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shifuimam Aug 15, 2006 11:27 AM
HOW-TO: Replacing the LCD in tangerine clamshell iBook
This project has moved to:

Project page: Clamshell iBook LCD Upgrade - Maclassic

Forum discussion: Clamshell iBook LCD Upgrade - Maclassic Discussion

What you need for the LCD upgrade project:
This is a list of components known to work. You may try other parts if you'd like
  1. LG display data cable, Apple part #922-5368. You can order one of these through your local certified Apple resale/repair shop - go to to find one near you.
  2. 12" Samsung LCD from an Apple laptop, model number LTN121X1-L02. The Philips LG LP121X04 is also known to work. These are confirmed to be found in 12" G3 and G4 white iBooks. Nobody's pulled one from a 12" PowerBook, but we're pretty sure it's the same model.
  3. 466Mhz clamshell logic board - these are the only boards with the upgraded 8MB ATI video chip that is known to output 1024x768 (XGA) resolution. Older boards (300 and 366MHz) may or may not work. The 466Mhz boards were only in the DVD-capable graphite and key lime clamshells.
  4. Latest firmware update - this is necessary for the resolution hack to work! You should be able to download from Apple's website. Don't ask me how to update it - I don't know, since my iBook had the latest firmware when I bought it on eBay.

How to actually do the firmware edit:

Hold down Cmd+Opt+O+F and boot up your computer. This will open up the Open Firmware (OF) console.

Type in the following commands (new line means hit enter). Make certain you're typing it in correctly - a missed keystroke could render your computer unusable (maybe). Just be careful.


dev /
3 encode-int " display-family" property

Hit Ctrl+C to quit the NVRAM editor.

setenv use-nvramrc? true

You should have working XGA resolution now. If you don't, PLEASE at least take a quick look at pages 6 and 7 of this thread for possible troubleshooting tips. Still having trouble? Post as many details as you can so we can help you!

If you think you've messed up the NVRAM edits at all, hold down Cmd+Option+P+R to reset the PRAM entirely. This will remove all NVRAM edits and the code that directs Open Firmware to use the custom NVRAM file when booting.



At this time, DVD playback doesn't work when display-family is set to 3. It will work on a TV if you mirror your display on a television, but it outputs audio with a black screen when trying to play DVDs on the iBook LCD itself.

Until we can find a better solution, you can use the following NVRAM edit to work around this problem. This edit will set the display to 1152x768, which will cut off ~60 pixels on the right in full screen mode, but at least allow playback.


dev /
2 encode-int " display-family" property

Hit Ctrl+C to quit the NVRAM editor.


setenv use-nvramrc? true

You can then set display-family to 3 when you want to go back to 1024x768.

If anyone knows how to apply firmware edits from inside OS X, please give us some input! It would be great to be able to make these changes without having to reboot.
Hi all..

I bought a Tangerine iBook off eBay a few months back. I've since upgraded the hard drive (20GB Hitachi), added RAM (256MB of whatever was cheapest at Fry's), and upgraded the CD drive to a CD-RW/DVD combo drive that I got on eBay. It was actually pulled from a Compaq laptop, but it worked just fine - I can read DVDs and burn CDs (Finder, NTI Dragon Burn, iTunes, and various freeware applications). The graphics adapter isn't powerful enough to play DVDs without a LOT of skipping/jerking video, so I don't mess with that anymore.

I have two questions. First off, the CD-RW/DVD drive. Like I said, it works great. Unfortunately, for some reason, I can't boot off it with Panther OR Ubuntu Linux (LiveCD or install CD). I can, however, boot off a Jaguar CD. I'm pretty sure I have the newest firmware update available from Apple. Is there something I need to do to make this work? Do I need to pull the drive and figure out how to flash its firmware in order to allow booting?

When I Option+Boot to get the boot menu, it sees the CD as Mac or Linux, but when I boot off it, it doesn't work. With Linux, it hangs and then boots into OS X (I have 10.3.9 installed). With Panther, it brings up a screen and flashes an OS 9-looking blue smiley face folder over and over, until I hard reboot it. With Jaguar, it boots off the CD just fine.

This would be a non-issue except that I was really wanting to dual-boot Ubuntu and Panther. Sooo any help would be appreciated.

Also, I've found someone on eBay selling 466MHz SE Graphite iBooks, untested, with no battery or power adapter. I love the color of my iBook, but I'd like to upgrade the logic board. If I did so (I'd drill out a hole for the firewire port), would I be able to play DVDs? In other words, does the 466MHz SE board have hardware DVD decoding support?

My other question is this: has anyone here successfully upgraded the LCD in a clamshell iBook? I've found a number of LCD cables from Compaq and Micron that appear to be very similar in construction. I'm starting to think that possibly the end of the cable that plus into the LCD might be the same across different brands, and I could therefore put in an XGA (1024x768) LCD, using the cable that is currently in use in the iBook.

Does anyone have any experience with this? What about using a 12" LCD from another Mac?

