I've got a Bondi iMac that has a dead analog board, dead power supply, no hard drive and no CD drive. I believe that the motherboard works and I would love to get the computer running in some form, preferably in a more storable case than the iMac case so I could use it as a server. I would also like to do this as cheaply as possible. I know that the iMac to ATX case conversion has been done in the past but most of these conversions require soldering skill and experience that I don't have (my experience with a soldering iron is limited to one lab in freshman physics 4 years ago and the only soldering iron in my house is my Dad's, which is older than me).
So I was wondering if any of the people here who have experience with these iMac conversions could give me some advice. I have hard drives laying around but I would need an optical drive. I have never owned a PC so I would need to acquire an ATX case, unless I use my Performa 6400 case. I remember reading about an adapter that someone was selling to make this process easier. I would also need an ATAP-IDE converter cable, right?
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Also, I forgot to add that I have an iMac 350 motherboard lying around as well, if that might make a better (easier/cheaper) candidate for this hack.
Well, you're gonna have to buy a whole new iMac I would think.
Why? Isn't the only required component the motherboard? From my understanding, the analog board isn't used, and the power supply from the ATX case is used instead of the iMac's power supply. Why do I need a whole new iMac?
If you google for what you need there are instructions for it. I converted a blueberry iMac to an atx case. You will need the connector thingy from the power board that connects the mother board. You will need to hack the video cable to a vga cable, the vga port on the back of the mobo won't work fo rsome reason. The cable that connects the drive will work with any 5400 or 7200 rpm drive. I hacked a 50 pin scsi cable in to an ide cable so it would be longer. You are going to need a usb cdrom or another mac to install an operating system, or do what I did and hack a new ide cable and use that.
No whole iMac needed. You're correct in thinking that the logic board is the main thing you need from the iMac. The other parts can be had for little or nothing.
One way to do it on the cheap is to just use the existing power supply. I've got an old rev.A iMac running that way right now... the logic board and power supply are in an old SCSI hard drive case, with the hard drive & CD just sitting on top of the thing, cables running all over. Not very tidy, but it works. One of these days I'm going to get around to getting a smaller power supply, fabricate some brackets, and mount everything inside.
I had thought of maybe using a power supply from an old Mac (other than an iMac) also, and I'm fairly sure it'd work; the main thing you need is the proper voltages. You just need to make sure that the connectors are arranged properly so that you don't end up with the wrong voltage on the wrong pin and fry the whole works.
As for hard drives, any old 3.5" ATA drive should work. I've seen some others who have used standard optical drives... Google for iMac ATX conversions and you're bound to find plenty of examples.
Take a look at the conversion I did, should answer a lot of your questions:
Well the power supply is dead. All I have is a motherboard, and a case really. I remember reading about someone who was selling iMac atx adapters that eliminate the need for soldering. Do these exist?
I think you might be overestimating how hard making the adapter yourself is. I'm a complete butterfingers and managed to paste one together.
The only annoyance I've noticed is that the little inverter circuits to fix the soft power-on arn't particularly easy to get right. I've tried two different designs, and with both, well... it works right on some power supplies, while others will turn off, then immediately bounce back on after attempting to shut down the system.
Yeah this is what mine does, I have just never gotten around to actually fixing the problem.
If I want to completely power down the system I have to unplug it. I use it as an iTunes server anyway so I don't power it down.
I suspect to really make it work right what's really needed is a more complex circuit. Something that can "latch" the state of power line momentarily, long enough to let the supply *really* turn off.
yeah, this is what is required more or less. The converter I am using has a very short switch time, as I am using it for something it really wasnt ment to be used for. But I rarely need to shut it off, if I do, i just flip the switch on the PS when the machine shuts down, before it boots back up.