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Anyone running a headless iBook?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by inkswamp, May 3, 2008.

  1. macrumors 68020


    The screen on my old G3 iBook died a few weeks back. The computer itself works great still, but the backlight on the screen is just gone, rendering it useless.

    I've been toying with an oddball idea but it requires removing the screen completely and running the iBook headless. Is anyone out there doing that? If so, any pointers on how to remove the screen without killing the rest of the computer would be appreciated.

    I thought it might be interesting to see if I could remove the LCD then set the machine to log in automatically and launch iTunes at startup playing from the playlist at random. I could move over a ton of songs and hook the computer up to the stereo and use it as a jukebox.

    It would be dead simple to operate. Press the power button and it boots up, logs in, launches iTunes and starts playing. You can use the space bar to pause it. Use the arrow keys to skip to the next track. To power off, you hit the power button and then hit return which forces iTunes to quit and the machine to power down. No screen required.

    I know that can be done, but the screen removal part is the only part I'm not sure about.
  2. macrumors 601


    Yes many people used "headless" ibooks before. You will have to remove the top case where the touchpad is and probably the bottom first to get to some screws holding the top on. There are only 2 screws holding the hinge on. You will have to remove the top heat shield in order to disconnect the video cable and microphone as well as the power cable for the LCD. You can use a guide on www.ifixit.com on how to disassemble it.

    A really great way to control the ibook is to go to System Preferences and then go to the Sharing icon and turn on Apple Remote Desktop. Set it up in Access Privileges check the VNC viewers may control screen with password to control the headless ibook from anywhere in your home while on your network. I used this method when I used my 600mhz ibook and turned it into a custom digital photo frame since it didn't have a keyboard or mouse anymore. Use a program called Chicken of the VNC on your other computer to fully control the ibook.

    You can also set your ibook to a schedule to "Wake Up" every day
    at a certain time and then it'll start playing your music and then "Sleep" when you leave for work or something similiar. That's in the Energy Saver icon in System Prefs. Again I used that for my photo frame to come on every morning and then turn off every night so it's not running 24/7.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Wow, the ifixit site has a wealth of info about older machines. Thanks for the pointer and the other info. The scheduled wake up idea is great!

    Looking through the steps for removing the display gives me a little bit of shudder however. There's a surprising amount of stuff to disassemble to get the LCD disconnected.

    For my purposes, this doesn't have to be pretty. The machine is going to be largely hidden from view. To avoid all that disassembly hassle, I would be willing literally to take a hacksaw to the hinge if I knew it wasn't going to kill the whole machine. :D

    I know there's wiring running through the hinge to power and control the display but I don't know if forcibly severing any of it will cause the machine to fail to boot.
  4. macrumors 601


    Don't go hacking it off as the hinge is still kinda valuable. It's still compatible with any G3/G4 12" ibook :p.

    Besides, you can find the whole LCD assembly on ebay for dirt cheap anyways if you are lucky if you want to fix it.
  5. macrumors regular

    This is an old topic but I thought I'd share.

    I remember the first time I took my 12" Ibook apart, it was scary. I lost a bunch of screws and was mortified when I was prying that bottom case off.
    Now I can take the thing apart in no time, (helps when there aren't as many screws, you don't need them all.)

    Just grit your teeth and put aside an afternoon to do it, it's not as bad or confusing as it seems, especially if asthetics aren't a problem. I cracked a little section of the bottom of my case but it's not noticeable.

    I gave my friend the old ibook recently and one of his kids stepped on the screen rendering it useless (to him) so I got it back and I am planning the same thing you are. It's sitting at home all skeletonized right now waiting for me to take the lcd off.

    that ifixit website is a godsend, thanks for the link.

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