Help! My G4 iMac has fallen and can't get up!!!

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by kimtoufectis, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. kimtoufectis macrumors newbie

    kimtoufectis

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    After watching the not-as-helpful-as-I-thought YouTube videos on the subject, I, a relative newbie to hardware hacking, decided to clone the hard drive of my elegant-but-limited 1.25 MHz 20 inch iMac G4 to a 120 GB SSD I had gathering dust, then took it apart to swap the drives. I'd like to stretch its capability just a bit (I've already upgraded to 2 GB of RAM), perhaps reducing boot time and, just maybe, improving web browsing performance (I use TenFourFox). Now I'm stuck and need community advice.

    I used Carbon Copy Cloner to create a bootable SSD clone of the original 80 GB hard drive. I bought an IDE to SSD adapter and some thermal paste and went on inside the case.

    The trouble began when I attached the the ribbon cable and the SSD to opposite sides of the adapter. The ribbon cable was just long enough to reach around the SuperDrive to the hard drive, and when the adapter sits on the Superdrive the IDE pins are a bit farther away. The cable has no slack, so the adapter has to tilt about 30 degrees to connect. [A look at the adapter: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemVersion&item=182283021343&view=all&tid=1774502252008]

    Now the fun begins!
    • At the angle, the SSD didn't sit flush with the Superdrive and seemed likely to press into the fan once reassembled, straining the adapter. So I removed the (mostly empty) case from the tiny SSD internals. I reassembled the he machine and turned it on to the tiny flashing question mark/Mac logos of "I can't find a boot drive."
    • I noticed the little drum-like projecting parts of the adapter (capacitors?) were angled from perpendicular with the adapter by mounting it at the skewed angle against the SuperDrive, so I straightened them out. With the machine apart I powered it up and it booted to my desktop (yay!) but reassembly strained things and once re-reassembled I rebooted to "where's my boot drive?" again.
    • I wondered whether I might adjust the connectors to extend the length of the ribbon cable a bit, but on close inspection, it doesn't seem to have any play. It measures 12 cm (4.7 in) from female connector to female connector.
    I'm at a crossroads and way, way over my head here. I can think of a few paths forward:
    1. I could replace the IDE-to-IDE ribbon cable with a longer one (not terribly longer, because there's precious little space inside this machine as it is).
    2. I could remove the Superdrive from the machine, letting the adapter-SDD setup sit nearer the motherboard so the current ribbon cable wouldn't strain around it. Yes, a bit radical, but I scarcely use it except to reinstall the OS, and have a 40 GB Firewire drive I can hook to my "new" (early 2006 32-bit Intel) iMac with a Superdrive should I need to get something onto this machine hereafter, or (never tried it) just Firewire the two iMacs together. I've no idea whether its absence might affect other components; the power feed seems to interconnect the two drives.
    3. I could reincstall the original hard drive, accept the limits of a fifteen year-old system, and relegate my most elegant iMac to the role of lightly-used curiosity-in-the-corner.
    I'd welcome some community input...
     
  2. mode11 macrumors regular

    mode11

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Personally, I would get a Lycom ST-173-7 2.5" IDE to mSATA adapter and attach it to the iMac's IDE ribbon cable via a passive 3.5" to 2.5" IDE connector adapter. Then use a sticky pad to mount the Lycom to the HD cage or top of the SuperDrive, whatever's easier. You would then need to buy an mSATA SSD for the adapter, rather than reusing your existing SATA SSD.

    I can obviously see the appeal of reusing an old drive, but as you have noticed, the iMac's IDE cable has zero slack so can't meet the repositioned IDE socket of the adapter, compared to an IDE HDD. Realistically, the iMac will only be used for light web browsing and the odd game (I have the same machine), so a 64GB mSATA SSD should be plenty.

    Don't forget to replace the motherboard battery, if you haven't already, whilst you're in there. They're only a few quid and the original one will be ancient by now.
     
  3. kimtoufectis thread starter macrumors newbie

    kimtoufectis

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #3

    I appreciate the prompt response. I'd not considered replacing the battery, but will; surely a battery dated fourteen years back is due for replacement. Your adapter-and-SSD option ($45 US or more) is pricier than purchasing a (two, actually, though one is all I'll use) 20 cm ribbon cable for $8 delivered; nevertheless I appreciate the option to consider.
     
  4. RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2016
    Location:
    505 USA
    #4
    If all you need is a little more slack, then a longer cable makes sense. Seems like a cheap fix to me & allows you to reuse an existing ssd.
     
  5. kimtoufectis thread starter macrumors newbie

    kimtoufectis

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #5
    Thanks, RhianB. Failing another idea surfacing here that's where I'm headed.
     

Share This Page

4 February 24, 2018