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Czo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2008
420
260
Debrecen, Hungary
Post Updated May 02, 2021

0. Preamble


Until this first post will be fully completed you can either read through this not so long thread or take a look at this short guide. It is a short overview summing up and linking the most important facts about modifications, solder points, cables colors, software, and everything else you really need to do this upgrade.

Disabling the original BT module sometimes disconnects your BT devices in some early macOS installer dialogues - it is really helpful to have a (cheap) cable mouse!

This modification can be applied to all iMac models from Late 2009 until Mid 2011. If you take a look at this online offer it seems to me that the hardware used here can be also used unchanged in the former iMac 2007 and 2008 and Mid 2009 models. The software support may be different, bit as of now it should be working with @dosdude1 patched Catalina on all mentioned iMacs 2007 to Mid 2011.

The Late 2009 to Mid 2011 are known to run with Big Sur too if having a Metal GPU installed.

1. Introduction

This wiki is to help you install a new wifi-bluetooth card in your iMac 2009-2011. You will gain Airdrop, HandOff, Continuity, improved AirDrop, and Apple Watch unlock.

Recommend cards are these models: BCM94331CD, BCM94360CD, and BCM943602CDP. The last one (BT 4.2) is fully compatible with Catalina and Big Sur offering watch unlock.

Basically, the process has two parts: hardware installation and macOS modifications. You are going to lose the Internet recovery using WiFi - the TFTP client within the boot rom of these iMacs cannot drive the new WiFi hardware. A boot rom patch will be necessary to achieve this. But you can use a cable connected to a router to have the recovery, back. A special thanks to @Ausdauersportler as most of the information in this Wiki has been pilfered from his guide!

2. Hardware Installation

You have to decide if you prefer a plug and play option, which can be fairly expensive OR a hardware modification option, which is cheaper but may require some soldering. Lately one user found preconfigured adapters cards making the soldering unnecessary! This is currently the best option.

Plug and Play

These options require no modifications of your iMac. For example:


or


This Wiki cannot provide further information on these possibilities.

Recently some sellers came up with plug and play adapters for the cards listed above. You simply need to reroute the BT cable in the 2011 from the left back to the center to the PCIe slot - which needs some work. But you can get a fully revertible solution.

Hardware Modifications

This is a cheaper option. You will need to buy miniPCIe adapter board and one of these cards BCM94331CD, BCM94360CD, and BCM943602CDP. You may have have to solder three cables, depending on the PCIe adapter solution you are will purchase.

Tools:
Everything to open an iMac, a simple 10W solder iron to connect three cables.

1. using a normal PCIe adapter card (cheap ~ 5 USD available on AliExpress.com)

2. A matching connector has been found on AliExpress preventing the need to butcher the Bluetooth cable or module.
FPC connector spacing of 1.0 MM 6 p plating lie connector FFC flexible ribbon cable socket 6 p needle seat

The D+/D- lines are necessary to enable the BT module on the new card. The 3.3V line is only necessary if you plan to run BT independently of wifi. If you disable wifi using the system preference the power is shut down to the card holder slot and so the new BT 4.x module will be disabled, too. Having the additional 3.3V power source connected (preferably from the BT cable) you can use the BT 4.x independently.

You can get the three sources/cables by cutting the original BT cable (look at posts #120 and #269 where do you exactly get the D+/D-/3.3V signal from and which parts in general you need) - in this case the old BT module will be out of order and do not conflict with the new one.

If you chose to get D+/D-/3.3V from the SD card reader cable you will end up with two working BT modules in the iMac. You have to disable the old, take a look at step 9 of this guide.

3. macOS Modifications

All versions:

Optional: To disable the old BT module (if it is still working) just follow the instructions in step 9 of this guide.

High Sierra and older:

(tbd)

Mojave and Catalina:

You need to reinstall Mojave or Catalina (when having installed a metal GPU) and uncheck the legacy wifi patch (needed for the original Atheros wifi card, only) during the post installation patching of the @dosdude1 patchers.

