Introduction

I had a 2006 Intel iMac that died (logic board / graphics card failure) and instead of consigning it to the bin, I aimed to turn it both an external monitor for my screen-less 2009 MacBook Pro (LCD driver failure, failing battery) and any HDMI device I wanted. I had seen this done with G5 iMacs, but never with Intel ones, which use different display types, so decided to have a go!

Firstly, I completely gutted the iMac, safely keeping the LCD screen to one side. I also repaired any torn EMI shielding and shielded all holes, with the exception of the power in, vent above this. (I also left the 3x USB ports free to fit a USB hub, but this didn't work great, so ended up being removed).
  • Firstly, I completely gutted the iMac, safely keeping the LCD screen to one side. I also repaired any torn EMI shielding and shielded all holes, with the exception of the power in, vent above this. (I also left the 3x USB ports free to fit a USB hub, but this didn't work great, so ended up being removed).

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I next found out that my screen was a Samsung LTM201M1-L01 and after scouring eBay with this model number, I managed to find a display driver for this screen for £30 inc delivery from the seller e-qstore - http://stores.ebay.co.uk/eqstore/
  • I next found out that my screen was a Samsung LTM201M1-L01 and after scouring eBay with this model number, I managed to find a display driver for this screen for £30 inc delivery from the seller e-qstore - http://stores.ebay.co.uk/eqstore/

  • My LCD driver board has VGA, DVI and HDMI in and is powered by a 12V 4A external PSU - the eBay seller also sold PSUs, but I had one kicking about from another LCD screen.

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Before assembling it all, it is worth testing the driver board works fine - I had some issues with the Mini Display port to HDMI cable I bought, so returned this and bought a 1M Mini Display port to DVI cable instead which worked fine.
  • Before assembling it all, it is worth testing the driver board works fine - I had some issues with the Mini Display port to HDMI cable I bought, so returned this and bought a 1M Mini Display port to DVI cable instead which worked fine.

  • I also bought a 1M white HDMI cable to have as an extra input cable for everything else and a 0.5 Metre 2.1mm DC Barrel Extension Cable, to allow me to connect and disconnect the PSU from outside the case.

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The various mounting posts inside the iMac were not suitable, so I purchased some PCB self-adhesive mounting posts (9.5mm) to mount the driver board, inverter and controller board. To ensure the mounting posts were mounted correctly, I cut squares out of the EMI shielding before attaching the posts to the inner of the iMac casing. I also drilled holes for the power / adjustment board, so the buttons could be accessed from the rear of the machine.
  • The various mounting posts inside the iMac were not suitable, so I purchased some PCB self-adhesive mounting posts (9.5mm) to mount the driver board, inverter and controller board.

  • To ensure the mounting posts were mounted correctly, I cut squares out of the EMI shielding before attaching the posts to the inner of the iMac casing. I also drilled holes for the power / adjustment board, so the buttons could be accessed from the rear of the machine.

  • From here it was a just a matter of attaching the boards to the PCB posts, hooking up the various cables and feeding through them through the former power in cut-out. I also insulated under the LCD driver board, as it was a bare circuit board. The inverter came contained within a clear plastic case.

  • As with the original setup, the LVDS cable and bottom inverter cables could only be attached with the screen in place.

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I then reassembled the iMac, attaching the screen, repairing EMI tape then putting the front on! It now works perfectly with the Mini DisplayPort output of my screen-less MacBook Pro and I have an available HDMI cable to attach any other device. The only thing that was not changeable was the CCFL brightness, but using Shades preference pane solves this satisfactorily for me.
  • I then reassembled the iMac, attaching the screen, repairing EMI tape then putting the front on! It now works perfectly with the Mini DisplayPort output of my screen-less MacBook Pro and I have an available HDMI cable to attach any other device.

  • The only thing that was not changeable was the CCFL brightness, but using Shades preference pane solves this satisfactorily for me.

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To keep everything neat, and as I had a separate keyboard and Magic Mouse, I also wanted to rear mount the Macbook - I created a mount from wood in a similar style to the AluRack, mounting onto the cable hole on the iMac stand - perfect! To keep everything neat, and as I had a separate keyboard and Magic Mouse, I also wanted to rear mount the Macbook - I created a mount from wood in a similar style to the AluRack, mounting onto the cable hole on the iMac stand - perfect!
  • To keep everything neat, and as I had a separate keyboard and Magic Mouse, I also wanted to rear mount the Macbook - I created a mount from wood in a similar style to the AluRack, mounting onto the cable hole on the iMac stand - perfect!

