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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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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!

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Conclusion

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

7 other people completed this guide.

Michael

Member since: 05/13/2016

373 Reputation

1 Guide authored

27 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 -

Hi there, I'm glad you came across this build, I also have it and begin to try it but with the birth of my little daughter things are kind of stopped at the moment till now, a year and a half later I have some spare moments to stuck mi head again in this…”project". So Michael, this is a 24"? Mines is 24 and the screen is different and so the cable I had with the kit and the kit is diferent, mi screen is a lm240wu2-sla1 and I'm getting a real problem to make this thing works,I'm using an external psu and the original inverter, I managed to get the back light works rewiring the pin 4 with 3.3v instead of 12view and see image clear but still can get a correct color matching, so I guess I have to rewire all the cable. If anyone has other idea it would be very welcome since I order some dupont jumpers to rewire the cable those guys send me. thanks in advance.

Luis - Reply

Hi Luis,

This build is a 20”, not 24”. Well done on getting the original inverter to work, it isn’t something I looked into much as seemed problematic to get working right - and my kit came with an inverter, but I see your kit seems different and doesn’t - does it look something like this - http://www.b2cqshop.com/yourqshop/Q06215... ?

I presume you have been referring to the service manual for pin outs and such? http://www.beyondinfinite.com/lcd/Librar...

Seems to be someone with a similar problem maybe - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3LGwZq_... ?

Sorry I can’t be of any further help, good luck!

Michael -

Hello Michael, thanks for answer me so quickly, yes, the kit you mention is from the same shop, mine’s doesn’t have dvi port, the t.vst59.31 with the tsum29lu IC and i have that psu to power the original inverter, none of those builds on the page are good for me and the support from the shop it was poor, i have no big acknowledgments in these kind of stuff but when i see the pin outs of the board and compare to the panel is cristal clear that the cable is not ok.

But what can i do a year and a half later….rewire an Do It Myself lol.

If i achieve this build i will post it a few pics to show you how i did it.

Thanks again for reply.

Luis - Reply

I have a 2008 imac that I want to try to do this with in hopes of using it as a normal monitor for a windows PC. I was wondering if you could help me find the logic board for it if possible?

David Hua - Reply

Hey thanks for the guide! I didn’t even know this was possible before reading this!

Couple of links and tips that may be helpful: (Links here, tips in reply)

Adhesive PCB mounting posts: http://www.newark.com/duratool/dtrlcbsbm...

The monitor on my machine was an LG LM201W01(SL)(A3), not a Samsung model. I don’t know if the driver boards are the same but in case they’re not here’s a link for the LG: https://www.ebay.com/itm/HDMI-DVI-VGA-Au...

Eric Boccaccio - Reply

Important Tips:

If you want to use DVI, you can, but the wire is too big to fit through the hole for the power cord or the back cooling grate so you will need to shove it through the RAM slot on the bottom of the machine. HDMI will fit so you’re better off using that if possible.

Hardest part of disassembling this thing is getting the front white panel and monitor off. There are videos on YouTube that show you how to do it. After that it’s a matter of unscrewing literally every screw you see and removing most of the tape (but be careful not to unscrew the back stand).

Instead of cutting holes, I used the RAM slot to fit the buttons (in addition to the DVI cable). The buttons don’t seem to do anything for me though — the green light lights up but the only way to turn off my monitor is literally just to unplug the power supply. If anyone knows how to use the button panel, let me know.

This thing actually makes a great external monitor once it’s freed from the ancient components inside

Good luck!!!

Eric Boccaccio -

Glad you find it useful! And thanks for adding some tips - good point about the screens, different variants have different screens - always search for the model number wrote on your screen as a different driver board will not work.

I hadn’t thought about a DVI cable, but great info and workaround. I had thought about mounting the buttons at the RAM slot, but for some reason decided aganst it but glad it worked for you.

On my screen the buttons do work, but it stays lit up even when it has gone to sleep - I also just unplug.

Glad this guide has been useful to so many people over a year since I wrote it :-)

Michael - Reply

If I were you I would disassemble the Macbook and install it’s components inside the iMac casing. It has no screen anyway and the parts should easily fit even with the control boards for the display. I found your article because I was looking to pick up an old dead iMac and replace it’s motherboard with something like a low power Celeron N3150 based board and a display driver board. Make a hackintosh out of a real mac just for giggles.

Xaltar - Reply

There is actually way less space available than it would appear and the whole structure of the MacBook is based around its unibody frame - without that, you would need a whole lot of mounting posts etc, need sufficient cooling etc - not worth the effort when all I wanted was a cheap fix - I also use the screenless MacBook with other monitors at times too.

I can imagine standard components to make a Hackintosh inside an iMac case would be easier, especially if using a 24” case - check our this epic build https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/erste...

Michael -

I cant find a controller for mine. Its an LG lm201w01

Gage Parker - Reply

Just search on eBay! Many for sale from China - you may need to change the “Item location” filter to “Worldwide”.

Please note that I note that that probably isn’t your screen’s full model number - it should be suffixed with four characters like (SL)(C1) or (SL)(A3) - make sure to note this and order the correct controller board. Good luck!

Michael -

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