12 July 2010

Atheros AR5B93 - Perfect Mini MacBook

Or so I thought. But don't blame it on the Atheros AR5B93 card that came, finally, last Friday. Somewhere in between the challenge of solving the Snow Leopard + Windows 7 dual-boot puzzle on the HP Mini 311 and my excitement over receiving yet another new, err, "hardware", I may have slipped up.

We all know about HP's white lists and locked PCI slots and there's also the fact of this so called "soft switch" which in essence, means that an HP laptop uses this to "switch off" hardware installed in it. Now this soft switch is not something that Mac OS X appreciates. So, going straight to the point, what it means for the HP Mini 311 hackintosh user like me is that they would have their WiFi, that has always worked brilliantly, to suddenly not work. i.e. "No AirPort card installed" message in place of the signal indicator at the menubar.

This particular scenario, I've discovered, is more likely to happen when one is on dual-boot. Specifically a Windows version + Mac OS X. It appears to me that Windows appreciates this little trick of HP that after booting into Windows 7 and Mac OS X alternately for a while, I find my WiFi card disabled. And I have to use an Ubuntu USB flashdrive to try re-enabling the WiFi card thus  I've proven Linux to be above this soft switch situation. But sometimes, as good as Linux undoubtedly is, this stupidity can sometimes be beyond its tolerance level and I resort to re-seating my WiFi card in the PCI slot.

Taping PIN 20 of the WiFi card solved the problem for me, at least in the Broadcom BCM4312HMG card's case and so finally, I decided to peel the copper contact strip of that card's PIN 20 to make the fix permanent. And that's exactly where I say that I've started to slip up, perhaps.
*NOTE: this Broadcom BCM4312HMG is NOT the same as the HP Mini 311's stock WiFi card, which is a Broadcom BCM4312HMGB . That Broadcom BCM4312HMGB DOES NOT work in Snow Leopard. People, seriously, let us try to accept the fact and move on ;-)
You see, with my happy and giddy, and not to mention a bit troubled (with the dual-boot issue a fellow forumer was having) state last week, I had the equally happy idea of doing the permanent fix on my all brand new Atheros AR5B93.
It does work, mind you. It's even recognized by Snow Leopard as AirPort Extreme without me having to flash its Device ID's in Linux. My only problem now is that it would cause my HP Mini to freeze in 10.6. And when I updated my fresh install (I had to do a fresh install for the dual-boot experiment) to 10.6.4, I would get stuck at boot.

I'm really suspecting it's my "PIN 20 attack" that caused this problem and may have damaged my Atheros AR5B93. Perhaps it's only the Broadcom cards that benefit from that specific solution?

Anyone who have experience with Atheros AR5B93 on their HP Mini 311 share their feedback regarding the freeze ups at boot?


Iperzampem0 said...

"Taping PIN 20 of the WiFi card solved the problem for me, at least in the Broadcom BCM4312HMG card's case..."
What do you mean? Because, if I'm not wrong, I have that card preinstalled by default in my Compaq (HP) Mini 311...!
Taping PIN 20 could be a possible solution to the stock's card issue in Snow Leopard?

Anonymous said...

You say that you reverted back to your BCM4312HMG (from the mini 1000 (same as BCM94312HMG)?).
In post #327, you also mention loading Brcm4311Injector to enable this card... I'm thinking that this may be my problem (since I didn't do this and my mini 311 doesn't see any wifi card (but does when running windows).

I've searched for this file, but haven't found it... Can you point to where it is available?


LeMaurien19 said...

I know you want to believe that the stock WiFi on the HP Mini 311 could work in Snow Leopard with some magic, but it just cannot work. Let me clarify:

The Mini 311's stock WiFi is a Broadcom BCM4312HMGB and it does not work in Snow Leopard at all.

For contrast, the Mini 1001TU's stock WiFi is a Broadcom BCM4312HMG (no "B" in there) does work fine. It needs the tape cause it gets disabled from time to time, specially on dual boot cases.

Iperzampem0 said...

Thanks for the explanation ;)

Anonymous said...

So I purchased a mini 1000 wifi card (BCM94312HMG) and taped pin 20...

OS X still doesn't see the card (but Windows does!).

Is there something else you did to allow Snow Leopard to accept this card?


LeMaurien19 said...

Isn't there anyone who can share their experience with the Atheros AR5B93? :((
I'd really really appreciate it.

@Anonymous above
Kindly please search in this post or Google yonder. I've already answered this question.

Anonymous said...

Does taping pin 20 reduce battery life under windows?

Puzzler said...

LeMaurien19 ... I recently purchased the HP mini 311 refurb and it came with a bcm94312hmgl no bluetooth. I flashed the bios with the image you posted in your guide to free the slot. But then I tried to re-branding but no luck freeze on "$SSB_SPROM > ssb_sprom_copy" I tested the card works in linux windows and even on a different boxes mini 10v, s10e but for on luck re-branding on any box and vise-versa (eg. I took there bcm43xx that was working within there OSX setup).

I then tried to bcm43xxenabler.sh still no luck.

I just want a good know wifi card. even a G card @ least to get wifi working?

Thanks again for your guide!!! I really love the size of this hp mini compared to other netbooks I just wish I could a stable box.

LeMaurien19 said...

It's a bcm94312hmgl - there's that "l" there. What I can assure is that bcm94312hmg is the one that works among the HP stock WiFi cards.

Puzzler said...


bcm94312hmgl, yeah I was puzzled too I only found out by slowly removed the HP Sticker over the chip covering another sticker with that model printed on it. but anywho, I just order 2 PW934 (dell 1510) I hope theses cards work. any suggestions or other guides to get the new cards working under osx? rebranding?

LeMaurien19 said...

I'm not familiar with the Dell1510 but I do know that some cards are recognized as AirPort Extreme by Mac OS X out of the box. So try to see first if Dell1510 you buy happens to benefit from this happy coincidence, if it does, then no need to rebrand.

Just launch System Profiler to check out your card. If you see there a "Third Party Wireless" and the card is a "N" WiFi card, that's when I'd suggest rebranding to make OS X use full featured drivers that are otherwise reserved for AirPort Extreme branded cards.

If it's just a regular b/g card, based on personal experience (bcm94312hmg card), it doesn't make any difference whether it stays Third Party or AirPort Extreme.

Anonymous said...

Hi LeMaurien19,

I've read many posts stating the stock card being the BCM94312hmgB, but that is not always correct. It depends on the model variant of the Mini 311.

For example, I have a HP Mini 311-1000NR, in this model, the stock card is the Broadcom BCM9431HMG (HP part no. 504593-003)

It might help users if this is clarified in the EFI guide. Which is excellent and (aside from WiFi issues) worked perfectly for me on the first try!

LeMaurien19 said...

Does that BCM94312HMG card with HP part no. 504593-003 work in Snow Leopard?

It might be the same exact card that the HP Mini 1000 has...but then we can never be sure with the just the model/part no. running.

So does this specific WiFi card that Mini 311 of yours have, work with Snow Leopard?