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!!


  1. Hi Jon,


    Excellent work, sure I can say this is the first iMac G4 modding with easy to follow steps/ideas.

    I can tell by your words how satisfied you are, I am sure everybody following your blog is as excited as we are to see such results.

    My best regards,


  2. Great job on this mod! Re: the touchscreen, I read that is was mounted on the front earlier (I assume over the plexiglas) but I can't see it from the pics. Also, I can't see the flat cable leading to it. Is that correct that it is on the front rather than the back (and if on the back, is the pressure being transferred though the "glass"). Lastly, which drivers did you use with the touchscreen? I found that the touchscreen that I purchased in the past, stated all OS's except for Vista and 7, similar to the ones offered by your vendor. I had to go with a different controller from eGalax that did have Win7 operability. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for the compliment. The touch screen is under the iMac front bezel. It's sitting right on top of the LCD glass. The flat ribbon goes around the LCD to the back where it connects to the 4 pin extension and goes down the neck to the controller in the base. I'll try to dig up some pics if I have them. Currently it's all encased in the monitor housing.

    I used the touchmon driver software that came with it. It took some fiddling but it seems to work with windows 7. I'll def have to check out that controller you are referring to.

  4. Did a video showing the touchscreen functionality make it online yet? Would like to see it in action!

  5. Yes, please see the newest post in this blog, it will refer you to a YouTube video

  6. Please see the newest post in the blog, there is a link to the video

  7. Oh, I see. I thought the see-through plastic covered the whole front of the screen but I saw online that it was part of the bezel like any other monitor.
    For future touch screen projects, you might want to consider this local NY company (Interlogic Industries) who is an excellent distributer of touch screens and controllers and uses up-to-date components with competitive pricing. I have used them on some projects and they pointed out how I originally was using a cloned eGalax controller that I got off of eBay from a supposed "real" store.

  8. So I just picked up the same touch panel for a project I'm working on, and I'm trying to get it to work with windows 7.

    What "fiddling" did you have to do to get it to work correctly?

  9. This just made my day much brighter. Thanks a lot. Something else I across was this .Take a look!

  10. Jeremy - its odd, the only way that it seemed to work (I'm assuming you have the drivers on the small blue CD with the picture of a panda on it) was to first hook the touchscreen in - BEFORE INSTALLING TOUCHMON. Let windows recognize it and search for drivers and indicate that the drivers could not be found and the device is not working properly. Then I installed touchmon and it identified it. When I did it the proper way and did the CD first, it would search the ports and not locate the touch screen. Also, while this works fine, it essentially is a touchpad mouse. I've been experimenting with drivers to get it to be recognized natively by Windows 7, I'll let you know how it works out.

  11. Hey,
    nice job on your iMac. I wonder if I could ask you some advice about my my own computer...
    My mouse has stopped working on the iMac but works fine on my MBP and intel imac.
    the G4 is freshly installed w Tiger and uptodate as far as I know.
    the mouse does respond but jerkily. Other USB things work ok in the ports.
    Thanks for any help

  12. Killian, I'm really not sure whats going on to be honest. Try another USB mouse - if that doesn't work it may be something software related.

  13. Did you look at all at just using the original monitor that is in the iMac G4? (rather than installing a touch screen).

    Or did you decide that impossible due to wiring etc.?

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  17. I realise no on has commented on this post in a while, but was wondering how you managed to stop the screen dropping from the extra weight of the touch screen panel?


  18. With a 4 - wire resistive touchscreen the monitor drift isn't terrible, bu it is definitely there. If you can get a "film to film" touchscreen in the correct size, this would likely eliminate the problem. Alternatively, you could use the 20" neck, but this will be more difficult to maneuver. But, only with the 20" cinema display/iMac mod havei ever been able to completely eliminate monitor drift from any touchscreen mod.

  19. Touch screens we have found to be troublesome, some work fine some hit and miss, so we have standardised on infrared solutions as we find them more effective.


  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Hi, this is amazing mod guide.

    I get a Intel IMAC 24" with dead mobo. I try to change it to a DVI monitor. May I use TMDS to DVI on this 24" screen?



    1. Thank you, unfortunately the intel macs do not use TMDS LCDs they use LVDS so some type of control board must be used. The TMDS method will not work. Sorry

    2. Yes, you are right. I find datasheet for my screen.Now the difficulty thing is find a 24V 90W power supply.
      Thanks any way.

    3. There is an easy to locate (though not cheap) 24V 90W power supply its the power brick for the apple cinema display 20" aluminum. The only caveat is that (unless you open it up and solder from inside) you need the plug that fits in. However, I have seen apple cinema display cables on ebay for a reasonable price. Cut off the plug with some extra cable and plug it into the power supply, when you strip the cable you'll see your +24V and Ground cable. I'm sure there are others, but worst case scenario you can use this.

  22. Impressive! here I am with an empty G4 perusing the web for ideas and I thank you sir! I'm going to do this and put it on the table next to my couch to control my media. Thank you!

  23. OMG you have the same hp computer as me. A hp pavilion DV-something

  24. Hey, This look great !!! Can you tell us what model of monitor did you put in the mac ?


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