Mod G4 iMac with Intel Mac mini innards?

iToaster

macrumors 68000
May 3, 2007
1,743
0
In front of my MacBook Pro
I'm determined to do this with an iMac G4 and a mini, as soon as I get the iMac and mini. I've been trying to work out the screen dilemma, and figured a new display would be in order. However, the display cables might be too thick for the neck :(
 

rinux

macrumors newbie
Nov 23, 2007
15
0
Norway
Step it up

Ok boys ! It is time that we nails this project. I have a 700 MHz iMac and a Mac Mini 1,5 GHz Solo.

The first step is to solve the LCD connection. Since I´m a Automation engineer, I could probably solve this one if you guys give me some time. Just incase I can´t handle it, 3 of my friends works with digital technics. Give me a week or so...

Hang in there guys ! We are solving this one no matter what since the iMac luxo is the most beautiful mac ever made!

Rino
 

rinux

macrumors newbie
Nov 23, 2007
15
0
Norway
Lcd adapter

Hi again, I have been able to hook up with a lcd adapter. Can someone please help me with how to connect it to the apple screen ?
 

jamiebp

macrumors newbie
Dec 8, 2007
3
0
i just took my imac g4 apart earlier
gonna put a new monitor into it feed the vga cable down the neck rewire it once its in the base.

then all i need is a mac mini to put inside
anyone got one for sale or as a early christmas present ??

only problem i see is getting a new monitor power cable down the neck think i may just have to drill a hole in the back of the casing of the screen..

jamie

i just seen the post with the photos of the neck being taken apart how do u get the pins out with the 3 dimples ???
 

dcbphoto

macrumors newbie
Dec 20, 2007
2
0
I just found this thread while looking for a way to put a mini into the case of my iMac G4 700MHz. It's getting on in years, and I really need a new computer, but I love the design of the G4, and I have been playing around with the idea of putting the guts of an Intel mini into the case. This thread has given me hope that it can be done, but the display seems to be the big issue. So, has anybody figured this out yet? Has anyone been able to do any of this successfully? I really want to keep the original LCD to maintain the look of the old G4. I have never modded a computer before, and this seems to be a pretty involved project, but I really want to try this. My G4 works perfectly, I just need more power under the hood!
 

jamiebp

macrumors newbie
Dec 8, 2007
3
0
no one out there

i dont think that u will b able to keep the screen im planning on replacing it as soon as i can get a 15inch lcd then figure out how to open the neck.
but i think this thread has gone a bit dead and people have found it too hard or done something else .....

if u read the earlier posts it will tell u why u cant keep the screen something like the part that you would have to make would cost more than it was worth..
 

dcbphoto

macrumors newbie
Dec 20, 2007
2
0
Yeah, I think it might be a lost cause. Seems like people have lost interest in this project due to the screen issue. Are you talking about taking the screen out of the enclosure and just putting a new LCD in it's place? That would work, and it would solve the issue of keeping the look of the computer intact. That would also solve the issue of the connector, as the new screen would likely have a DVI connection - just plug it in to the mini. A power source would then be the issue. Maybe this is more trouble than it's worth, but I might try it after I get a new computer (MacBook Pro, please!) I can't really afford to not have a working computer, so I might try this as a side project.
 

jamiebp

macrumors newbie
Dec 8, 2007
3
0
well

i dont see the power supply being any more of a problem than the dvi/vga cable just open up the neck and youve got a winner just finding it hard to get a 15 inch screen no one really sells them except on ebay and then still delivery of 15 quid for a screen is a bit ridiculous !!!

i think its worth doing just for the bragginf rights of saying i was the first and check out how much better my mac mini looks compared to a stupid dell system

it just makes sense
 

ncpiment

macrumors newbie
Apr 23, 2008
2
0
Hi Everyone.

I been trying to use also the screen independently but its been quite hard as you guys know lol

I know this thread as been dead for a while but i hopping that someone by this time managed to do it by now.
 

unnamedculprit

macrumors newbie
Jul 26, 2008
3
0
UK
Hi. Short introduction: First post on forum. Own neither iMac G4 nor Mac Mini, but searching ebay for both.

