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How-To Bluetooth 5.0 USB Dongle [guide]

Joined
Feb 3, 2019
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Gigabyte Designare Z390
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i5-9600K
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RX-580
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  1. iOS
I wanted Bluetooth 5.0 on my Hackintosh, Bluetooth 5.0 provides faster data speeds, better range, and many benefits.
I did some research and I initially found this Broadcom compatible chipset:

The Cypress CYW20704 is a monolithic, single-chip, Bluetooth 5.0 compliant, stand-alone baseband processor with an integrated 2.4 GHz transceiver. Link: Cypress CYW20704 Info

After some digging I found Laird makes a Cypress 20704 based bluetooth 5.0 USB dongle the BT851, and best of all, the firmware is included, so no firmware loading is required and the device operates on Linux or Windows hosts. (OS Agnostic)

Checking on the InterWebs, I found it was available from Digi-Key, which sells the 5.0 version of the BT851. I payed around $11.

Digi-Key Part Number BT851-ND
Manufacturer Laird - Wireless & Thermal Systems
Manufacturer Part Number BT851
Description RF BLUETOOTH V5.0 USB 2.4GHZ
Manufacturer Standard Lead Time 11 Weeks
Detailed Description RF Transceiver, Bluetooth 2.4GHz Bluetooth v5.0 USB 3Mbps

laird-bulletpoints.jpg

cypress-usb-listing.png


MODIFYING YOUR KEXT

NO NEED TO DO THIS - SINCE IT WORKS OUT OF THE BOX

Open a terminal, and edit as root, using vim:

Code:
 sudo vim /System/Library/Extensions/IOBluetoothFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/BroadcomBluetoothHostControllerUSBTransport.kext/Contents/Info.plist


paste this before <key>PID 8520 0x2148 VID 2652 0xA5C</key> which is the IOGear and Satechi dongles, or wherever you like.

Code:
                <key>PID 63745 0xf901 VID 1204 0x04b4</key>
                <dict>
                        <key>CFBundleIdentifier</key>
                        <string>com.apple.iokit.BroadcomBluetoothHostControllerUSBTransport</string>
                        <key>Dongles</key>
                        <dict>
                                <key>Laird</key>
                                <string>BT851</string>
                        </dict>
                        <key>IOClass</key>
                        <string>BroadcomBluetoothHostControllerUSBTransport</string>
                        <key>IOProviderClass</key>
                        <string>IOUSBHostDevice</string>
                        <key>idProduct</key>
                        <integer>63745</integer>
                        <key>idVendor</key>
                        <integer> 1204</integer>
                </dict>


✓ Remember to turn Bluetooth Sharing on (Discoverable) or AirDrop wont work:

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 6.46.37 PM.png


★ Bluetooth mouse works great, as does several devices, Handoff, AirDrop, etc

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 7.57.13 PM.png


✓ Make sure you plug your dongle into a USB2.0 port on your Hackintosh.

★ Now you have Bluetooth 5.0 on your Hackintosh.

Another benefit of Bluetooth USB is that you can get a USB extension cable (disclaimer: will probably require a powered hub with this dongle as mine didn't work unpowered with my USB extender cable) and separate your WiFi and Bluetooth some distance away from your WiFi antennas.

dongle.jpg


Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 7.51.20 PM.png
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
Gigabyte Designare Z390
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i5-9600K
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RX-580
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  1. iOS
UPDATE: I'm having issues with Handoff.... doing further testing..... I will update here.

I rebooted and can see hand-off. If I want to send via AirDrop from my Hackintosh to my phone that works, however, I have to get the iPhone really close to the dongle to make Airdrop work: "AirDrop uses Bluetooth low energy (LE) to broadcast and negotiate connections, and point-to-point WiFi to actually transfer the data."

The bluetooth signal I can stream audio and walk around the house, but i think the low energy LE range is not great on this device. Checking.

- I can walk 30 feet away and move the bluetooth mouse and that works great
- audio is good from far away no dropouts

dell_laird.jpg


I found a place in my monitor to plug in the device, AirDrop doesn't work with the device plugged into the computer, too far away. Regular Bluetooth range is excellent however Bluetooth LE - AirDrop seems to only work when the iPhone is about 1 ft away, thats not much!! So to transfer files you'll have to place the phone near the device.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 12.13.12 AM.png


Personal Hotspot works...