Unfortunately the @dosdude1 post install patcher now annoyingly reminds you now on every new reboot to install the missing legacy wifi patch. Do not do this. You will loose the watch unlock feature. You may modify the @dosdude1 Catalina patcher in advance. The legacy wifi patch as the legacy video patch will not be installed then on the first install. But the reminder will still come up on every reboot. This modification is not really easy.

You may also boot into the Mojave or Catalina installer of your current choice and re-install the @dosdude1 patches from there - just deselect the legacy wifi patch and you are hopefully done with it.

To enable Continuity and HandOff by patching the current installation following this guide.

Big Sur:

Using this micro patcher you can install Big Sur on your iMac Late 2009 to Mid 2011. The patcher will autodetect the installed new WiFi card, whitelist the system for Continuity and Handoff and apply patches accordingly. If you already have installed Big Sur using the very same patcher revert after the hardware changed to the unpatched state and re patch the system. Hardware detection will work automatically.

Mojave, Catalina and Big Sur using OpenCore:

Using OCLP you will have full support for HandOff and Continuity out of the box with all cards listed above. No manual internvention, no adjustments, no patches. Mojave needs moderate spoofing and SMB disabled. High Sierra needs SMB disabled.

4. success stories

All these cards will work on Late 2009, Mid 2010 and Mid 2011 iMac models. Take a look at this thread to read about the successful installations.

