Using iMac G5 as external monitor, "it can be done"

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by dxerboy, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. dxerboy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #1
    Hi all, long time lurker here.

    Well, my G5, after two mobo replacements (years ago--under warranty) due to the bad caps, finally had the power supply go the other day. After removing the PS I can see the telltale bulge in a couple of caps inside.

    I'm ready to move on, but set on trying my best to salvage what I can, especially the display. (I'm thinking of getting a 13" MBP.) I know I know, extensive google searches all reveal that "you can't do it" (or that VNC is the only way--no thanks) but I finally stumbled across something interesting--a PDF file that outlines exactly how to do it, with success (albeit with a 17", mine's 20").

    I have renewed hope that this can be done, and I'm willing to put some time and effort into it. (Yes I'm fully aware that said time and effort will not necessarily make the most economic sense when new 20" monitors are $150 or whatever--call it sentimental attachment, as well as "wouldn't it be so cool...", also my sister is an electronics whiz and wants to give it a go.)

    Back to the task: it looks like a simple operation to locate the cables out from the LCD, patch to DVI and power (yes I know my blown PS is a disadvantage -- I think).

    Does anyone here have any experience with this? (I searched but the search term "g5" is ignored, thus it's difficult to narrow down results.)

    Here's the PDF file I mentioned -
    http://users.skynet.be/fa835376/pas a pas.pdf

    And yes it's in french. I actually know french and also google translated it and pieced it together again:
    http://www.circlerranch.ca/skishop/other/g5_monitor_trans.pdf
    BTW, in the translation, "food" and "diet" refer to the power supply unit! (From french "alimentation".) Funny stuff :)

    And I've attached an image (cause everybody likes pics) of my G5 guts.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts...!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #2
    I don't think you can just attach or hack a DVI connector to the cable to the LCD display. You will need an expensive video controller adapter which basically negates the whole idea.
     
  3. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #3
    Very nice guide, thanks for sharing. In your case, external PSU will be required, as your is blown. With these instructions, I think it could be possible to fit Macbook or mini guts inside iMac G5 case :)
    Nice info for creative minds.
     
  4. dxerboy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #4
    I believe the PDF guide shows how to use the video controller from the iMac, as seen in the following pic. The guide states all you need is your G5 and a DVI cable.

    Also attached a couple of pics of the final product: (like I said, it seems "it can be done...") :)

    I am hoping "it has been done..." by someone here too ... anyone?
     

    Attached Files:

  5. MacHamster68, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #5
    i only know of one that was sold here in the uk on ebay last year ,it was a 17" model , the chap had gutted the iMac used the display and the rest of the parts had if i remember that right been from a samsung or lg monitor and it worked even speakers and the usb and firewire ports on the back did , there was only 4 new connections just under the powerconnector to connect for usb firewire and speakers and dvi ,inside was a gutted belkin hub normally for under the mini to make use of the existing port holes

    sorry had not saved the details
    but maybe that guy is here on the forum either the one who did build it or the one who bought it it was sold early last year , i missed the auction end by 1 hour ...fell asleep ..would have fitted so perfect next to my iMac :(
     
  6. electrikbill macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #6
    Success!

    So I found that french PDF proving it can be done, and I did it!! A DVI cable can be directly patched to the LVDS from the monitor. It took me two days but i figured it out and it works very well. I have another broken iMac that I will try the same mod on so that i have dual matching monitors. The only problem is that the backlight does not turn off when the computer puts displays to sleep, but it does when the comp shuts down, I can live with that. I'll post pics of my process. I used the original power supply but any power supply with 12vdc, 5vdc, and 3.3vdc output will do.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. electrikbill macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #7
    Here's a pic of the back, I added a power switch in case i need to turn it off for some reason. And the red and black cables are for the speakers, they lead to a stereo 3.5mm headphone jack which plugs into the computer.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #8
    Awesome! Great work. I just sold my old non-working imac g5 not too long ago. Guess I won't be doing this now :p
     
  9. phillipc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #9
    Great! I can't wait to try this.

    Awesome!

