Mod G4 iMac with Intel Mac mini innards?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by casesensitive, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #51
    That sounds pretty cool, I was thinking about doing the same to my G4 Graphite iMac. I haven't found much info on the net about doing that so that has been a deterant to me.
     
  2. fuyutsuki macrumors newbie

    fuyutsuki

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    May 8, 2006
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    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #52
    We have considered that. You'd need to put in a different display though as well, as this whole thread has basically come down to the tricky "how to send video to the iMac's original TFT?" question.

    Graphite G4 iMac? I think you mean G3. Doing it to one of those is also a possibility. But the same problem arises of how to use the screen. Mind, I have seen an original Macintosh used for a Mac Mini housing so maybe CRT's are easier:

    http://www.destruc.tv/minitosh.php
     
  3. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #53
    woops I meant G3, thanks for the link.
     
  4. Blixten macrumors newbie

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    Feb 18, 2007
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    Norway
    #54
    First of all: Hi!
    I followed this thread for quite some time now, as I have a broken 17" iMac waiting for the Mini :).
    It does use TMDS (at least there are "TMDS cables" mentioned in the service manual). As DVI is based on TMDS, a direct connection could be possible.
    Recently, even the pin layout of the screen connector has been posted, here.
    I'll wait for the next generation of Minis with C2D and try that out.

    But there is one more question: If you look inside the G4, you see the 3.5" optical drive placed right in the middle of the mac (where the door is of course). There is hardly enough space for a Mini above the drive and it's definately too narrow below, so I thought about removing the power-supply.
    Or do you have any other ideas (like motor-driven slim drives etc)?
     
  5. fuyutsuki macrumors newbie

    fuyutsuki

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    May 8, 2006
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    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #55
    Nice work spotting that. Hopefully someone knows what they're doing!

    Yeah, I've written about this before. Here's the dirt:

    • The iMac's optical drive is indeed totally in the way of putting in an entire Mac Mini, because it is right in the middle dominating the case
    • Those old drives aren't so hot anyway (I know, easily replaceable of course!)
    • The entire iMac "dome" is smaller than it seems from the outside because of a metal lining Apple calls the Faraday Cage (electric shielding), it's actually not at all big inside
    • With a Mac Mini inside, you won't need the iMac power supply so that could clear up a lot of space "up top", removing the fan which lies up there too
    • The external door for the optical drive is easy to push open, it's not very fussy so there's scope for inventive hacking there!

    Now these are the things to note about an Intel Mac Mini:

    • Again, the optical drive dominates the insides. If you open a Mini and take off the drive, it's surprisingly small!
    • The Mini cools itself very well and extremely quietly, I reckon so long as the air holes remain clear at the top of the iMac case it should be more or less fine, especially if its in contact with the Faraday Cage which was a trick the iMac's mobo used too with a metal conductive cooling pipe
    • The other bulky thing about a Mini is its external power brick, which I reckon is probably something you need to keep outside the iMac

    So what I mean is that the iMac is a bit tight inside, but a Mini really is a tiny computer when you take its lid and disc drive off. Just looking at my two machines makes me think you could actually put a Mini in the space *under* the iMac optical drive (replaced with a nice 16x superdrive naturally). But I can't be sure without opening up my Mini which is currently letting me write this!

    Another option is like you said, using a slim burner and lining it up for the door. Using a (sweet) slot loader like the Mini's wouldn't work, but a tray loader shouldn't be a big problem so long as you can mount it nice and solid. Does anyone still use tray loading laptop drives? I don't know what's available but I wouldn't be surprised if there's some good choice out there. Note: the tray needs to be tough enough to survive in this new environment with a door to push against, so it can't be too delicate.

    The easiest of all options is to ditch optical drives entirely and make a network centric All in One Mac. Even if all you could plug into the thing was power and optionally usb for non-bluetooth mouse+kb, I'd consider it a useful computer alongside others. The fact all Intel Mac Minis come with built in wi-fi is handy too.

    One more thing: ports. The iMac has its ports in a curve around its base. This could make routing them to the Mini a little difficult. The actual ports are on the motherboard anyway, which needs to be removed so you basically have to furnish your own. A cheapskate solution would be to leave the holes and just thread your favourite leads right into to the internal Mac Mini before screwing on the base (thankfully an easy procedure!). But of course it'd be much nicer to use little extenders and have real ports available.

    I still think the screen issue is the main problem to be resolved. It's good to see progress on it, but I'm only going to believe it when I see a positive report.
     
  6. Locatel macrumors regular

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #56
    This is an intereting project guys!!! Don't led the thread die!!! I would be happy just to connect the Mac mini to the iMac LCD, it doesn't have to fit inside the case, I would live with it sitting nearby, just like an external HD...
    Please post any progress!!!

    This is an intereting project guys!!! Don't led the thread die!!! I would be happy just to connect the Mac mini to the iMac LCD, it doesn't have to fit inside the case, I would live with it sitting nearby, just like an external HD...
    Please post any progress!!!
     
