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Replace M.2 aka NGFF wireless card to mini half PCIe

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Greetings to everyone.
Story about how i resolved the wireless issue with my laptop Lenovo Flex 2-14, i3-4010U.
Before when i bought the laptop i did quick research about board and components and seemed like everything was okay for hackintosh... , but home work was insufficient and i just did not imagined that 14" laptop comes already with M.2 aka NGFF (next generation form factor) wireless card. After opening laptop cover arrived "moment of the truth", there was sitting M.2 card BCM43142. Ebay helps, cross my mind... after couple of hours searching was already clear - no solutions. Only M.2 card which was reported working with OSX was BCM94352Z:
http://www.tonymacx86.com/network/1...ple-mini-cards-pcie-mini-pcie-adapters-5.html
Quick view told that this card will not fit to my laptop because of different key. For wireless cards are used NGFF A and E keys. Good introduce of NGFF harware described here:
http://www.orvem.eu/attachments/article/130/M 2 introduction.pdf
Seems like Lenovo using less available A key cards and BCM94352Z instead using E key. Searched all Lenovo supported / whitelist cards, offered as "genuine cards", no one of them not supporting OSX. Started googling how i can replace the M.2 card to half mini PCIe. Only solution which Google offered was Chinese company BPlusTech. Only suitable adapter board was P15S-P15F M.2 (NGFF) to mPCIe Extender Board http://www.bplustech.com/ExtenderBoard/P15S-P15F.html
I did order my board from US dealer MFACTORS, because of better postage costs, http://www.mfactors.com/p15s-p15f-m-2-ngff-to-mpcie-extender-board/
also all specs and documentation available on their site. BPlusTech NGFF adapter board supports both A and E key cards. Next big challenge was how to fit full size PCIe adapter with half mini card into the 14" laptop, which included already into the ultrabooks class. There is no space at all...
Next solution helps them who have normal 2.5" HDD or SSD, as my laptop came with 2.5" standard size SSD. Solution was upgrade the normal size SSD to smaller msata SSD using msata>sata adapter, saving free space in laptop disk drive compartment. That free space was the target place where i wanted install NGFF adapter board. Also i got 1 additional benefit, like saving some % of battery running lifetime, because msata SSD-s spends roughly 1/3 less power than normal sata SSD-s, just compared the drives wattage. Obviously nowdays more and more laptops starts use M.2 cards and also bigger models, like 15"... Depending of harware, 15/17 inch laptops may have more free space available "under the laptop cover" and maybe additional board fits just like that, leaving to the place normal SSD. Individual thing, everyone should check byself for solutions. I'm pretty much sure that smaller ultrabooks as 13" and 10-11" can't use this solution because they natively already using smaller msata SSD drives and the free space is limited.
Back to my upgrade or should we call that thing as downgrade ? Replacing the sata SSD to msata SSD wasn't also very easy, because of unsuitable adapter boards, 90% of boards in Ebay aren't suitable, just because of layout and dimensions. But... there was just one board which layout is good for such upgrade. Ebay offered NY reseller: http://www.ebay.com/itm/111431126054 , ordered that one to get urgent. Received, tested, wasn't good product, sometimes msata SSD booted, sometimes not, obviously cold solder problems etc. Next one ordered from Hong Kong, of course it took time to wait, but wasn't options, didn't find any of similar board anywhere else:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/191341921782
This last one works perfectly, not problems or questions, it's just a simple board, no drivers needed, onboard electronics consists just from voltage regulator 5V to 3.3v and
two capacitors helping save from power peaks. 3.3v regulator is necessary, because 2.5" SSD-s running on 5v and msata SSD-s running on 3.3V. Some laptops may support 3.3v also (smaller like 13"), but most laptops sata board/connector giving out only 5v.
Depending of hardware, you may succeed with installation "out of the box", like replacing boards and installing OSX suitable wireless card, but you should consider that most laptop manufacturers protecting them bioses for third party cards usage, called as whitelist cards are only compatible. Other cards usage will be blocked by bios, as i had "headache" with mine. For that purpose you need to modify the laptop bios, removing whitelist at all, or adding your card to the bios whitelist.
Continues...
 

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Joined
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Installation.
Before you even consider to do something similar, you should think about your laptop warranty conditions, after removing laptop cover you can forget about that or
modding the bios ends the warranty as well.
Step 1. Order the suitable components and/or wireless card as well.
Step 2. Install the componets. Example p15s-p15f installation is quite flexible, board kit comes with 3 pcs ribbon cables 1 x 10cm/4", 1 x 20cm/8", 1 x 30cm/12", so, everyone can find suitable length for self. I'm using 20cm/8" cable version which is a little too long, could be 10% shorter, but still fits at least. Also make "your own adapter" for card adapter fixation. You can do that example from plastic, drill some small holes and done. I made mine from piece of pcb board, fitted to the original SSD fix place.
Step 3. Remake the wifi antenna cables. NGFF card wifi antenna connectors are bit smaller than PCIe card connectors. You have solution try to find NGFF connectors from Ebay, electronics
store... i googled and didn't find any well and fast solution, so i decided just cut away present connectors and solder as replacement normal PCIe card connectors. Normal wifi antenna cables i got from my old laptop, but you find them easy from old computers store by some cents or even just by "Thank You". Everybody who have basic soldering skills can easy do this work. Or if you are not able, you can ask any friend who can "hold soldering iron". If you connecting cable, is good notice that cable shields covers the inside wire, connection will be more radio interference/error free.
Step 4. Power your latop and test the installed hardware, does bios recognize the card or oftenly just see does laptop boots. Mine wasn't, i got on screen error message:
"104 unsupported wireless network device detected. system halted. remove device and restart", means that your card is blacklisted. Now you need professional help.
Step 5. Modding the bios. Most of us are not capable to do that, i wasn't able. You can ask help from special forums, friendly quys will do the mod for you. Exists several forums,
google with keywords "whitelist remove request" and you will get help. Nowdays oftenly new laptops comes with Win8 OEM preloaded, mine was at least. Win8 product key is encrypted in bios,
which means that everybody having Win8 OEM version should get them personal moded bios version. For others moded bios reflash may rise later problems installing windows...
Step 6. After moded bios reflash connect usb stick and install your favorite OSX. I'm using example BCM943225HMB card which is older and cheaper card, but still have 150mb n support
and BT3.0 interface. At least for me good enough connecting wireless mouse or others and surfing in internet. If you planning lan streaming or big size files copy you should consider
more expensive cards. Example i tested BCM943225HMB with ML, Mavericks, Yosemite, using simple enabler type kext (consists only from plist), which just injects the right id's, works okay.
 

