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[Tutorial] - Hackintosh Bluetooth Module

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This is about the easiest way of adding bluetooth to your hackintosh. Forget nervously waiting to see if the latest update will knock out your 3rd-party bluetooth, this uses an Apple bluetooth module that will never be phased out (or most likely not)!


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Parts Needed:

Apple Bluetooth Module A1181 ($6 - Make sure you get one with the connector cable!)

2 x 1N4001 Micro 1A Diodes ($4 for one hundred!)

iMac Bluetooth Antenna ($7 - Much better reception than the A1118 antenna!)

A USB Motherboard Header ($1.99)


Tools Needed:

This is a very easy modification, but you will also need a few tools:

- Soldering Iron & solder

- Heat Shrink tubing (1/8" or smaller - electrical tape not recommended for precision work)

- Sleeving (optional - example)




Step 1: Prepping the USB Cable

First of all you will want to remove one end of the motherboard header so that just the pins or wires are left, as you can see on the far left of this image:




Feel free to just cut one end off and strip down the individual wire casings, ready for soldering.


Note: At this point it is recommend that you twist the data wires together along the entire length of the cable. This helps reduce EMI and should give you a more stable signal overall.



Step 1.1: (Optional) Sleeving

At this point, I would suggest putting the sleeve over your cable because once you've soldered everything it becomes a hassle. Simply slip the sleeving over your cut wires and push it down to the end, as pictured below (as well as one cut of heat shrink to stop that end fraying):





Step 2: Prepping the Bluetooth Cable

The USB cable is going to be attached to the cable that came with your Apple bluetooth module (pictured below), so also cut the end that would plug into the Apple motherboard (NOT the bluetooth module end). Take care to leave enough cable for soldering and then some. Mistakes are made, and my first bluetooth was ruined because I didn't leave room for error.


You should be left with this:





Step 3: The Diodes

The diodes are important because the bluetooth module will not run on 5V - it needs to be around 3.7V, and may indeed WILL become damaged on regular USB power levels. The two diodes should be soldered into the red power wire nose-to-tail, with the forwards voltage soldered (i.e. going towards the bluetooth module) as shown.




Step 4: The Other Wires

As you can see from the diagram below, the rest of your soldering is quite simple. The black (ground) cables connect directly together, and the Data cables cross over colorswith green USB going to yellow bluetooth, and white USB going to green bluetooth. This is the main cause of non-working mods, so if nothing is happening when you plug it in, this should be the first thing you check. Get everything soldered and heatshrink the wires individually and you are good to go!





Step 5: Placing the Bluetooth Antenna

If you have a metal case (and sometimes if you don't) you may find that bluetooth reception is spotty. This can be VERY inconvenient with issues ranging from a jumpy mouse to static from your bluetooth audio feed. Below are some general tips (in particular order) to ensure that you have the best experience possible.


- As mentioned, make sure that you twist the data wires together. This reduces EMI and really does make an incredible difference in certain cases.

- Use a longer antenna. If you have been inside any mac desktop, you will know that the antennas they use are long, and usually end up (the actually antenna part) somewhere near the outside of the case. This is for a good reason, so check out the original link or search around for the best price on a long antenna cable.

- When mounting your antenna to your case, make sure the front of the antenna is not the side attached to the case. Preferably use double-sided tape/foam so that the antenna is not touching metal.

- As far as best positioning, it really depends on your case. There is no formula for this except trial and error.


A useful tip for helping you gauge bluetooth signal:

There are apps for both iOS and Android that have a built-in bluetooth strength meter. Place your phone/tablet on the table where your mouse would be, and move the bluetooth antenna around the case. It would be a good idea to put the side panel on with each placement to get a more accurate reading. This is how I found out that my signal was better at the back on my case rather than right at the front like I had it initially!

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