I plan to go down the original screen route, by having a good look at the TMDS specification, and the feasibility of making a controller board for the original screen. I've just done a digital project to finish my degree, and want to keep my brain active this summer.

I've been looking at this on and off for well over a year now; with the main set-backs being the availability of G4 iMacs, and the amount of funds available to purchase said item.

The links to the service manuals (posted earlier on the thread) are now dead, so if anyone knows of where I could obtain a G4 iMac service manual, I'd be very grateful.

If I find out anything of any use, I will post it here.
 

hackdeplus

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2009
1
0
Not just one, but now two displays to drive...

Hale and hearty this thread must be by now. Time to dig for the solution to the twin displays made possible by the 2009 Mac Mini. I'm in this one for the long haul, and will find a clever solution, I hope. Here's my mock-up for the two flatscreen G4s I've got laying around here:
 

Attachments

fuyutsuki

macrumors newbie
May 8, 2006
23
0
Edinburgh, Scotland
Hale and hearty this thread must be by now. Time to dig for the solution to the twin displays made possible by the 2009 Mac Mini. I'm in this one for the long haul, and will find a clever solution, I hope. Here's my mock-up for the two flatscreen G4s I've got laying around here:
Ah! Not only adding DisplayPort to the mix (all Macs are moving to it as said by Steve at the Unibody event) but doing the whole thing twice, too!

I salute your optimism. But fear for your mind! ;)
 

applefan1997

macrumors 6502
Finally! I've been following this thread for a long time. I have a 800MHz G4, and while it still runs, it's nice to know that there are still options of giving it life if it needs. Anyways, the obstacle in this project seems to be the display, and trying to rewire it.
Here's what I think:

Don't bother reusing it. Try getting a other LCD display of the same size, and try to remove its casing so it can fit in the iMac display casing.

Most LCD's are still too fat due to the power supply. However, the Apple Studio Displays (15 (model 2454) and 17") have no power supplies to thickn the case. They are powered by ACD. Once disassembled, they should fit in the iMac (15, 17"). There is no 20", so owners of 20" iMacs may have to try something different.

Getting the cable through the neck is the next part. I am not completely knowledgeable of the internal of the arm, so a cable may or may not pass. If you can deal with it, you can drill a hole through the back and bypss it by having the cable pass down.

A ADC to DVI adapter would have to be used.

The top case of the Mac Mini could be removed, and if it's possible, a full size CD or HD drive could be installed.

Cable extensions could be used to make the ports much cleaner.


What do you think?
 

newspimp

macrumors newbie
Feb 18, 2008
23
0
Hello all!

Like many of you, I've been wondering what to do with a beloved iMac G4. Where I work, we're retiring several 20" models, and most of them have been perfectly operational.

Two of them, however, are not. One seems to boot up, but has no video and the other partially boots, but never completes from DVD or from the internal hard drive. My wife and I have both got functional models, but I've wanted to take the one that has an operational LCD and adapt it to a Mac Mini I have.

I've been researching the information for a bit now, and using the information found near the bottom here (http://www.applefritter.com/node/18351) it looks like many of the TMDS cable wires have been identified. There is, however, a lack of three of the wires being known for sure, and two open ports.

TMDS is the signalling protocol for DVI, so based on the DVI TMDS protocol spec (http://www.ddwg.org/lib/dvi_10.pdf), a single link DVI channel requires only the 0, 1 and 2 data channels and associated shield pins, and the TMDS clock. This accounts for most of the pins. 1-4 (Vcc and GND) and 17-21 are still unknown assuredly.

Looking up the specs of the closest SilImage DVI processor chip, a PanelLink receiver chip that seems to corroborate (as well as i can tell; still picking this all up) the ideas about a DDC link as well.
(http://www.siliconimage.com/docs/SiI-DS-0023.pdf)

So, I've removed the LCD panel from my dead 20" and found that it runs an IDTech 20 WSXGA+ IPS panel, model M201Z2

And located the tech specs for it (http://www.gblcd.com/datacenter/idtech/M201Z2-M01.pdf) (found open on Google) Which list the specific pinouts for the TMDS in cable to the 30 pin flat connector on the back of the LCD panel.

