OWC Bluetooth Shield Kit & USB 3.0

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by newellj, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. newellj macrumors 601

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    #1
    Search shows discussion of Bluetooth interference from USB 3.0 devices and the possibility of solving the problem with the OWC shield kit, but I am not finding any posts reporting whether or not it really works. (Not that it's a big deal at $5 with free shipping... :roll eyes: )

    Has anyone installed the shielding and noticed a difference?
     
  2. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    I used my 2012 2.3 quad that I bought last January for just a week or two before I installed an SSD. The OWC Data Doubler full kit (cable + tools+grommets and screws) included the BT shield.

    It seems like it helped but I do not have any data to proof it. What the heck, it was there, I appreciated its inclusion, I put it where the instructions said to.

    When I got my 2012 2.6 a few weeks ago the OWC basic Data Doubler (cable, grommets and screws) did not include the shield. I have had one USB3 dropout since I put it in. The USB3 Voyager dock that is on almost all of the time running Time Machine #2 has not dropped out yet. Does to much newer 2.6 have better factory shielding? Who knows.
     
  3. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    #3
    My mouse dropped out once before the shielding was installed, and yes I also got it for free with the data doubler kit, and was easy to install, so why not.

    Post installation, have not had a drop out.
     
  4. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #4
    Good feedback, thank you. For $5 shipped, it seemed like a reasonable bet. ;) USPS site says it should be delivered today.
     
  5. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #5
    Unfortunately, my experience so far is not terrific. I'm still getting severe RFI on the Bluetooth frequency when the USB 3.0 drive is plugged in and powered up.

    FWIW, the shielding material is now self-adhesive copper foil rather than the material shown in the installation video.
     
  6. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I just watched the video, it looks like self adhesive copper? I can't see the difference. It looks as through they did about 100 takes on the video and it's all crinkled though?

    If you're getting a massive amount of RFI from the device, no amount of shielding will fix it. There is a small amount of shielding already there from the factory, so Apple is aware of the issue with the design. Maybe consider getting a different USB drive?
     
  7. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #7
    Yes on the factory shielding, meant to mention that.

    I think I recall from having read the Intel white paper that the issue was more the cable than the device - I need to go back and check that. If that's the case, maybe a better-shielded cable would be in order. This drive is a WD. I have a couple of Seagates that I could swap cables with.
     
  8. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    #8
    OWC Bluetooth Shield Kit & USB 3.0

    Yup I would be looking at the cable and the enclosure, the drive itself would have little to do with it.
     
  9. noodle654, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014

    noodle654 macrumors 68020

    noodle654

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    Location:
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    #9
    When I had my 2012 i7 I used the OWC Shield kit. I saw absolutely no improvement.

    But I noticed something. When using bus-powered USB 3 externals I had no problem, it was when I was using my Newertech Ministack or any other drive that is AC powered that I experienced problems. It was really bad, once I powered the drive on immediately Bluetooth basically stopped functioning, even with having my house and keyboard just a foot away. On top of that Wifi stopped functioning. I used the shield kit on the external as well as the Mini but saw no improvement. I read the Intel whitepaper about interference but I couldn't improve it.

    However, using my bus-powered USB 3 drives I had no problems or interference. What seemed to help was the use of higher quality USB 3 cables, such as thishttp://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/USB3AB024LI/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_campaign=googlebase&gclid=CK3WuMull8ICFcYF7Aod408AHA
     
  10. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #10
    So...that turns out to be an interesting and good suggestion, at least based on some casual use today. I swapped the WD cable for a Seagate cable and no problems (so far...knock on wood). Maybe the WD cable is not well-shielded...thank you for the suggestion. I'll report if I encounter problems using the swapped cable, but for now it looks promising.
     
  11. noodle654 macrumors 68020

    noodle654

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    #11
    Yeah I think the cable has to do with most the interference. I never got to test my AC powered externals with higher quality cables such as the one I referenced before. The cable I was using was unshielded and pretty cheap, I changed all my cables to the shielded ones and I saw pretty significant improvement on not only my Mini (when I still had it) but also my MBP. Good luck hopefully it works out for you.
     
  12. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Also look into buying a ferrite bead, you should be able to get one off eBay pretty cheap. Some of my good quality USB cables come with one.
     
  13. noodle654 macrumors 68020

    noodle654

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    #13
    Ahh that's what that thing is called! Thank you for that.
     
  14. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #14
    The cable linked above has two ferrite beads. It's the wrong connector on one end. I had actually scouted around this morning for a replacement cable with ferrites and a mini-B connector, but haven't found one yet. I think I may have a few small ones in my radio parts bin.
     
  15. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    #15
    They exist, my Canon camera cable has that connector and a ferrite bead.
     
  16. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #16
    Update

    A couple of updates.

    Unfortunately, the OWC shielding kit has turned out to be completely ineffective. It is literally no improvement at all over the stock shielding. It was only $5, but it wasn't worth the time to open up the Mini and install it, much less the $5. Save the cash and splurge on a large latte?

    However, following up on one of the suggestions in this thread, I found a USB charging/data cable for a Samsung Note 3 that has the appropriate connectors. It also has a ferrite at one end and (according to the box) shielded twisted pair cable to reduce interference.

    The good news is that the cable, which I got from Amazon, seems to be working very effectively. It was only $5.50, so I'll probably be ordering a spare.
     
  17. Uabcar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #17
    UGH!!!
    I'm about to throw my new 2012 i7 Mini through a window. This exact BT issue is driving me crazy. Not a single problem for 5+ years with my 2009 mini.

