PowerBook Sprint Merlin S720 Hack

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Tuesday, 05 September 2006

Sprint does't support Macs, OS X 10.4.7 doesn't support Merlin S720 - EVDOinfo shows you how to get them working :)

Image WARNING!!!! The latest firmware update 134 released by Sprint on 10/23/2006 breaks this hack. DO NOT install the latest firmware on your S720. If you do, the card will no longer work on your PowerBook :(

For the latest information on this topic see:


The Merlin 720 inserted into a PowerBook G4

This is an UNSUPPORTED HACK. Apple will not support this, Sprint doesn't support this AND we do not provide support for this hack. For those that purchase their Merlin S720 from us, we do have a more detailed step by step PDF that is available (this is only available to those that purchase their card directly from us).

Image This article will descibe how to get the Merlin S720 to work with your PowerBook on Sprint's Mobile Broadband. The Merlin S720 is the first EVDO Rev A PCMCIA card available.

NOTE: These are instructions are for advanced users who know what they are doing only! These directions work under Mac OS X 10.4.7. For those that are not familar with the Terminal application, we have a step by step keystroke by keystroke PDF that will step you through the process:

Since the Merlin S720 is a PCMCIA card, it will only work in Macs that have a PCMCIA Slot, such as the PowerBook 15, PowerBook 17 inch, Pismo, and Titinium). These laptops must be running Mac OS X 10.4.7. If you are running a MacBook, you can use the CDU-550 (EVDO USB Modem). If you are running a MacBook Pro, you can use the CDU-550 OR the Novatel V640 ExpressCard.

Also, the card MUST be activated on a Windows PC before it can be used on the Mac. When ordering your S720 card from us, we offer the option to pre-activate it BEFORE we ship it to you.


  • Remove the Merlin S720 Card if it is already inserted.
  • Open the Terminal application.
  • Go to the IOSerialFamily kernel extension PlugIns folder by executing the following command: cd /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/
  • Execute the ls command to view the directory, and you should see amongst the other plug-ins one called AppleVerizonSupport.kext and the other called AppleVerizonSupportKicker.kext. If you do not see these directories, then you are probably not running Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later, as they are installed by default.
  • To enable support for the Novatel Wireless card, we need to change the Product ID number in the two Info.plist files contained within the two kext's above. You can use pico, but any text editor will do.
  • Type sudo pico AppleVerizonSupport.kext/Contents/Info.plist
  • Scroll down, until you see AppleVerizonDevicev620
  • Now Scroll down until you see a line that says idProduct
  • In the line underneath, you should see 4368
  • Replace the number with 4400 (which is the product ID of the Merlin S720 Novatel Wireless card)
  • Save and exit the editor
  • Repeat process for the AppleVerizonSupportKicker.kext plist file
  • Rebuild the kernel extension cache by executing these two commands:
  • sudo rm /System/Library/Extensions.kextcache
  • sudo kextcache -k /System/Library/Extensions
  • Restart your Mac (you can do this from the command line with a
  • sudo shutdown -r now command)
  • Insert the Novatel S720 Card
  • Goto System Preferences -> Network and configure the Novatel Wireless Modem to dial #777 and use a modem script of Sprint PCS Vision
  • Use Internet Connect to connect and disconnect.

  • Congratulations, your Merlin S720 is now working in your PowerBook on the Sprint Network, you can now pull down on the EVDO card indicator in the menu bar and click Connect and you will be connected. The above hack will not show you signal strength, and the menu will indicate you have a Verizon card, BUT it does allow you to connect.


    We are hoping that Apple will add Merlin S720 support in Mac OS X 10.4.8 (they didn't)

    How is performance?

    Speed Test on a PowerBook 15 inch:


    Same card on a Sony Vaio:


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    Related Articles:

Last Updated ( Monday, 13 November 2006 )
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