USB 3 causing interference with bluetooth

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Ben1l, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Ben1l macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    #1
    I recently bought a USB 3 Areca 4 bay hard drive raid, to connect to my Mac Pro 4,1. To get the best performance I also bought a Caldigit USB 3 pci card.

    I installed the card and connected the raid unit. The setup works well and gets decent speed. HOWEVER, ever since then I've notice my Apple Magic mouse and keyboard have become sluggish and unresponsive.

    I believe the problem is that USB 3 can operate at a similar frequency to bluetooth.

    Has anyone else had this problem and if so, do you have a solution?
     
  2. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
    There is an Intel white paper about this problem.

    In a nutshell, when USB3 is transferring files it gives off noise in 2.4GHz band, thus interfering with bluetooth and wi-fi.

    Although this is an industry wide problem, the old Mac Pro is affected more than most because its bluetooth reception is notoriously spotty in the first place.

    The solution seems to be better shielding around the cable ends. I haven't read the white paper in a while, but I seem to recall they simply wrapped the cable ends in aluminum foil or something.
     
  3. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #3
    Correct. The MP already suffers from bad bluetooth as it is. You can fix it by a diy shield. A blob of aradite resin on the top of the connector to the braid, let it dry and get sticky for 10 mins then place your metal cover on top. Fortunately in my case I have a couple of large sheets of mu-metal I've had for donkeys and I cut very small slivers off with tin snips. Let it dry rock hard before reattaching and make sure they don't touch the PCB. Don't bodge it with Bluetack like some bright spark I know who tried it all ended in tears when it dried up and fell off.

    Think you can get bits of mu-metal on ebay, doesn't have to be thick..
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #4
    OWC sells a shielding kit for the Mac Mini's bluetooth module specifically to protect it from USB 3.0 interference. I seem to remember someone was going to buy it and see if it fit well enough on the MP's bluetooth module, but I don't remember if he ever reported back.
     
  5. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #5
    The other option is to use another cable - one with a decent shielded end. Good ones you can get out of Thinkpads for the scrap heap. The t40/43 cables worked on the older mp models up to the 3,1 but not sure about the 4,1 as the cards are different.

    If the OP is in the uk I don't mind sticking a shard of mu-metal in the post!
     
  6. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #6
    Other option is to get a usb dongle that looks just like this

    http://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-USB-Micro-Adapter-Dongle/dp/B0032GO0FU

    Mine is a Cambridge silicon chipset, exactly the same as my 3,1. I have this bizarre situation where in bootcamp the onboard bluetooth isn't being detected at all in win 7 device manager but works fine with this.

    Comes up in system profiler fine also but I think my one is either only 2.0 or 2.1, I can check tomorrow...
     
  7. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #7
    The next time you have your machine open, would you be so kind as to post a pic or two of your internal mod?
     
  8. Gav Mack, Jan 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #8
    I've not done it on mine, the Inateck card unlike the Orico seems to have better rfi shielding plus with the bluetooth knackered in Windows I just plugged that other dongle in. I have no idea which BT radio OSX uses but they are listed almost identical in system profiler. It was $3-4 usd and just works, saves getting covered in sticky gunk plus at 45 long sight is kicking in. Beginning of feb I am visiting the client I did the mod to will snap a photo then and post it, bump and remind me!

    8 mm square of mu metal bent into a semi circle curled rolled around a small screwdriver with a pair of pliers plonked onto the sticky resin is how I could accurately describe it..
     
  9. crjackson2134, Jan 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #9
    My 5.1 uses the Broadcom 2046 chipset. I personally don't have any BT interference problems at all with either of my USB controllers. I just wanted to see what the mod looked like.

    There is also another mod that lets you use a previously Unused Wi-Fi antenna that is supposedly present in all mac pros, for the BT. The antenna changes locations away from the rear where the problem occurs, to the front of the case for a stronger BT signal. I'll look for that link and post it here if I can find it.

    Here you go - This thread is old but COULD still be relevant.
    Better yet, here is a link to a PDF Instruction document to do the mod.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #10
    I know the one you're on about, the wires with the lettered labels at the top of the logic board. Sometimes labelled wrongly when they were built iirc and switch them over hey presto. I will stick taking a photo in my calendar so I don't forget. If the moron who is using it has words like we've had before I will mod my own and post them up!
     
  11. dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #11
    Have you tried it with Mavericks OSX 10.6.8 yet?
     
  12. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #12
    :d
     
  13. crjackson2134, Jan 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #13
    I guess I'll let you know if Mavericks OSX 10.6.8 ever comes to pass... :confused:
     
  14. bsbeamer macrumors 6502

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #14
  15. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #15
    The solution as I reported on here a while ago is to run a wire from the Bluetooth module to an external antenna. I have done this mod on both my 3,1 Mac Pro & my wife's one also. All the USB3 cards & devices that I have used cause interference & render a Magic Mouse unusable. This fix totally cures. I have a 4 port ORICO card in my Mac Pro with a couple of external drives & my wife has a Cal-Digit card (I think) & also a couple of external drives. The Magic Mice now work perfectly on both machines.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17374759&postcount=17
     
  16. didier.ma macrumors newbie

    didier.ma

    Joined:
    May 5, 2014
    #16
    This really works!!!!

    I recently did a major upgrade to my Mac Pro 3,1 - I know it's old but it's still a solid machine - to GTX 780 (from MacVidCards) and a USB 3.0 card from Inateck and right after install the USB 3.0 card, I hit by the interference issue.

    I followed the guide to replace the antennas by moving wire 1 to bluetooth and wire 2 to upper airport card and have wire 3 to lower airport card - guess what? NO more problem!!!

    Just wanna share this to all Mac Pro lovers and it really fixes this annoying issue. I also did a wifi speed test and I see no performance issue as well.

    Hope this helps.

    D.

     

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