Mod G4 iMac with Intel Mac mini innards?

newspimp

macrumors newbie
Feb 18, 2008
23
0
I'm not an Mac expert so please forgive me!
Wouldn't it be easier/cheaper to buy an inexpensive LCD monitor from NewEgg or TigerDirect, then remove the LCD panel from the monitor along with any electronics? Swap out the iMac display and components and connect the new VGA/DVI (?) cable the Mac mini you've hidden inside of the iMac base or connect it to an external Mac. Wouldn't this be quicker/easier to do than risk getting the pin out wrong on a hack of the original components and frying something?
Well, yes, in some ways it may be easier to swap out the LCD panel for one from a standalone monitor. But, the point of this is to make good use of the perfectly functioning LCD in the iMac G4 :)


Also the LCD spec's are not great and the resolution is a tiny bit on the low side on the iMac. A new inexpensive LCD monitor can easily better it.
Personally, I'd disagree on this point. At least on the 20" models, the resolution is 1680x1050, which is still quite high (my 21.6" Samsung is the same resolution) and the panel is an S-IPS panel, which is VASTLY better quality than the TN panels in most of the cheap monitors available these days.

I have a 20" iMac and a hacked Mac mini with a 2.33 GHz Core2Duo Processor so I would like to blend the two eventually. I must say I'm not sweating the LCD hack but I am stumped on making a DVD w/tray work with the mini when its shoehorned into its new home. How will they fit? How will they connect? How will they work together?
I think the LCD hack will be (relatively) easy. Its the DVD that will be hard. NO?
Check out my Mac mini hack: http://www.flickr.com/photos/billibusa/
What I would do, is fill in the tray and cut a slot for the slot loading Mac Mini dvd drive and use that. At least, that's what I plan to do :)

MisterDNA, good luck with the surgery and I certainly hope you feel better.
 

billib

macrumors member
Apr 23, 2009
93
0
USA
iMac G4 Display, DVD Hack

Newspimp you make some GREAT points about the iMac display that can't be ignored.
However, 20" LCD monitors can be picked up on sale around XMas time. I saw a few this past Christmas selling around $100 give or take a few bucks. I would be more inclined to hack that to pieces as opposed to chopping up a perfectly good iMac.
If you look at my mini hack on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/billibusa/

everything is easily reversible. I would like to make the iMac hack reversible also.
As far as accessing the mini's drive inside an iMac I've thought of gluing small hinges to the DVD drive COVER. then when you need to access the drive you would flip up the COVER.
You have made some great suggestions though, food for thought.
Thank you.
 

Clive At Five

macrumors 65816
May 26, 2004
1,440
0
St. Paul, MN
I must say I'm not sweating the LCD hack but I am stumped on making a DVD w/tray work with the mini when its shoehorned into its new home. How will they fit? How will they connect? How will they work together?
I think the LCD hack will be (relatively) easy. Its the DVD that will be hard. NO?
Nah... Not with this handy trinket: JAE50 Cable. Little pricey, but I'm using one in my G4 Cube/Atom mod and it works like a dream... (with a Mac Mini slot-loader, even!)
 

billib

macrumors member
Apr 23, 2009
93
0
USA
Clive SAVES THE DAY!!!!!!!!!!

Clive I've been surfing the web for months looking for that connector. I'm sure many people have been looking for years. The best I could do was find a hacked up cable from an unreliable source. You are a miracle worker. Or maybe its the guy who came up with the cable......no wait its both. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! I ordered one right away.
While miracles do happen maybe someone can come up with a "duel" connector cable because in the mini its dual channel and can support Two DVD's on that channel or a DVD and an HD. I can dream.
This has turned out to be a wonderful thread.
 

Clive At Five

macrumors 65816
May 26, 2004
1,440
0
St. Paul, MN
Clive I've been surfing the web for months looking for that connector. I'm sure many people have been looking for years. The best I could do was find a hacked up cable from an unreliable source. You are a miracle worker. Or maybe its the guy who came up with the cable......no wait its both. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! I ordered one right away.
While miracles do happen maybe someone can come up with a "duel" connector cable because in the mini its dual channel and can support Two DVD's on that channel or a DVD and an HD. I can dream.
This has turned out to be a wonderful thread.
Well, you're welcome. I have to confess, it is my own product. I don't like plugging myself so I only do so when someone has asked point-blank for what I offer.

That being said, I can console myself a little by plugging someone else's product as a possible solution for your "dual JAE 50" needs:

I would recommend using a female JAE-50 to IDE 44-pin. (I know a guy in Hong Kong who sells these. PM me if you want his contact info.) A couple of the leads require flipping but my same guy sells a modified IDE cable that does this too, so a lot of the work could already be done for you.

Anyway, from here, you could use a dual-socketed IDE cable. You can either convert back into JAE 50 using the very common IDE --> JAE 50 male adapter, or just use PATA drives.

