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[Good Info] Acer/Compaq/Etc. WiFi Killswitch Fix


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#1
Putzinger

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Howdy!

Its come to my attention that some of us with Acer and Compaq laptops, among others, have an issue with our WiFi cards. Many of us (including myself) have changed out our PCI-E wireless cards out to OS X compatible ones, edited our .kexts and done our little dances only to find WiFi still doesn't work.

The one thing our laptops have in common is the WiFi radio killswitch LED on the front of the laptop that enables the user to physically disable the radio at a moment's notice. Its somewhat useful in Windows and can be controlled both with software and, of course, hardware (the switch itself).

We've narrowed it down to the PCI-E port - that's what the switch cuts power to; OS X System Profiler sees absolutely nothing installed on the PCI-E.

The good news is that Linux users have had the same issue and have written drivers and software fixes so the PCI-E slot gets power on boot up.

The bad news is that someone will have to port the drivers from Linux to OS X.

What I'm attempting to do here is compile resources and information to make that lucky programmer's job in building the killswitch driver easier. Testers can gather here and help solve this problem.

For many of us, WiFi is the only thing standing between us and never running Winblows again.

So far, we've:
  • Flipped the switch itself (duh!)
  • Tried BIOS options (there are none for wifi)
  • Flipped the switch in Windows and booted to OS X.
Nothing works. So, here's what I've been able to gather:

http://www.cakey.de/acerhk/ - Acer Hotkey Drivers for Linux
http://rfswitch.sour...e=laptop_matrix - RF Switch Table
http://ubuntuforums....p/t-184033.html -ACPI Switch Configuration
https://bugs.launchp...etup/ bug/57849 - More Keycodes
http://www.fedorafor...a...=2&t=145267 - More ACPI Config.
http://code.google.com/p/aceracpi/ - Actual Acer ACPI Driver for Linux
http://forum.insanel...o...0&start=80# - Others who've had the same problem

(Will find the original Windows .exe ASAP)

Remember, this hack is a work in progress. I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Mods, feel free to let me know if this post isn't appropriate. I'll post it elsewhere if need be.

Thanks!

#2
errandwolfe

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Just to add some fuel to the fire, as Putzinger knows many people with Compaq laptops are also having the exact same problem. Just a thought though, has anyone tried the tape method? If you have an actual Broadcom 4311 mini-PCI express card, taping over pin 20 ONLY should leave the card in a constant powered on state.

I have tried doing this myself, but unfortunately bad eye sight and tremors in my hands make it VERY difficult for me to place tape over suck a small area. Am curious if others have tried this method? If you did, does it work?

#3
Putzinger

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Errandwolfe,

Where'd you see information on the pin 20 fix? I'd like to see it so I can give it a try. Also, is it pin 20 from the left or the right?

Thanks!

#4
errandwolfe

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The following is from two e-mails from gwh9132:

I didn't have any trouble having the dell card recognized. After installing the replacement card it appeared as Apple Airport Extreme. My only problem was the radio was disabled since the RF kill switch on my laptop only worked properly with the original card. I covered pin 20 on the card with a piece of tape which disables the switch so the radio is on all of the time. I don't know why you would have trouble getting it recognized as airport. Are you sure you are using the proper card? Have you verified the chipset and device/vendor ID? Are the dev/ven IDs in the airport broadcom kext .plist file? Sorry, but like i said, I never had any problem having the card show up as Airport Extreme in the network control panel.

Toshiba Satelite a135-s4527 t2080 cpu GMA 950 - USB, FW, Video work "out of the box". Onboard lan works with realtek driver. Intel HD Audio - output works with AzaliaAudio.pkg.zip. WIFI - Replaced Atheros 5006eg with Dell 1490 PCI-e --> Had to tape over pin #20 due to RF Kill Switch


I think I am using whatever kext files were included on the JAS 10.4.8 PPF1 PPF2 dvd or possibly from a 10.4.5 update (copied over while trying to get my atheros card to work?) cannot check at the moment. As for taping the pin, some pins are numbered on the board which you can use to figure out which pin is pin 20. Note the pins are numbered on both sides, so pin 20 is only on one side. I placed a piece of scotch tape across many of the pins, made sure it was firmly secured, then cut around pin 20 and removed the excess tape. Since I used clear tape it is hardly visible to the naked eye, however I'll see about photoshopping an image to show exactly which pin.