    I've researched and tried pretty much everything...
    1. NO devices connected to USB ports.
    2. I've changed wifi channels on my airport extreme
    3. Moved the mini to within 3-4 feet of my MM and keyboard

    I'm not sure the shielding kit will work given I have the problem w/o and USB devices connected.

    Is there something else I can try?
     
  18. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #18
    (Apologies if you've already checked this - ) There are many other potential sources of BT interference. Check this link for starters: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201542
     
  19. k3lee macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #19
    2012 Mini Bluetooth dropouts

    I noticed minor dropouts to my Apple Magic wireless keyboard and trackpad ever since I bought my 2012 Mini, but they were brief.

    My wireless router is balky too, but that may have nothing to do with any other components, since it's an ancient Netgear, a Comcast freebie a neighbor gave me. (We just got an iPad Air 2, so I'm waiting to see what the new batch of 802.11ac tri-band routers will be like. At the least, the current versions should drop in price - not that this will necessarily matter. I cannot STAND the look of these eyesores and will likely end up springing for an Airport anyway, unless someone takes the hint and de-uglifies the other brands.)

    Anyway, since I installed my Newer Tech MiniStack, the dropouts, when they occur, aren't just momentary. I have to do SOMETHING (hit the Escape key? wiggle around in my chair?) to regain control.

    I used the USB 3.0 cable that came with the MiniStack, which I am reluctant to assume is inferior. If the OWC kit doesn't help, I may try the ferrite chokes. Question is, do I ONLY put them on the USB 3.0 cable, or should I add them to any other cables, ones that aren't notorious for interfering?

    Lastly, anyone have a source for good quality, affordable ones? I probably shouldn't use the ones in my junk box that I've salvaged over the years (for when I need a small weight for a non-electrical/electronic household project)!
     
  20. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
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    Boston, MA, US
    #20
    I used these from Amazon with good results. I started with one per USB cord but that did not completely eliminate the interference. A second ferrite at the other end of the cable has completely solved the problem.

     
  21. MIKX macrumors regular

    MIKX

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #21
    I recently installed a Japanese USB 3.0 PCI card in my 2009 MAc Pro 4,1 10.9.5 and sure enough got the Bluetooth interference when any hard drive is active in the external HDD dock that is connected to teh USB 3.0 card.

    I seem to have solved this problem and as a bonus increased my Bluetooth range dramatically.

    1. I got hold of two long Apple USB male to female USB cables.

    2. Connected them together.

    3. Inserted this cable to one of my rear USB 2.0 ports on my Mac Pro 4,1

    4. I snaked this cable away from my Mac Pro to near where I usually sit - about 1 metre AWAY
    from the Mac Pro

    5. Shut down the Mac Pro

    4. Then I connected a Princeton Bluetooth dongle that I bought several years ago.

    5. Fired up the Mac Pro and launched Bluetooth Prefs and was able to pair my Bluetooth
    headsets.

    RESULT

    Absolutely no interference and a dramatically increased range.

    Here is what Sys Info reports in Mavericks 10.9.5

    ==================================
    Apple Bluetooth Software Version: 4.2.7f3 14616
    Hardware Settings:
    Address: 00-1B-DC-0F-73-72
    Manufacturer: Cambridge Silicon Radio
    Name: Mac Pro
    Firmware Version: 4839
    Bluetooth Power: On
    Discoverable: Off
    Connectable: No
    Auto Seek Keyboard: On
    Auto Seek Pointing: Off
    Remote wake: On
    Vendor ID: 0x0A12
    Product ID: 0x0001
    HCI Version: 0x4
    HCI Revision: 0x12E7
    LMP Version: 0x4
    LMP Subversion: 0x12E7
    Device Type (Major): Computer
    Device Type (Complete): Mac Desktop
    Composite Class Of Device: 0x380104
    Device Class (Major): 0x01
    Device Class (Minor): 0x01
    Service Class: 0x1C0
    Services:
    Bluetooth File Transfer:
    Folder other devices can browse: ~/Public
    When receiving items: Prompt for each file
    State: Disabled
    Bluetooth File Exchange:
    Folder for accepted items: ~/Downloads
    When other items are accepted: Ask
    When receiving items: Prompt for each file
    State: Disabled
    Bluetooth Internet Sharing:
    State: Disabled
    Incoming Serial Ports:
    Bluetooth-Incoming-Port:
    RFCOMM Channel: 3
    Requires Authentication: No
    Outgoing Serial Ports:
    Bluetooth-Modem:
    Address:
    RFCOMM Channel: 0
    Requires Authentication: No

    ======================

    I also solved another Bluetooth problem.

    I have 2 identical brand AND same colour Bluetooth headsets and recently have been unable to rename them in Bluetooth prefs by highlighting and Right mouse button clicking .

    SOLUTION : Highlight the paired Bluetooth unit and hold down the OPTION key while RIGHT mouse button clicking . . a menu will drop down showing Disconnect + Rename + Remove.

    Hope all of this is useful.

    Mac Pro 4,1 Dual Quad Core 2.93Ghz 12 Gig RAM.
    DVI to HDMI EFI flashed Sapphire Vapor-X 5780 1 gig. USB 3,0 PCIe Arena card
    OS X 10.6.8 & 10.9.5. 10.10.5
    ( Plus 14 year old Canon laser A3 printer originally released for Apple Classic OS 9.6 now running flawlessly in OS X 10.9.5 .)
     

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