TAM shell with 12" iBook guts?

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dankephoto's picture
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Just got another TAM, I wonder . . .

dan k

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dankephoto's picture
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both have 12" LCDs . . .

leading me to the idea of stripping the TAM's guts and replacing with an iBook's guts.

Whaddya think? Sacrilege? Or brilliance?
;D

dan k

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Brilliance

Totally - go for it.

Some potential issues:

- Given that the TAM is an Alchemy based machine, I'm willing to bet that the CD drive is SCSI-based. And given that the TAM's CD drive is custom-designed and neither a slot-loader nor tray-loader, you won't likely be able to replace it with a modern ATAPI-based unit. So it will be interesting to see how you connect the drive to the iBook's mobo.

- Can you keep the mobo close to the LCD (in order to accommodate the iBook's relatively short display cables) while making the USB and AC ports accessible, all without unduly mutilating the TAM's enclosure?

- Can you maintain battery function for the iBook while it's housed in the TAM? If you could do that, you'd have a really cool system - match it up with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and you'd have what would look like a magic machine!

Matt

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eazy peazy

iBook MLB goes right behind the LCD. External port locations aren't important, I'd use extenders from MLB to outside.

As for the optical, I'd remove the original drive and figure some way to elegantly use a slotloader in its place. Perhaps have it angled in such a way that it'd spit the CD/DVD out at a gap at the top of the original optical 'flap'. I'll come up with a way to be sure. But what about all those buttons on the front . . . gotta use those, right? But how . . . ?? Gotta look and act like a real TAM, but with a totally modern innerds. Heck, with the 12" iBook/PowerBook form-factor, I could really put together an up-to-the-minute (if I could afford it, that is) system that looks totally stock! Heh heh, I'm getting those 'new project' goosebumps!

The inside of the TAM is ginormous compared to iBook/PowerBook guts, there'll be lots of room for whatever I want to put in there. Which reminds me . . . a TV tuner of course!

Let's see, what else does a modern TAM need? Hmmmm . . .

dan k

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and what about the Bose base unit!!??!?!?

crap, I need to get to sleep instead of hauling out my TAM #1 and planning how to chop up my TAM #2!!!!

dan k

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?????

Would it be a good idea to hack up a working TAM? I heard they're quite rare.

If you are sure about this, then go ahead.

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Re: eazy peazy

dankephoto wrote:

But what about all those buttons on the front . . . gotta use those, right? But how . . . ??

How about running wire from the front buttons to USB joypad innards within the TAM, and map those using USB Overdrive or your program of preference?

...if you can live with one less external USB port on the ibook, that is.

Hmmm...is there enough room inside for a 4-port usb hub as well? Smile

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ethier way sounds like a good

ethier way sounds like a good idea. although it kinda pains me to see a tam changed and taken apart like this

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re: although it kinda pains me

Yeah, this gonna be the real problem. I hated to mill the slots for my Takky's MLB, I can just imagine what I'm gonna think as I stare at this TAM contemplating cutting it all up. I'm afraid I'll whimp out before I even get started.

Still, there are alot of them around (thousands IIRC), and from the looks of the auction listing this one ain't in the best of shape. I'm hoping I can do the job with only minimum damage to the shell, with the goal of being able to restore it to (mostly) original condition if necessary. If it looks like I can't do that, I think that'll be what kills the project.

dan k

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re: running wire from the front buttons to USB joypad innards

Yeah, that's a good idea. I was thinking hacking a complete keyboard, but a joypad would be loads simpler.

There should be plenty of room for internal hubs, I'm counting on it in fact. I also hope to be able to install an EyeTV or similar inside, plus of course the 'Book's PS.

I'd also use the built-in sound system. I'll have to discover the base-unit cable pinouts . . . hmmm, I'll look at the service source doc when I get a chance, maybe that'll show it. OW I'll have to figure it out myself, unless y'all know of an alternate pinout source. Base unit . . . includes the TAM's PS? . . . 12/5/3.3v ?? Also the sound linelevel 'input' to the base and speaker sound output back up to the main unit? Hmmmmmmm, can't be too difficult to suss.

dan k

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CD drive...

If the CD drive is indeed SCSI (look in the System Profiler on your TAM to find out) you basically have two options.

1) Using the built in drive with a USB->SCSI adapter or a IDE->SCSI adapter.
2) Replace the drive.

Option two shouldn't be too bad. The drive looks pretty much like a standard laptop drive, so you should be able to hack one of those in there without too many problems.

TOM

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re: CD drive...

