11 Replies Latest reply: Sep 25, 2006 10:37 AM by mhunter
CÈdric de Jac. Level 2 Level 2 (195 points)
Hi,

My G5 iMac has serious problems with the disk controller requiring a motherboard replacement, which is far too expensive, so it looks like its career is over.

Before I just dump it, I was wondering if it might not be possible to at least save the screen... is there a way to use the iMac as one, aka the FireWire disk mode which "turns" it into an external hard drive?

Thanks,

Cédric

iBook G4 1.2 Ghz, Mac OS X (10.3.7)
  • Eric Kracinski Level 6 Level 6 (15,925 points)
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no video input on the iMac, so it is not possible to use it as a display for another computer.
  • mhunter Level 6 Level 6 (9,190 points)
    Hello,

    I'm sorry to hear of your misfortune.

    But, while Eric is absolutely correct, that does not mean that it is impossible to salvage your display.

    It is technically possible (with the right experience, hardware, soldering iron, and knowledge) to use just the monitor out of your dead iMac.

    After-all, it is just a LCD screen inside a computer. It is driven and operated just like any other LCD screen.

    So, just like you could replace the LCD panel in a standard monitor that failed, you could likely convert the iMac's built-in monitor to a stand-alone display by supplying the missing components and re-wiring it.

    Of course, this is not a project for a complete novice, and I don't possess the proper schematics or wiring diagrams. So, I'm not going to be much help there.

    But, if you have an experienced friend, and access to some other dead displays, you could likely hack something together. Naturally, at your own risk.

    I mention that simply to prevent you from throwing away a good screen if you think you know someone who likes a challenge.

    Otherwise, you might sell the machine on e-bay as parts. Someone might have a damaged LCD screen and need a replacement.

    As another option, have you tried booting from an external FireWire hard drive? That may just work.

    The FireWire is on a separate bus from the built-in hard drive controller. So, if that is the only failed part, you may be able to restore use of your computer with an external FireWire hard drive.

    You can boot from an external FireWire drive by holding down the Option key at startup. Naturally, that external hard drive needs a bootable OS X installation.

    If your computer's internal drive is still fine, you might consider removing it, and placing it in an external FireWire enclosure and try booting from it.

    I hope this helps.

    Let us know if you have other questions.


    P.S., if you'd like, go ahead and click the "Helpful" or "Solved" buttons on any of the posts / replies above if you feel they were helpful or adequately answered your question.
  • CÈdric de Jac. Level 2 Level 2 (195 points)
    Ok, I expected as much. The "tearing the computer apart to get the LCD" part goes way out of my capacities Indeed, if it comes to that selling it on eBay might be the best thing.

    What you suggest with the external drive is interesting. While I've used an OS mounted on it to do tests with it, I hadn't thought of trying it as a permanent solution. Good idea, I'll give it a go. Thanks!
  • mhunter Level 6 Level 6 (9,190 points)
    You're welcome. Glad to help.

    If it does boot and work fine from the external drive, then go into System Preferences and set your external drive as the primary boot drive. That will eliminate the delay at start-up where it's looking for a boot volume, and it should also prevent you from having to use the Option key to select a volume (if it still sees the old drive for some reason.

    I hope this helps.
  • CÈdric de Jac. Level 2 Level 2 (195 points)
    It's worth a try, at least. It will have to wait until this week-end though. Thanks for the tip - it hadn't crossed my mind that an external HD might work when the internal one doesn't.
  • mhunter Level 6 Level 6 (9,190 points)
    You're welcome. I hope you find it restores your ability to use the computer.
  • CÈdric de Jac. Level 2 Level 2 (195 points)
    The iMac has been booted on an old iBook with a broken monitor for half a day now - two broken macs combined to get a functional one

    So far, it seems to be working fine. I'm a bit cautious though since the problem didn't manifest itself immediately after I installed a new HD. Fingers crosses.
  • mhunter Level 6 Level 6 (9,190 points)
    Hello,

    That's a good sign. Eventually, you may want to move to an actual FireWire hard drive. Using Target Disk Mode as you described will prevent you from reliably using other FireWire devices. But, it sounds like this may work in the mean-time.

    Glad to hear it's up and running at the moment
  • iDVD Level 2 Level 2 (160 points)
    you could sell the imac for parts. somebodys bound to buy it. my drean with an imac is converting the case to be a really fat laptop. although its pretty close thickness to my tank of an ibook clamshell

    Message was edited for screw ups
  • CÈdric de Jac. Level 2 Level 2 (195 points)
    Still running...

    Yes, booting it on the iBook is just meant as a test - when I'm sure the computer will run that way, I'll get a new FW hard drive for it. Aside from conflicts with other FW items, an iBook hard drive is very slow and not very big

    Thanks for all the help, I might have thrown it away if it hadn't been for your tip!
  • mhunter Level 6 Level 6 (9,190 points)
    Hello,

    Still running...


    That's great


    Yes, booting it on the iBook is just meant as a test
    - when I'm sure the computer will run that way, I'll
    get a new FW hard drive for it. Aside from conflicts
    with other FW items, an iBook hard drive is very slow
    and not very big



    Sounds like a good plan.


    Thanks for all the help, I might have thrown it away
    if it hadn't been for your tip!


    Glad I could helps. Now, if you decide that you still want to throw it away, send it over here

    I hope it keeps working for you. It may still provide you with many years of service