This came from asstastic:

For anyone who wants to try using the tape method to dissable the RF Switch on their Mini PCI-Express wireless card here's what to do. But first, a word of caution. Opening up and playing with the parts in your computer can be dangerous to it's health. Make sure you propperly ground yourself and remove all power sources(battery and power plug) before operating on your laptop.

now to the good stuff. you'll need some clear tape, packing tape worked well for me. very sharp scissors or an exacto knife. and a screwdriver set for removing the card.

remove your card and flip it over on it's back with the pins facing up. it should look like this:
._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . _ _ _ _ _ ~
| | | | | | | | | | |x| | | | ~More pins
| | | | | | | | |U| |x| | | | ~

This graphic is not translating well on the paste. Putting a picture of the daigram sent to me at the bottom of this post.

The 'U' indicates the notch and the 'x' the pin you need to cover with tape.
The pin you need to cover is the tenth one counting from the left, or the second pin over from the notch in the board. Cut out a very thin strip of tape and place it over the pin. Make sure that the pins on either side are not also covered. the conective leads on the motherboard are rather thin so it should be fine if a small portion on either edge of the pin is not covered but i doubt you'll be able to cut a piece of tape that small anyways. Just make sure the center of the pin from top to bottom is covered.

Next put the card back into the laptop. be very carefull not to push the tape out of the way as you are doing this.

now put everything else back together (don't forget the antena leads) and see if it works.

also I ran across this interesting tidbit:
QUOTE
3.2.4.3. PERST# Signal
The PERST# signal is de-asserted to indicate when the system power sources are within their
25 specified voltage tolerance and are stable. PERST# should be used to initialize the card functions
once power sources stabilize. PERST# is asserted when power is switched off and also can be used
by the system to force a hardware reset on the card. The system may also use PERST# to cause a
warm reset of the add-in card. Refer to the PCI Express Card Electromechanical Specification for more
details on the functional requirements for the PERST# signal.

Attached Files



#5
gabeoravitz

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ok this is good that others have made progress with linux etc, however, i'm not sure if this is going to help me. no airport entry shows up in networkinterfaces.plist and it's not being detected in System Profiler, or the network preferences pane in Preferences. the only way i can see it is with an ioreg or DPCIManager. it shows a broadcom 4311. is this issue with the power switch the same issue i'm having??

#6
Putzinger

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is this issue with the power switch the same issue i'm having??

Nope. Nothing is supposed to show up because OS X doesn't power the PCI-E slot.

I tried the pin 20 method. And it works.

In Windows.

It completely disables the switch control. I flip the switch and the LED stays on. The software sees that I've flipped the switch and a message comes up, but the card doesn't turn off and continues as if nothing happened. It's nifty, but like I said, only in Windows.

OS X still doesn't power up the slot. I tried changing the integers in the .plist file again, but no dice. I tried rebooting it from windows; again, no dice.

I'll continue to look, but until something's written to make OS X power up that slot on boot, there's little we can do. The problem is slot-side, not card-side.

I'll keep researching it.

#7
errandwolfe

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OK, what that probably means is that power is not our issue. It is most likely something to do with the mini pci-express bus. I was weary of the switch idea. I had an earlier Compaq V5101 that I had OS X running on and it had the same switch, and it was never an issue in OS X, I simply could not turn the card off. It was always on by default. For those with the Compaq C552 if you check your BIOS you will see you even have an option to power the card on at boot. I think someone with a bit more technical expertise then I should possibly take a look at this as a mini pci express issue NOT a wifi issue.

#8
gabeoravitz

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there's got to be someone out there who can get this thing working!