I'm not really interested in using the old drive, too much bother for, at best, an archaic device.

Ideally I'd have a modern DL DVD-R/W in there, or at the very least a combo drive. I'll have to see what I could do with mounting a modern drive's guts where the current drive lives. I suppose it'd be possible to use a trayload mechanism's tray eject solenoid to power the flap 'catch'. I'm not keen on messing with my nice-condition first TAM - I'll give it a bit of thought when TAM #2 actually arrives and I strip it apart.

I could just ignore the current drive location and put a slotloader in the side where the floppy (!) now lives. That however would involve milling out a wider slot, which goes against the Prime Directive of doing as little harm to it as possible. Also, I reckon cleanly using the original drive location garners the maximum hacker points. ;D

dan k

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Re: re: CD drive...

dankephoto wrote:

I'm not really interested in using the old drive, too much bother for, at best, an archaic device.

Ideally I'd have a modern DL DVD-R/W in there, or at the very least a combo drive. I'll have to see what I could do with mounting a modern drive's guts where the current drive lives. I suppose it'd be possible to use a trayload mechanism's tray eject solenoid to power the flap 'catch'. I'm not keen on messing with my nice-condition first TAM - I'll give it a bit of thought when TAM #2 actually arrives and I strip it apart.

I could just ignore the current drive location and put a slotloader in the side where the floppy (!) now lives. That however would involve milling out a wider slot, which goes against the Prime Directive of doing as little harm to it as possible. Also, I reckon cleanly using the original drive location garners the maximum hacker points. ;D

dan k

Hmm, I'd definitely go for hacking something into the original drive's space rather than mounting a slot loading drive somewhere!

TOM

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Yep, I'd go with modding a tr

Yep, I'd go with modding a tray loader that the CDs "click" onto. That way you'd be able to do a nearly pefect replacement for the original drive. You should be able to change the guts so that the eject solenoid is moved to release the door, as you mention. It may even be possible to leave the original casign in place and jsut move the actual guts/electronics of the drive over. It might be worht while if you can find a similarly layed out drive.

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Re: Yep, I'd go with modding a tr

Jon wrote:

It may even be possible to leave the original casign in place and jsut move the actual guts/electronics of the drive over. It might be worht while if you can find a similarly layed out drive.

FWIW, I've tried doing this with a desktop DVD drive... I'm _still_ looking for a second drive with the same layout. About 15 have been very close but not close enough.

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CD

Myself, I like the idea of using a slimline slot loader, and mounting the whole mechanism onto the flap/lid/thing, so it pops forward, and then presents the CD to you.

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awww shucks

I now have a stripped-out TAM and a chopped up dualUSB iBook, I'm just not seeing how I'm gonna make this happen. The biggest issue is where to put the optical without butchering the TAM case. I just can't stomach cutting up the TAM's plastics.

* sigh * . . . oh what a wimp I am Tongue

dan k

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Looking at my own TAM (mint,

Looking at my own TAM (mint, used for two hours, by me, during its entire life), I couldn't take a dremel near it. Given that this is not my TAM, and it isn't mint condition, I'll contribute a few thoughts.

1. I don't think that there is any way that you can perform a useful hack (ie a computer that you could use in place of your main desktop or laptop computer) without major surgery. Think of surgery in the same way as the Colour Classic hacks. If the hack is remarkable and well executed, it offsets the loss of the original computer. I appreciate that fewer TAMs were made than Colour Classics, but TAMs are not so rare that the comparison may not apply.

2. TAM plastics don't appear often at the moment on the second hand market. Given Apple's quality control ten years ago, lots of TAMs will die so expect the market to change.

3. Judge previous hacks honestly. Did you successfully make plastic aircraft kits as a teenager? How good are your wood working skills? Are you any good at panel beating or wood carving?

4. Can you afford it? Do you need to be able to sell the TAM to pay the bills if the hack doesn't take off? If yes, don't start.

Phil

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re: Looking at my own TAM

1. Yes, I figure the resulting combination could be worth more than its parts. I'm unaware of any other similar hack, so the uniqueness value is very high. I haven't however decided what to do with the finished piece, so that may be part of my indecisiveness. Keep? Give to my dad? Sell? Dunno yet.

2. Yes, I can always replace the chopped part (the back case in this instance.)

3. I'm quite adept with fabrication, been there done that, etc. etc. etc. See my sig for my hacking home page. ;D

4. Cost only small part of equation. Yes, I can afford to trash the TAM and the iBook. Neither is in anywhere near mint condition, the iBook had several physical problems (worse now that I chopped up what was left of its frame), the TAM is a bit rough.

