Author Topic: What do I do with a green iMac G3?  (Read 916 times)

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Online edy

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What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« on: September 22, 2019, 02:18:36 pm »
I found one of these in the dumpster... I hooked up a keyboard and mouse and power cable (didn't have one) and it booted. There are a few games on there and some utilities but not much else. I was able to play a DVD on it. I thought about maybe trying to get PPC Linux working on it. I am not sure if I hook it up to a network I can even have the native MacOS browse the web, it has Netscape on it. Any suggestions?

« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 03:47:23 pm by edy »
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Offline daqq

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Re: What do I do with a Mac G3?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2019, 02:49:12 pm »
Well, it's not particularly useful in terms of real world usability these days, as a raspberry pi has comparable (probably greater) power. Its best use is, well, historical addition to a collection.
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Online edy

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Re: What do I do with a Mac G3?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2019, 03:42:46 pm »
I figured that much.  :) I have a few old Mac Pluses as well, one might be an SE. Interesting relics but not much I can do with them. They still boot and have some interesting apps and games on them. I thought this one might have some utility but seems to be another museum piece I guess. I've seen people gut the interiors and make themselves a modern computer with LCD display using the case as it is unique being transparent... but more trouble than it's worth it seems. I don't want to ruin it. For now it may be better used to make a few YouTube vintage computing videos... I can show people some old software and the design. I would rather keep it intact otherwise. The CRT might serve useful to hack into but I'd rather not mess with high voltage circuits. Now it ends up dumpstered, nothing wrong with it except now a very expensive paperweight.  :-DD The only reason it might be worth saving is it's an Apple and there are crazy fanboys out there who go bananas over Apples (no pun intended).
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Online james_s

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2019, 07:17:34 pm »
Install some period-correct software on it and have fun, it's kind of a neat looking machine and historically quite significant. As someone already mentioned it's not going to keep up with even very low end modern devices but that's not really the point of vintage computing. The thing that always strikes me is that for the most part old computers are every bit as powerful and useful as they ever were, it is only our expectations that have changed. I say "for the most part" because websites have also become tremendously bloated so with anything involving the internet YMMV. You can still use desktop productivity software, play music, edit photos, write code, play games, etc though.
 

Online bd139

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2019, 07:48:04 pm »
Trash can



Install some period-correct software on it and have fun, it's kind of a neat looking machine and historically quite significant. As someone already mentioned it's not going to keep up with even very low end modern devices but that's not really the point of vintage computing. The thing that always strikes me is that for the most part old computers are every bit as powerful and useful as they ever were, it is only our expectations that have changed. I say "for the most part" because websites have also become tremendously bloated so with anything involving the internet YMMV. You can still use desktop productivity software, play music, edit photos, write code, play games, etc though.

Spot on. Early OSX releases aren't too painful on these, just don't use the puck mouse; it's a piece of shit. And go make tea while it's booting :) . Keyboard is nice though.

I want one again now :(

Also the original iBook is pretty nice.
 

Offline daqq

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2019, 07:58:58 pm »
Quote
Trash can
The new one is actually much better for this purpose.
https://9gag.com/gag/ar4YD17/apple-mac-pro-vs-trash-can
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Online edy

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2019, 08:25:54 pm »
Ok I've been dicking around with it a bit and here's what I found. There is USB drive support so I can copy things on and off fairly easily. Plus I can also burn CD and DVD and load stuff in. There is a website called https://www.macintoshrepository.org (and probably others) which have old Mac software on it. I was able to copy MacMame from that site (.sit file) and copy it over on a USB flash and install it. Then I stuck in my old MAME ROM cd and copied everything over. So it looks like an authentic old arcade because of the CRT! Anyways I feel I can install a few more things on it and aside from not having internet connectivity it can be used still to work on and then transfer over via USB for printing or sending, etc.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 08:30:27 pm by edy »
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Online bd139

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2019, 09:28:41 pm »
Good idea with the arcade machine  :-+

Fancy some Metal Slug now  :-DD
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2019, 01:20:59 pm »
ew 9gag

I have one (a newer Summer 2000 DV+ model) and they are really fun computers to play around with, capable of playing (for the most part) an entire world of 68k and PPC Macintosh games that just never had any sort of analog on PC compatibles. Some of them are almost like proto-flash games, with simplistic graphics, concepts, sometimes stories, and very unique gameplay. Macintosh Garden is an excellent place to "acquire" these.
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Offline legacy

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2019, 04:46:56 pm »
which is the size of the CRT tube?

can it be converted into a VGA monitor?

I mean does it exposes VGA signals internally in a way they can be *hacked* and reassigned to a VGA connector?
or does the CRT tube need to be replaced with a CRT tube from a VGA monitor?
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2019, 07:49:52 pm »
which is the size of the CRT tube?
can it be converted into a VGA monitor?

I mean does it exposes VGA signals internally in a way they can be *hacked* and reassigned to a VGA connector?
or does the CRT tube need to be replaced with a CRT tube from a VGA monitor?

