imac in a hostile environment

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by jtgotsjets, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #1
    my dad owns a small shop in our garage where he makes vintage dragsters.
    i've managed to convince him to get rid of his webtv and get an imac (a used $250ish crt imac). however this is a pretty harsh environment for electronics (he can rarely keep a stereo for more than a couple of years).

    so i have an idea.
    i was think he could make a cover to go over the vent on top. it would be made of aluminum and be raised about an inch or two, allowing airflow and the four sides.
    my question is this: do you think this would both allow enough airflow to keep the system cool, but still keep crap out of the computer?

    also, any other general suggestions?
    (the imac will preferably have the slot loading cd drive and an airport card)
     
  2. jsw
    Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    I saw a picture once - and no way will I be able to dredge it up now - in which an older iMac had been encased in something which allowed it to function in a "harsh" environment. My memory is that a case was constructed which fit around the entire iMac except for the front. An air filter - a good one - was placed on one side (or maybe it was underneath), and a fan was used to draw air through the mechanism out the other side (top?). It looked like a Borg contraption, but all air was filtered, and fans forced enough air through it to keep the Mac cool.

    Best of luck with getting something to work in your Dad's work area!
     
  3. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #3
    You seem to have it all worked out, I probably would have just stuck the machine in a cheap pillowcase and left the face of the machine sticking out as I taped the machine into the pillowcase.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    SuperChuck

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Location:
    Chucktown, SC
    #4
    Do not attempt the pillowcase solution. Unless, of course, you like dead computers and the faint smell of burning plastic.

    My boss draped a gauzy fabric over his iMac when it was not in use (but still on). It overheated and died and the Applecare was null and void. When they say "do not cover the vent" they really mean it.
     
  5. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #5
    Which iMac did he do it on?

    I didn't say it was perfect, but there has to be a cheap option to using the ventilated and filtered contraptions the enviromental allergy suffers use to seal the machines away under glass.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    SuperChuck

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Location:
    Chucktown, SC
    #6
    iMac Special Edition DV 400 Mhz Graphite.

    I know this because I had the same computer at the time, not because I compulsively check the Apple System Profiler on every Mac I encounter.

    Okay, maybe I do.
     
  7. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #7
    One of the fanless suckers, yes Apple does mean the don't block vents on those.

    Though cats seem to love sitting on top of those machines more than the others.

    Anything you stick those in have to do something a bit extra to draw the heat off.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #8
    So do you think the cover wouldn't work? It wouldn't be blocking the vent, but it might restrict airflow a little (plus, I was thinking if it was aluminum, it would be better, as that's what heat sinks are made out of, right?). I suppose we could try to install a fan on the cover to blow air away, but I have no idea how to even begin to do that.

    Also, has anyone ever tried modding an iMac case like this? If we were to use screws to put it in, its not so brittle that it would crack the case or anything, right?
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    stevehaslip

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    The Ocean Floor
    #9
    don't put screws in the casing! it was never meant to take any kind of extra weight or stress. just make a cover that sits on top with the air vents in the right place for the imacs intakes. i wouldnt mind seeing a picture when its done?
     
  10. macrumors G3

    Counterfit

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    sitting on your shoulder
    #10
    Oh, if only it were a tray-load... link
     
  11. Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #11
    would he not be better with a g3 powermac? you could place the base unit in a vented cupboard, get a couple of Keyboard/Mouse/Monitor extension leads and keep the monitor, mouse & keyboard exposed.

    If you add a USB card, then just have a usb hub exposed and plug the keyboard/mouse into that.

    If not, and you already have a iMac then you could retrofit the imac with some air filter fabric around the vents of the iMac case. You may also need to add a CPU fan. Of course the fabric would need to be cleaned like once a year with a vaccum cleaner.
     
  12. macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #12
    the only computers that have seen outfitted to work in a shop were liquid cooled solutions.
     
  13. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #13
  14. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #14
    I think another big problem is the intake vent. When I've opened up computers in the past, there's always a ton of very fine dust caked on the components wherever air could get in. If he's working on stuff in the garage, there will be all sorts of small particulates getting sucked into the computer simply because the air is nasty. I don't think a metal box will solve that problem.
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #15
    Airport + aluminum enclosure = no signal.

    What exactly is the harsh environment? And how big is the shop? It seems that a computer ought to be able to live a farily happy life if it's placed in the right part of the shop.
     
  16. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #16
    Ventilation will be the biggest issue. Both in- take and out-take. The primary issues will be a filtered in-take and a unfettered out-take.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #17
    The PowerMac wouldn't work, I think. There's just not enough space where he works. The iMac is about the perfect size, plus he won't have to worry about cables and stuff (he's into simple, especially with computers, as evidenced by his only computer experience: the WebTV).

    I'm thinking that an air filter might be best for what I can do on my own. Any ideas on how to get a CPU fan working?

    The CRT iMac doesn't have an intake vent, does it? I mean, there's no fan...

    How does the aluminum PowerBook get a signal? Anyway, I was hoping we wouldn't need to resort to an enclosure, and that a vent cover of some kind would be alright.

    And the environment is harsh in that there are metal shaving and metal dust thingies floating all over the place. He has a desk/workbench, which is where the computer would be (where his WebTV and stereo are now), which is really the least harsh area. But stereos still have a hard time surviving (then again, the WebTV has only needed a replacement once, I believe, in about 8 years of using it).



    Ok, here's another idea:
    A removable vent cover that would completely cover the top vent and seal it off for the most part. However, the vent would be removed any time the computer was in use (as I doubt he will be checking email and grinding dragster parts at the same time).
    Would this be a better solution?
    Thanks for all the help.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #18
    Also, I was looking on eBay and saw "AirPort Adaptors" for iMacs. It said that you needed it to install AirPort cards into iMacs of a certain age. What models would need this, or is this just a scam?
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #19
    bump, because i'd at least really like to know about these 'airport adaptors'
     
  20. macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #20
    Some model iMacs--the first ones with AirPort (check apple-history.com to see which ones exactly) do need an adaptor to use an AirPort card. I don't think it's all G3 iMacs but it might be.

    I'm still trying to come up with something helpful on this topic. So far I can't get past "arrange the shop so that the computer isn't at risk" and "does he need a computer in the shop." The former really is the best solution, but I don't know if there's space. If the computer is getting metal shavings in it then it sounds like a very small shop. Maybe your best bet is to buy inexpensive computers and plan on short lives for them.
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2002
    #21
    It's true, most "Airport ready" slot-loading G3 iMacs need an adaptor card. I bought one at the San Fran Apple Store a few months ago for my 400 MHz G3 iMac. Not sure exactly which models need it, but if you have a slot-loading G3 iMac it's a pretty good bet you'll need to throw down for the extra adaptor.
     
  22. Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    Location:
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    #22
  23. macrumors 68020

    neoelectronaut

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Southeastern Louisiana
    #23
    Where can I download the manual?
     

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