Handoff works from my iPad
Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 12.19.40 AM.png


Handoff can be wierd at times, might be my iPhone iOS version.

calendar-handoff.jpg



working, but keeping the iPhone near the dongle.

“When AirDrop is enabled, it triggers Bluetooth to look for other AirDrop-enabled iOS devices that are in the area. This process is similar to pairing your iPhone with your car’s Bluetooth system. The devices “advertise” that they are open for business, and if they are within range of each other, then they start the connection process. Once the connection is made, a simple device-to-device Wifi link, called Wi-Fi Direct, is created between the two. The Wi-Fi Direct link can be created even if you are in the middle of nowhere, without a Wi-Fi network. So, you get the fast file transfer speed of Wi-Fi without a router or an internet connection.”

So Bluetooth LE is only used for the discovery phase, and WiFi Direct is used to send the data.


Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 12.49.56 AM.png
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Bluetooth LE is meh on this. So I constructed a passive antenna for the dongle, it did improve things, but I dont recommend this dongle for AirDrop unless you can place the phone near the device. Audio and Mouse, etc "regular bluetooth" range is great.

gigabyte_antenna.jpg


I repurposed this antenna I wasn't using that came with my motherboard. I opened it up to see what was inside, then snapped it back together.. I then removed the antenna from the circular stand and threw the stand away.

passive_antenna.jpg


Using electrical tape I attached the passive antenna, and from experimenting the signal is stronger with the passive antenna on the opposite side of the LED and the passive antenna had to be flush with the top of the usb outlet.

There is a signal improvement signal near the monitor went from -43db to -29db. I used a Bluetooth signal app on my iPhone to monitor strength.

I should try to contact the manufacturer to see if there is another form factor for this model and I can try to solder antenna to the tiny board inside.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
Gigabyte Designare Z390
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i5-9600K
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RX-580
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  1. iOS
My iPad will do about 1 meter away for AirDrop, where as the iPhone needs to get in close. I sent an email to the manufacturer about the Bluetooth LE range. They do have a development board that allows for external antenna but it is pricey. If anyone is reading this thread, let me know what the "range" is for your bluetooth Airdrop, 2 feet, 1 meter, 3 meters?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
53
Motherboard
Gigabyte Designare Z390
CPU
i5-9600K
Graphics
RX-580
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
My iPad will do about 1 meter away for AirDrop, where as the iPhone needs to get in close. I sent an email to the manufacturer about the Bluetooth LE range. They do have a development board that allows for external antenna but it is pricey. If anyone is reading this thread, let me know what the "range" is when you use your bluetooth Airdrop, 2 feet, 1 meter, 3 meters?
 
Joined
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This dongle works well for me without the patch. I was mainly looking for a forward looking device with a better signal than my old crappy one. For some reason it's performance has been degrading. If anyone gets around to creating a Clover patch for this device I hope they post something here. Until I want some of the extra features I won't bother to patch as instructed above.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
Gigabyte Designare Z390
CPU
i5-9600K
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  1. iOS
@jhenu its 100% bluetooth 5.0, thats a different chipset, yes it says BT4.2 from some vendors but you have to buy it from digikey. Note in my system profile its says 5.0 and i'm using a bluetooth 5.0 mouse too. The mouse only has 2 modes (selectable via a switch on the mouse): Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth 3.0, and its set to 5.0.

bt50proof.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
53
Motherboard
Gigabyte Designare Z390
CPU
i5-9600K
Graphics
RX-580
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
I now have my device on a USB extender hidden in my pull out keyboard tray (see the blue light).
If I want to airdrop i just place my iphone on the mousepad which is right next to the device (needs to be close).
The nice thing about this chipset is the FIRMWARE is already built-in, doesn't need a firmware loader, so when your computer BOOTS, my bluetooth 5.0 mouse will pair with the chipset FAST (a plus!). Also having the BT5.0 physically and dramatically SEPARATED from your WIFI antennas is BETTER for interference. I think the idea of mixing bluetooth and wifi on the same card does not have good results. With the USB you can put the BT dongle where you need it, not in the back of the computer case. Bluetooth 5.0 is designed to have LESS interference with cellular LTE signals, so you really dont want to use BT4.0.

usb-extender-BT.jpg
 
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