The only difficulty of using his method is that I think you have to pull power for the drives from somewhere else unless you use slimline drives, which will require converting back into JAE, so there's a lot of adapters involved... it's definitely not pretty.

I'll ponder a JAE solution, but I can't promise anything. Doing the one "simple" cable was a nightmare in itself, I'm not too eager to pursue any new "inventions" for a while...

If you're interested in doing it on your own, I'll certainly give you the contact info for my manufacturer. Be forewarned though... It won't be cheap...

-Clive
 

PatMcRotch

macrumors newbie
May 22, 2009
1
0
Has anyone looked into just putting in a mini-itx intel board? I know everyone is trying very hard to get the existing screens to work with another Mac, but if the connection is essentially DVI (is it?) would it not just be easier to hook it to the DVI on the mini-ITX board and make a nice little hackintosh?

I'm just not wanting to go and buy a Mac Mini to gut and put in poor Marvin. I would rather buy the parts for a PC and piece it all together. I know it would require some hacking, slashing and maybe some soldering. I would rather to that to some bare-bones parts that to a new working Mini.
 

dmmcintyre3

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2007
2,130
1
Could you use a nvidia mini and a desktop CD drive and HD inside?

The dissasimbled LCD inside is a good idea. Does anybody know where you can buy a iMac G4 Case?
 

OrangeSVTguy

macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
4,109
54
Northeastern Ohio
Could you use a nvidia mini and a desktop CD drive and HD inside?

The dissasimbled LCD inside is a good idea. Does anybody know where you can buy a iMac G4 Case?
Was looking at this yesterday, http://cgi.ebay.com/Apple-Mac-iMac-20-G4-LCD-AND-BASE-COMPLETE_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trkparmsZ72Q3a1205Q7c66Q3a4Q7c65Q3a12Q7c39Q3a1Q7c240Q3a1318Q7c301Q3a1Q7c293Q3a1Q7c294Q3a200QQ_trksidZp3286Q2ec0Q2em14QQhashZitem29fe2cf4ccQQitemZ180358018252QQptZAppleQ5fDesktopsQQsalenotsupported. Not a bad option if you ask me.

Just buy a cheapie 20" LCD monitor to swap in there and sell off the existing iMac's 20" LCD to offset the costs.

I thought I remember hearing though if you are going to replace the iMac's LCD with another monitor, routing the cables through then neck is either impossible or a nightmare because of the clearances. Either way, Good luck!
 

dmmcintyre3

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2007
2,130
1
With the 2009 Mac Minis: they have SATA CD drives. Could you just hook a desktop tray load CD drive up to the SATA connector on the logic board? Would the mini power it?
 

edwlarkey

macrumors newbie
May 25, 2009
1
0
Hackintosh

Has anyone looked into just putting in a mini-itx intel board? I know everyone is trying very hard to get the existing screens to work with another Mac, but if the connection is essentially DVI (is it?) would it not just be easier to hook it to the DVI on the mini-ITX board and make a nice little hackintosh?

I'm just not wanting to go and buy a Mac Mini to gut and put in poor Marvin. I would rather buy the parts for a PC and piece it all together. I know it would require some hacking, slashing and maybe some soldering. I would rather to that to some bare-bones parts that to a new working Mini.
Hey I'm with you. This is exactly what I want to do. But if someone could answer a few questions I have that would be awesome.

1) I need to find a new motherboard that will fit into the round bottom. Think square inside a circle (because do they really make round ones?). We don't need to worry about the connections to the ports in the enclosure. Those can be figured out later.

1a) I would like to use the original or other optical drive in the same harness that the original came in. So the board would need to not be too high as to interfere with that. (Nice, but not absolutely necessary).

2) Is there any physical way to use that black cord coming from the display with any other board/graphics unit?

I have a 15" flat panel iMac. I think it is the original flat panel ones.

Thanks a lot,
edwlarkey
 

newspimp

macrumors newbie
Feb 18, 2008
23
0
Part of what we were doing on the previous two pages was scoping and tagging what each of the traces on the black video feed wire and power leads going through the metal stalk and into the LCD were.

I've changed jobs recently, into one where free time really doesn't exist and my supply of 20"G4 iMacs to work on is considerably less (relegated to my own parts one and my wife's working one). In addition, I've been in the fun fun fun process of buying and moving into a new house, also relegating many of my tools and parts to bins for moving.

I know MisterDNA has also had some things to occupy his time recently as well.

What we 99% know now is that the back, flat-blade connector going into the stalk is DVI signal compatible and that the displays work with a DVI signal. Powering the inverter and levelling the backlight signal are the next hurdles to making it so that any DVI signal from any type of computer will work. I'll personally probably be running a miniITX setup in my parts chassis.