I would absolutely love to be able to upgrade the LCD, and it would be a neat accomplishment for me - not just for the higher resolution, but just to show that I could really do it. Again, any info is greatly appreciated.

gooser Aug 15, 2006 11:50 AM
it can't be done, but don't let that stop you. if anyone can do it you can.
shifuimam Aug 15, 2006 01:10 PM
well, interesting response. I'll give you that. :)

I heard from someone else that the Apple optical drives have special firmware to allow booting off the drive? As mentioned below, I'm throwing a 466MHz SE board in this thing, which has firewire - I should be able to boot into firewire target disk mode, and install an OS via firewire through another Apple computer, correct?

And I'm assuming you (or anyone else here) has no definitive answer on whether or not the 466MHz SE boards have hardware DVD decoding support? I know the last revision of the clamshells could play DVDs, so that would be my assumption...but I don't know for sure.
ibook_steve Aug 15, 2006 01:41 PM
It's going to be kind of hard to put a graphite board in a tangerine case without cutting out a hole for the Firewire, but yes, the graphite does have a graphics chip that would decode DVD. I think you are expecting *way* too much out of this poor little old tangerine iBook. You cannot put a higher resolution display in either tangerine or graphite. The graphics chip won't understand what it is and either won't work or still display at 800x600. The Panther disk may not work because I think it required a 1024x768 display plus Firewire. I don't recall.

For what you'd spend on an LCD, put it towards getting a white iBook G3 or G4 or a 12" Powerbook if you must get a used machine. I wouldn't waste the time or money to do what you want to do.

shifuimam Aug 15, 2006 02:15 PM
I guess I'm just interested in it as a project, and it would be an accomplishment for me. I really like the old clamshell look - the 12" ibooks are boring to me, and not worth it.

If I recall correctly, the video out on the 466MHz boards supports 1024x768, so I would assume the graphics chip can handle that. I don't know of any documented case where someone successfully upgraded the LCD in any laptop; it would just be an interesting project for me. I was curious to see if anyone here had attempted it. I've looked at various LCD interface cables for different laptop and LCD manufacturers, and it looks as though some models of laptops use very similar, if not identical, cables to those used in the clamshell ibooks.

Regarding Panther - that is what I have installed now. I've successfully installed both Jaguar and Panther; neither require 1024x768 or Firewire. I believe Tiger was the first OS X release to actually *require* Firewire, and even then people have figured out how to circumvent that.

I only wanted to reinstall so I could dual-boot Ubuntu Linux and Panther. I was able to boot off an Ubuntu LiveCD, as well as Jaguar and Panther installation CDs, with the original iBook CD-ROM. Now, I'm wondering if it won't boot because it's not an Apple optical drive; the module was pulled from a Compaq laptop that happened to use the same interface (interestingly enough, IBM ThinkPads also have the same connector on their media bay modules...).

I know at the very least that I can do an upgrade to a 466MHz board, which I know will improve performance, if only marginally. I've already successfully upgraded to a CD-RW/DVD (and can successfully burn CDs), as I mentioned before - so to me that's just the start of what I might be able to do. :)

Thanks for the input, though!!
MacPino Aug 17, 2006 11:34 AM
the video out on my 466 clamshell doesn't go any higher than 800 * 600, so you probably wouldn't be able to get a higher resolution from another screen. A shame, 'cause it's basically the only thing keeping this neat little computer from still being usable as a typing/webbrowsing laptop...

By the way: dvd on this machine is not a problem at all, I still use it for that sometimes (given the limitations, don't try to do any multitasking :) )
shifuimam Aug 24, 2006 11:12 AM
I thought that chip could do 1024x768? I read on a different Mac forum that the 8MB VRAM bump in the 466MHz clamshells was enough to push 1024x768.

Hooking up to a TV is a different story...CRTs are super low-res. Depending on the age of the TV, 800x600 would be the max resolution of the tube.

I'll do some more research and see what I can find. :)

FWIW, I did throw a 466MHz board in with no issues. I used a Dremel to cut out a hole for the firewire and sand the edges smooth. I didn't have to reinstall OS X, but now it doesn't think I have video out or hardware DVD capability (I can't install DVD Player), so I'm going to have to reinstall over firewire using the boyfriend's 12" PB.

Thanks to all for the info - any other advice on this project is always welcomed!!
tooki Aug 26, 2006 02:29 PM
Mac OS X never uses any Mac's dedicated DVD decoding hardware, even on the few Macs that have it.

On an old iBook, under Mac OS X, it's not the GPU that is the DVD bottleneck, it's the CPU, which simply cannot decode the MPEG2 video quickly enough.

bund Aug 28, 2006 11:56 AM
You can use Pacifist to install the apple DVD Player from your Installer CD/DVD.
The Apple DVD player won't work with the 300MHZ or 366MHZ clamshells without firewire because they have only 4MB grahics, it needs 8MB minimum. The performance ist much better than VLC and other freeware players.
With my 366MHZ indigo Clamshell Second edition I can watch DVD without probs.
microangelito Aug 30, 2006 01:45 PM
Compatible optical drive
Hi there,:)

You mentiond you upgraded your iBook Clamshell's optical drive with one from a compaq laptop. I did'nt know it was possible so could you please tell me which model it was from.

Thanks in advance.:D
microangelito Aug 30, 2006 01:49 PM
Where to find firmware update.

