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


NOTE (11/5/11): This was one of my first (somewhat) successful iMac Mods.  While the Surface Acoustic Wave Touchscreen is one of the best I have used, overall this method is neither elegant nor stable and is not recommended anymore.  The wires coming out the "shelf" on the back are not just ugly, but they make this mod very fragile.  This lasted only 2 months when I started noticing flickering video.  The video cable occasionally got caught and when you moved the monitor, it would pull on the controller board.  Eventually it went altogether.  See my "Summary" post for better alternatives.

Like many people I have always thought that the iMac G4 was one of the most attractive computers out there. The computers aging processors based on PowerPC architecture make them difficult to upgrade without re[placing. Because the monitor connects to its controller through a proprietary connector its difficult to use with upgraded equipment. My solution was to put a shelf on the back for the connectors. I then upgraded it with a surface acoustic wave touch screen, its high resolution does not distort the image at all.

For the base, I initially wanted to make it a Core 2 Duo all in one. Unfortunately, there is a lot less space in there than you think. Its very impressive how Apple constructed it. because it was convection cooled, the parts literally stacked on top of each other. They fit together like a puzzle. The disk drive alone probably takes up 70% of the volume in the base. Many people have thought about putting a mac mini in the base, even that won't fit without heavy modification. A mini itx board won't fit either. A nano or a pico board with an atom processor may work, but that is not really an upgrade from the G4 processor. So, I decided to keep the computer separate. I instead put a blu-ray drive in its base to make it an external blu-ray drive.

I added the original speakers connected to a Griffin Power Wave Adapter and now I finally have an updated iMac G4 on my desk. It's connected to a dual booting Windows 7 / Mac OSX Dual Core machine.

You Tube Video

Story on Hacked Gadgets

Wall-E Mod

Obviously not an iMac, but one of my first projects and in some ways another Steve Jobs creation.

This is a plexiglass custom case built to look like Wall-e. He features Intel's Atom 330 processor on a mini- ITX board. He has bluetooth, wireless-N, a 250GB hard drive, web cam in his left eye, 7 inch touch screen, logitech usb speakers as his arms, an itech laser keyboard, and a bluetooth microphone for use with speech recognition.

Story on gizmodo

You Tube Videos:
Voice Recognition