As far as doing it with the factory DVD drive and hard drive carrier in place; that shouldn't be a problem. The chassis is setup for a conventional 3.5" HDD and 5.25" optical drive. Running SATA cables rather than IDE and power shouldn't pose any real problem, and the only problem you'd likely have is fitment of the optical drive, as the iMac G4 used ones that were slightly shorter than most so they could fit in the round shell. All you'll have to do is remove the front face plate from the optical drive, and it'll work perfectly with the fold-down cover.
 

yourdogsmom

macrumors newbie
Mar 6, 2008
9
0
Okay, so I've read this thread all the way through I think, and it's become apparent to me that it requires a lot of technical skill to use the current LCD panel in the iMac G4, and a lot of effort generally.

I have a Mac mini, and an iMac G4 15", and would like to put the mini inside the G4. I intend to buy a new LCD panel to replace that of the Mac mini, can somebody advise me as to the particular display I need that will allow me to plug the LDC panel directly into the Mac mini.

I think I can handle the rest of the job, it's just that I really have no idea what type of display I need to use.

Thanks.
 

galvax

macrumors newbie
Jul 13, 2009
6
0
has anyone been successful with the LCD replacement idea?

hi, i was reading about how to use toy iMac G4 LCD screen and i have to say that i will love to do that myself!. Since my iMac G4 LCD screen is broken, i have to go with the LCD replacement idea for my 17" iMac G4, so my question is, Has anyone been able to do such thing? if so, could you please tell me how did you do it and what materials did you use?, also some pictures would be helpful too.

Thanks!!
 

Calistoga

macrumors newbie
Jul 20, 2009
1
0
Hi folks!

Hi @ all. I rush throught this threat and will ask you if anyone was successfull with change innards of iMac with mac mini innards?
I´ve owned a iMac 20" and would like to change the innards to the newest mac mini. Could anyone post some pictures or send them to me, were the changed iMac is visible.

Thanks

PS: Sorry for my bad english...
 

yourdogsmom

macrumors newbie
Mar 6, 2008
9
0
I tried and failed.

I bought a broken iMac G4 off eBay a couple of months ago, with the intention on replacing the screen with a brand new monitor.

I dismantled the machine, and ran into multiple problems:

99% of standalone monitors have an inbuilt power unit, meaning they won't fit in the shell.

If I were to replace the screen with a new monitor, I would have to thread both a power cable and a VGA/DVI cable down the stem. This is difficult enough as it is, but all of the tools used to dismantle the stem that were around are no longer for sale.

The cables will not fit through the thin hole at the back of the screen housing, so you would need to splice the cables, possibly losing picture quality.

All of the ports in the mini are soldered to the back of the shell, so the USB, ethernet, power etc. don't align.

The disc drive is different, one is a sliding drive, the mini is slot-loading. I found that without the case on the mini, the discs literally fly out when ejected.

The stem needs the weight of the monitor to work, so if you get a screen too heavy or light, the screen will not stay when you put it.


Of course, if you could find a way to use the current LCD with the mini, so many of these problems would be overcome, but going by this thread, that's by no means easy.

If you were to use a standalone monitor, you're taking on a lot of work. I really wanted to try this, but the only 15" monitor I could find that was by any means 'slim' was discontinued by Xerox when I tried to buy it.

Shame, now I need to work out what to do with this pretty iMac shell..
 

jberg44

macrumors member
Oct 3, 2009
31
0
Use Apple Cinema Display

I did a similar mod replacing the 20 inch native monitor with an apple cinema display. Originally I had tried to use the existing screen and a tmds lcd controller using the native wires in the neck, but the stripped wires were extremely hard to solder (thin as a hair). So I gave up on running the wires through the neck. So it has the one wire from the apple cinema display coming out the back.
I wanted to use this as a second monitor so did not try to put a mac mini is the base. Although the fit may be tight with the faraday cage in there. Instead I put a blu-ray drive in the base to use as an external blu-ray player. Its on a machine running Windows 7RC.
 

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OrangeSVTguy

macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
4,109
54
Northeastern Ohio
I did a similar mod replacing the 20 inch native monitor with an apple cinema display. Originally I had tried to use the existing screen and a tmds lcd controller using the native wires in the neck, but the stripped wires were extremely hard to solder (thin as a hair). So I gave up on running the wires through the neck. So it has the one wire from the apple cinema display coming out the back.
I wanted to use this as a second monitor so did not try to put a mac mini is the base. Although the fit may be tight with the faraday cage in there. Instead I put a blu-ray drive in the base to use as an external blu-ray player. Its on a machine running Windows 7RC.
Looks pretty good. You should post of some pictures of the "build" process.
 

