Easy way to get Airdrop on a MP 2009 w/Mojave?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dmylrea, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. dmylrea macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #1
    So Mojave ignores the stock WIFI card and the BT is too old. Tried the enabling Airdrop over Ethernet trick, but doesn't work when Airdropping from an iPhone.

    So, is there a quick and easy card to buy that I can put in the MP 4,1 (flashed to 5,1 on Mojave) to get Airdrop working from an iPhone to the MP?

    Thanks.
     
  2. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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  3. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

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    #3
  4. ericj2109 macrumors newbie

    ericj2109

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
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    WA
    #5
    Yeah, that thread is huge and there are some key posts that get lost.

    You can piece it together for much cheaper if you're handy. I did the version without AC wifi with about $25US worth of parts. For $30US more, I could have had it but I was going for a budget build. Maybe I'll upgrade later on.

    This is about what I did: #740

    There are two cards to choose from: search "BCM94360CD" for a/c wifi (~$40) or "BCM94331CD" without (~$10).

    The adapter I used didn't need to have the header soldered on. Look for something like this.

    The most difficult part is getting that USB data to the other side of the backplane where the old bluetooth card is. I reused the micro JST connector and soldered to it so this path is for someone with appropriate skills.

    Otherwise, I'm sure you've seen the OSXwifi option which is $150 like you said. It's essentially the same parts but without fiddling with wiring up the USB cable.
     
  5. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #6
    Thanks for the info. Considering this Mac Pro (4,1 --> 5,1) is Ethernet connected, do I need both modern WIFI and BT for AirDrop to work in my Mac Pro? I read about a terminal command to enable AirDrop over Ethernet, which I tried, but it gives me an (unnamed) AirDrop icon in Finder and it doesn't seem to work. Maybe it just enables Mac-to-Mac Airdrops, and not iPhone-to-Mac AirDrops?

    Would the AC adapter you referred to give me faster AirDrop speeds over the non-AC? Since I won't be using WIFI on the Mac Pro for anything bu AirDrop, I don't want to spend more money than I need to.

    I basically just need to be able to AirDrop files (photos) from an iPhone to the Mac Pro.
     
  6. ericj2109 macrumors newbie

    ericj2109

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    WA
    #7
    My understanding is that it's all wireless ad-hoc these days. I previously used Airdrop the way you mention with an ethernet connected hackintosh, pre 2012, and it worked but I think things have changed since then. I believe that with modern Airdrop the initialization happens via bluetooth and a separate wifi channel handles the ad-hoc data transfer.

    The upper limit of the AC version is huge (1.3Gbps vs. 450Mbps) but you probably won't notice it for phone to Mac transfers, especially if you're just doing photos.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 30, 2018 ---
    Also, note that the internal bluetooth antenna in the cMP SUUUUUCCCKS if you're thinking of using any bluetooth peripherals in the future or if you find that the discovery is spotty. I'm waiting on a cable so I can put an antenna on an empty expansion slot cover. Just going to throw a spare antenna on this.

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/All...777.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.40ef4c4d87X6QN

    I extended the connection like that guide shows and used the internal antenna but, my Magic Mouse was so jerky it was driving me crazy. I had to raise the computer off the floor and bring it to desk level.
     
  7. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

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    Sep 27, 2005
    #8
    Instead of that expensive mPCI-e card, would something like this adapter card work? It says native support in MacOS for WIFI and BT 4.0...
     
  8. ericj2109 macrumors newbie

    ericj2109

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
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    WA
    #9
    If it does what it claims, yeah, that should work. After installing the card that I did, I would have more honestly considered installing a PCIe card like this and converted one of the previously mentioned Apple cards just to have external antennas. I had wanted to preserve an empty PCIe slot for expansion if I needed it but the antenna design on an aluminum box isn't great. Maybe I'll use one next time since it's a one shot purchase; just a wifi card and the adapter. OSXwifi even sells an assembled kit like this.

    Both ways still require tapping into USB data somehow for the bluetooth. The card you showed and the adapter I linked to come with cables with headers typically used for PC motherboards so you still need to tap into that micro JST connector on the right side of the backplane where the old bluetooth card is.
     
  9. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #10
    The card $54 card on Newegg looks exactly like the $154 card on OSXWifi. Even the descriptions are identical.

    For the USB tap, what about something like this that taps into a normal USB port and has connections for the 9-pin that goes to the card for BT?
     
  10. ericj2109 macrumors newbie

    ericj2109

    Joined:
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    #11
    Headed the wrong direction with that cable. We’re trying to get usb data into the motherboard’s micro JST from whichever card you choose. There’s no off-the-shelf cable for that.

    Look at the second and second to last photos in the Final Assembly section of that post 740 I linked above. That’s what you’re dealing with. If I get a second today, I’ll show how I reused the existing connector.

    I’ve considered a side hustle making kits that just plug together, you provide the WiFi card, and no soldering, for people that want something between total DIY and the OSXwifi route. :)
     
  11. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #12
    So BT *has to* go through that JST connector? Since BT lives on the USB bus anyways, I considered just using a cable to connect the cards BT output to a USB 2.0 port on the back of the Mac Pro (through an open slot cover). Not a pretty way of doing it, but that wouldn't work instead of rigging something into that JST connector?
     
  12. ericj2109 macrumors newbie

    ericj2109

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    WA
    #13
    You could send the data that way too. You're STILL going to need to make a custom cable though: USB A to whatever the data header is on the card you choose.

    Just figured if you need to make something custom anyways, the internal option is hidden away.

    Curious to find out what you choose!
     
  13. dmylrea, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018

    dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #14
    Just wanted to follow up as I received that card today.

    There is a 4-pin cable that attaches to the card, and the other end is supposed to go to the USB header on a normal PC motherboard. Since I don't have a normal PC, it was obvious to me that 2 of the 4 pins were D+ and D- (data for USB). The other two were power, which I don't need.

    I took the 2 wires out of the USB header connector (the end that goes to a PC board), and connected the two wires to two wires from a cut off USB-A cable, allowing me to tap the D+ and D- from a USB 2.0 port on the back of the Mac Pro (through an open slot cover).

    The result? Perfectly working WIFI AC and Bluetooth and best of all, AirDrop works perfectly between my iPhone and the Mac Pro!

    Great card for seamless, perfect addition of 802.11ac WIFI and BT 4.0 in an old cMP!

    I will make it pretty and might even possibly route the cable down to that USB/BT connector when I have time. The cable that came with the board is long enough to reach down there without me adding anything. I could actually use the existing connector and just solder the wires together. I just need the pinout of that USB/BT connector on the cMP system board. Anyone have that handy?

    So for right now, happy ending!
     
  14. ericj2109 macrumors newbie

    ericj2109

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
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    WA
    #15
    Nice hack! Curious how this card shows up in the System Report.

    Top pin on the header is D-, next is D+. That's all you need!
     
  15. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #16
     

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  16. dmylrea, Dec 5, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018

    dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68030

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #17
    So just finished up redoing the cabling from the card directly to the JST connector. The cable that came with the card is plenty long enough to reach down there, and then I just spliced the JST connector onto it (2 pins D- and D+) and it works great! No more kludgey usb cable sticking through one of the open card slots. :)
     

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16 November 28, 2018