Add Wireless AC to Early 2013 13″ MacBook Pro

A few months ago I figured out how to add Wireless AC to my Early 2013 13″ Retina MacBook Pro. I replaced the WiFi module with one from a Late 2013 13″ MacBook Pro (looking around online, and the same module may be in the 15″ Retinas as well).

The installation was simple (make sure you have a pentalobe screwdriver available), and the hardware was automatically recognized because the drivers were already in OSX. I did see some odd behavior when managing the preferred WiFi networks on my laptop, so you may want to delete the WiFi interface in System Preferences before shutting down and doing this swap.

I have seen some descriptions on eBay that say that the module from the newer model will not work in the Early 2013, but I can assure you that mine fits and has been working very nicely for several months. You will want to make sure you open your laptop and visually identify your WiFi module, and compare the size, shape and connector in the eBay/online source of the new module as I cannot be sure that there was not a mid-model internal change. I got mine several months ago for less than $25 shipped, and the prices are around $15-20 shipped now.

My MacBook Info:

  • Name: MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2013)
  • Model: A1425
  • EMC: 2672

Original WiFi Module Info:

  • Part Number: 607-8360, 661-7013, 607-9689, 653-0194 (unsure what the original part number was, and I am not sure where my original module went to)

Replacement WiFi Module Info:

  • Part Number: 653-0029
  • Late 2013 Model: A1502

DIY 12v MacBook MagSafe Charger


As I get more 12v devices setup in my home office/ham shack I have started venturing into more and more electronics projects.

I started researching alternatives to the Apple MagSafe power adapters and did not come up with much. There seemed to be few willing to experiment with powering their expensive laptops from alternate sources.

In looking at my power adapters and Apple laptops I determined that a power source of 16.5v into a MagSafe cord would work. With none of my available power sources supplying 16.5v, I had to purchase a voltage step-up converter that would support the 3.65A load of my 13″ Retina MacBook Pro is rated for. I found one on Amazon that would support a 6A continuous load. I tested it on my bench and verified the output voltage on the built in display with a multimeter and found that it was off by about a tenth of a volt, not a show stopper.

While holding my breath, I connected it to my laptop and… the green light indicating charger was connected lit, and the charger was recognized in OSX. I drained the battery a few percent, and it charged up. I then drained the battery down to about 50% and successfully charged it up. Recharge times were roughly the same as using the AC Adapter. The only apparent difference I have found is that the Apple adapters only put out 6v until a load is present. This no doubt saves power on an adapter that is always plugged in, but I turn my 12v power supplies on and off as I use them.

I mounted everything up in a project box with some hot glue, a PowerPole lead, and a switch. I drilled a few vent holes around where the heatsinks of the voltage step-up converter are to allow for heat dissipation. I rarely feel the housing get more than just warm to the touch, but plan to drill more for a margin of safety.

I used the adapter for several days in my home office with no issues to report. I believe I will be switching back to the AC adapter for day-to-day operations, and will use this adapter for portable operations.

IMG_0796 IMG_0797

Word of warning – fuses are your friend

One time while checking the voltage at the MagSafe connector I shorted it against the magnetic collar. No permanent damage occurred to the power supply, voltage step-up adapter, or the MagSafe connector, but I have since decided to add a fuse to the output to prevent this from being an issue. With the MagSafe pins exposed, using a traditional quick-blow fuse may become an issue because the likelihood of shorting is high. I am going to try out a self-resetting poly fuse and see if the response times are adequate to prevent damage to the electronics.


Project Materials

Voltage step-up converter:

MagSafe2 Cord:

Project Box:

Power Switch:

Good reason to run as a standard user in Windows

I have been running my computers with my daily-driver account being a standard user, with a separate administrator account on my Windows and Mac OSX computers for a few years now.

This has not been without headache, as it requires a username and password when doing some actions on the computer. Sometimes the prompt came up with the most innocuous of actions, but usually it happens when installing software, applying updates, or making changes to system parameters.

Analysis by a company called Avecto has revealed that my efforts have not been in vain. They have reason to promote these findings to get your business to use their solutions, but anybody can take the fundamental approach of granting only the access that is needed without a costly solution. Their findings are specific to the Windows operating system, but the idea can, and should, be applied to all operating systems.

92% of Windows critical vulnerabilities were mitigated by removing administrator rights, and 60% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities were mitigated by removing administrator rights.

This breaks down to the following critical vulnerabilities being mitigated by removing administrator rights:

  • Windows operating system: 96%
  • Internet Explorer: 100%
  • Microsoft Office: 91%

Their methodology took the Microsoft executive summaries and tabulated the number of critical vulnerabilities that Microsoft had identified as able to be mitigated with standard user rights against the total number of vulnerabilities published in 2013.

By mitigating between 60 and 100% of vulnerabilities, you can bet that I will continue to use a standard account as my “daily-driver” login on my personal computer for a long time to come.


Microsoft Surface Desparation

So let me get this straight. Microsoft charges off almost $1billion of Surface tablets because they can’t sell them to save their lives. Now they’re advertising them on TV as a half price alternative to the best selling tablet… I only see compromises as increased popularity during a fire sale does not indicate a superior product (BlackBerry Playbook anybody?)

iPad vs Microsoft Surface