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Joined
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...... and the kext if someone needs .....
 

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Nice work. Boy, that's a lot of work to get the wifi working. I have the same issue with by X1Carbon. Probably wait around to see Broadcom makes NGFF card that works on OSX.
 
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Great work
I was thinking along the same route for venue 11 tablet but looks like I will have tough time fitting it in

Thanks for the details
 
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Nice work.
I too need to do this but my Lenovo is unable to have its bios uefi flashed due to the encryption issue.
So I need to find a half mini card that I can rebrand as an Intel card to bypass whitelist issue.
Then with the rebranded card use dsdt and fake PCI id to get the card working in OS X.
I've been looking for a device like this to convert mPCIe and NGFF for a while now. It's too bad this needs to be a daughter board style config.
 
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Hey OP have you had issues with wifi reception at all?
 
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Did you do anything special when you connected this?
No matter what I do no card that I put in the adapter will pick up a wifi signal. I connected an alternate pair of antenna that I know works as the provide reception for the same card in a laptop that has a typical mPCIe slot.
I've tried 2 adapters and 2 wifi cards....
 
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Greetings. Sorry for late reply… travelled a month, now back at home.
Trip end was sad, “succeeded” brick laptop touchscreen, now needs replacement.
About questions picking up signal / no signal / not working. After installation i did boot in “open mode”, without base cover, all wires / cables connected, bios reflashed (whitelist removed), system started “out of the box”, OSX recognized mini PCIE as “native” airport card, even BCM943225 sensitivity was bit better than genuine card sensitivity under the Win8. For first start used longest 12” / 30cm cable. Did shut down and placed bottom cover. After reboot BCM943225 was recognized by OSX and Win8, but card wasn’t able manage wifi signals. Again shut down and cover away, booted again and wifi worked well. After several repeats finally got idea… :banghead: when placing the cover the ribbon cable between ngff adapter and cardboard moved a little and obviously some contacts wasn’t well contacted.
Later re-placed cardboard 180 degrees (in disk drive compartment) which helped use shorter 8”/20cm cable, the system became stable after re-placed bottom cover. Anyway it’s quite a compromise placing the ribbon cable well, avoiding the deformation, after screwing back the bottom… so several attempts, was able guide the cable a little-bit thru the palmrest holes using screwdriver… :headbang:
So, connecting the boards, you should be very careful and accurate. Now after several months usage, there wasn’t any problems with wifi. Even did find Airplane Setting 2 app, installed and remapped to the F7 which was native Flight Mode key for Win8. Like 1 push wifi/BT down, another push all wireless again up, very useful when traveling by plane. RehabMan helped a lot, guiding voodoo keyboard settings/mappings, best regards for professional help.


Did read forums, seems like Lenovo starts support BCM94352Z card, at least Yoga 3 seems to be supported, took a screenshot from hardware manual. Lenovo part number is 20-200480, FRU 04x6020. One quy from lenovo forum informed that this one works also well with older Yoga 2-13, which hardware is similar as i have… but of course everything depending from bios or rebranding may help.
Lenovo forum link:
http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Yoga-Flex-Laptops-and/Yoga-2-13-20344-WiFi-Issues/m-p/2022667#M28720
Only question what’s left unanswered was key notch thing, so far as i know Yoga 2-13 using same A key notch as i have (reason why i’m using adapter), but Lenovo version of BCM94352Z aka 20-200480 equipped with E key.
Maybe there exists Yoga 2’s with different card notches….
Only comment i did find about “making your own notch” was this:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R3T3I2AQ82WKRA/ref=cm_cr_rev_detmd_pl?ie=UTF8&asin=B00JGFA50U&cdForum=Fx37YE7BGP4LZAE&cdMsgID=Mx1B8BNAC2LE3D6&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx1QCJ4UQA8KXXK&store=pc#Mx1B8BNAC2LE3D6
Sadly no results, does such “self cutted” version really also works… or just powering up….
I just immagine, could such self cutted version work in my laptop after rebranding or bios mod. Can anyone can comment such “make your own key” card version of BCM94352Z ?:beachball:
Thanks.
 

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Joined
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Seems like BCM94352 ngff exists even with A + E keys, Dell branded DW1560, Broadcom type BCM94352ZAE_3
Such card version can fit into the Lenovo A key NGFF slot, only the whitelist question leaves...
 

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