13 Replies Latest reply on Sep 22, 2014 11:56 PM by jboby93

    Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW

    SCTom46

      I have the above laptop, upgraded from Win7 to Win8 Pro to Win8.1 Pro (all 64-bit). I have been very disatisfied with the factory-installed Atheros AR5BWB222 wireless card, and came across a good deal on an Intel 3160 Dual Band Wireless AC + Bluetooth Mini PCIe card. I removed the Atheros and installed the Intel, thinking it would automatically pick up the drivers if I had my UTP cable plugged in. Wrong! I then shut it down, removed the Intel card, booted it up with no wireless, and removed the Atheros drivers for wireless and BT. Rebooted just to be sure, then hooked up the UTP cable and downloaded and installed the Intel drivers for my card.I then reinstalled the Intel card, booted up, and Windows wouldn't even find it. No listing in Device Manager, no discovery when trying "Scan for hardware changes", absolutely nothing.

       

      I tried numerous other methods- uninstall drivers, insert card without drivers and then install drivers, nothing works. Thinking that maybe the card was bad, I put it in my old Gateway M6850fx (even though it only has a full sized port) and it installed fine, once I went out to Intel and DL'd the drivers for Win7. Had wireless and BT, no problem.

       

      Any ideas on what I can do to get my Acer to recognize it? Does Acer have a "whitelist" like some HP's? If so, is there any way around it? I have the latest BIOS and drivers for WIn8.1 that Acer has to offer, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what to do to make this card work.


      TIA!

        • 1. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
          kevin_intel

          Hi SCTom46,

           

          I am sorry you are having this issue with the system but let me help you with it.

           

          I understand the adapter is not being recognized on the computer so I would like you to first check for a hardware or software switch to turn or off the wireless feature. In the case this unit has a switch like this; most likely it will not recognize the adapter.

           

          Here you have some links with very important information about changing:

          http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/sb/CS-006192.htm

          http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/wlan/sb/CS-011644.htm

           

          Kevin M

          • 2. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
            SCTom46

            Tried that. It won't let me start the wireless because it can't find an adapter to start :-(

             

            Thanks for the reply and links. I read them before, and I have a similar post on the Acer forums to see if there's an Acer workaround. Nowhere can I find that Acer white-lists certain hardware, but it seems like only the Qualcomm Atheros or Broadcom adapters work in them (that's the only drivers they provide on their driver page).

            • 3. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
              kevin_intel

              In the case the Wireless card is not being recognized by the system this can be more a hardware issue rather than a software issue. Have you tried the wireless card on another system? Is it possible to do it?

              You may also contact our support for a possible replacement if necessary. 

               

              Here is the contact information:

              1. Www.Intel.com/chat

               

              Kevin M

              • 4. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                SCTom46

                I DID try it, in my Gateway laptop, as stated in the original post. Once the Intel drivers were loaded it worked fine.

                 

                I returned it for a refund. After the Gateway test, I assumed the wifi card was OK, and that it was a problem with the Acer laptop. Guess I'll stick with the factory card. It actually seems to work a little better once I uninstalled all the Atheros drivers and reinstalled them. Still not great though.

                 

                Thanks for your suggestions.

                • 5. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                  kevin_intel

                  You are welcome. I hope you get it fixed.

                   

                  Kevin M

                  • 6. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                    SCTom46

                    Well, after further degeneration of the Atheros card, I bought a Broadcom BCM943228HMB Combo WiFi/BT card ($19 from Amazon) and installed it. OMG, what a difference! As soon as I booted the laptop, it installed the wifi driver on its own, then went out and updated it to the latest version. I now have wifi almost before the OS finishes loading :-)

                     

                    I had to manually install the BT drivers, but that was also painless. Now both my wifi and BT are rock solid with a great connection and no intermittent disconnects. I've only had the card installed for a week, but I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for wifi performance that doesn't break down every 10 minutes.

                     

                    I know this is an Intel forum, but unfortunately, Intel was not the solution for my hardware. Strange that the Intel card wouldn't since the laptop has an Intel CPU/GPU and chipset.

                    Thanks for your suggestion and help :-)

                    • 7. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                      jboby93

                      I have an Acer Aspire V3-572G that also shipped with the terrible Atheros wireless card.  I swapped it out for an Intel Dual-Band AC 3160 I got on Amazon, which I hoped would fix it.

                       

                      In addition to still occasionally dropping the connection, it would also periodically refuse to connect to any wireless network, and yesterday while I was in class trying to download some notes, the card died completely.  It completely disappeared from Device Manager, which reported that the card was not installed in the computer.

