Renovate iMac - iLamp w/ mac mini inside?

Posted by: Steiph Zargon

Renovate iMac - iLamp w/ mac mini inside? - 11/26/08 10:31 AM

Was wondering if anyone has any tips on stuffing an new Mac Mini inside an oldish iLamp -- I want to gut the base and put in a Mini but would really like to know if anyone has any ideas on how to use the original display as the monitor? All info and advice is welcome.

TIA to all smile

Posted by: KateSorensen

Re: Renovate iMac - iLamp w/ mac mini inside? - 11/26/08 11:17 AM

Posted by: KateSorensen

Re: Renovate iMac - iLamp w/ mac mini inside? - 11/26/08 11:23 AM

See: this.
Is there a way? There's a way to do almost anything, with enough money and/or knowledge.

Is there any easy way? No. You'd have to figure out the pinouts for the monitor itself, and then fashion some kind of cable to get a signal to it. You'd also have to power it. Probably totally not worth it, and probably easier to find some adjustable flat panel monitor for a reasonable price and just buy one.

Another interesting thread
Hey guys,

this thread doesn't appear to have dug up the answers to the key difficulties we were having; namely the pin-out for the gorgeous LCD screen, but it's titled Reuse G4 (iLamp), and after 2 years of trying to resurrect my G4, I've thought of an appropriate use for it..

It's still a piece of gorgeous design, so I don't want to sell or destroy it in any way, but it's now too slow to even playback and browse my media (with Tiger), so I'm going to turn it into the centrepiece of my new MAME cabinet!

I've bought a Tankstick from X-Arcade, downloaded 18Gb of ROMs and I'm going to play retro games using MacMame. The Apple Pro speakers sticking out of the cabinet, I can see it now. Might even put in some sort of jukebox, as it still has the master copy of all my music on it.

I'll post pictures when it's done.

And here
My iMac G4 flat panel (lamp)
has died. The monitor is still good so I want to take out the guts and connect the monitor to another computer to use. How would I go about taking the iMac monitor connector and converting it to something I can use with a Mac Mini?

As you might guess I know nothing but Googled just for the heck of it. I have a dead iMac Lamp that I hate to get rid of. Good luck with yours. Here is one last link:
click here
Yeah, I've written about this before. Here's the dirt:
•The iMac's optical drive is indeed totally in the way of putting in an entire Mac Mini, because it is right in the middle dominating the case
•Those old drives aren't so hot anyway (I know, easily replaceable of course!)
•The entire iMac "dome" is smaller than it seems from the outside because of a metal lining Apple calls the Faraday Cage (electric shielding), it's actually not at all big inside
•With a Mac Mini inside, you won't need the iMac power supply so that could clear up a lot of space "up top", removing the fan which lies up there too
•The external door for the optical drive is easy to push open, it's not very fussy so there's scope for inventive hacking there!

Posted by: Rhetro

Re: Renovate iMac - iLamp w/ mac mini inside? - 02/02/10 05:43 AM


I realize the posts on this topic are a little old. I'm just wondering if someone has succesfully done this? Hopefully this project hasn't been abandoned.

It seems like the biggest hurdle is to retrofit the pin-out from the Macmini to the original iMac G4 monitor. With the schematic, this can't be too bad, can it? - although, it looks like disassembly of the monitor arm is an issue

I agree with those in agreement with this mod concept. I don't think that the computer will ever looks as good as it did when Mac came out with the G4 iLamp. I'd love to keep this idea alive and give it a shot myself. I'm pretty handy with electronics and am willing to give this a shot.

Has anyone had success with the pin-out mapping, or is there some unforseen issue?

Posted by: macburn

Re: Renovate iMac - iLamp w/ mac mini inside? - 02/06/10 05:02 PM

The problem is that there is no lcd controller in the monitor (there is an inverter, but it doesn't work with other lcd controllers). So, you can either use a TMDS controller board or you can wire extensions for a more standard LVDS monitor. This is what I did. Either way you still need to extend the cables for the inverter to backlights (unless you can get the native inverter to work with a different controller). Be careful when lengthening the interver to backlight cables (they are high voltage).

For more details:
Posted by: Dremel Junkie

Re: Renovate iMac - iLamp w/ mac mini inside? - 11/04/11 04:52 PM

Please ignore my almost two year old recommendations above - I was very wrong. Its funny now to read this, as I was so certain at the time. I've learned a lot since then (through trial and error as well as good advice), and although I thought I understood how the iMac G4 worked - I really didn't. I would not do anything I wrote above as a TMDS controller is superfluous (the actual LCD essentially contains one already) and conversion to LVDS is expensive, difficult, and in my case - potentially dangerous.

The LCD already "understands" TMDS and TMDS is the signaling that a DVI cable uses. So if you know where each wire goes, have the right DVI connector, some resistors and a power source you can make the iMac G4's LCD terminate in a DVI cable in the base that can plug into whatever you wish. The power terminates in a molex plug - so it can be plugged into any compatible power supply. And you do not have to open the LCD or the neck. I have created a very easy to follow (solder free) step by step guide for the 17" version of this. You can read it here:

I have also figured a way to use the 20" (more complex power setup), but a full guide is pending. Preview it here:

I have a setup which uses a G4 and G5 iMac which uses an external mini, Fitting the new mini in the base may be difficult. But for those that want to resurrect their broken iMac G4s as either external monitors or all-in-ones I hope you find this useful.