31/01/2021: A recent report has been added on this post with a lot of pictures.

~~~~~~~~~~

Original Post from @Czo September 16th, 2014.

Hi,

I'm planning the last upgrade on my aging iMac. I discovered, this iMac using seperate bluetooth (usb) and wifi module (minipcie), but the newer 2012 and 2013 series using combined m2 (ngff) module. I'm plannig the following "upgrade"

- buy this http://www.osxwifi.com/apple-broadc...-bluetooth-4-0-with-adapter-for-pc-hackintosh
- remove minipci-e wifi and usb bluetooth from my iMac Mid 2011 27"
- try to reroute bluetooth antenna cable close to minipcie slot
- bring usb d+/d- from original bluetooth cable to the adapter, if the minipcie slot on the imac's logic board omits usb signaling.
- install minipci-e to ngff converter and the broadcom bcm94360cd to the slot and connect four antennas
- install the original minipci-e wifi module to with the pci-e adapter to my hackintosh on my workplace

Anyone has done this before? Anyone know the length of the cable or the position of the original bluetooth antenna on the iMac Mid 2011 27"?
 
Last edited:

rcf362b

macrumors newbie
Sep 24, 2014
8
1
Czo, did you end up going through with this upgrade? How did it go? I just ordered and received today the below kit from OSXWIFI and I plan on doing the upgrade this weekend to my 2011 27 inch iMac.

http://www.osxwifi.com/pre-order-ap...-with-adapter-for-macpro-2009-and-macpro-2011

Although the kit is for a 2009 or 2010 Mac Pro, the parts look to be equally applicable to the 2011 iMac. The instructions that came with the kit look very helpful. I plan to connect to the existing BT USB cable if needed. I also ordered an extra antenna for the BT to be on the safe side if I could not reroute the existing BT antenna.

I am very interested in how your upgrade attempt went. Thanks!
 
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Czo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2008
420
260
Debrecen, Hungary
Hi,

I'm waiting for the parts. I'm ordered this:
- Core i7-2600 for CPU upgrade
- Apple WiFi/BT Card: http://www.osxwifi.com/pre-order-ap...-with-adapter-for-macpro-2009-and-macpro-2011
- U.fl male - U.fl female antenna extender in two lengths (6" and 12"):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/300942434456?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649
http://www.ebay.com/itm/300942436639?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

I hope, using one extender (12") is enough.

The estimated arrive time between 1 and 20 October, so i need to wait a little bit more. Now i have only two problem, i don't know the connector type (name) on the internal bluetooth card, and i don't know the MiniPCI-E slot USB D+/D- support.

iMac Mid 2007 has USB D+/D- on the internal MiniPCI-E slot, so i hope, iMac Mid 2011 also support this.
 
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rcf362b

macrumors newbie
Sep 24, 2014
8
1
I finished the install, but there are some unresolved issues. It works (sort of), but not as well as I would have liked.

First off, all of the parts I received from OSXWIFI are installed and both BT 4.0 and WiFi functions are correctly listed in system report. I also have a 2013 27 inch iMac so I can compare functions I am seeing with a known good and working system. It uses the same WiFi/BT combo card. The new WiFi/BT card seated in the miniPCI-E adapter is a little bit thicker than the old WiFi card and presses up against the back of the LCD screen, but it does not appear to create any problems. The screw holes on the new adapter and the old WiFi card are on opposite sides so I had to secure the new card with a couple of small pieces of duct tape (hey, it works!).

I can confirm that the miniPCI-E does NOT have the USB D+/D- signals. I was hoping that it did as it would make things much easier. I had to use the kit's USB cables and route them through the RAM compartment and around to the back of the iMac to one of the external USB ports. I am not happy with this arrangement, but until I figure something else out I'm stuck with it. It was not clear what type of connection the old BT card had. It had 5 wires, but the colors did not correspond to standard USB pin out configuration. I simply unplugged it and taped the connector to the inside of the case.

One last obstacle was needing a wired keyboard and mouse since the BT ones will obviously not be paired with the new BT card. If you need to enter recovery mode, it will have to be an Apple wired keyboard.

So, the unresolved issues are:
1. 802.11 AC does not really work consistently yet. It is touch and go. I have an Apple Airport Time Capsule and it shows that the iMac is connected at AC speeds and has a valid IP address assigned, but the iMac does not display this and no Internet connectivity is present. It does connect to other 802.11 N routers fine, but I have no other AC routers to test with.
2. When I turn off the WiFi, the BT gets turned off too. But when I turn off BT, WiFi stays on. This is not what happens on my 2013 iMac - each can be controlled independently.
3. The new BT connectivity is a little bit sluggish and jittery with the Majic Mouse at times.
4. I cannot boot into OS X Recovery Mode with the BT USB cable plugged in to the back of the system. The system crashes. When I unplug the BT USB, Recovery Mode starts fine, even with the new WiFi card still installed.

I reinstalled Mavericks to see if that would rectify the above software problems, it did not.

I also installed Yosemite to see if the problems remain, they do.

So...there I am with upgrading a 2011 27 inch iMac to 802.11 AC and Bluetooth 4.0. I still have some problems to work through.

Anyone have any ideas?
 
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Czo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2008
420
260
Debrecen, Hungary
Hi,