    I have 2 dead iMac G5 20 inchers burning holes in my pockets-er- closet!:D
     
  10. electrikbill macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #10
    Well I have one word: "conversion!" :)
     
  11. Bloodstar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    #11
    It looks like some (or really, all) of the "ports" don't actually have any functioning ports in them - is this the case, or are my eyes just playing tricks on me?

    If it is the case... a shame, I've actually seen some monitors with USB ports before. Would that be possible to add to the iMac being used as a monitor, as well?
     
  12. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #12
    yes in theory you can fit working usb/firewire ports to that conversion , just get a usb /firewire hub and take it apart , fit it inside and done (ideally a hub where wires go to the ports instead of one that has everything fitted to a board )
     
  13. monke macrumors 65816

    monke

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    #13
    Very impressive! I was considering doing this myself when I had free time, but ended up running out of time and not doing it.
     
  14. kylera macrumors 65816

    kylera

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Seoul
    #14
    That is one HUGE bezel :p

    But seriously? Awesome work!
     
  15. jantino macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #15
    Hi electrikbill,

    Do you happen to have any schematics? The one from the french description is a different iMac than the one you have.

    Since I happen to own the same model as you, I would really like to modify my machine.

    Especially the inverter and power supply raise some question marks.

    Any help is welcome! Thanks in front.
     
  16. LeiQQ macrumors regular

    LeiQQ

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #16
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    This is so awesome. I sold my old iMac G5 that I've owned for seven years?!? It was the first g5 without iSight. It was having video issues but started working normally again. I sold it as in with the buyer kniwing the history of this machine. He got a lot of extra siftware goodies and a custom carrying case. I sold it for $220. If I had kept it I would have wanted to do this just because it had been a part of my life for so long. I needed cash though and I had a new mini so I had to let him go.
     
  17. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #17
    This would be a great 2nd life for at least the case and LCD of a dead iMac G5. Although this line of Macs has many flaws they have very good quality S-PVA screens.
     
  18. molala macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Location:
    Cambridge, UK
    #18
    My RevA iMac G5 still works. But this is a great idea for when it dies.
     
  19. steveca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    Location:
    Malta
    #19
    thanks for sharing this. congrats on your work... mine still works as well :)
     
  20. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030

    wrinkster22

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    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto
  21. macsoft3 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    #21
    imac 24"

    Yes!
    I have a white iMac 24", that has the infamous graphic card problem.. it frooze and slugged arround losts of times..tried many ways to cool it better... Hacked a big fan over it (big hole on the back of the imacs case), and was goning to convert it to water cooled... and finally gave up.. i really needed a better machine for my work, so got me a new 27" 3.4g i7 with 16 gogs of mem, and 2 gigs of graphic card memory...and SSD+2 tera HDD!
    Its a beast and works like a charm!!

    But.. my 24" sits there sad..looking at its replacement.. and i could really use the 24" as a second screen for video editing.

    I WANT TO DO THIS TO MY 24" :) does it work for the 24 too? Same process? do you have a tutorial?

    Thanks!
     
  22. NZed macrumors 65816

    NZed

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Canada, Eh?
    #22
    I dont think you have the iMac G5(G5's dont come in 24"). But if you open it up and the parts connecting the monitor are same... it 'should' be the same. Someone correct me if im wrong.
     
  23. macsoft3 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    #23
    Yes, not g5.
    its a 24" white iMac.
    But i cant really understand much from the PDF :S
    I've hacked a lot of stuff, and i'm good with electronics and soldering.
    But my french is a little rusty, and that English translation.. er :S
    can't see much on the pdf photos too.
    Any more detailed instructions available?

    Thanks
     
  24. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    is a state of mind.
    #24
    Nice work.

    This thread just has me thinking again that I'll never buy an iMac! I couldn't pull off your hack and I hate the fact that when the CPU dies or gets old and slow, that you chuck the whole machine.
     
  25. macsoft3 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    #25
    As owner of a ruined 24'' white iMac, i would go for another iMac in a heart beat. in fact i did :p I had the last one for 6 years, and i did video editing, photo editing, and audio editing with it, and it still handle it for a good time. And that is the most you can push a computer.

    just got the best iMac money can buy now. and if it lasts me for another 6 years, i say its money well spent. Faster then a mac pro. I know.. not a good comparison because my imac came with SSD, but its true.
     

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