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[Complete] Mac Classic II Hackintosh Color+ conversion

Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
148
Motherboard
ASRock x99e-itx/ac
CPU
E5-2696 v3
Graphics
R9 Nano
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Classic
Mobile Phone
iOS
Mac Classic II (M4150 built in 1992)
cii_001_original.jpg cii_053_Catalina.jpg
The story of a classic Hackintosh. [In Progress]

I have been working on a few Apple G4 Cube projects. Two were completed and sold, one is complete and in use as a daily computer, and I have four more shells to fill. I came into possession of a vintage 1992 Mac Classic II and thought it would make a great conversion. After a long time of searching for the correct sized LCD panel to replace the tube, I started this project. It is near complete, just some minor fine tuning before I call it golden.

Project Goals:
-Minimal physical appearance changes (Don't mod the case too much)
-Additional features (IR, wifi, BT, Ethernet, HDMI, etc)
-Retain some Classic features

Things my Classic II will NOT have that the original did have:
-Printer Serial
-PhoneLink Serial
-SCSI port
-Floppy port
-Floppy disk

Things my Classic II WILL have that the original did not have:
-Apple IR sensor (apple remote)
-LCD IR sensor (remote power of LCD screen)
-2x USB 3.0 on the front
-2x USB 2.0 on the rear
-HDMI output (mirror or extend)
-HDMI input (to internal LCD only, no capture capability)
-Wifi (internal and external antenna)
-Bluetooth
-Ethernet
-2.5 128Gb internal SSD boot drive
-2.5 500Gb internal Hard Drive
-3.5 3TB internal Hard Drive

Ports that stayed the same:
-Audio input
-Audio output
-Apple ADB keyboard/mouse port (so I can use the original kb and mouse)
-Power plug
-Reset/Interrupt on the left side

What's inside for other components:
-Intel Mini-ITX DH61DL motherboard LGA1155, 3 Sata, 1 mPCIE, 1 PCIE 2.0 x 1 (small slot)
-Intel i7-3770 3.4GHz
-SolidGear 350W Flex PSU
-low profile CPU cooler
-SilverStone FW81 fan to suck in air from the bottom of the case
-2x8Gb Kingston PC3-12800U RAM
-Apple BCM94331CD 802.11 a/b/g/n with Bluetooth 4.0
-8.0inch 1024x768 LCD (LED backlight)
-multi-input LCD driver board (accepts VGA/HDMI/composite1+2), on screen menu, IR remote control
-Apple IR sensor connected to internal USB
-Drakware ADB2USB adapter https://drakware.com/product/ADB2USB
-PCIe mining riser 1x to 16x

Parts I had to 3D print:
-LCD frame
-LCD Controller mount
-Fan shroud
-LCD panel control
-Floppy hole cover (USB ports)

I don't like to dive right in. I think there is a time for thinking and dreaming, and then things need to fall in place. I saw another Classic Mac Hackintosh with a mini-ITX motherboard, and I thought I could do it too. Since I didn't want to cut the case for the IO panel, I had to decide how to fit all my ports in the same space. Thus I built a new interior panel to mount all my ports onto, and built my own internal frame to hold all the components. I figured I could either sell the A- quality guts on eBay, or make an acrylic case to show off the old guts, so I did not want to modify the existing frame for my components. The original frame is steel, my frame is aluminum.

cii_011_NewGuts2.jpg
I have successfully installed High Sierra 10.13.6. Since it has an NVIDIA card, I initially did not want to install Mojave or Catalina, because of lack of drivers. Later in the process, I found that the GT730 card was a Kepler device and it did in fact work in Catalina, so this box will boot in High Sierra or Catalina. The reason for dual boot is the IR remote... somehow Apple botched the IR remote support in Catalina, so to run something like iTunes or Kodi, I will have to boot in High Sierra. I will emulate OS 9.0.4 on SheepShaver, OS 7.5 on Basilisk II, and OS 6 on mini vMac.
cii_System904.png
cii_System75.png
cii_System6.png


The Build

Gut the old

There are only 4 screws on the back of the Classic II that hold the case together. Two on the bottom near the ports, and two on the top near the built in handle. Removal of the two near the handle require a longer tool to reach in the deep sockets. Once the screws are removed, it was a little difficult prying the front panel from the rear. I am not sure if it is designed that way or the age of the machine. Essentially the internals are mounted on a frame and screwed to the front panel, so the back is just a cover.

