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macpro5

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2022
22
11
A Rasberry Pi inside a PowerBook G4?
Is this even possible? I have a 2004 1GHz PowerBook 17” and after trying Leopard, Linux, and Sorbet Leopard, I’m hoping to give my aging Mac a brain transplant. I’m having trouble finding wiring diagrams for the keyboard/ trackpad and display. It is my understanding that the display uses DVI and the Keyboard uses ADB. Any more information would be very useful! Because it is a 17” model, I have plenty of space to fit any extra boards/ adapters.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
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maître

macrumors member
Jan 5, 2022
36
43
Russia
That's an idea for sure 👍The screen is LVDS more likely, as I recall RPi has it built-in even. You only need to figure out how to connect the inverter.
If you will try connecting the keyboard with the ribbon cable, it will require some poking with GPIO. And you will also need battery and ports figured out as least...
Building a laptop like this is possible, but I remember watching Ben Heck's video about building a Novena laptop - it definitely requires a lot of time and engineering
 

AphoticD

macrumors 68020
Feb 17, 2017
2,283
3,462
If you have trouble with the LVDS mapping and inverter power, something like this will get you a HDMI input and inverter/backlight controller for the 17” panel in the PowerBook G4. You could tuck this inside the case and connect the Pi via a short internal HDMI cable.

I used something similar attached to a MBP 15” LCD panel and hooked it up to my Pi 3B+ in a “magic mirror” project, which I never finished o_O

This kit looks like it should suit the LP171WXX model LCD panels (1440x900)...


(Mods: Not my auction, just linking an example device)

6EE2FC47-F4F3-468A-A96C-D2B8BC15702F.jpeg

Adapting the internal ADB to USB Is possible as there were adapters available back in the day, but wiring the pin outs into an ADB plug might be tricky.

Keep us posted with your progress!
 

macpro5

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2022
22
11
Thanks. I have 3 stupid questions…
1. Does LVDS use standard connectors?
2. If not, would that be reasonably simple to adapt without hours of microsoldering?
3. Does a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 have enough processing power to justify the effort and time?
 

AphoticD

macrumors 68020
Feb 17, 2017
2,283
3,462
Thanks. I have 3 stupid questions…
1. Does LVDS use standard connectors?
2. If not, would that be reasonably simple to adapt without hours of microsoldering?
3. Does a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 have enough processing power to justify the effort and time?
1. No, there are many variations of LVDS at the back of many LCD panels (and nothing standard on the logic board end). There are a wide variety of kits like the one I posted due to this as a means of creating a standard input for a variety of different panels (such as HDMI).

The CCFL backlight inverter power connector is mostly standard though, with just differing cable lengths.

2. Up to you, but I have opted for the kits I mentioned because even if you manage to map the LVDS, you’ll still need a suitable backlight controller which can handle signals for brightness control and sleep. Using the kit above would give you manual brightness control (and in that case, also an IR remote).

3. Up to you again. From the specs, the pi zero 2 W(?) has 512MB Ram, quad core 1Ghz with mini HDMI and a single micro USB slot. Not terrible, but at least if you standardize the conversion’s I/O then swapping out the pi for a newer/different model should be trivial to upgrade down the track.
 

Doq

macrumors 6502
Dec 8, 2019
491
743
The Lab DX
Most Raspberry Pis come with a MIPI DSI connector. While similar in appearance, it's not related to LVDS in any way and you might have a poor time converting a display to use with this connector as while DSI is meant to be a standard connector, it's also proprietary and you're better off using an HDMI-based driver board as mentioned above.

You're going to also have a poor time with a Zero 2. The Zero 2 is the worst-performing Pi still being sold, and was never intended for general-purpose computing. You'll have much better luck with at least a Pi 3+ if not a Pi 4-- if you can even snag one at retail.

The big Pis may be a bit taller than the inside of a 17" PowerBook (they are the slimmest of the PBs), so you may need to desolder the tall components such as USB ports and Ethernet.
 
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macpro5

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2022
22
11
I have a 3B+. But like you said, the upper usb and Ethernet ports are too tall. My first priority is finding a pinout of the proprietary LVDS connection.
 

macpro5

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2022
22
11
It seems that the display might be too unique to modify. I found multiple lg 16:10 17” displays that use standard connectors. Would this be a better option?
 

macpro5

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2022
22
11
I can make any brackets that I might need. I took the display out of the bezel tonight… and cracked the display while doing so. I found a few LG and Samsung LED backlit 17” 1920x1200 16:10 panels for less than $30! The advantage being the standard 30 or 40 pin LVDS connectors. I feel like the tolerances will be minimal, and a new panel will fit fairly snug. As for the cable routing, the bezel has large bays in the bottom where the original ccfl inverter was housed to store. Progress!
 
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