Tuesday, January 25, 2011

20" Apple Cinema Display/iMac G4 Mod to Date

 This is without the front bezel of the iMac G4 on top of the apple cinema display.  The bottom is also not on as I am now working with the components in the base.

The touch screen does not fit inside the monitor housing.  Because, I want to make the touch screen removable, I originally had the controller inside the casing and sacrificed a USB port internally.  However, the touchscreen could not be removed without taking the entire monitor apart.  So instead I bonded it to the iMac's Front bezel to make sort of a USB Touch Screen Overlay.

With the touch screen and bezel in place

Unfortunately, the VESA mount method does not work with the cinema display.  Although the weight is identical to the native iMacG4's monitor, the VESA mount displaces the monitor forward about an inch.  This puts too much pressure on the neck and the monitor will not stay up.  By putting the neck directly into the back this problem is eliminated and it moves exactly like the native monitor.  To finish it off I sealed the holes using gray styrene

 This shows the temporary housing for the touch controller.  The white strip is a protector for from the touch screen.  I'm still not sure how to handle the touch controller.  I do want to make it easily removable (It does add a lot of glare to the monitor and I'm not 100% I am going to keep it for this mod).

I came very close to painting the back white.  I do think doing that would make it nearly indistinguishable from the native iMac G4s monitor.  But, for now I held off.

Obviously, this isn't the native iMac, but it is pretty damn close.  Unlike the TMDS to DVI 17" mod, I don't have to deal with screen corruption during sleep.  To use the original 20" inverter I would have needed a 24v, 12v, and 3.3v power source - for the monitor alone.  The backlights would have been turned on independently - which is somewhat inconvenient.  I still do need the power brick, however, which I may not be able to fit in the base.

I am very curious to hear opinions and suggestions regarding how to improve this mod.  When I am finished I can post a parts list, step by step guide if anyone is interested.

Next step: I am going to complete the alternate neck wiring method I described in my previous post.  I may paint the housing white.  I also need to decide how I'm going to handle the touch controller, make it look clean, but keep it very easy to remove.

In terms of the base, while the ECX board can boot off the compact flash, its onboard graphics is unable to drive the 20" monitor.  As a result, I will need a dedicated graphics card.  Because it has only a PCI x 4 slot, I have decided on the Zotac Ion PCI x1 card.  With a pci riser it should still fit, but its starting to get very crowded.


  1. Congratulations on your progress & tenacious attitude.

    I would like to do the cinema display mod but have found running a hackintosh can be problematic.

    My 20" imac has the fan blowing downwards which although anti convection cools far more effectively. I'm also not bothered about having a disc drive. For those reasons I'm more inclined towards a mac mini mobo in the base.

    Do you think that would work J?

  2. Hey Roger (For the old mac mini) - angled right (and removing everything including part of the front drive tray, it should physically fit. It would have to be placed at a 45 degree angle between the four metal support legs inside the dome. Because the legs only have 5.5 - 6" between them and the mac mini is 6.5" there is no way to angle the drive to the existing drive tray. Remember this does not account for ports in the back. Some or all of which may require specialized (right angle connectors) at best and be totally inaccessible at worst. If you are set on doing this, I would recommend removing the mac mini from its case, for both heat issues as well as maximizing the amount of space available. I haven't examined it, but I do not think that current generation can fit in any orientation. Hope this helps.

  3. Thanks J,

    How about a neat cut out of the dome & let the back of the MM stick out?
    Not nearly perfect but it's the screen on the arm that matters most to me.

    I also wouldn't need usb ports on the screen so that means less wires up the neck.

    Look forward to reading more about your touch screen.



  4. Hey Roger, it is a nice idea. To place the mac mini in the base - almost like a dock. The only problem is that the faraday cage (especially on the 20") is quite substantial. Cutting through that thick metal would require some heavy duty tools. I may actually be acquiring an older mac mini and may experiment with putting it in the base. I'll keep you updated.

  5. The article is very useful. Thanks for sharing. Also read our article about health and treatment information, I'm sure useful :)

    Cara Mengobati Penyakit Ulkus Peptikum
    Pengobatan Ablasio Retina
    Obat Nyeri Sendi Lutut dan Pinggang
    Obat Sirosis Hati Herbal