Find a screen

I searched around and found others who have done a similar mod. There are really no high definition panels out there in this small of a size. I suppose an ipad mini with retina display at 7.9 inches would be high resolution, but good luck finding a driver for it. The best I could find was 8.0 inches at 1024x768. There are plenty of 800x600, but I wanted the best I could find. I could not find anything between 8 and 9, as 8.7 would have been optimal. The 1994 Color Classic had a 10" CRT with 512x384 resolution. The Classic II had 9" monochrome CRT 512x342. This has a smaller screen and 4x the pixels.
cii_051_vga.jpg


The screen I chose was off eBay, a kit with LVDS driver board. When I received it, initially it worked great, then it fizzled out. I think it was a bad driver board, so I ordered a separate replacement, and it failed to work as well. I then thought it was possibly the screen so I ordered a 2nd screen. The 2nd one was dim, so I ordered a 3rd screen. Still dim, so ordered a 3rd board, different design. Screen one was confirmed dead, screen 2 and 3 worked fine with board 3. Lots of waste on this project.

The driver board supports multiple inputs (VGA, HDMI, composite 1 and 2). There are on screen controls to adjust the typical LCD monitor and the original controller came with an IR remote as well as a control panel. The 3rd driver board did not have the IR sensor mounted, so I stole it from the first fried controller. Since the original Classic II had tube monitor adjustments hidden on the rear behind a detachable panel, I thought that was the ideal place to put these screen control panel as well. I had to design and 3D print an interface panel, and figure out how to mount it, and then cut out a hole for it in the back case. I could not see the button icons when printed in black, so I printed them in white for the contrast. The internal VGA out from the GT730 drives the LCD VGA input. The HDMI input is directed to the rear panel so this Classic II can be used as an external monitor (just a pure goofy effect). The HDMI from the GT730 goes to the rear panel so you can drive an external monitor with this Hackintosh (think HTPC in the living room, or large desktop monitor).

cii_010_NewGuts1.jpg cii_027_panel.jpg cii_029_new.jpg cii_025_installed.jpg
I have seen where people cut off the old CRT and use it for the front (curved surface), and read a lot of tips on melting plexi/acrylic for forming. I never tried it before, and failed a few times before I finally just stuck it in the oven and let it droop over the old tube in a vase until it got to the shape I wanted.
cii_022_tubefails.jpg cii_020_tube.jpg cii_023_fit.jpg

Determine the ports

The DH61DL has two USB3.0 ports on the rear panel and two USB2.0 ports. It has 3 additional dual USB2.0 headers. The PCI Express 2.0 x1 is short, so I needed a mining USB riser to get a longer slot. It also has a serial and parallel port, but who uses those nowadays, so keeping the motherboard completely internal and using extender cables was my route to maintain the case integrity. The only visible mod to the back cover is the Ethernet port is a little too large for the old phone port, so a little bit of filing gave me enough room for the wired Ethernet.
cii_049_ports.jpg

Design the interior layout

The HD61DL has only two fan headers, so one for the CPU cooler and a case fan that will suck air from the bottom of the frame. This is the original design of the Classic II, having a fan pull fresh air from the bottom. I decided to install the motherboard vertically, with the ports facing the bottom, so the extension cables would have the shortest path to the exterior port panel. I left enough space for a 3.5in hard drive to fit between the motherboard and exterior case wall. The PSU sits in the center and its fan blows upward. On the left hand side, two 2.5 drive mounts and the mining riser for the GPU. The GPU should be able to be swapped out with another low profile card, with something more powerful if required.

Build a frame

This task kicked me hard. I modeled what I could in 3D, for sizing and spacing. I found a couple 3D models of different Classic Macs, so not the perfect exact match, but close enough, or so I thought. I wanted to just use one flat piece, and bend everything from that one piece. I made miniature paper samples and eventually built a full size card stock version to check all my measurements. Lots of adjustments later, I was ready for the metal version. Everything cut and drilled fine, but as I started bending, I got distracted and bent some items the wrong way. There is no do-over or going back after that. So I had to cut off some pieces and replace them with other metal. I also did not measure properly, and I had to cut and rivet some other places to make things fit. Luckily, this ugly monstrosity will all be hidden inside, never revealed to the user (except you readers).
cii_030_coreCAD.jpg cii_032_layout.jpg cii_036_oops.jpg