#9
Putzinger

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In a related note, when I installed the card, OS X started and worked, but when I told it to shut down, I got some sort of blue screen of death where I was told to manually shut down the machine. I think this is related to the card somehow. I looked around and found a fix for this. I'll fix the shutdown issue and see what happens...

...It may not do anything, but the not shutting down is annoying.

#10
Pako Feber

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Howdy!

Its come to my attention that some of us with Acer and Compaq laptops, among others, have an issue with our WiFi cards. Many of us (including myself) have changed out our PCI-E wireless cards out to OS X compatible ones, edited our .kexts and done our little dances only to find WiFi still doesn't work.

The one thing our laptops have in common is the WiFi radio killswitch LED on the front of the laptop that enables the user to physically disable the radio at a moment's notice. Its somewhat useful in Windows and can be controlled both with software and, of course, hardware (the switch itself).

We've narrowed it down to the PCI-E port - that's what the switch cuts power to; OS X System Profiler sees absolutely nothing installed on the PCI-E.

The good news is that Linux users have had the same issue and have written drivers and software fixes so the PCI-E slot gets power on boot up.

The bad news is that someone will have to port the drivers from Linux to OS X.

What I'm attempting to do here is compile resources and information to make that lucky programmer's job in building the killswitch driver easier. Testers can gather here and help solve this problem.

For many of us, WiFi is the only thing standing between us and never running Winblows again.

So far, we've:

  • Flipped the switch itself (duh!)
  • Tried BIOS options (there are none for wifi)
  • Flipped the switch in Windows and booted to OS X.
Nothing works. So, here's what I've been able to gather:

http://www.cakey.de/acerhk/ - Acer Hotkey Drivers for Linux
http://rfswitch.sour...e=laptop_matrix - RF Switch Table
http://ubuntuforums....p/t-184033.html -ACPI Switch Configuration
https://bugs.launchp...etup/ bug/57849 - More Keycodes
http://www.fedorafor...a...=2&t=145267 - More ACPI Config.
http://code.google.com/p/aceracpi/ - Actual Acer ACPI Driver for Linux
http://forum.insanel...o...0&start=80# - Others who've had the same problem

(Will find the original Windows .exe ASAP)

Remember, this hack is a work in progress. I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Mods, feel free to let me know if this post isn't appropriate. I'll post it elsewhere if need be.

Thanks!


Hi there!

I've got a genuine Apple Airport Extreme -n- mini pci-e running flawlessly in my Toshiba Satellite A110-180!

I had problems with the "tape pin #20" trick at the beginning, but finally I got it.

Have a look at this post (it's in Spanish, but it may be of help):

http://forum.insanel...php/t55122.html

I installed the Airport Base Station software which came with the card in order to enable the -n- mode.

If someone needs help, just let me know.

Peace'n'love :)

PS Since I have wifi in my OSX86 system, I erased Windows. Now I only use OSX86 and Ubuntu in my laptop. Bye-bye uncle Bill...

#11
errandwolfe

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Let me save everyone a bit a translating here...

Basically what the post Pako refers to is simply the method we have already discussed here, covering pin 20. Unfortunately while this will work to overcome the switch issue on my laptops, our issue seems to be unique. We have already the pin 20 method and verified it worked by booting it into Windows and verified that is disable the control of the switch and provided permanent power. Credit goes to Putzinger for testing that for us. Thanks Putzinger.

As I discussed above, our problem is most likely not one of power, but one of proper recognition of the mini PCI express bus itself. I can verify from experience on an earlier Compaq V5101 laptup that is nearly identical as far as the case design (including the switch) that the switch had absolutely no effect on osx86. On boot my wifi was just always enabled, and I could not turn the radio off. Indeed some of us have a BIOS where we can even specify that we want the card powered on at boot.

I thank you for your input, but that unfortunately does not solve our problem. I am curious though. If I read your post correctly you were able to install an actual Airport Express card in your laptop. I unfortunately have not seen the card up close, but all the pics I look at online look like it requires a custom slot, not a standard mini pci-e bus.

