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!

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  • 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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Image 1/1: 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.
  • 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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Image 1/1: 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.
  • 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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Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: 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.
  • 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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Image 1/2: The only thing that was not changeable was the CCFL brightness, but using Shades preference pane solves this satisfactorily for me. Image 2/2: 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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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • 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.

3 other people completed this guide.

Michael

Member since: 05/13/2016

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1 Guide authored

12 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 -

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