Also where can I find the firmware update as I can't seem to find it. Please post a link to where you got it from.

Thanks in advance.:D
bund Aug 30, 2006 02:02 PM
microangelito Aug 30, 2006 04:43 PM
Drive compatibility.

Could someone please tell me what compatible drive THEY used as it's wasting to much time looking through the provided link. Also could someone post a list of compatible optical drives please.

Thanks in advance.:D
shifuimam Sep 7, 2006 12:54 PM
Hi all - sorry for not responding sooner; I've been really busy lately!

I purchased a CD-RW/DVD drive with a listed model number of UJDA70. It is NOT bootable from CD. Instead, I have used Firewire Target Disk mode and a firewire cable to install OS X through my boyfriend's Powerbook. I am completely unable to install Ubuntu linux.

There are other models that have been confirmed to work with bootable CDs - the Toshiba SD-R2512 is a popular model known to work. I, however, couldn't find one on eBay in my price range at the time I did my upgrade.

Information on how to do it can be found here.

That same guy has an interesting tutorial on how to use an airport card from an original airport base station as an airport card in a clamshell iBook. You have to do some modification to your iBook, but original airport base stations are a heck of a lot cheaper than the airport cards...

The xlr8yourmac compatibility list could also be helpful...just search for the word "boot" to find models known to be bootable.

Whatever drive you use, you will very likely need Patchburn) to enable OS X to recognize that the drive really is a CD burner. Then you can burn in iTunes, Finder, Disk Utility (to burn disk images), and with other burning applications (YuBurner is a great open-source application that I have found works very well).


Regarding playing DVDs on old Macs - I reinstalled OS X, and it found I had a DVD drive and installed DVD Player with the rest of the OS and software. I can play DVDs absolutely fine. I don't multitask when I'm watching a movie, but it doesn't stutter the audio, drop frames, or cause video artifacts. The GPU in the 466MHz G3 logic boards was designed to play DVDs, and it does so without issue. You might notice some horizontal banding with some movies, but that can happen on regular televisions, too.


I may or may not do another drive upgrade some day, so that I can boot from CD - at this point, it's not necessary. As long as I have access to another Mac, I can install via firewire, so I'm not desperate for the functionality.

So far I've done the drive upgrade and added a 466MHz logic board to a 300MHz tangerine case. I used a Dremel tool to cut out a hole for the firewire port and smooth the edges around the hole.

My next goal is to upgrade the display. I'm still going to assume it's doable. I bought a badly damaged (cosmetically) 466Mhz iBook on eBay for the board, so I have an extra display cable to hack apart if necessary. It looks like a lot of older Compaq models use 20-pin connectors with very similar (if not identical) wiring to the clamshell iBooks, so I'm going to give it a shot. I'll let y'all know if it works - the best thing ever would be to have a retro clamshell iBook with an XGA display!!


Also, FWIW, I found out that Creative Zen Vision:M and Archos MP3 players use the same A/V cable as the original clamshell iBooks, so you can get a cable for around $8 to connect your 366/466Mhz iBook to your TV - cheaper than spending $20 on one at the Apple store!

I hope this info helps someone out there wanting to upgrade their iBook. I can post pictures of the firewire mod if anyone asks.
mattfaulds Sep 9, 2006 10:17 AM
LCD stuff
I just thought I'd post here to let you know what I'm up to.

My 466SE is having a screen disaster. Luckily, I've just finished hacking apart a G3 and G4 ibook so I'm going to take the clamshell apart, try and fix the failing bit and have a look as to whether there is any chance of squeezing in a newer LCD. I'm hoping that the screen failure is just a hinge pinch on the cable as it rapidly developed horizontal lines and flicker. It'd be great to have 1024x768 on the calmshell! While I'm there I'm probably going to drop in a new HD.

Shame the board can't be upgraded because my wife loves the laptop and won't have a new one. So, I've got to fix it!
microangelito Sep 10, 2006 08:09 PM
Upgrade your tangarine ibook clamshell to the max!!!
Hi there,:)

Could you post a picture of the firewire hole that you drilled please. Also does anybody know if it is in anyway possible to upgrade the graphics chip or graphics memory? Also is there anyway of upgrading the clamshell to higher than 466mhz? And could some one also post the best specs that they got a tangarine clamshell to. As I have a tangarine ibook clamshell that I would also like to upgrade to the max! As I have already made a start by upgrading the hard drive to 40gb and adding 128mb ram (total 160mb) and soon to buy a toshiba SD-R2512 CD-RW/DVD Combo drive so I can see how the current 300mhz handles DVD and also back up my files! So far the specs are iBook tangarine clamshell 300mhz original, 160mb ram, 40gb hdd, cd-rom drive original (soon to be toshiba SD-R2512 combo) and asus usb 54mbps 802.11g dongle (faster than airport!) running Mac OS 10.3.9 fine!

Thanks in advance.:D
shifuimam Sep 10, 2006 10:35 PM
To Microangelito..

Picture of firewire (click to enlarge):

Regarding the processor speed:

You can overclock, but I've not done it. You have to be careful with overclocking any processor - a fanless case like a clamshell iBook is engineered to dissipate only a certain amount of heat at any given time. Overclock a processor too much, and not only does it get much hotter, but the case it's in becomes unable to get rid of all the heat, and before you know it, you've got yourself a dead iBook.

