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[How-To] Airport Extreme Mini-PCIe to PCIe (Hexin 108A adaptor)


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* The purpose of this guide to provide perspective on a different adaptor (Hexin 108A) than what I have typically seen used.


Airport Extreme Wifi Mini-PCIe from MacPro to PCIe

I decided to re-use the Airport Extreme card (bcm94321MCA) from my old MacPro in my latest build. After perusing the net for a suitable Mini-PCIe to PCIe adapter, I came across the Hexin 108A on Ebay. It seemed like an affordable option. I was attracted to it because it appeared to have significantly less of a profile than others.





When it arrived, I realized that it did not come with the support posts. My first inclination was to use the shield to keep it in-place. This would mean that the antenna ends would be in direct contact with the conductive shield. These ends are grounded; however, I thought it best to come up with a better solution.


I stopped by the local hardware store only to find that they do not stock hardware smaller then M4. My next stop was Skycraft. If you are in the Orlando, Florida area, I strongly suggest stopping by (http://www.skycraftsurplus.com). They have just about any piece of hardware or electronic component you could dream.  I have gotten lost in this store for hours creating a mental inventory only to walk out with 35 cent worth of parts… Being close to the Space Coast and with all of the aerospace manufacturers in the Central Florida market, they have amass quite an interesting collection of machinery. I especially like the missiles, rockets, and bombs that hang from the ceiling.




I came away with with a bag of M3 stainless steel cheese head screws and nuts. I also found some nylon spacer.




Mini PCIe card in-place. It looks like a perfect fit!




The metal shield was a bit tight around the Mini-PCIe card. It appears to be clearing the shield on the top of the Mini-PCIe card, as well as the antenna connectors.




With regard to antenna placement, I considered several variations. The bottom antenna holes is a physically imposibility with the shield in-place. I guess you could bend the wire at a 90 degree angle and it would work. I opted to go with the two shown above.

There is also no space above or below the Mini-PCIe card to hide the cables. I folded them as shown. I doubt they will get in the way.




This should tigh me over until the next project. Being curious about the manufacturer of this adapter, I checked out their website and other stores and saw several other versions.


One version, which I would recommend to others who are interesting in doing this, is the one that I have seen described in other blogs. It is a larger card; however, it give more room to hide the wires.


The most interesting discovery is an adapter that also includes a header labeled Bluetooth. It is likely that this requires a combo card to be installed; however, it would be interesting to find an adaptor that has compatible USB functionality and the ability to power the 3.3v Apple Bluetooth Module.


This guide is mirrored here: i.sligh.us


Ill try to keep up the posts with regard to the new build.

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