Sunday, October 25, 2009

Black iMac G4

With the new 20" LCD
Original with 17" LCD
UPDATED (11/4/11): I used a 20" neck for this mod as the original 17" neck would slide down with the heavier HP monitor.  Although this worked fine, I eventually decided to go with a bigger monitor - a 20", though this was without a touchscreen.  I still have the blu-ray in the base and use this with a Wireless DVI attached to the back of the monitor as a 2nd monitor for a laptop (via a wireless USB dongle).  Only negative is this still leaves the power cord which comes from the monitor  This, however, remains a very simple and stable method for getting the look and function of the iMac G4.  Just be careful with the weight and thickness of the LCD you choose.

I wanted to take my extra parts from my previous mod to make a 17 inch version, I decided to replace the entire monitor with a black and silver HP monitor. It uses a resistive touch screen, which is less sensitive and a lower resolution than the surface acoustic wave in the previous model.

I liked the look of the monitor so painted the case black to match. I'm also gonna put a blu-ray drive in it. I think it will make a nice computer as a second monitor for my HTPC. Essentially becoming a big touch screen remote equipped with Windows 7 media Center and a convenient blu-ray player hooked up to my HD TV.

Story on Technabob


  1. May I ask how you mounted the hp monitor onto the iMac? I was wanting to do something similar to my iMac G4, but with a mac mini inside.

  2. Hello omega. The HP monitor is VESA compliant so I decided to use a VESA 100/75 converter plate.

    I then used the small metal bracket in the iMac's monitor casing as a template to drill four holes. I secured the arm to the plate then the plate to the monitor using the included screws. This method has several advantages for one - its very stable, its essentially attached through a VESA mount which is designed to support the monitor's weight. Second, if you mess up the drilling, you just need to replace a $13 piece of metal, not your monitor. Third, you don't have to alter the monitor in any way, you don't even have to open up the casing. If you decide change monitors all you have to do is unscrew it and reattach the monitor stand and no damage has been done.

    Some caveats, choose the weight of the monitor VERY carefully especially if you are using a 17 inch arm. (Even through this is 17 inches I am using a 20 inch arm). Because the monitor is displaced forward by 1 inch, this puts a higher burden of weight on the top "tilting" joint of the arm. I've included a picture of the back of the monitor.

  3. Hello, I was wondering how you attached the VESA mount to the arm? How and what kind of paint you used for the imac? Also will a 15 in Imac G4 arm hold a basic 20 in monitor or will it "sag" i dont own one yet so im unsure the resistance on the arm.

    Thank you :) it looks great by the way

  4. Jonah,
    I drilled four holes in the back. I used the the metal bracket the holds the wires in place on the monitor for a template.

    I have no doubt that the 15 inch arm would sag with a 20 inch monitor on it. The 20 inch arm will actually sag with 20 inch monitors over 12 - 13 lbs

  5. VERY COOL!!! I'll be doing a similar mod to my 20" iMac G4. When the prices come down a little more on 20"LED displays. I hope to drop in an LED "Touch Sensitive" Display into the iMacs Display frame. Then shoehorn in my Intel mini into the base. I've already installed a 2.33 GHz Dual Core Processor into the mini. I've also purchased a modded Ribbon Cable that will allow me to keep the stock iMac's Super Drive an attach it to the mini. Haven't worked out how to reuse the iMac's stock USB & Firewire ports yet (any thougts or suggestions?). Lastly, I'll be painting the iMac silver to match my Mac Pro. The paint must be removed from the inside of the mini's base and frame. What chemical did you use to remove the paint and how did you keep from removing the Silver Apple in the base? Thanks in advance, again VERY VERY COOL!!!

  6. William,
    I'd love to see pics when your done. It may be tough to fit both the existing drive and a mac mini in the base, but ive never seen the inside of a mac mini. I don't remember the name of it, but I just asked for a plastic safe solvent in a local hardware store - it workked great. The apple logo is actually glued on, using a flat mini screwdriver it (and the small apple leaf to the side) can be pried up and glued back on after painting. Good luck with your mod!!