  7. fuyutsuki macrumors newbie

    fuyutsuki

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    #57
    As far as I remember, we were stuck on the connector and just what circuitry is present or absent at the LCD end…
     
  8. porcustal macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    #58
    doin it

    well atm I have an imac g4 15" sitting on a table all taken apart :) with the intent to use it as an external monitor and HD. I'm waiting for a few parts and to figure out the other cables, cause i'm a little iffy about the inverter wires

    but what i intend to do is, if i got all my info correct, cut the TMDS connector off the cable and using a few of the other screen wires and the info from here http://www.applefritter.com/node/18351 put them all into a female DVI connector. Then i'll cut out a DVI sized hole in the back body and be able to connect to it externaly...

    The imac which still works kinda will still have the mini-vga, but i'm not sure whether i'll keep the innards intact or just use it as a housing, how i want power the screen will probably decide. first though i need to replace the screen inverter :rolleyes: .
     
  9. fuyutsuki macrumors newbie

    fuyutsuki

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    May 8, 2006
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    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #59
    Good luck.

    I'd love to hear a tale of success, as my own more completely broken iMac G4 is still lying sadly still and in need of an awesome mod.
     
  10. theycallmepost macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    #60
    I just finished reading through this thread and had an idea..

    It seems that no one has reached a conclusion on whether or not the panel uses FPD-Link/LDI or TMDS, but there are Mini-ITX form factor motherboards with built in LVDS connectors..

    Surely the panel can be attached and this will clear up some confusion?

    And to play devil's advocate.... if it works, a lot of time could be saved if a PC ::shudder:: was just put in the base.
     
  11. fuyutsuki macrumors newbie

    fuyutsuki

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    #61
    Perhaps, just for an experiment. Not that I have anything like that lying around or a use for it after the job! :p
     
  12. SizeDOESMatter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    #62
    Mac mini in iMac G4 case.. if it kills me!.. *us.

    I've recently stumbled across an old iMac g4:apple: which is totally broken (and in any eveny it's only a 700mhz one, so wont be of much use to me anyway). I would like to put my 1.66 core duo Mac Mini inside it, but i realise this is no weekend project at the moment.

    So i've enlisted the help of my school DT lab to help me out with this one. There's a mac enthusiast who's done a bit of modding herself, too.. so it's fingers crossed. :)

    After some extensive research- there's nothing i can conclude about that LCD panel... it seems like it's going to have to go. This is fine, i suppose:confused: , but does anyone have any ideas about an LCD i could purchase to sit in its place?.. I want to make this clear-- I would like the imac to look (ALMOST) Identical to the way it was intended to be. It's a style icon and should stay this way. Now.. a 17" widescreen LCD panel is purchased pretty cheap on ebay these days.. but i need one which will be smal enough with its case removed to fit snugly inside the apple casing, and one which isnt too heavy for the arm to support. I've got my work set out, right?

    I've got my mac mini :apple: sitting here.. ready to be de-shelled and inserted into the imac g4. Might eventually put a faster HD inside it.. but everything else is staying the damned same. It's stupidly stable, and coming from a couple of self built windows disasters, I intend to keep it that way.

    To summarise; i need to know:
    -Is there enough space inside the arm to fit a regular vga/dvi cable?
    -Which LCD panels people might have experience with using and taking out of their (usually ugly) exterior casings.

    I will keep you posted. iMac G4 :apple: will be with me shortly.

    PS: To anyone who doesnt mind wasting electricity (and a perfectly good computer) VNC is always a way of using another screen, and works pretty darn good over a wired connection.. but i understand this wont be to the liking of you guys.:D :p
     
  13. kgarchar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    #63
    I've been wanting to do this for as long as I can remember, so someone please figure this out. :D
     
  14. fuyutsuki macrumors newbie

    fuyutsuki

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    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #64
  15. supermeerkat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    #65
    I've recently acquired a g4 iMac shell - the m/b and lcd display missing, but everything else present. After being put off by the cost of a 15" LCD display (£150) I wonder has anyone considered getting the innards of the 15" TFT monitor into the LCD casing?

    Would anyone participating in this thread, with a 15" g4 iMac, be able to provide me with the dimensions of the LCD display without the external casing? If you could, I'll buy you a drink :)
     
  16. SizeDOESMatter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    #66
    update on my mini/ imacg4 modding

    .so i have my imac g4 now.. the 17in model

    I've posted a little video on youtube showing you what i've achieved so far, and where I need some help with the arm itself, taking it apart and then removing the wires inside... many thanks again for all your continued support :)

    here is the youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5asq2kFduPk
     
  17. lunchbxotheman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    #67
    OK, I did some digging around inside of the LCD and found a few things out about the connectors. The big black connector that has the INVERTER CABLE, speaker, and FAN marked on it, also has two unmarked wires leading into the LCD. Inside, you can see the two wires go to sperate places. One goes to the mic, the other to the status LED. So basically the big black connector is useless to us.

