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2.0GHz, 2.3GHz, or 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache.

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Broken wifi antennas - how to solder stripped cables directly?

I have a late 2013 Macbook Pro that’s missing all 3 of the wifi antenna heads/connectors (those tiny copper/R2D2 looking things that you connect to the wireless card on the logic board). I’ve been trying to solder the stripped cables directly to the wifi card but I’ve had little to no success.

I’ve tried stripping the cable to expose the inner/secondary translucent cable . I then stripped that cable to expose maybe 5-6 strands of wire, and then soldered the exposed wires from inside that tube directly to the sockets on the board. After doing this I’m able to connect to my home network but the signal strength is incredibly weak.

I also tried stripping the black plastic back and then soldering the exposed wires that surround the inner cable along with the exposed wires from the inner cable. The results were pretty much the same as above.

Lastly I created a small solder glob in each socket and then soldered the clean cut/non stripped back cable directly to the pin inside the socket but that also did not work.

The wireless antenna cables have a plastic sheath, a copper foil sheath and lots of fragile wiring that surround the inner translucent tube that covers maybe 5-6 more wires.

Anyone know how one would optimally solder the stripped wires directly to the wireless card?

It’s odd because I had better results when I haphazardly used Kapton tape to sloppily affix the stripped cables on top of the sockets.

I’ve searched the forums and have found people with the same question but haven’t found the answer.

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These connectors are crimped on and not really re-usable (likely to snap the fold tabs). You would need to get the connector part and the special crimp tool to properly install the connector. Its just easier to replace the antenna assembly.

To properly install the U.FL connector you strip the inner wire a bit and then snap on the connector which pierces the shield and the inner conductor. Placing the connector in the tool and crimp it on. In addition you’er likely hitting a new problem as the lines don’t really have any spare length in them so you’ll need to replace the antenna unit with its hinge.

Hopefully you haven’t damaged the AirPort board with your soldering attempts. Completely clean off any solder as you likely have shorted out the lines to the ground shield.

Here’s the needed parts:

Here’s some info on the connector: RF Connector Buying Guide - U.FL

MacBook Pro 13" and 15" Retina (Late 2013-Mid 2014) Airport/Bluetooth Board Görseli

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MacBook Pro 13" and 15" Retina (Late 2013-Mid 2014) Airport/Bluetooth Board

$79.99

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Thank you for such a helpful reply,

I actually had a broken 2014 MBP display and instead of disassembling/removing the hinge from the display I opted to pluck the connectors off from the cables thinking it wouldn’t be that difficult to insert the existing stripped cables into the connectors. Ohhhh, if I could turn back time, I would’ve stayed inside my mother.

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Please note that these are not uFL connectors but AMC4/MHF4 MICRO connectors. They are even smaller than the uFL and even harder to manage. They are very VERY fickle and can snap with too much pressure.

I did the same thing and what I did was purchase new female MHF4/AMC4 connectors with leads connected from AliExpress in China and then cut them and solder the ends so that I have more cable to play with.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that both the lead inside as well as the “shielding” around the lead wire are connected to the antenna and therefore create a loop. I checked it a few times with a continuity check on a multi meter.

The item that I purchased are here as of this message in 2020.

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ohh man thank you a lot for your question im now sitting with theese antennas taped to my wireless card and i think i will never touch it while it works))) Thank you for your bad expirience)

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Glad it helped someone.

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