You can read about it here, but I make no guarantees about what might come of doing that mod.

You can't upgrade the video memory of any video card or laptop graphics chip on the planet. Memory is integrated into everything else with a graphics chip.

I can guarantee you that your 300Mhz iBook G3 will not play DVDs. Unless there is some magical software out there that can decode DVD video fast enough on a 300MHz processor (not to mention the card's limited memory - 4MB - which keeps it from rendering video fast enough), you won't have much luck. VLC Media Player didn't work at all; Apple's own DVD Player simply will not run (video chip isn't compatible), and I had mixed results with XinePlayer and MPLayer - both of which most notably had serious stuttering audio problems. If you want to play DVDs, you're going to have to find yourself a 466MHz logic board. Even if you overclocked the processor on your 300MHz board, the graphics chip still can't handle it. The 466MHz boards had an upgraded 8MB ATI chip that handles DVDs quite nicely.

Performance-wise, if you can afford more RAM, do it. Apple lies through their teeth about maximum RAM capability. It's a proven fact that clamshells can take up to a 512MB stick in their single RAM slot. I'd venture a guess that a 1GB stick won't work, but 576MB should be plenty for OS X. I added a 256MB stick (512 was just too expensive), and it was much better than the 128MB I'd installed before.

The safest thing to do for performance is to just upgrade the logic board.


To mattfaulds...

(And anyone else interested in experimenting with upgrading their clamshell's LCD)

Here's some closeup pictures of the clamshell's LCD connectors. Keep in mind that if the inverter lamp's power cable fits that of the clamshell, you won't need to worry about connecting the inverter cable to the logic board - you can use the existing clamshell part.

Click the pics to see a higher-resolution image.

This is the 20-pin connector on the LCD itself:

This is the cable that goes into that connector:

...And the two together:

This is the interesting part. The G3/G4 12" iBook uses a very similar 20-pin connection to the LCD, but the cable uses four more wires than the clamshell. The above image shows the wires that are used, as well as the labels on the logic board for each wire. Don't know if this helps, but there it is for you.

The LCD data/display cable connection on the logic board:

And the cable that connects there:

Also, here's the power connector for the inverter board:

I believe that even if the plug is the wrong size on another LCD, that should just be a power connector, in which case you could splice together the wires from another LCD with that connector and its wires, and you'd be fine with that. I'm guessing the thicker pink cable is the positive, and the thinner white cable is the negative/ground.

Mattfaulds, you can post a link to your 12" white iBook pictures if you'd like...
shifuimam Sep 11, 2006 11:48 AM
Link to Mattfaulds' images of a G3 iBook cable and a G4 iBook display (12"):

LCD Parts

If anyone can tell from the LCD or a wiring diagram (I can't find one) what those other four wires are for, that might help...
mattfaulds Sep 11, 2006 12:43 PM
Hmm. We'll have to see.... I'm about to go onto night shifts and invariably I can't sleep in the day so this is my chance. However, I wonder if all those blasted screws will get the better of my bleary eyes?! This is very intriguing and would be a first as far as I can find out.
shifuimam Sep 11, 2006 12:49 PM
iBook G3 Clamshell Disassembly: iBook Parts

The absolute best guide ever. It includes a screw guide that is in order of when each screw is removed - stick some double-stick tape on there to hold your screws, and you'll be much less confused. Works for me every time! - This is a specifications document for an SVGA 12.1" LG TFT LCD. If you look on page 6, you'll see the pinout details.

Compare the LG with the actual clamshell pinout configuration (LG first, iBook second)

1 3.3v power, power(?)
2 3.3v power, power(?)
3 ground, none
4 ground, none

5 A0M, R0M
6 A0P, R0P
7 ground, ground
8 A1M, R1M
9 A1P, R1P
10 ground, ground
11 A2M, R2M
12 A2P, R2P
13 ground, ground
16 ground, ground
17 none, none
18 none, none
19 ground, none
20 ground, none

If the G3/G4 iBook 12" follows this same specification, then perhaps those extra four wires at the end (pins 17-20) are ground wires, and may be excluded?

My guess is that 0M/0P-2M/2P are the negative/positive leads for the red, blue, and green video signals. The CLKM/CLKP is for the clock (not sure what this is, but I've seen it referenced in other places - maybe to regulate the video frequency?).

I did find out something bad. It looks like these wires are actually very small coaxial wires, with a metal wire inside a metal sheathing encased in insulating plastic. If this is the case, splicing them will be essentially impossible.

So, if the G3/G4 follows the same pinout schema, I would think that hypothetically, the clamshell cable should work.

If the G4 LCD has pinout labels on the circuit board like the clamshell's LCD, I'd be very much interested in seeing a picture of those...
microangelito Sep 11, 2006 06:16 PM
The Upgrade of my iBook tangarine 300mhz clamshell!!!
Hi there,:D

Here is how the upgrade is going so far. This morning I won the combo drive I was on about on ebay and in a week I will have it! Also I found out a way of getting OS X 10.4 Tiger onto my iBook with no xpostfactor! As I did try xpostfactor once and it nearly ruined my iBook! So here is the link if anyone wants to do it themselfs!