  7. Thanks for the advice. If I remove the the mini from its case, that would shave some height off. Also, would you use the stock USB/Firewire ports on the back of the iMac? Run extension wires from the mini to the iMac ports?
    Here's a link of one of my hacks:

    The pictures aren't in order but you can get an idea.

  8. The ports are hard wired to the imac mobo. I think it would be much easier to just run short usb and fire wire extenders that way you could remove the entire motherboard. You'd also have to wire a switch for the mini's power to the imac's case, which shouldnt be too hard to do.

    Good luck!

  9. Which screen is that?? is the touchscreen functionality native to the screen or some sort of addon kit? Do you have the screen's model number?

  10. Ant, the touch screen in this model is an aftermarket ad-on. It's a resistive touch screen and can be purchased on ebay for around $65 dollars. The monitor is the hp1707 - the touch screen fits easily. There is a small (about 1" by 1/8" controller. i was able to fit this in the back of the inside of the monitor. I cut a small piece of plastic to allow the wire to come out the back.
    For the best result in painting, I would recommend removing the existing white paint first using a plastic safe paint solvent. I then removed the apple (can be pried off), used plastic spray paint, and then put the apple back on.

  11. Hi again, could you give us a link too the Touch Screen Add-on? Tried eBay and found no love. Thanks!!!

  12. For the 20" I used this surface acoustic wave touch screen.

    The controller for SAW is much bigger and requires an additional power source. Because I already had a shelf on the back of the monitor, this didn't bother me. This one also does not fit into the monitor itself. I had to modify the front bezel to make it look like it fits.

    For 17" I used this resistive touch screen kit

    Although resistive is not quite as good. This fit easily inside my hp1707 (including the controller), does not require additional power,its much lighter, and is considerably less expensive.

  13. Hello, (2 years later..)

    I'm french (sorry for my poor english) and I'm not really sure if I understood everything so here is my question:

    Would the arm of a 15inch iMac G4 sag with a 5.01 kg (11.04 lbs) monitor? What about the arm of a 20inch iMac G4? Isn't there any way to increase the resistance of the arm (not about braking but about bending in the articulations)

    I'd just like to convert a dead iMac (which I haven't boucht yet) into a Dell S2409W (VESA mouting supported) support because the original one doesn't offer many rotations or translations and is really ugly.

    Thank you very much!

    1. I honestly don't know much about the support strength of the 15", but I am fairly certain that a 24" monitor will not be supported. The 20" should work, but there is another factor to consider. Its not just the weight, but the distribution of weight. The original iMac LCD case was barely thicker than the LCD itself. As a result the 15 and 17" are less than an inch and the 20" is about an inch thick. If your monitor is thicker the weight may be too far in from of the articulation and pull the monitor forward. This is especially true of the top joint used for tilting the display. If a monitor is too light it may "spring back" when you move the neck.

      The current monitor I have attached to the 20" arm is the LG L206WTQ which is 2.44" thick without the stand. I believe it weighs 11pounds with the lightweight stand and 10lbs or so without. This 20.1" monitor works perfectly (both articulations). When I tried the 21.5"HP/Compaq touch screen monitor it failed miserably. It was 3" thick and the head weighted 10.6lbs (4.8kg) without stand. But this touchscreen monitor had its heavy touch glass in the front of the monitor which may have weighed it down. So, its hard for me to say for sure. My gut feeling is that it will sag in one or both of the articulations. Hope this helps.

  14. Hi,
    I'm very interested in this mod. I think it's the easiest way to go. I already have a mac mini, which i want to hide behind my iMac g4 and connect via hdmi to this pc monitor - ASUS VK228H-CSM.
    It is thin and light. - Phys. Dimension without Stand (WxHxD)514.1x387.22x48.4mm(For VESA Wall Mount), 3,1 kg.
    Do you think that 17" neck could support well this kind of pc monitor?

  15. Or this one - ASUS VS228HP but it seems a lot thicker

  16. I have a 17 inch Widescreen Gateway FPD1775W monitor. It weighs about 5-7 pounds and is around 2.8 inches thick and is vesa compatible. Would this mod work with a 15 inch neck?