Good points all, but . . . I still hate to start the cutting. Thing is, it's almost doable to stuff the iBook in there without any serious cutting. I figure I should be able to make it go, just needs a little more brain time. Really, it's the damn optical that's the big rub here.

:? * think, Dan, think! * :?

dan k

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Just a thought, but maybe you

Just a thought, but maybe you could use an external optical?

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Re: Just a thought, but maybe you

themike wrote:

Just a thought, but maybe you could use an external optical?

I was thinking the same thing. Another possibility would be to fit a slot-load optical into the side somehow and Dremel a fine slot along a seam in the case for the disk to slip into (like the new iMacs.) Then just leave the original optical cover in place for cosmetic purposes only.

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Perhaps the slot-loading opti

Perhaps the slot-loading optical drive can be mounted on the part of the drive mechanism that comes forward. If you could restrict its movement so that it only comes out a little bit, you could preserve the look and most of the functionality. You would, of course, have to make sure to *never* eject a CD while the slot is closed, though...
EDIT: After momentary thought, I realized that any problems with the CD ejecting and causing the drive to get stuck somehow could be solved with having a plastic thing that blocks a CD from being ejected any further. Resorting to having to use this is probably *quite* detrimental to the drive motor, though.

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re: Perhaps the slot-loading opti

Yeah, that's what Doc Bunson suggested too. My main objection to that (other than I'll have to chop up the inside of that space) is that an ejected CD will pop up in front of the screen, unless you have the whole mechanism flop way down . . . I'm pretty much decided on having the optical slot at one of the edges, a la the original floppy (or the current iMacs.)

As for using an external, that sort of defeats the All-In-One formfactor.

I'm not sure about using the Bose base unit. It's awful heavy and bulky and would kinda be a PITA to deal with if one were to need to move this around at all. OTOH, it does contain a very nice audio amp as well as the woofer itself. Plus using it would be a very nice completion for the hack - adds authenticity doncha know!

sigh, I think I'm gonna have to start measuring (twice!!) so's I can begin cutting (once!)

dan k

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Well...

It's 11:22 PM here, so please excuse me if I missed anything.

Word has spread around the net of this project, and here's the feedback.

If you have not yet done any irreversible work on it, please, please reconsider this hack.
TAM's themselves are more valuable to collectors and Mac users than an iBook would
ever be.

Perhaps, as a more authentic way, consider a G3/L2 upgrade card. It gives the G3 power
without dismantling the case, electronics or stock mobo.

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re: Word has spread around the net of this project

Wha'??!?? Cool!! Can you cite any of them there 'words'? URLs perhaps?

Apple made ~12,000 of 'em, they're not at all rare. In any case, my particular unit already has some cosmetic issues which will keep it from ever being a collector-grade piece. Even so, I'll certainly minimize any permanant changes with an eye toward being able to return it to its original state as much as possible.

As for a G3 upgrade, I've got a 500MHz L2 CPU which may go into my other (nicer) TAM, unless I can get my Takky finally finished, in which case it'll go there. Problem with an L2 upgrade in a 6400/6500-class MLB is that you can't use OS X. Also, I don't care for the TAM's 800x rez screen, too low rez for me, plus it's limited to 128MB RAM. And finally, I'd like it to play DVDs, try that on any TAM.

dan k

PS: I created a relevant blog entry to keep track of the project

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Ok, Ok...

Hey, i'm just passing along a message, ok?

Perhaps, no, i'd rather not provide the links. Lets keep this to AppleFritter, ok?

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Re: Ok, Ok...

iMac600 wrote:

Hey, i'm just passing along a message, ok?

Perhaps, no, i'd rather not provide the links. Lets keep this to AppleFritter, ok?

So word has spread around the 'net - as in, the internet, the public, global internet open to everyone - but you don't want to let anyone know how they can see the "word" for themselves? Seems like a little bit of a double standard to me.

Matt

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Ok...

I'll give you the thread link once the MySQL databases are back online, ok?

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Also the iBook is much more u

Also the iBook is much more usable than a G3 upgraded TAM... you get things like USB, Firewire, Airport, and bragging rights (It looks like a TAM...) Laughing out loud

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Re: Ok...

iMac600 wrote:

I'll give you the thread link once the MySQL databases are back online, ok?

Are you referring to the 68kmla? I'm waiting for them to come back online too. I'm disappointed - but, given how these things go, not surprised - that they're still offline when they were supposed to be down for only an hour or so last night. Oh well...