HardMac’s Blog Blog Archive Tiger on Clamshell iBook

I'll keep you posted on how the upgrades going and answer any questions you might have conserning the upgrade!
quiklee Sep 11, 2006 06:48 PM
so umm . . this is like rebuilding a classic with new parts . . . . like monster garage for macs . . .

i want the innards of a Macbook 2.0 inside a ClamShell . . . . is it possible?
microangelito Sep 11, 2006 07:48 PM
Mac book in clamshell!
Hi there,:D

There is no way to put a mac books logic board into a clamshell as the clamshell had a spesific design and the best logic board was a 466mhz power pc G3!!! I'm doing the upgrade beacuse I like the stiyle and don't need that much power!

Any other questions feel free to ask!
mattfaulds Sep 12, 2006 09:47 AM
Oh dear
I've had a play today. It looks bad.

Unless someone can come up with a good way of splicing the data cable it's a no go. Inverter cable is the same and fits. It would need some inventive padding to keep the screen still as well.

shifuimam Sep 12, 2006 10:03 AM
So we can assume that the data cable from the clamshell LCD won't fit the slot in the G3/G4 LCD?

Is there maybe a way to pull out the wires from the clamshell's data cable and attach the G3/G4's cable to that black connector?

What about pulling off the actual pin connector on the LCD's circuit board and soldering the clamshell's connector onto the G3/G4 LCD? :(
shifuimam Sep 12, 2006 07:32 PM
Well, let's see here.

The HP/Compaq NC4000/NC4010 LCD I bought off eBay is...drumroll iBook LCD.

I'm not even kidding. The LCD is identical to the one in mattfaulds's pics.

My boyfriend and I sat down and thought this through. Both LCDs use a 20-pin connector on the LCD end. In the Compaq's case, the motherboard end has a 30-pin connector similar to that of the clamshell iBook.

The G3/G4 connector is narrower (width) than the clamshell connector.

According to Bliss Computers, both plugs are fairly standard.

In which case, here's my question - do you suppose there's an adapter out there to convert a "type B" connector to "type A"?

If such a connector exists, then all you would need to do is attach it to the clamshell's cable on one end, and plug it into the G3/G4 LCD on the other end, and you should be fine - the wiring is identical, aside from a few grounding cables. The HP/Compaq LCD cable has two less ground wires than the G3/G4 cable, so something tells me they're not necessarily crucial for functionality.

If no connector exists, what about this thought - take the cable from the G3/G4 iBook, cut off the logic board end, splay out the wires (you'd have to remove the clear tape that makes them into the flat cable), and connect them to the clamshell cable's LCD connector.

The deal with the coaxial display wires is that I saw that about a Titanium Powerbook G4 - I have no idea if the same goes for the clamshell and white iBooks. For all I know, it's entirely different. If they are just regular wires, then I don't see why it wouldn't work - all you're doing, essentially, is extending the length of the pins to fit in the clamshell's cable.

If anyone has any idea where to find custom LCD components, like a type A/type B converter, I'd totally appreciate it. Otherwise, I'll look a bit, and if I have no luck, I'll give the other idea a shot.

In the meantime, I destroyed the clamshell's LCD (it was an extra one I had) trying to take it out of its metal frame, so there goes an eBay profit.

Speaking of which - if you can take the metal frame off the clamshell LCD and put it on the G3/G4 LCD, you should be able to attach it as normal to the iBook casing. You could use some epoxy to secure the LCD to the frame, since it might not fit perfectly.
mattfaulds Sep 21, 2006 07:32 AM
I haven't seen/found an adapter for the connectors. Has anyone else?

I'm on hold now until I can get my hands on another clamshell to test which part of my clamshell has gone wrong. It'll also mean I've got enough bits to have a go at the rather complex task of trying to get things to connect up so that I can have a better screen.

I'll post some pics of the LCD problem on my clamshell. Anyone any experience with a similar issue? I really hope it's not the dreaded logic board death.... Apologies for the rubbish webpage

LCD Parts
shifuimam Sep 28, 2006 08:53 AM
Well, I've been crazy busy the last few weeks, so I haven't had a chance to play with this project much.

I'm first just going to try connecting the wires from the G3/G4 cable to the pins on the clamshell logic board and then powering it up to see what happens. If that works - the pin configuration is the same on the G3/G4 and the clamshell - then I'm going to see if I can do something to connect the G3/G4 cable to the clamshell cable. Perhaps making/buying more pins and putting them in the G3/G4 cable to connect to the clamshell's LCD-side female connector?

I've inspected the G3/G4's wires in the LCD cable, and I'm not sure if they're coaxial like the TiBook pictures I saw online, or what the deal is. It doesn't make sense that it would be coaxial - the pin connectors aren't like a TV antenna connector, which makes use of both parts of a coaxial cable. If it's not, then this shouldn't be a problem at all.