    The silverish wire leading in to the LCD through the arm is marked as 'antenna' in the LCD, but I think it's more of a ground than anything else. Can anyone confirm that? It doesn't look like it is even wired to anything. Maybe it's power?
    The ONLY wire I think we need to be worrying about is the 21-pin connector shown here (http://att.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=67307&stc=1&d=1170350345).

    It splits into two sections inside of the LCD. One looks like it goes straight into the display itself. The other goes to a little chip mounted on the casing (an image processor?).

    I'm sorry I don't have any pictures, I don't have a digital camera at the moment.

    Hopefully this tread will stay alive. I'd love to be able to use the LCD with a standard DVI connector.
     
  18. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    Jun 13, 2007
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    benkadams.com
    #68
    I was planning on doing this project myself a while back, although i planned to get a broken imac and use all mac mini parts (HD & DVD drive)

    Take off the imacs tft screen (as the connector wiring seems to be too much hassle for me to rewire) and replace the internal screen with a new one (dell 17inch or something) and somehow wire all the cabling through the arm again.

    One day...
     
  19. MacLinux:') macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #69
    Replacing Connector?

    I think it is possible to hook up the video, you need a DVI/VGA adapter for the mini and an VGA connector to replace the TDMS connector on the cable inside the iMac. And of coarse a power source for the inverter on the back of the screen.

    I been reading the manuals and it keeps mentioning VGA, like the miniVGA connector for the imac. If the imac screen is not working - hook up an external vga monitor to see if that is functioning. I am convinced that this is all we need to do.

    What about getting the latest iMac mother board? Most likely going to need a box to place it under the dome. Just a thought.

    My 17" iMac 10.3.9 is still good, no USB2 (how stupid is that), but can not see trashing a good computer just to get an upgrade. But Now I am seeing a lot of programs that require 10.4 and intel only. SUCKS

    Anyone done a watercooled iMac?
     
  20. pool31 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 16, 2007
    #70
  21. fuyutsuki macrumors newbie

    fuyutsuki

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    May 8, 2006
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    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #71
    That could be an option of sorts for those with a working iMac G4, which doesn't include me. Mine is hosed from the neck down.

    As for your question about the Mini needing a display or not, you could ask the developer at www.screenrecycler.com as I see no obvious answer to the question and have never tried the app; sweet as it may be.

    VNC (which screenrecyler uses) generally doesn't feel like nearly as good as using the computer directly. It's more of an answer for remote administration in my view, or the occasional dual monitor setup if responsiveness on the 2nd display/computer isn't crucial.

    I'd much rather put a near-silent Intel Mini into an iMac G4's case than have a mixture of both with the inconvenience doubled.
     
  22. pool31 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 16, 2007
    #72
    I completely agree. My iMac G4 has only a screen working now as a power surge blew the power connector for the hard drive. It still works with the os on an external drive, so 'screenrecycler' and an extra Mac Mini could easily end up as twice the hassle.

    So, this thread comes back to the main issue, how to reuse the screen from an iMac G4 and connect it to a Mac Mini. Once that is solved (unfortunately way beyond my technical ability) then I'm sure squeezing the Mac Mini into the dome is the easier step.

    Anyone had any joy with the screen connections? Now that Apple have surprisingly upgraded the Mac Mini, it may be really worth solving?!
     
  23. rollercoasternd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #73
    Progress?

    Has anyone made any progress on switching the original screen with a new LCD, I would like to do this with the 20in iMac, not many people talk about that one, plus they are hard to find, I did a Froogle search and found only 2. Plus with the recent upgrades to the mini's this is looking even more appealing.
     
  24. casesensitive thread starter macrumors newbie

    casesensitive

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    #74
    Still trying

    Ok, it would seem that trying to get the existing display in the iMac to display a signal from the DVI output of a mac mini is a dead loss, the lack of image processing chip on the display would be a killer. But all is not lost!
    I found this:
    http://homepage.mac.com/mactechg4/PhotoAlbum22.html
    It looks that you could pipe anything you want into the iMac 'neck', including stripped DVI and power cables for an off-the-shelf 20.1" LCD.
    At this point all we've got is the iMac case left of course.. But with 3.5" SATA drives and a full-height optical drive (maybe even Blu-ray!) this could be something pretty special.
    Mac Mini DVI -> up the neck to an identically-sized LCD in the iMac housing, at any res.

    With my beautiful iLamp approaching end-of-life, it's likely to get replaced by a 20" Intel one soon, assuming binuses are what they should be, and resale value on the old ones are worth spit, so I might go ahead with it anyway.
    If I get it going, I'll post the whole thing here.
     
  25. fuyutsuki macrumors newbie

    fuyutsuki

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