Matt

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Yep.

Yeah, the 68kmla.

I don't know what's happening over there, but i'll provide any info when it becomes
available.

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Any progress on this, Dan?

A little over a year later...

I just picked up a TAM of my very own. It's a lovely little machine, but in a way it's as crippled and limited as the Color Classic.

The LCD is nice, but it doesn't interpolate (full screen TV is not a possibility), and it's limited to 16-bit color at a low resolution. The CD-ROM is dog slow. I, too, would love to see DVDs on one, but it looks like a major reworking would be necessary for that.

One question: In the pictures on this page (http://mywebpages.comcast.net/macdan/tam.html), which header gets the analog video from the motherboard? Is it J1 or J4?

This is just a curiosity question at this point, but I was thinking about an LCD swap to something a bit more modern (which can interpolate 640x480 to full screen).

Peace,
Drew

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re: any progress

Look, I'll admit it right here - I'm a wimp!

I can't bring myself to substantially cut up a TAM, even one as not-collector-grade is this one. I have everything I need to swap in a 500MHz G3 with its attendant 1024x screen, but when push comes to shove I just can't seem to make the cuts. It just needs too many mods to the case for it to ever be returned to (even roughly) original shape. Maybe I'll get over my sqeemishness . . . someday . . .

I can't recall for certain, but it's gotta be J1 which brings the video in from the MLB. Note the red, grn and blu silked onto the PCB right nearby.

As for using a TAM with a different LCD - good luck! As you of course know, LCDs of that era were mighty perticlur 'bout having the exact proper controller hooked to it. So I really doubt anything else will work other than the original LCD.

Sigh, maybe someday, but at the rate I'm working through all my various projects I'll be buried with (or maybe under!) a pile of part! Thanks for asking though. Smile

dan k

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[quote=dankephoto]As for usin

dankephoto wrote:

As for using a TAM with a different LCD - good luck! As you of course know, LCDs of that era were mighty perticlur 'bout having the exact proper controller hooked to it. So I really doubt anything else will work other than the original LCD.

I'm well aware of that, which is why I was asking about the analog signal into the controller board. I was thinking of picking up an off-the-shelf analog desktop LCD and swapping it (controller and all) into the TAM by splicing the Mac's analog RGB signal onto the VGA input to the controller card. Think "Takky" or "Taco" (Taco is a Takky w/ an LCD, IIRC). Both of those splice the PCI board's analog signal to the new (or old) display. The TAM is really nothing but a fancy 5500/250 w/ some custom daughter cards...

It ought to work just fine. The problem will be finding an LCD that's the right size, I think.

But, hey, listen to me. I've owned a TAM for all of 12 hours now, and I'm already talking about hacking it up w/ "upgrades."

I understand about not finishing certain projects. I've got a Takky (possibly a Taco) sitting on the shelf that I've been "working" on since last summer. The only thing keeping me from finishing it is figuring out a mounting mechanism for the cut up 6500 power supply I want to fit in next to the CRT. I've also got an 8600-to-DA/QS-G4 hack sitting on the shelf, a few digital picture frames that are unfinished, a project to get a 3400c prototype booting, and countless software projects (like a podcast subscriber and player a la iTunes for OS 9).

Peace,
Drew

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re: LCD that's the right size

Aye, I thought of the approach you suggest (replacing the controller) after I'd drifted off toward the nightly sleep thing.

Well, the LTN or LP 121x XGA LCD what goes in the 12" 'Books will drop into the original's space nicely enough. Those panels are a bit thinner than the original, but IIRC that just means fabbing some replacement locating clips.

dan k

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i think i came up with this l

i think i came up with this long ago, but what about taking a tray-load slimdrive and removing the top cover? then mod it so that instead of the eject command attempting to pop out the tray that would be fixed, have it open the drive door.

and no worries about the ibook gpu chip?

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Well I'll be damned. At the

Well I'll be damned. At the suggestion of another poster on the 68kMLA, I set the video source format to PAL in the preferences of Apple Video Player, switched to the tuner for input, and full screen video works at 800x600 (even with an NTSC source)!

Anyway, that's a good tip for other TAM owners. While possible with other AV capable Macs, it's probably not as useful as they all use CRTs that can scale to full screen @ 640x480 and don't need this workaround. Perhaps the only other Macs that would need this workaround are the 3400c and 2400c which also don't interpolate and can take zoomed video cards like the Irez CapSure...

That somewhat negates the desire to get a new LCD in the TAM. Go figure.

Peace,
Drew

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