
Rancho Bohemia, California
If the BT adapter works for you and you decide to run with it, it may be a good idea to remove the internal BT module from the board (just two screws, although I encountered threadlock on one of mine). That way the system doesn't cope with two BT devices.
+1

Don't know about the 2,1, but on the 4,1 and 5,1 it is a simple matter to pull the plug on the BT module. No removal necessary, just disconnect its power and it becomes inert.
 

TheStork

macrumors 6502
Dec 28, 2008
294
190
Thanks everyone for all the replies, much as I like the idea of a neat solution all in the case, it sounds like more than I can handle to repair the cable itself. @tsialex — not sure even with an extension how I could manage a fix without soldering (even one wire looks too tricky at that size) unless I misunderstood?

@sailmac — good info, a new antenna sounds like a good solution but as I've got a spare USB port I'll try that first.

Would any USB BT adapter work on the 2.1 (running El Capitan so firmware has been updated)?
I've used the GMYLE Bluetooth 4.0 USB Adapter with good results in macOS.
 

sailmac

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2008
333
86
Don't know about the 2,1, but on the 4,1 and 5,1 it is a simple matter to pull the plug on the BT module. No removal necessary, just disconnect its power and it becomes inert.

Alas -- if 2,1 is completely same as 3,1 then the BT card has the connectors built into the bottom and attaches directly to the mobo. Only way to disable it is to remove it :(
 

hungry ghost

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2007
33
0
Thanks everyone for all the help, I think the simplest BT solution suits me as the machine is throwing up other problems which may prove harder to remedy!
 
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