It's just hard to tell at this point. I'll take a closer look at the G3/G4 cable to see if it's got a metal sheathing...
tooki Sep 28, 2006 06:34 PM
This thread clearly belongs in the Mac Modification forum, which is dedicated to hardware hacking like this.

shifuimam Oct 2, 2006 03:52 PM
Apologies - it wasn't originally an active hardcore mod project, and it kind of morphed into that.

Thanks for moving the thread!
shifuimam Oct 8, 2006 08:53 AM
Hi guys - just thought I'd post an update.

The coaxial property of the LCD cables seems to be a moot point. I don't think the sheathing is used to conduct a data signal. However, because of that sheathing, those wires in the G3/G4 LCD cable are incredibly tiny. So tiny that everytime I tried to solder them to anything, they broke.

So that idea is out the window. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next. I'm going to poke around some sites that sell electrical components and see what I can find. For instance, if I could find some kind of wire that terminates to a female end for a pin, I could solder those to the clamshell cable (which uses standard wire and is very easy to strip) and then stick them in the male pin connector on the G3/G4 LCD.

The LCD's cable, however, is too tiny to work with. It also doesn't hold solder very well. AND because it's so skinny, if you solder too long, the soldering iron melts the wire!

I'm going to keep look for parts and other options. I'm convinced there's a way to do this...I just need to figure out how.
geeko Oct 10, 2006 11:01 PM

I found this thread while searching for some help on my iBook project. I am currently working on the same modification as yourself on a clamshell iBook. I have not purchased an LCD screen yet to replace the 800 x 600 build-in one.

It would help me out greatly if I could collaborate with you on this project. What LCD do you suggest I buy? I was thinking of the one from the 12" G3 white iBook. Considering you have a big head start, would you recommend this? And if so, could you post more info about your soldering to convert the connector?

Thanks so much, your thread has been greatly helpful so far.

-Greg Warner
shifuimam Oct 11, 2006 01:36 PM
Well, so far, my soldering efforts haven't been successful. The wires on the LCD cable used in G3 and G4 white iBook LCDs are very, very, very fine, and basically impossible to solder. They break easily, and the soldering iron tends to melt the wire so that it just falls apart.

It looks like several Compaq/HP cables use a flat connector, but I don't know if it's the smaller connector found on the white iBooks, or the wider connector found on the clamshell iBook.

I've looked at a LOT of different 12" LCDs. Most that have a compatible-looking connector are old and only go up to 800x600. The newer XGA (1024x768) LCDs use either a flat ribbon cable (which is impossible to modify) or a cable like what is found in the G3/G4 white iBooks.

The LCD I bought on eBay was from an HP/Compaq NC4010 laptop. I believe the Compaq V300 might have a compatible connector, but I don't remember if the 12" version of that model was SVGA or XGA.

It looks like the best LCD models to look at are Compaq and HP, and possibly Acer. Dell LCDs all use the flat, translucent ribbon cable.

My LCD is actually a G3/G4 iBook LCD with a different connector for the motherboard end of the cable - the LCD itself is identical. The benefit (from what I can tell with no testing ability thus far) of this LCD is that the pin configuration on the LCD's connector appears to be identical to that of the clamshell iBook, so modifying it shouldn't be as difficult as other potential situations.

The wires on the clamshell's LCD cable are definitely candidates for soldering to other wires. If we can find an LCD with either the same connector as the iBooks, or a cable with the narrow G3/G4 style connector that has cables that can actually be soldered, we'd have a winner. Finding that, however, is the very hard part.

I've concluded so far that there is no other LCD cable out there with a motherboard-end connector like the clamshell iBooks. Most LCDs either have a flat ZIF-style connector, or a 30-pin plastic female pin connector (the clamshell's is 20-pin).

The HP OmniBook 6000 appears to have the appropriate style connector, complete with solderable wires. However, I don't know the width of the connector. I'm still trying to find that out.

This is the best information I can give you. I got this far by searching for a variety of 12" LCDs on eBay, looking at their pictures and the computers they came from, and Googling for more information on those laptops.

If anyone has a 12" Compaq or HP laptop that they can take apart and tell us what the connector is like, that may be helpful. Otherwise, all we have to use is Google.

It also looks like Sony Vaios may have the right kind of connector. If we can find a cable with the G3/G4 connector, we can solder the wires together from that cable with the clamshell's cable, which should conceivably give us a working LCD video data cable.
geeko Oct 12, 2006 05:56 PM
Ok, so let me see if I understand you so far...
Is the G3/G4 LCD that you have actually out of a G3/G4 iBook or were you referring to the HP/Compaq one from eBay? I was looking to buy an LCD from a G3/G4 iBook but if the wires are difficult to solder, I'd better rethink my plans.
shifuimam Oct 14, 2006 01:09 PM
The LCD I bought is from an HP/Compaq Evo NC4010, but it is the exact same Samsung LCD that is in 12" white iBooks. The wiring on the cable for these LCDs is, for all intents and purposes, impossible to work with.

It does, however, appear that there are a number of LCD cables on eBay that use more forgiving cabling - the wires are just standard insulated wire, and much easier to strip and solder (like the wires on the clamshell's cable).

An optimal solution would be to find an LCD cable on eBay that uses the same width and size plastic female connector, but the standard insulated wires instead of the superthin wiring found on the G3/G4 LCD cables.