The pinout is here: http://www.theapplelounge.com/featu...-handoff-on-older-macs-running-os-x-yosemite/

1, All antennas connected fine?
2, Maybe the iMac removes the power from the minipci-e slot to disable wifi. I think, if we route 3.3V from original Bluetooth connector to the card, maybe fixing this.
3. Where placed the antenna? Original bluetooth antenna is on the left side to the screen (behind the glas).
4. It's intresting, and maybe impossible to make internal only d+/d-/3.3V link.
 
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Czo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2008
420
260
Debrecen, Hungary
I finished the upgrade on my iMac, and its connected the board to the internal usb pins.

This iMac (Mid 2011 27") removes the power from the MiniPCI-E slot when the wifi turning off. The slot is not powered when the computer starting (unable to press cmd to open boot menu), and recovery not working when only the USB D+ and D- are connected to the bluetooth board.

I'm figured out of the internal usb header pins, and using this connector to supply the bluetooth part of the wifi card.

First,i needed desoldering the rightmost pin (when the osxwifi's adapter in the slot) of the adapter card, and make a wire to the the bluetooth connector. This is the osxwifi card, with the red wire connected to the rightmost pin of the adapter: http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMac2011OSXWifiExtra.jpg

After i connected (soldered) everything, the bluetooth started working.

This is the pinout of the internal bluetooth module, and cable: http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMac2011BT.jpg

Both of the black wires are GND, but one of them are not connected.
Next wire is white, this is the USB D+.
The pink/violet wire is the D-
Red or brown wire is the 3.3V

I secured the card on the slot with cable ties ( http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/t18r-tbk.jpg )

What's working:
- startup keys after the boot chime (cmd+s, cmd+r)
- successfully boot mavericks and yosemite RC recovery
- Handoff and Airdrop are compatible with Yosemite RC1: http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMac2011-bt4upgrade.png

What's not working:
- WiFi network scanning in the EFI boot menu, because the firmware don't know this WiFi adapter
 
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rcf362b

macrumors newbie
Sep 24, 2014
8
1
CZO,

Congrats on a successful upgrade, at least the BT anyway. I have not had time to mess with mine since I last posted. I have been planning on doing something similar to what you did.

I have different colors going to my old BT card than you described. I have 1 blue wire (which I presume is one of the GND wires) and 1 black wire. The others are in a different order than yours (black (top), blue, violet, red, white/grey (bottom)).

Glad you got the CMD+R working. The WiFi may be a lost cause, but I will see if the release version of Yosemite brings it to life.

How did your i7-2600 upgrade go? I'm thinking of doing that one too, especially if the WiFi can be fixed.
 
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Czo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2008
420
260
Debrecen, Hungary
CPU upgrade is easy, you need to remove the logic board (disconnect all cables, remove optical drive, optical drive fan), then you need to remove the cooler (4 screw), and you can easly replace the processor. The socket is same as any other desktop LGA 1155 board.

pics:
http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMacWithoutDisplay.JPG
http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMacWithoutLogicBoard.JPG
http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMacLogicBoard1.JPG
http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMacLogicBoard2.JPG

Maybe the first black cable is not connected (my bluetooth adapter has only 4 pin, but the cable has 5 wire), so i think, this is your pinout:

black - gnd - not connected
blue - gnd
violet - d+
red - d-
white/gray - 3.3V

If you have a digital multimeter, you can find the wires easy.

With a diode testing mode, you can find the GND pins. Every screw, and any large unconnected area is GND, example: EMI tape on the bezel or hdd screws.

iMac can be powered up without a display installed, so when the iMac is running, you can see 3.3V on the multimeter, with the gnd and the lowest pin.

If you connect the D+ and D- in the wrong order, you can't see the device, so you can't destroy the module with wrong reversed D+ and D-.

I broke the antenna connector on my wifi module, so i connected 3 antennas:

old channel 0 antenna to ch0
old channel 2 antenna to ch2
old channel 1 antenna to ch3(bluetooth)

5Ghz and 2.4GHz seems to be working, but i'm using the wifi only for the location service, so i can't test real AC and N 5GHz speeds. Broadcom documents about the board says, the card using the best reception antenna, so i think this "workaround" is fine for me.
 
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crizzly

macrumors member
Mar 11, 2014
37
34
Airdrop between my iMac and iPhone also working with released version of 10.10.

Hey Czo, I will be doing this upgrade on a Late 2009 iMac. Can you confirm the purpose of the red wire? Is it the 3.3V for bluetooth?
 
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Czo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2008
420
260
Debrecen, Hungary
Hey Czo, I will be doing this upgrade on a Late 2009 iMac. Can you confirm the purpose of the red wire? Is it the 3.3V for bluetooth?

Yes, it's for the 3.3V, because iMac Mid 2011, sometimes remove the power from the miniPCI-E slot.

Firstly i try the card without any modification on the iMac, because some models has USB D+/D- signals on the socket, and i think, you can live with only three antenna connected to the card, because it's works for me.
 