                       

                      This post and your recommendation of a Broadcom saved what is otherwise a wonderful laptop.  I bought the Broadcom card you recommended and installed it, and it installed both wireless and Bluetooth drivers on its own, and hasn't dropped a connection yet.  It also seems to be faster.  Meanwhile, with the Intel card I had to install wireless drivers manually and the Bluetooth part of it never did show up in Device Manager either, no matter how many times I reinstalled drivers for it or tried other operating systems.  Thank you so much SCTom46!

                       

                      I tried emailing Intel when I first noticed the problems, but they unhelpfully replied with "talk to the manufacturer of the computer".  Acer told me to talk to Intel.  Intel told me again to talk to Acer, and then said 'just wait for new drivers then" (which also didn't work).  Thanks for the help, Intel (not)

                      • 8. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                        SCTom46

                        You're more than welcome! I'm glad it works as well for you as it has for me :-)

                        • 9. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                          jboby93

                          Well, it looks like I spoke too soon.  After working all day perfectly (probably lulling me into a false sense of satisfaction lol) it develops a new problem.

                           

                          The Broadcom provides me with flawless wireless and Bluetooth, at the expense of my computer randomly and completely freezing during network usage.  I can't pin down a cause on this: there's nothing in Event Viewer that gives any leads on what's causing it, and the problem isn't limited to just Windows; I also tried an Ubuntu live USB disc, which promptly froze upon opening the internet browser.  When it freezes, I mean that in the most literal sense possible: the entire computer stops whatever it's doing and either stays completely frozen and unresponsive to everything (mouse doesn't move, ctrl-alt-del has no effect, etc), or goes straight to a black screen.  Sometimes it works for a good 30 minutes, and sometimes it won't even make it past the login screen.  I have no explanation for this, especially since it only started doing this about 4 hours ago after working fine all day long.

                           

                          I don't know what's worse: crappy wireless that drops out, or perfect wireless that crashes my computer uncontrollably.  In the meantime I've reinstalled the Intel card and it hasn't crashed since. :(

                           

                          I didn't realize it was so difficult to make a working wireless internet card these days.  My last laptop (a 2009 Toshiba) never had a single wireless issue like this, ever.

                          • 10. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                            SCTom46

                            I'm sorry to hear you're having problems with the Broadcom. I haven't experienced anything like you have with it.

                             

                            A couple of things you might want to try to fix the problem is to make sure all the drivers for the Intel and the original Atheros have been completely uninstalled.

                            A memory check may be in order. I'd recommend Memtest 86+ for that <Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool>. Create the bootable CD and run it.

                            Running CHKDSK wouldn't hurt, and just might fix a thing or two :-)

                             

                            I agree with your assessment of wifi cards- who would think it would be so difficult to find compatible, cross-platform ones? I haven't seen problems like this since some older Compaq laptops we had at work back in the 90's. They were solid as a rock otherwise, but for wifi. I've worked with HP, Dell, Gateway, Sony and Lenovo over the years and not had these kinds of problems :-(

                            • 11. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                              jboby93

                              I take that back: the problem is unrelated to the Broadcom.  I figured out that if I push too hard in the middle of the keyboard, the system instantly crashes as I described. So I'm thinking I bumped something or knocked a connection loose while swapping the cards.

                               

                              Thanks again for the Broadcom tip though, now that I know that's not causing my current problem lol

                               

                              If anyone from Intel is still in the thread I can provide the minidump report (it's a stop error 124: WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR)

                              • 12. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                                SCTom46

                                About all that tells you is that it's a fatal error. Well, duh, you kinda figured that out already :-(

                                 

                                There are a couple of tools you can download to read your minidumps and give you some info about it (them). One is BlueScreenView http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html and another is WhoCrashed http://www.resplendence.com/downloads (scroll down to get to it. You can read about it here: http://www.resplendence.com/whocrashed )

                                 

                                You can also upload your DMP files to one of the free file hosting sites, and I or someone else may be able to analyze it for you.

                                 

                                If you REALLY want to get involved, you can use the MS debugger  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff551063(v=vs.85) . Unfortunately, it's not very intuitive, and you have to download a number of extra files for it. I'd stick to the first two I listed, unless you're a glutton for punishment (after decades in IT, you know I am LOL!).

                                • 13. Re: Acer Aspire V3-731 and an Intel 3160HMW
                                  jboby93

                                  I was able to figure out the issue, there was a problem where my motherboard was shorting out due to a metal contact on the keyboard coming into contact with a scratch on the motherboard.  I put a tiny piece of electrical tape over it and it's been fine since.

                                   

                                  Now the Broadcom has been dropping my connection every 10-15 minutes for the last hour.  I think it was perfectly fine before I installed the Acer-provided Bluetooth drivers.  I dunno, I'll have to try uninstalling them.  But this whole thing is getting ridiculous now, it shouldn't be this hard to get a connection that stays connected.