Sunday, April 11, 2010

17" iMac G4 LVDS Conversion - Video

Video of 17" iMac Mod

Here is a video of the mod in action.  I have connected it to a small mini itx computer running Windows 7.  As I said before, I do plan on getting a mac mini for this mod eventually.  I wanted to get a general sense with how the leopard user interface would work with a touchscreen, so I skinned the computer to look like leopard (using Rocketdock and Apple Icons).  The user interface works great.  Having the dock makes selecting programs easy.  With this networked computer I am only a few touches away from my entire home movie, picture, and music collection.  In addition, using Webtaps for firefox allows me to rapidly select videos from internet sites such as hulu.

To complete the look I am using the iMac G4's original keyboard (I like using the wired keyboard because I plan on concealing the actual computer, this gives me two easily accessible USB ports).  I have also added the magic mouse and the USB griffin powerwave adapter which allows me to use the iMac's original Orb speakers.

I hope that this blog has and will help with similar projects.  For myself, I have decided to next work on an ATOM/ION G4 Cube mod.  Similar mods to this have been done, but I think having a slot loading bluray home theater pc (capable of HD output) in the shape of an apple cube would look great in the family room.  Also, I hope to get back to a multitouch table that I had been doing some work on.  So one mod done and on to the next......

Friday, April 2, 2010

17" iMac G4 LVDS Conversion - Completed

UPDATE (11/4/11): Although not quite as worrisome as the 20" TMDS to LVDS conversion, I still recommend against using this method as high voltage inverter to CCFL wires go through the metal neck.  Please see my summary of mods or my 17" Step by Step Guide for an easier, more stable, cheaper, and safer way of doing this.

Original Post:
I actually get to write this post from my completed mod!!!! (Well from my laptop cloned to my monitor, but close enough).  I think it came out great.  The image is clear and bright.  The touch screen adds some weight, but there is no significant "monitor drift".  It took a while to get the touch screen working and calibrated, but it works fantastically.  In most situations I think touch screens on desktops make little sense, but for the G4, the ability to grab the screen move it towards you and  tilt it up makes it extremely fun and useful.  It's not multitouch, but that's OK.

This is the end of a really fun experience.  I think this is the perfect compromise between my two other mac mods and I do have to say that I actually think I prefer the proportions of the 17" vs. the 20".  For anyone debating - after doing both - I would strongly recommend the 17" over the 20".  The components are MUCH cheaper for the 17".  Also, 6 backlights in the 20" leaves a lot of voltage to travel through the neck.  The 17" allowed me to add much more shielding to the cables and made the mod significantly more stable and I still had enough room for a touchscreen.

I'll add a video in the near future to demonstrate the touch screen functionality and the mod in general.  When I became interested in doing this - I was shocked by how many others had similar ideas and I hope that this blog has helped and inspired others that are attempting to do a similar thing.  It is very doable and there is nothing that you can buy in a store that comes close to a one of a kind device that you build yourself.  That reminds me I'd like to thank fellow iMac G4 moders Blugray and MacOdyssey whose blogs and posts inspired me and without whom I never would have been able to finish (or even start) this project.

I have to admit though its a little weird to see Windows on the iMac G4.  I may have to get a mac mini for this computer, I'll just have to hide it under the desk .... ;) As always, I'm happy to answer any questions.  Good Luck!!