It seems like the cables for the LCDs found in some 12" Compaq, Sony, and Averatec laptops might be usable. The main thing with any LCD is making sure that the pin configuration is either identical to the clamshell's (e.g. the G3/G4 LCD), or can be found online. If you were to incorrectly connect anything, you could be at risk of shorting out the connector or in some way frying the LCD and/or the logic board.

If we can find a 12" 1024x768 LCD that has a usable cable and a known pin configuration, all that would need to be done is soldering the wires from the clamshell's cable and the LCD's cable, and we should conceivably have a working setup.

From what I've researched, the last clamshell's video chip is capable of XGA. I don't know about the first generation iBooks, with the 4MB ATI chip. The Indigo/Graphite/Lime models had an 8MB chip, which is capable of XGA. I believe I had a 4MB ATI video card in an old desktop computer that could do 1024x768...

Based on what I have experienced with video adapters and stuff, it's up to the display to report to the video adapter what its maximum resolution is. If OS X still thinks an XGA display can only do SVGA, it should be possible to hack the video kexts to allow for XGA. I know this is possible in the Intel builds of Tiger, so I don't see why it shouldn't work in the PPC builds of Jaguar and Panther.

I would suggest trying a Compaq, Averatec, or Acer LCD. Look online to see what 12" models came with XGA displays, and then find the corresponding LCD and cable on eBay. I'm going to try one more LCD, and if that doesn't work, I may have to put the project on hold for lack of funds. The working NC4010 LCD I was able to win for only $20 + shipping, but a lot of LCDs (especially for newer laptops) are in the $200+ price range, which is just too much for this project.

Do let me know if you make any progress in this!
shifuimam Oct 16, 2006 03:30 PM
Short update - I found a seller on ebay who was nice enough to send me an extremely detailed picture, with measurements, of the LCD cable for an HP OmniBook 6000 laptop. This is a 15" display laptop, but I figured if the cable was the right size for the G3/G4, we might have a solution.

The LCD-end connector is the same as the clamshell iBook. HOWEVER, this means that possibly a 12" XGA LCD from an OmniBook (e.g. the OmniBook 500) would work, and the existing clamshell cable would be compatible.

Averatec's 12.1" LCDs and corresponding cables look to be viable options, as well. I am watching an LCD + cables on eBay right now; if it stays below $40 after shipping, I'll bid and try that one in the iBook.

Still looking for a cable we can splice that's compatible with the G3/G4 LCD...
geeko Oct 22, 2006 12:42 PM
Would you be kind enough to post the ebay item numbers for the cable and the LCD after the auction has ended? This way I can go check them out and try to find something similar for myself.
shifuimam Oct 23, 2006 08:06 PM
If/when I make my next cable and LCD purchase, I'll be more than happy to do so.

My vote is on the Averatec 12" LCD at this point...we'll see!
mattfaulds Oct 24, 2006 08:42 AM
Sorry, I've been away and not checked up on progress for a while.

I'm sad to hear that you had trouble with the soldering of the G4 video cable. I was waiting to get the right spares before having a go.

Things sound promising on the Omnibook. I'm going to have another good look around too following on the lines you've been taking Shifuimam.

Good luck with your project Geeko!

In case you're interested, almost by accident at the end of my holiday I acquired a spare 12" G3! Potentially useful...
MattJeff Oct 29, 2006 09:56 PM
wow, i really wish i understood half this....but ithe most i have done on a laptop is change memory and a bigger HDD.
mattfaulds Nov 1, 2006 04:11 PM
I've had pics from a seller on eBay and...

The Avaratec 12" has the same LCD connector as the white iBook! Unfotunately the logic board connector looks quite different.

However, the cable is of a sensible looking calibre and might be splicable!

So it does look like we're getting somewhere. I'll post the pics when I can.
discotronic Nov 1, 2006 07:45 PM
I would pay $200-$300 for a mod like this. Smart? Probably not. Cool as hell? Definitely:)
mattfaulds Nov 6, 2006 10:19 PM
Pics are now online at Matt's LCD Parts Pics
shifuimam Nov 7, 2006 04:49 PM
I think that we might have a winner here - I'm assuming you've confirmed that the Averatec LCD cable fits into the G3/G4 12" LCD's connector. If this is the case, then I don't see why we shouldn't be able to splice the two cables together for a fully working LCD.

The Averatec's cabling does look to be just standard insulated fine-gauge wire, which means that with some soldering and taping, we could have a solution.

Mattfaulds, I'd be extremely interested if you're going to try splicing the cables. If this works, we could make history in clamshell iBook modding. :) Keep us posted! If you make this work, I'll be buying an Averatec cable ASAP!!
Drew_Ty Nov 7, 2006 09:03 PM
I have an iBook Graphite SE, 512MB, 40GB Toshiba HD 4200RPM, running OS X 10.3.9, and I am very very interested in knowing if this worked. I went to both your web site and Matt's and I was wondering if you had any success and if someone could contact me or just post in this forum a) if it has worked and b) a list of equipment and steps on how to perform this mod, that is if you were both successful.

