Starting a G4 iMac mod

Posted by: leodavinci

Starting a G4 iMac mod - 09/30/08 08:43 PM

New guy here. Not sure if this should go in the Hardware or Case Mod forum as it seems to cover a bit of both... or will when it's done.

A few weeks ago I picked up an otherwise functional 20" G4 iMac with a dead monitor, and I started my mod by removing the monitor from the support arm. It's now got four wires dangling out the top, but it still works. Whew!

Next step, open the case and clean it out. From what I can see by looking in the ventilation holes all around there seems to be a wee bit of dust inside.

After that, remove the monitor arm and (hopefully) replace it with a handle... something with some style that will work with the iMac case design. A "T" shaped car shifter, or something oval or circular.

Then it's on to deal with the dangling cables, of which only two are actual monitor wiring. I figure those can just be unplugged at the mobo. The other two I want to keep because one is for the microphone and the other is for a LED in the monitor bezel. My "plan" is to move the microphone and LED to new locations... maybe placing the microphone in (or near) the handle and the LED behind the chrome Apple logo.

Although I'm not absolutely set on doing anything else to the case, I'm seriously considering a nice glossy black paint job. Or maybe a faux wood finish to match my oak bookcases.

It's likely due for a new battery, and the optical drive probably needs to be replaced. The previous owner said the drive was "stuck" and threw in an external Sony CD drive. I'm thinking about replacing the internal CD with a Samsung unit with LightScribe capability, and upgrading the hard drive to a 160, 250 or 500 GB unit.

Considering the age of this Mac the HD, I'm lucky the original 80GB HD still works. Since this machine may end up being some sort of home multi-media server, a new 160, 250 or 500 GB hard drive is in the works. However, I am concerned about heat and since the fan is starting to sound noisy, a new, faster and quite fan is being added.

The last consideration before re-assembly is upgrading the internal ram. Even though Apple's original specs (and online ram sources) say this model has a 1 GB total limit, I think upping it to 2 should be possible, as this unit has 1.5 GB. What's another half a GB?

Comments? Suggestions?
Posted by: leodavinci

Update: Starting a G4 iMac mod - 10/12/08 11:37 AM

For anyone who's interested, here's an update on my project. I'll continue posting them here as I get around to it.

Although I'm taking lots of photos, I don't plan on posting any here. If this project is successful, I will be producing a PDF guide of the entire project with lots of hi-rez photos. When it's finished and if MacMod is interested, I'm going to make it available to them with the hope they will host it for other MacMod members to download.

The project so far.

Monitor is removed.

The user installed ram (512MB) and AP card are out and bagged.

The case has been opened and all cables disconnected, but not without some difficulty. Not with opening the case, although a couple of the screws were quite a bit tighter than I expected. When its time to put the case back together, I may have to pick up a torque wrench to tighten them properly.

The problem at this stage was with disconnecting some cables. The HD and SuperDrive connectors came apart easily enough, as did the grounding screw and AP antenna cable. The antenna cable screws together as does a Bluetooth connector which is present, although there is no BT card installed. I guess Apple installed the BT antennas and connectors as a matter of course for the production of these models. Like the AP antenna, the BT antenna runs between the plastic outer shell and internal metal housing.

The Power Supply connector was a bit snug, but eventually came apart. There is a single connector with two side flexible hooks for the inverter, speaker and fan. This one was a bit reluctant and it appears I've severely twisted one of the side hooks. However I don't think it will be a problem.

The worst was the TMDS video connector. The Apple take apart manual doesn't reveal just how this connector is... "connected." Visually, I couldn't tell if the cable slid into the side of what looked like a connection, or if this connection was the connector and simply pulled apart like the others. After tugging a bit here and there, I finally decided to just pull upwards on this connector. Turns out this connector is a plastic cover over the actual TMDS connector, which is metal. The "plastic cover" is a just shield held down to the MOBO with two really tiny adhesive pads, which are what made removing the connector so hard.

Yes... I realize I am so lucky it worked out that way. Whew!

I'm writing this during a break. After getting the case apart to this point, there was so much dust inside I decided to run out for a can of compressed air before proceeding any further.

Next up: Severe dusting, remove HD, optical drive, and monitor arm. I'm still looking for a "handle." I thinking of an automotive T-shift. Any suggestions?
Posted by: oojacoboo

Re: Starting a G4 iMac mod - 10/12/08 05:29 PM

look forward to seeing the full writeup and the pics of the mod! Please be sure to let us know about it and we'll post up a news article and add your mod to the archive. NO PDF though, please. Just pics and text, html if you like. Let us know, can't wait!

OH, and, Welcome to MacMod wink