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Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

4 other people completed this guide.

Michael

Member since: 05/13/2016

233 Reputation

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16 Comments

Hi, Michael!

I found this guide while searching for re-usability of my iMac. I have iMac of late 2006, and I want to use it as an external monitor or as TV.

So, is it possible to make it using this guide?

Thanks.

Kirtan Patel - Reply

Hi there, yes it was a late 2006 model I used, so yes it is possible. I would recommend checking what LCD screen you have inside the iMac first though, then whether you can get a driver board. You can use it with any device with a HDMI/DVI/HDMI output :-)

Michael -

Hello Michael!

I need your help, because Im trying to do the same with my imac, I have all the components, but I am having some issues with the inverter, Can you show me how you connect yours?

Brandon - Reply

Hi Brandon,

What are the problems you are having?

Do you have the exact same looking inverter and controller board? I have some photos of the controller connection to the inverter at both controller and inverter side, would this help?

I have no photos of the inverter cables connected to the inverter though - I do remember that the red dot on the converter cables should be facing you when looking at the inverter board.

Michael -

Can we convert imac display as TV

Vasanthakumar - Reply

You could convert them attach a TV tuner by HDMI?

Michael -

Hello Michael!

I have an old dead imac model no - LM215WF3 how can i convert it into an external monitor

i am little bit confused with kits on ebay

which one i should buy ?

I am also confused with the cables which one is temperature sensor ? which cables i need to insert in that kit ?

Plz help soon

alokmittaljr - Reply

Afraid I have no experience with the newer iMac models

Michael -

Hi, I have ordered the driver board and power supply for my 2006 24 inch iMac, can you direct me to the mounting posts and insulation I will need?

Also, are there any other general tips you can give me that will help make my project successful?

Thanks!

Ryan Konarska - Reply

These are the posts I used in 9.5mm height - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/162113127488 but any self-adhesive posts around 9.5mm would work.

For insulation underneath it and other areas, I used plain black insulation tape. For any EM shielding repair, I used some aluminium foil tape.

Tips? Just follow the instructions carefully, and be delicate with the LVDS cable, it is delicate. As it is a larger monitor, it is possible you might need to position components slightly differently to ensure cables reach.

Good luck! :-)

Michael -

Is it possible to use the original Inverter that comes with the iMac?

if not, why?

JahRom - Reply

It would probably be possible, but would not make sense to do so - the LCD driver boards normally come with an inverter.

To use the original inverter, you would need some way to power it - maybe the driver board could do this, but if it has different power requirements, you will need a separate power supply for the inverter. And a way to control it. And a way to power it on and off...

I can think of no reason for wanting to do this.

Michael -

Hi Michael - thanks for this guide! I just ordered my inverter kit, and will take a few weeks to arrive. I have a few questions, though, even before I start this project :)

1) you used PCB self-adhesive mounting posts to mount the driver board, inverter and controller board, but I also see black tape on 2 of the boards? What’s that?

2) are these 2 boards taped right against the back of the iMac? Doesn’t the EMI short the boards out?!

3) Is EMI shielding a common item that I could buy at an electronics supply store? (in case mine is in bad condition …or I tear it, etc)

Thanks!

Steve Diniro - Reply

Hi Steve,

The black tape is just standard electrical tape.

Although the inverter and LCD driver board are mounted on posts, away from the EMI, I used electrical tape to insulate under the LCD driver board, just to be safe. I didn't need to do this, as with my inverter, as it came contained within a clear plastic case.

I also used electrical tape to attach the controller board to the back of the iMac directly - I possibly cut away the EMI, but I can't say for sure - however the button side of the controller board doesn't have any contacts that could short anyway.

I just used standard aluminium foil tape - the thicker the better, my stuff was very thin, so I used a couple of layers, didn't need much though.

Hope this helps!

Michael - Reply

Hello again Michael

I got my kit and connected it to my iMac LCD, but it did not work.

The LCD lights up (white), but when I connect it to a device, there is no image

I've tried the "CN6" jumper in BOTH positions [and even tried removing it], but nothing works.

Do you have any advice? Thanks

Steve Diniro - Reply

If it lights up, it sounds like the inverter is working fine,

Is the OSD appearing on the screen “saying no signal” or anything if you press the buttons on the driver?

If not, I would check the LVDS connection:

- is it in the correct way round at the screen and / or the driver side? (Normally fits in either way, but should be marked with a dot to indicate)

- check it for any damage to the cable - the pins at the monitor side on my cable were actually bent and I needed a replacement cable initially.

Hope this helps!

Mike

Michael -

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