#12
tkman

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would the pin 20 trick theoretically work on any other broadcom card? i've got a 4328 that i'm wondering whether or not to give it a go on.

EDIT: it works just fine.

#13
errandwolfe

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OK, I have opened up a new thread and am currently seeking help from other guru's out there on how we might test to see if our mini PCI Express slots are working properly, and if not how we might be able to get them working.

Questions for a Guru, Adding support for mini PCI-E Bus

#14
errandwolfe

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Please, I am almost certain now that this is a mini PCI Express related issue. If you just search bcm4311 and page fault, every OS (linux, solaris, etc..) all points back to this being a problem with the mini-PCI Express slot. We need to beg and plead with the guru's to see if they could possibly spare some time to help us. If Linux and Solaris guys can get this working we should be able to also!

Here is an example of one discussion thread regarding thies:
http://mail.opensola...uly/008404.html

#15
yarrix

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hey errandwolfe,

try pin 11 and 13 (next to each other). this did it for me. now the card is always on, and I can turn it off from software but not the button. who cares about the button, wireless works..

cheers

#16
errandwolfe

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Yarrix,
You don't even mention what hardware you are running on. I recommend before ANYONE try Yarrixs' method, that he verifies he has the same hardware as what we are all having problems with. Taping over pins can have a very nasty effect if you tape over the wrong ones.

Yarrix...
1.) What is your brand/model laptop do you have?
2.) What wireless card (brand and model also)?
3.) What type of interface is your card on? Mini-PCI or Mini-PCI Express?

#17
yarrix

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errandwolf,

sorry about that, should've provided more info. nevertheless, i suggested taping, not shorting, so not much to worry about there.

1. laptop: acer aspire 5020, 5024NLWMI, amd turion 1.8, atix700 128mb (mobility)
2. wireless: broadcom mini-pci (not pci-e), take note, don't try those pins on express.

good luck.

#18
errandwolfe

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Yarix,
Thank you for clearing that up. This problem many of us have seems to be specific to using the mini pci express bus, not the mini pci.

#19
justinship

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No matter what I cannot get the hardward to show up in :ifconfig.

Just is not seeing it :blink: good think I have a DWL-810+ to turn my ethernet into wifi for the time being.

#20
ferywu

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After tapping pin 20 my bcm94311 mini-pci express always on on windows
and check there are en0 show up at this plist after swap number 0 to 1, and en1 now assigned for my Realtek8139 lan
but ifconfig still showing no en0 or detected new airport after reboot
so far still no solutions for this headache


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com...yList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
<key>Interfaces</key>
<array>
<dict>
<key>BSD Name</key>
<string>en0</string>
<key>IOBuiltin</key>
<false/>
<key>IOInterfaceType</key>
<integer>6</integer>
<key>IOInterfaceUnit</key>
<integer>0</integer>
<key>IOLocation</key>
<string></string>
<key>IOMACAddress</key>
<data>
ABbPoF5V
</data>
<key>IOPathMatch</key>
<string>IOService:/AppleACPIPlatformExpert/PCI0@0/AppleACPIPCI/P0P3@1C,2/IOPCI2PCIBridge/pci14e4,4311@0/AirPort_Brcm43xx/IO80211Interface</string>
</dict>

Maybe this could be the problem from this string "IOService:/AppleACPIPlatformExpert/PCI0@0/AppleACPIPCI/P0P3@1C,2/IOPCI2PCIBridge"
kext for ACPI platform, ACPIPCI, PCI to PCI bridge on detecting Mini-PCIe and most important using it.

from ioreg -l i got this

| | | "name" = "pci14e4,4311"
| | | "IOName" = "pci14e4,4311"
| | | "compatible" = <"pci103c,1363","pci14e4,4311","pciclass,028000">

but on other run smoothly, acer with regular mini-pci slot running well

could be there are ACPI, PCI ACPI, PCI to PCI Bridge kexts could handle this thing





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