Introduction: How to Hackintosh Your IMac G4

You have a nice looking iMac G4? And you just can't throw it away?

Then this instructable is the solution for you. But be warned: you need a lot of patience and good electronics knowledge...

The problem is, that this thing is about 15 years old now. Apple discontinued the PowerPC architecture about 10 years ago and there are no updates available anymore. So you can't really use it anymore. Even playing a YouTube video is beyond the capability of the PowerPC G4 CPU

Those are the specifications of the renewed iMac:

  • Original Super Drive
  • Original 17" screen
  • Original M6531 Pro Speakers with proprietary 2.5mm plug
  • Apple Chime startup sound
  • PAM8403 amplifier for speakers
  • INTEL i5 NUC DC54327HYE
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi
  • Gigabit LAN, using the original socket
  • Internal PSU (NUC PSU and Pico PSU for 12V, 5V, 3.3V)
  • Picaxe controlled PSU, Apple Chime, PWM system fan, "breathing" sleep LED
  • Separate Picaxe controller for screen backlights control via touch sensors

Also have a look at my other Hackintosh videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGO5EJJClJ...

Step 1: Inverter Reverse Engineering and Disassembly

First, we need to know how the inverter pinout is. This requires to measure the signals on the living object. The next thing to do is to remove all the old innards.

Step 2: Dome Modification

The touch sensors for the CCFL brightness adjustment require two big holes in the faraday cage.

Step 3: WiFi Antenna Replacement

The original WiFi antenna needs to be replaced with a new one from Tyco

Step 4: LCD Wiring

The custom Apple LCD connector needs to be replaced with a HDMI connector. The pinout can be found on Dremeljunkies web site: http://www.dremeljunkie.com/2011/08/guide-step-by...

Step 5: Power Supply

The 19V NUC PSU powers the entire system. An additional Pico PSU converts the 19V input voltage to 12V, 5V and 3.3V for the screen, the optical drive etc. It is switched on and off, using a custom made controller.

Warning!

Working with mains voltage is dangerous can cause serious injury or even d..th! Be careful! The most important point is, that the metal part of the dome is always properly connected with the ground wire!!

Step 6: CCFL Backlight Brightness Controller

The backlights are controlled from a Picaxe microcontroller and two touch sensors. This little extra makes a brightness change very convenient.

Step 7: NUC Installation

The Intel NUC is installed in the top half of the dome, below the new 80mm Noctua fan. This leaves just enough room for the original Super Drive.

Step 8: Super Drive Installation

The original Super Drive is connected, using an ATA to USB adapter. A little cutout in the sheet metal housing is required in order to free some space for the internal NUC power connector. All the custom electronics and the Chime controller are mounted on the bottom side of the drive housing.

Step 9: Apple Chime

A vintage Apple computer just needs an "Apple Chime" start sound. A new sound module drives the original internal speaker and is controlled by the Picaxe controller, which is described in step 5.

Step 10: Speakers

The original M6531 Pro Speakers are used in original condition, using their 2.5mm Apple connector. The signal comes from a USB sound adapter and is then amplified in a PAM8403 class D amplifier. The original 2.5mm socket on the mainboard is rewired.

Step 11: PWM Fan Controller

To keep the fan noise as silent as possible, a temperature controlled Picaxe fan controller is implemented in this step.

Step 12: USB and Ethernet Wiring

In this step, the original USB sockets are removed and replaced with new ones. The two FireWire sockets are replaced with a USB 3.0 socket. In addition, the original Ethernet socket is rewired and reused. The original power switch is also reused and rewired.

Step 13: NUC CMOS Battery

The NUC CMOS battery is moved outside the NUC, in order to keep it accessible.

Step 14: Final Assembly and Conclusion

That's it!

Most of the custom electronics are accessible through the original maintenance opening in the bottom

Some more details can be found here: https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/mactester57s-h...

Conclusion: This mod turned out well and works just fine. But it was A LOT of work. Today, I would do several things different. For example, I would use an Arduino Microcontroller instead of the three! Picaxes. I already did that in my iMac G5 conversion:

If you like this Instructable, please subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqWO3PNCSjHmYiAC...

See you!

Comments

author
TheDIYGuy999 (author)2017-05-27

The 19V original NUC power brick is used and feeds the NUC via the coaxial plug. 19V then comes out of the internal 2pin molex connector on the NUC mainboard and feeds into the pico PSU. You have to use a pico PSU with wide range input to be compatible with the 19V from the NUC. Unfortunately I don't have the product reference anymore.

author
ThéoH14 (author)2017-05-22

Hi! thanks for the pictures and explanations, just could you explain how you go from the original power bloc to the NUC power supply and how do you split from there to both the picoPSU and the NUC? Do you have a product reference I can order? Thanks!

author
BrownDogGadgets (author)2017-02-23

Thats some amazing work! We have an old G4 iMac in our office and no idea what to do with it.

author

Thanks. Just keep it. The price will raise!

author

They said that about the Color Classic and Mac Classic machines I have. At least those are easy to wire up, since they're just big cubes.

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