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September 22, 2011

iMac Mini

I started this project because I had a small pile of Macbook laptops and white iMacs in various states of functionality.  For this project, I used the stand and friction hinge from a 2006 iMac, the LCD from a Macbook that had coffee spilled on it, and the motherboard from a Macbook with a smashed screen.  The keyboard header on the motherboard was missing, so I had no way to use it in a laptop.  I decided to build a miniature iMac-like computer out of the parts I had.  As it turned out, I built the computer only to find out that the USB ports on the motherboard I used were dead, rendering the computer useless.  It was still a fun project though.



As you can see from this picture, the header for the laptop's top panel had been ripped off the logic board.  It should be where the two rows of 5 grey rectangles now are:



Unfortunately, the power button on a Macbook is on the keyboard.  However, they have two pins on the motherboard which can be shorted to turn the computer on.  I soldered wires to these pins, so that I could later attach a new power button.  The power button symbol is visible here:



Wires attached:



Here's the laptop's CPU.  Not too shabby:



Here's the screen I used:



And the iMac stand:





Next, I worked on the LCD.  To mount the LCD, I decided to flip the panel around within its frame, so that it faced outwards when the laptop was closed, instead of inwards.  For this to work, I had to extend the wires to the screen's inverter:



Next, I cut out the back of the plastic LCD frame, so that the LCD panel would be visible.  I did the rough cutting with a dremel, and filed it to shape:



I also cut holes for the webcam, webcam led, and microphone:



Here's the size of the frame compared to a 17" iMac:



The LCD panel was held into the plastic by a metal frame.  I unscrewed it from the frame, flipped the LCD around, and screwed the frame back on.  I then screwed the frame down to the modified plastic enclosure:







Here is the LCD placed back on top of the rest of the laptop:







To attach the modified laptop to the iMac stand, I first cut a piece of steel sheet to fit the back of the laptop:



I filed the friction hinges smooth:



I then soldered the friction hinge to the metal sheet, using some heavy solder and a propane torch:



Not very pretty at first:



Cleaned up with sandpaper:







Here's the piece screwed to the base:









I removed the friction hinge that normally held the laptop's screen in place, and replaced it with four metal brackets.  These brackets screw first into the LCD's frame, and then into the base of the laptop, holding the two parts together:



I cut a hole in the back of the metal back sheet for the MagSafe power adapter port:



I also drilled a hole for a power button.  I reused the power button from a white iMac:











To fix the metal back to the base of the laptop, I just epoxied it in place:



I extended the wires for the MagSafe connector, and glued the port in place.  I then assembled the computer:



















I stuck a hard drive from another mac in the computer, and booted it up only to find out that the USB ports do not work, rendering the computer completely useless.  USB devices get power, but the computer does not respond to them in either the OS or the EFI.  I may be able to circumvent this problem by buying a firewire to USB hub, or using bluetooth, but I have not yet had the chance to try.

6 comments:

  1. ...impressive stuff! Been on your blog for the past 45mins andalready a fan of what you do. Keep up the good work, dude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such an inspiration! I've also had this idea of converting old laptops into desktops.

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  2. :'( No Comment about your hard work !! You'r Amazing, Awesome Man !!

    I'm a biggggggggggg Fan !! of you :) Keep Going bro, and keep this in you'r mind ((You'r Awesome)) :)

    iJohn blog !

    ReplyDelete
  3. "booted it up only to find out that the USB ports do not work, rendering the computer completely useless. USB devices get power, but the computer does not respond to them in either the OS or the EFI. I may be able to circumvent this problem by buying a firewire to USB hub, or using bluetooth, but I have not yet had the chance to try."
    I have the same problem! How did you solve it???

    ReplyDelete
  4. how to clean the Macbook keyboard A1706 A1707 A1708 after coffee spill
    Here a solution

    ReplyDelete