I'm sooo excited!!!!
mattfaulds Nov 7, 2006 09:09 PM
Hi there Drew

We're just getting to a culmination stage. It now means we have to put (more of) our money where our mouths are and prepare our nerves of steel.

Keep checking back to see how we're getting on.

I'm very excited about the screen but I can't wait to put the 60Gb 5400 drive in too... ;)

Shifuimam I will be asking your advice along the way as I've not done a lot of soldering work and you've found better info on the pin-outs. I'm waiting on the postie daily...

Just as an aside, is it really a 466 G4 you've put in your Tangerine? :hmm:
shifuimam Nov 8, 2006 04:45 PM
It's a 466 G3 logic board from the last Graphite iBook model. My pictures a bit earlier in this thread detail the hole I drilled out (using a Dremel with a number of attachments) for the firewire. It's worked great!

If you take this picture and rotate it so the yellow warning label is to the right (one turn clockwise), the wires match up to the pinouts on this post. As I mentioned before, the wiring config is identical save a few extra grounding wires. I'm still pretty sure this is correct for the G3/G4 LCD. The pins that actually run to a connection on the circuit board (those that terminate in a lead with a gold circle on the end, on the board) should be the positive/negative connections for the red, green, and blue signals.

On the G3/G4 cable (and, incidentally, the Compaq cable I have), I believe the blue wires are for data and the red are power or grounding wires. The G3/G4 cable has a few extra data wires than the Compaq one. If we could find a pin configuration for the Samsung 12" XGA display in the white iBooks, we'd have some definite information. Otherwise, it's just trial and error with the splicing.

mattfaulds, you don't need to solder - it's just a little neater in the end. You can use crimps with a crimping tool (all purchasable at Fry's, Radioshack, etc). You could also twist the wires together to splice them, and use electrical tape to cover the connections. Or, you can solder the wires and use electrical tape or heat-shrink tape (shrunk with a tool that closely resembles a hair dryer) to cover the joints. All you need in splicing is remember two things - the bare wires need to come into full contact with each other, and you MUST keep the bare wires separate from each other (accomplished by tape, heat-shrink tape, or crimps).

At the very least, pick up a decent wire stripper (usually crimping tools include a wire stripper). It will make life a lot easier when stripping those fine-gauge wires in those LCD cables.

What would be perfect is to find the pinout configuration of these Samsung LCDs. My LCD from the Compaq laptop differs slightly from the G3/G4, but not by much. If we can find the detailed EE information on these displays, that would be of great assistance. I'll keep looking around. I may pick up an Averatec cable if I can find one cheap enough on eBay...
mattfaulds Nov 8, 2006 05:22 PM
Shifuimam - If you look closely at your signature you'll understand my last comment... ;)

Thanks for the advice
mattfaulds Nov 8, 2006 06:18 PM
Sorry to double post but this is too exciting.

I've found this reference to the pinouts for the G3/G4 14" LCD. It's the Samsung LTN141X4. Now as far as I understand it has the same resolution as the 12" LCD but is simply bigger so the pixels are slightly more spread out. The slight grainy quality was the reason I got rid of my G4 14" iBook. I'm pretty sure that Apple aren't going to want to have completely different components on their low cost laptop (massive assumption I know) and as it's so similar the pinouts are likely to be the same. I've found these excellent pics here and on the zoom the connector is different. BUT the cable looks strikingly familiar (see here)... :confused:

Here's where I found the reference and here's a pdf of the datasheet

Shifuimam I assume you may have already seen this and discarded it. l think it's worth thinking about though. I'm contacting Samsung directly too about the pinouts. Others seem to have had some success.

After reading a few posts I've suddenly become nervous about frying my logic board. I hadn't really thought about that before.

What does anyone think?
shifuimam Nov 9, 2006 01:19 PM
You could potentially do something if you wired the cable incorrectly, but even then there's not a lot of power running to the LCD. I connected the cable I had tried to splice to my extra logic board, and it didn't cause any damage.

I really wouldn't be too overly concerned. I was able to find someone on ebay selling untested Graphite iBook SEs (466Mhz) for $40 buy-it-now...if something like that comes up again, replacing the board would not be difficult.

The pinout configuration you posted is identical to the config for a 12" LG-branded SVGA LCD.

I think it's highly unlikely that the pinout configuration of these 12" G3/G4 LCDs is different from the clamshell's, aside from the extra grounding wires. If the Averatec cable has wires in the same places as the G3/G4 and clamshell's cable, splicing will be easy and we should be in business.

The pin numbers in the PDF mattfaulds posted should correspond with the following cable colors for the clamshell iBook (I can't see the colors on the Averatec well enough to post those yet):

1 - Red
2 - Red
5 - Black
6 - White
7 - Brown
8 - Brown/Black
9 - Orange
10 - Orange/Black
11 - Yellow
12 - Yellow/Black
13 - Blue
14 - Blue/Black
15 - Purple
16 - Purple/Black

Pins 3, 4, 19, and 20 are grounded on the 14" Samsung LCD and the 12" LG LCD (both XGA). Those pins are empty on the clamshell cable. I don't know enough about EE to know if those grounding wires being missing will make a difference with the XGA panels.

Only one way to find out...
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