View Full Version : iMac G4 clicking SuperDrive

Nov 10, 2007, 01:05 PM

On Monday I've got the task of trying to fix a friend's 1GHz Widescreen iMac G4. He lives 200 miles away and I'm making a special journey, so I'd like to arrive as fully clued-up as possible.

The machine was running OS X 10.2 Jaguar & working fine, except the SuperDrive, which would refuse to read some DVDs, producing a disturbing clicking noise (reminds me of the old Iomega Zip "Click of Death"). Sometimes if he gave the case a hard slap, it did start working a bit better.

However, after attempting to install Tiger, the machine now won't boot. My suspicion is that the SuperDrive failed mid-way through the install process, and has left his machine in an unworkale state. On the phone he's not being very clear about the exact symptoms.

He's not that bothered about the SuperDrive not working, but he wants to be able to surf the web and use eMail, use his new iPod Nano (hence his recent attempt to install Tiger), and of course he at least wants his data back.

If I can't fix it, he says he's going to buy a cheap (400) windows laptop from Tesco. :eek:

So I guess, I've got to first recover his data using target disk mode.

Then, I've either got to fix/replace the superdrive, or somehow install Tiger without using the SuperDrive. At my disposal will be my new MBP, a firewire cable, an external USB hard drive, and my wits.

Can you buy replacement superdrives for the iMac G4?

Can you install Tiger from an external USB drive? Or from an external DVD drive?

Any tips?


PS: He lives near an Apple store if that's any use.

Nov 10, 2007, 02:58 PM
Mine started doing that as well and it was the superdrive. I had applecare at the time and it was all taken care of. I'm sure that you can find a replacement drive for it.

Nov 10, 2007, 03:28 PM
Yea, it sounds like the superdrive has gone belly up. Well the good news it is a standard size drive, so as an alternative to replacing it up can actually upgrade it. There are DL (dual level) and even BD (bluetooth drives) that will work just great in an g4 imac. You'll have to open the ball up, which is a bit of a pain. You need new conductive goop for the the heat pipe (in only a couple $ but you really want to use new instead of trying to reuse the old goop). Also, you might consider replacing the flex cable for the drive, on lots of the G4 iMac that cable has gotten brittle, works fine until up move it (like replacing the drive). Then it just craps out. Another $20-$30, but is is worth the insurance not to open up the mac again.

Good Luck.

Nov 10, 2007, 03:57 PM
I have a PDF of how to open an iMac G4 I got from a website with old Mac repair manuals, which tells exactly what is needed and how to open it. You can install Tiger via FW target disk I believe... but the different architecture of the systems will leave the Tiger disk useless without a PPC Mac with a working disk drive. You will need to buy a new drive (a link (http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/optical-drives/superdrives/powermac/)) and these things: Tools
The following tools are recommended for the take apart procedures.
The service stand (076-0898) (not needed, you most likely won't find one)
Thermal paste (922-4757)
Torque driver, 17" LB (076-0899)
1.5 mm hex driver (for LCD bezel screws)
#0 Phillips screwdriver)
Torx screwdriver set (6, 8, 10, 15)
Plastic flatblade screwdriver or stylus (922-5065)
Needlenose pliers
ESD wriststrap and mat (for static electricity... not needed, but recommended)

Nov 10, 2007, 04:53 PM
Thank you all. Yeah, it sounds like it needs a new ComboDrive.

I found this (http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/iMac_g4/imacg4_takeapart.html) too.