Three channel TMDS with shields, DDC 3.3/5v power, a DDC channel. Yep, looks like it should be DVI compatible.

Now, tomorrow or over the weekend I'll be tracing out the TMDS -> 30pin wire and ensuring that the referenced connector pinout is right and then try adapting it to a standard DVI. That and working on getting the pinout for the Apple inverter board, which is bolted to the backside of the back chassis of the LCD housing and is connected to the joiner wire that joins the inverter, microphone, power indicator LED, fan and speaker connectors.

I'll have pictures as well, but it does look a little bit more attainable than a laptop LVDS display.
 

Phunker

macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2009
2
0
imac power supply

Hey ! I´m desperately looking for a imac g4 power supply. Can´t find one anywhere and my girlfriend is close to tears because her precious imac is broken. If you guys dismantle so many, does by any chance one have a spare power supply? it´s a 700/800mhz model.
Cheers
Andre
 

12soldier

macrumors newbie
Feb 1, 2009
4
0
Near there
Any Luck

I got the 1gz 17" model and was looking at all the possibilities for this model as well. All I really want from is it to be sort of an iPod drone. I have so much music and videos that my hard drive is full on all my computers and wanted to narrow that down to only one. I love the design, so I would just like to put the intel chips and new graphics on it rather than simply buy a new one. Plus I hate getting rid of stuff if I can help it. Especially when they look so nice already.

Another idea I had was to change out the display with a better one and make myself a new base that can handle the mac mini, but looks like the new Mac Pros with the perforated metal. Anyone know where I can find this type of metal for this operation?
 

MisterDNA

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2009
10
0
I have a 20" iMac G4 with a bad logic board that I am looking to do the same thing with since I chipped a corner of the CPU die during a RAM upgrade (heatpipes didn't let go of Faraday Cage). Fortunately, I am an Electronics Technician who wears the engineer hat once in a while and this would be a dynamite hack.

This is do-able.

First of all, big thanks to newspimp. Friend, you have saved me a fair bit of time by linking the datasheets.

While I can do the hardware stuff, it would appear that software is something I'm not well-versed in on Macs. I do, however, know that Nvidia GPUs have an option to set display scaling or GPU scaling as a default rule. Macs already use display scaling and the 20" panel has its own GTF-based specs for timing. This is a huge bonus and I'm pretty sure the DDC lead on the panel carries a signal that Windows and OSX can understand.

I believe that either OS will default to any resolution the DDC data says is available when the GPU agrees. But there's still the chance for install screens under Windows to run at a completely different resolution from what the panel will directly take if you don't have GPU scaling enabled. I need to do more DDC research to see exactly how it works.

While the panel expects 3.3VDC nominal on the TMDS signal lines, I believe standard DVI output for external cabling is 5VDC, but I will have to make sure. If a level-shifter is needed, I believe I have access to the right parts to drop 5VDC to 3.3VDC at this kind of clock rate.

Personally, I'm going for an Nvidia Ion platform hack, not a mini, but it should yield a great foundation for other projects.
 

newspimp

macrumors newbie
Feb 18, 2008
23
0
Anytime, MisterDNA! If nothing else, you can hopefully fill in the gaps that I have.

Done a bit more research this morning on the inverter board issue. The Pg. 4 linked datasheets are great for the data side of things (IIRC, you are right; DVI uses 5vDC for signal versus the LCD 3.3vDC input) the backlighting was my next concern.

The inverter inside the 20" LCD is an Apple product, and it looks like someone has done initial pinouts from the multi-cable from the G4 logic board to the inverter input.

http://www.electro-tech-online.com/general-electronics-chat/88397-ccfl-inverter-pinout-help-n0ob.html

The inverter has 8 pins in as described below. I can supply pictures of PCB if needed.

