please help imac newbie - cd rom and cdr fun

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Joined: Jan 27 2006
Posts: 2

I recently bought an imac g3 333 tray loader off ebay - to tinker with. So the first thing I thought I'd do is get rid of os 9.2 and replace it with yellowdog linux - but I've hit a hurdle right from the start. The CDROM that the imac was supplied with works (kind of) but doesn't seem to like my CDR's. So I did a bit of a google and discovered that these older imacs have quite fussy cdroms... So, I thought I'd get hold of some quality 74min (650mb) cdr's - but you know what - can't seem to find them anywhere. It's all 700mb stuff.

So then I found an article on this forum saying that somebody had swapped out their old imac drive with a newer small form factor cd drive (laptop style)... So I think I'll give that a go, my question is - has anyone else tried this, did it work and can you boot from them... OK, so that was actually 3 questions Wink

Anybody out there able to help / offer advice.

Cheers, Jake

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Joined: Sep 23 2005
Posts: 316

it might have been my posts that you read... but, i also have a 333 Rev D iMac (also known as "terd") [i have essentially given up on it, my old performa 5215CD is more useful...] And i DID succesfully swap out my CD drive in the iMac, with the DVD Burner from my Mac Mini (not as a permanant solution though, only while they were disassembled, to install software. I really think i just got lucky. You may be able to reassemble it with the new drive in place, but it wouldnt be too pretty. When you disassemble your iMac, and finally get to the drive, you will see that there is a small PCB adapter plate attached to the back of the drive, you WILL need that to do a swap, just remove the two screws that hold it in place, and pop it off then get your new laptop drive and make sure your maste/slave settings are the same as the orig drive (i didnt check this, i just got lucky... so, i guess any drive advertised as a Mac Mini replacement drive would work.... or iMac for that matter i Guess.) Slap the adapter panel on it and put the machine ack together. i had absolutley no problem with it. Doesnt mean that all of a sudden your iMac will play DVD's (with 6MB VRAM, i REALLY doubt it, but... i didnt try it when i had it installed, so i cant say for sure.) But, it will READ the data off of DVD's and CD-R's now!! and, as i had set it up, it was bootable. It was an orig. apple drive though. If i were forcd to guess, i would say that you probably shouldnt have a problem if you use the Pioneer DVR-K05. (or an original Apple laptop drive.


Joined: Jan 27 2006
Posts: 2
So I swapped out the cdrom

with one of my laptop ones. I seem to be getting somewhere - when I boot into 9.2 the drive now recognizes my 700mb cdr's cool...

But c on startup doesn't work (is that just the normal c key?) I've also tried command (that's the apple key right) option (that's alt isn't it) o (that's oh and not zero right) and f...

But that doesn't boot into open firmware (i want to try the mac-boot option)... So i tried zapping the pram (command option pr), but that doesn't seem to do anything, I keep it pressed down, and the mac tries to boot up as normal, but when it says starting (or whatever) it just reboots... But I don't get the four chimes or anything.

So I'm confused, especially with being unable to boot into open firmware. Cor, can't wait to get linux on this thing... Wink

I was amazed when I took it to bits though, on just how little there was to it...


Cheers, Jakeeboy

dankephoto's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 1900
re: c on startup doesn't work

It's likely the replacement CD drive isn't at the bus address the iMac expects. You should be able to boot from the CD if you prevent it from booting the internal HD, hold the cmd-opt-shift-delete keys.

You may need to set the 'new' drive's bus setting manually with the ol' pin 45-to-47 shunt thingy to force bus Master (if that indeed is what it requires, I can't remember the details.)

dan k


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Joined: Dec 26 2003
Posts: 14
Does the CD drive have a very

Does the CD drive have a very small switch on it to select what ID it uses on the bus? I believe those iMacs (all tray loaders) had two IDE busses, one for the HD and one for the Optical drive. So, each device should be setup as the Master on the bus. Depending on what you got the donor drive out of, it is probably set to slave or possibly even cable select, which both probably wouldn't allow the iMac to boot from it. If you put the drive to Master, and the drive itself supports booting, then things should work.

Where did the CD drive come from (another Mac? )

Do you have a Mac OS boot disk, I think 8.6 or higher would be required. That would help test the drive. (as your CDs could be a problem).

Have you verified that the version of Linux you have is compatible with the iMac you plan to instal on? I had a copy of YDL that would only install on iMac DV or newer systems. (At least, I believe that's what it said).

Whosawhatsis's picture
Joined: Aug 28 2005
Posts: 66
I've tried a couple of times

I've tried a couple of times to put YDL on my 233 bondi, but never got it working. IIRC it would start to boot, but would freeze before it got to a shell. I was just messing around, so I didn't bother to figure out what was wrong.

I do remember that the disks that I was using (this was a while ago, and may have changed) were not bootable. I had to set up a kernel, ramdisk image, and bootloader under OS 9 and use that to start linux. I also remember having to jump through some extra hoops because of NuBus, but I think that was only on the performa that I also tried to install it on...


I was offered a penny for my thoughts, so I gave my two cents. I got ripped off.