It's a 15" tube, of which a bit less than 14" are visible. The iMac drives it at 1024*768 resolution. Apparently there is an internal DA-15 connector, so quite likely it is already a VGA interface?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G3
 

Online james_s

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2019, 04:49:24 am »
Almost certainly is, there's no reason they would design an entirely new format when it is already a standard SVGA resolution. The tube is an off the shelf monitor tube, the resolution is determined by the electronics and yoke.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2019, 09:38:29 am »
there's no reason they would design an entirely new format

the point is: can you export R G B H V? is there a common VGA connector *plugged* on the video card internally, or are these signals routed directly to the motherboard, and in this case, is there a reverse engineering of it?

« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 01:04:14 pm by legacy »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2019, 09:47:01 am »
the point is: can you export R G B H V? is there a commong VGA connector *plugged* on the video card internally, or are these signales routed directly to the motherboard, and in this case, is there a reverse engineering of it?

The Wikipedia page states that there is a DA-15 connector in there, presumably with VGA signals ready to use. Too bad you don't read my posts, so you might never know...
 

Online NANDBlog

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2019, 10:02:20 am »

Of course. There are even kits for it.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2019, 01:11:38 pm »
Digging deeper, I have found there are two models
- tray loading
- slot loading

Only the tray-loading iMac-G3s have a the CRT board (1) separated from the mobo and a DB-15 connector inside the case. This is essentially VGA with the pins arranged differently. Slot-loading iMac-G3s have the CRT board integrated, hence it's more complex story, and they need to be hacked.

edit:
(1) ex, the Analog Video Board, Apple P/N: 6870T173A11
« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 02:28:15 pm by legacy »
 

Online bd139

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2019, 01:24:43 pm »
This thread is going to cost me a G3 iMac at some point  :-DD
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2019, 02:24:29 pm »
Older G3's have VGA-compatible signals on the inside leading to the monitors, not sure about the connector, could be macintosh or PC style VGA. While you could turn it into a monitor, there are enough big block CRTs floating around that would do the job with less chance of you setting you and your house on fire from dicking around with CRT electronics.
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Online edy

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2019, 03:53:49 am »
I ended up making a couple of videos on my playing around with software already on the machine and MAME stuff I either found or added on this iMac. I also downloaded and was able to install more software that I downloaded from the aforementioned site.

There is one issue with the computer, in that CD/DVD gets stuck ejecting. I need to stick another disc in the the slot during eject and then sort of drag it out to produce enough friction with the disc already inside to hang on to it and pull it out. Annoyingly but not a big deal. If there was an easy way to open it up and access the drive I could see why it's happening and fix it. For now I don't really care to bother, and will use the USB drive anyways to transfer content.

Here are the videos:



... and this one ...



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Offline barbeque

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2019, 03:49:12 pm »
Older G3's have VGA-compatible signals on the inside leading to the monitors, not sure about the connector, could be macintosh or PC style VGA. While you could turn it into a monitor, there are enough big block CRTs floating around that would do the job with less chance of you setting you and your house on fire from dicking around with CRT electronics.

I believe it's older Macintosh-style monitor RGB, so it should be possible to push VGA to it. Tray-load iMacs have an internal Mac DA15 video port.

Here's a thread where someone else was working on trying to make it work on a later slot-load iMac. It looks like there might be some funky signalling to configure geometry and bring up the display:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/imac-g3-mod-video-connector.1712095/
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 03:52:24 pm by barbeque »
 

Offline andy2000

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2019, 03:32:47 pm »

I believe it's older Macintosh-style monitor RGB, so it should be possible to push VGA to it. Tray-load iMacs have an internal Mac DA15 video port.

Here's a thread where someone else was working on trying to make it work on a later slot-load iMac. It looks like there might be some funky signalling to configure geometry and bring up the display:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/imac-g3-mod-video-connector.1712095/

The video is just analog RGB plus sync, but as you said, there would be no easy way to adjust the geometry, or brightness and contrast.  It's all done through the OS normally.  Some of their stand along monitors of the era have the same problem.  They have a VGA connector, but no way to adjust anything without the control panel in Mac OS. 

Also, I don't think these can sync to all of the frequencies that a normal VGA monitor can.  I don't think the horizontal will go low enough for the POST screen on a PC.  You would probably have to setup a custom resolution for it to work at all.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2019, 11:16:35 pm »
best way to sort it out: find a PC CRT monitor with the same physical size and with the same mechanical , extract the glass tube and electronics, remove the CRT from the iMac, and install the PC CRT tube into it; or, better idea, install an LCD flat-screen by making some plastic adjustment to adapt the flat surface of the LCD to the curved surface of the plastic.
 

Offline legacy

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2019, 11:49:28 pm »
something like this.
 

Offline Syntax Error

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Re: What do I do with a green iMac G3?
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2019, 09:48:24 pm »
Turn the iMAC into a time machine. Leave it as your legacy to the future by burying it in a deep hole in the backyard. Sometime in the year 3000, an archeologist (or your great-great-great-grand daughter) might find it and get very excited as an iMac indicates this was the site of a high status building. The plastic and CRT are sure to survive, maybe even the contents of the ROM. Be sure to leave Dark Side of the Moon in the CD tray. Who knows, by then this might be the last green iMac on Earth?
 


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