Blue = 11.93v
Red = 11.93v
Blk = GND
Blu = GND
N/C
Yel = .2mv
Prpl = 3.262v
Orng= no voltage detected

So, it seems to me that with the 12V (blue and red go to fuse on inverter PCB) and 3.3v, the lamps should ignite correct?

However, I am under the assumption that the 3.3v is the on and off and the Yel & Orng are for brightness control. Does that sound correct?
I need to get a new set of leads for my DMM (old ones are a bit too used and dull to get into the thin spaces needed) and then I can finish the signal cable trace.

Also, as soon as I find the cable for my digital camera, I'll have the pictures I've taken up and ready.

I'm thinking a small box, with the TMDS connector and the multi-tap connector on one side and a DVI, power supply and jumpers for the microphone, status LED, fan and speaker on the other. Getting an EaglePCB diagram shouldn't be too difficult to workup so it could be reproduced and reliable.
 

MisterDNA

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2009
10
0
That link is excellent.

I am wondering whether the voltage on the purple lead is proportional to the brightness of the backlight. Based on the low reading I see there, I am thinking that since the backlight was barely on when the reading was taken, the inverter was just barely on and not even in-spec for minimum brightness as the datasheet goes. Maybe full brightness reads 3.3V?

It looks like the ~3.3VDC lead was meant to run an IC while the 12VDC rails are used as-is for inversion.

I have full access to the X-ray at work and should be able to reverse-engineer a block diagram for this and at least find out how the brightness is controlled.

Breakthrough: The DVI spec lists 3.3V nominal signaling with a 4VDC maximum just like the LCD panel. The panel appears to have a DVI interface. I see no intermediary IC between the panel harness and the GPU so it's likely being driven directly from the Geforce FX5200 Ultra. I can use the X-ray to find that out for certain as well.

I will have to find a datasheet for the GPU BGA in order to know what each pin is, though. But just to make sure.

I do see that we need the EDID pins wired to a DVI connector in order to use the panel with a standard DVI connector. Otherwise, the GPU BIOS would have to know to only expect a 1680x1050 panel and that's a lot more work than running three wires.

Interesting to note: Silicon Image came up with TMDS and called it PanelLink. It seems that with the addition of DDC (EDID) for plug and play, that became the standard we know as DVI. I have a 15" Apple display taken apart at home that uses PanelLink and it's from 1998. DVI was created April 1999.

I have learned a little bit more about the interface and it's time to give it a go.

I have the guts from a 15" Apple panel from like 1998 that uses the same panellink connector as the 20.1" iMac panel. The backlight on the 15" panel is completely toasted, but I'll be able to see the display with a flashlight. When I finish modding the controller board and isolating the Panellink connector and filters, I'm going to feed it a standard native CVT XGA 60Hz signal and see what happens.

I missed this the first time around, but the panel datasheet refers readers to the datasheet for the TI TFP403 PanelBus digital receiver. Second bulletpoint down the list:

Digital Visual Interface (1.0) Specification Compliant

It's DVI with a different connector that lacks EDID signals. I can run three wires inside the arm of a 20" iMac. Not sure about any other size.

In addition, I can replace this receiver with the pin-compatible TFP501 to make the panel HDCP compliant. In fact, there's a very slight chance it might already have one in it. I will cross that bridge when I reach it.

While the stock backlight still hasn't been figured out, I did source a six-tube low-profile inverter. The price makes me think I'd be better off reverse-engineering the stock one, however. After all, not everyone has an X-ray machine.

My plan has changed from an Nvidia Ion stuffed inside the guts to having the unit connected via an umbilical to a larger system placed out of sight. Imagine what appears to be an iMac G4 with the heart and soul of a fire-breathing quad-core workstation.

This is on like Donkey Kong.
 

newspimp

macrumors newbie
Feb 18, 2008
23
0
I've got an 8-core Mac Pro and two busted iMac G4 20" models ready to go!

Now, I wonder if my panel is fully capable for DVI with the EDID, since the panel itself does accept it. I can see why the 15" may not, but the 20" model should. If so...

I think I'm going to pull a DVI cable apart later today and start on that.