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pqft

macrumors newbie
Apr 22, 2008
5
0
I finished the upgrade on my iMac, and its connected the board to the internal usb pins.

This iMac (Mid 2011 27") removes the power from the MiniPCI-E slot when the wifi turning off. The slot is not powered when the computer starting (unable to press cmd to open boot menu), and recovery not working when only the USB D+ and D- are connected to the bluetooth board.

I'm figured out of the internal usb header pins, and using this connector to supply the bluetooth part of the wifi card.

First,i needed desoldering the rightmost pin (when the osxwifi's adapter in the slot) of the adapter card, and make a wire to the the bluetooth connector. This is the osxwifi card, with the red wire connected to the rightmost pin of the adapter: http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMac2011OSXWifiExtra.jpg



After i connected (soldered) everything, the bluetooth started working.

This is the pinout of the internal bluetooth module, and cable: http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMac2011BT.jpg

Both of the black wires are GND, but one of them are not connected.
Next wire is white, this is the USB D+.
The pink/violet wire is the D-
Red or brown wire is the 3.3V

I secured the card on the slot with cable ties ( http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/t18r-tbk.jpg )

What's working:
- startup keys after the boot chime (cmd+s, cmd+r)
- successfully boot mavericks and yosemite RC recovery
- Handoff and Airdrop are compatible with Yosemite RC1: http://homokozo.czo.hu/iMac2011mod/iMac2011-bt4upgrade.png

What's not working:
- WiFi network scanning in the EFI boot menu, because the firmware don't know this WiFi adapter

did you have any problem with WiFI ? Is it working
 
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yjchoi17

macrumors newbie
Oct 22, 2014
8
0
Hey Czo, I will be doing this upgrade on a Late 2009 iMac. Can you confirm the purpose of the red wire? Is it the 3.3V for bluetooth?

Hey, looks like you and I are on the same ship. I have a late 2009 27" i7 iMac and would like to internally upgrade bluetooth. Let's keep in touch on how things go.
 
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crizzly

macrumors member
Mar 11, 2014
37
34
Hey, looks like you and I are on the same ship. I have a late 2009 27" i7 iMac and would like to internally upgrade bluetooth. Let's keep in touch on how things go.

Sure I will post pictures of the mod once done.
 
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IrishSpring

macrumors newbie
Aug 21, 2013
2
0
Good stuff, I what to do the same with my iMac mid 2011 (iMac12,1). I'll keep a eye on here:)
 
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Cordes

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2014
29
1
707 Norcal
Hi all, I too have a mid 2011 iMac and would like to perform this upgrade with fullest functionality possible. I have never opened an iMac but have reviewed instructions on ifixit and am willing to try. I want to take czo's approach and buy the osxwifi kit with adapter and card and buy antenna pigtail so I can reuse BT antenna in place.

If I understand correctly, for best functionality, I would like to get D+, D-, and +3.3v power from original BT connector to new adapter/card. I think I understand how czo soldered 3.3v to the right most pin of the adapter and made connections to D+ and D- on the new card. But for utilizing the previous BT cable with connector, can I somehow use the existing connector and not cut the cable (in case I need to revert back)? Can I make a male connector to fit the existing female to get the D+, D-, and 3.3v? (assuming existing connector is female) If so, any guidance on how to do that? Where to source parts? Or other words of wisdom and advice? And any photos would be appreciated. Thanks all.
 
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ekroy

macrumors newbie
Oct 28, 2014
4
0
Hi - just completed the upgrade of a late 2009 iMac using the kit from osxwifi. Everything working. Needed D+- which i ran from old bluetooth card usb so no cables outside of case. Handoff, Airdrop, AC all working...
 
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yjchoi17

macrumors newbie
Oct 22, 2014
8
0
Awesome! Can you tell me which wires from the 2009 imac's bt cable are D+ and D- respectively? That's my only question mark.
 
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ekroy

macrumors newbie
Oct 28, 2014
4
0
grey and purple. i can't remember which was which - got it wrong the first time so just flipped over the plug on the osxwifi adapter and it worked...
 
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briquet42

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2014
15
2
Austria
Hi - just completed the upgrade of a late 2009 iMac using the kit from osxwifi. Everything working. Needed D+- which i ran from old bluetooth card usb so no cables outside of case. Handoff, Airdrop, AC all working...

thanks for the information and congratulations on your successful upgrade
 
Comment

Cordes

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2014
29
1
707 Norcal
Hi - just completed the upgrade of a late 2009 iMac using the kit from osxwifi. Everything working. Needed D+- which i ran from old bluetooth card usb so no cables outside of case. Handoff, Airdrop, AC all working...

Congratulations! At the old bluetooth card, how did you connect to D+/-.? Did you cut off the old connector? Or did you have a mate connector to plug into it? Thanks!
 
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ekroy

macrumors newbie
Oct 28, 2014
4
0
cut the connector off. then soldered to the osxwifi cable which i also cut - easier then soldering directly to the card.
 
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