MacOdyssey

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2009
5
0
It's Happening

I've been fallowing this forum and dreaming about my own Mini powered iMac G4 on and off for a few years now. I periodically go on crazed rampages searching the internet for hours, looking for somebody who's done it, but have yet to find a success story.

So in spite of this native reinforcement, or maybe because of it, I have decided to do it and am determined not to stop until I have it working and ready to go. I'm going to be documenting the whole process on my blog so if you're at all interested, I hope that you'll fallow my progress and contribute any help or advice you might have for me.

http://thegreatmod.blogspot.com/
 

OrangeSVTguy

macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
4,109
54
Northeastern Ohio
I've been fallowing this forum and dreaming about my own Mini powered iMac G4 on and off for a few years now. I periodically go on crazed rampages searching the internet for hours, looking for somebody who's done it, but have yet to find a success story.

So in spite of this native reinforcement, or maybe because of it, I have decided to do it and am determined not to stop until I have it working and ready to go. I'm going to be documenting the whole process on my blog so if you're at all interested, I hope that you'll fallow my progress and contribute any help or advice you might have for me.

http://thegreatmod.blogspot.com/
Great! I'll be keeping on eye on it. If you could, be sure to put major updates here for everyone that doesn't follow your blog. Good luck!

I'd would certainly do this if I had the money but I do have the skills. I'm sure I could even shove a MBP 17" into an iMac G4 shell :D and make it look good too ;)
 

jberg44

macrumors member
Oct 3, 2009
31
0
Touchscreen iMac G4 with Windows 7

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgISUgKtHCA

Putting a mac mini in the base is possible, but you will have to open up your mini or modify the faraday cage inside the imac g4 (its thick metal) for it to fit.

If you want to use the existing TMDS lcd you will need a TMDS controller
this is the only one i've been able to find:

http://agilentpixel.com/product.php?id_product=76

It does work with the 17" panel (LM171W02 A4) and it is possible (although difficult) to change the pin layout and use the existing wires in the neck. However, I was not able to get the existing inverter to work with it. Because there is no room for other inverters in the monitor case, it would have to be mounted on the back of the monitor.

For me, the solder of the TMDS cable was unstable and kept breaking (there are 16 wires - and they are very thin when stripped). My solution was to replace the whole monitor. Initially I tried using an apple cinema display, but it was too heavy for tilting. I ended up getting an LG monitor, putting it into the 20 inch housing and making a shelf on the back for the inverter, touch controller, and lcd controller. I've included pics of the shelf, which is currently temporary, until I decide what to make the final version out of (maybe plexiglass) on the back.

I also had bought a 17 inch hp monitor to create a 17 inch version, but I actually liked the look of the monitor so decided to paint the base black. It has a resistive touch screen.
 

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wesrk

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2007
661
1
very awesome, jberg44
I saw the youtube video and besides the part where you tilt the camera, it looks pretty good my friend, nice job.
I'm also checking out MacOdyssey's blog. I'll be following it.
 

jberg44

macrumors member
Oct 3, 2009
31
0
Thanks wesrk

very awesome, jberg44
I saw the youtube video and besides the part where you tilt the camera, it looks pretty good my friend, nice job.
I'm also checking out MacOdyssey's blog. I'll be following it.
Yea I know tilting the camera was stupid, i did another video with the camera not turned on its side:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV1mQ1r3SpY

MacOdysssey I saw your blog and wish you well. To warn you there are some problems with a desktop lcd monitor. The original panel on the 17 inch is a laptop lcd panel, most desktop lcd panels are heavier. This becomes a problem with the 17 inch arm, if you go over weight it will not tilt up or worse even fall all the way down. The 20 inch arm tends to be more forgiving if you go over the 11lb weight of the normal regular 20 inch monitor.

Also, the problem your gonna run into is the inverter. You will either need a custom inverter or need to figure out how to use the existing inverter, its one of a kind and the only inverter that will fit into the 3/4" case. Remember the wires connecting the inverter to the backlight can not be lengthened.

Good luck to you!

http://dremmeljunkie.blogspot.com/
 

MacOdyssey

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2009
5
0
Moving right along

Hey, jberg44, thanks for the well wishing and advice. A few questions though. On your blog, you mention you got the original speakers to work out. Could you elaborate on how you managed this?

Also, I appreciate the heads up on the potential problems with the weight of the display. What I did was actually replace the LCD glass itself so the housing and everything is exactly the same. If worse comes to worse, when I had the neck open, I saw what looked like a tension adjustment so I'm thinking I could just adjust that.

To solve the inverter issue, I've found that lengthening the cables shouldn't cause dimming so I'm going to house the inverter that came with my monitor in the base of the iMac and use the cable that apple used for their custom inverter to connect it to the backlights.

I must say it makes me a little sad to see Windows 7 on that iMac. But the touchscreen is pretty awesome so I guess that makes up for it.

Dave
http://thegreatmod.blogspot.com