Build a Port Panel

The original Classic II had all ports on the mainboard facing the back. Since my motherboard ports would never be seen, I had to build a panel to mount all the extenders onto. Again I chose a single piece of metal with a few bends. The panel mount extenders all have mounting holes that take up space, and a few had to be carved down to fit properly. The two HDMI ports had to be mounted together by cutting off the adjacent mounting holes completely and zip tying them together. All in all, a pretty good lineup.
cii_042_compare.jpg cii_044_hdmi2.jpg cii_046_ethernet.jpg cii_045_almost.jpg

Fine tune minor pieces (IR, IR2, Buttons, ports, internal antenna)

I originally wanted the IR sensor to be inside the screen, but I had enough problems with that already. So I opted to put both the Apple IR sensor and the LCD IR sensor in the floppy hole with two USB ports. Originally I was planning on the rear port being USB 3.0 and the front 2.0, but in the end I swapped them, 2.0 on the back and 3.0 on the front.

The Apple wifi card has 3 antennas. I used two old salvage surface mount antennas internally attached to the LCD frame. One is BlueTooth and the other is Wifi. Since the interior of the Classic II case seems to be painted with metallic paint (RF shield), I also included an external antenna on the back panel.

The power switch on the back turns on and off the original Classic II, but a modern motherboard does not function that way. Since the Classic II contains the Reset (triangle) and Interrupt (circle V) buttons on the left side, I decided to wire those to Reset and Power on the motherboard. I pulled a couple switches off a dead router and mounted them to the frame.

The Drakware ADB2USB adapter comes in a 3D printed case, so I assume it is either custom hardware or a programmable chip inside. ADB on one end, microUSB on the other. I build a small metal clip to hold it in place and the microUSB is wired to an internal USB2.0 header along with the Apple IR sensor.

Assemble

First step in final production is to clean the case. Time to try Retr0bright https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retr0bright or "Clairol pure white creme developer 40".


More photos coming soon...

cii_050_dual.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
18
Motherboard
MSI M5
CPU
Core i5 7600K
Graphics
NVIDIA GTX 1080
Looking forward to see new posts for this project. Should modify and old school Mac keyboard too.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
148
Motherboard
ASRock x99e-itx/ac
CPU
E5-2696 v3
Graphics
R9 Nano
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Classic
Mobile Phone
iOS
I have the original keyboard and mouse that run on ADB, hence the ADB2USB that I will install inside the back panel, so it will retain the original look from the outside. The mouse and keyboard will be useable, but so will a wireless BT mouse and KB or USB versions. This whole Coronavoidance should keep me in the garage this weekend to finish this project up.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
148
Motherboard
ASRock x99e-itx/ac
CPU
E5-2696 v3
Graphics
R9 Nano
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Classic
Mobile Phone
iOS
cii_000_intro.jpg

Assemble

There is a sequence to all of this, as some screws are not accessible when other parts are installed.

1. Mount the LCD panel and control panel to the front of the case
2. Install surface mount antennas to LCD frame
3. Install the power/reset buttons and the LCD control panel on the frame
4. Install the floppy slot USB and IR sensors onto the frame
5. Mount the frame to the front panel
6. Install the fresh air intake manifold
7. Install the motherboard on the frame
8. Install the Video slot riser and the video card
9. Install 3.5 HDD and 2x2.5 HDD/SSD
10. Connect all known wiring including the back panel
11. Connect 3 antennas to wifi card and install card on motherboard
12. Connect PSU cables and mount PSU
13. Power on and test everything
14. Install frame into back case and install screws.

Once tested, this completes the physical build. There is some software fine tuning that must be done, but that will come later.

cii_085_backs.jpg cii_083_InternalTop.jpg cii_084_InternalBack.jpg
Benchmarks are mild, but this is mainly going to serve as a media player.

cii_091_GB5.jpg

cii_092_Unigine_GT730z.jpg


I took the completed unit down to the living room to test with a big screen. I will emulate Mac OS 9.0.4 on SheepShaver, System 7.5 on Basilisk II, and System 6 on mini vMac.

cii_094_Emu3.jpgcii_093_emu2.jpg


I also stacked a few of my other builds next to it for size comparisons.

cii_099_compare.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
804
Motherboard
Dell 7040 MT (Q170)
CPU
i5-6600
Graphics
HD 530
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Awesome work on the Macintosh Classic, it's great to see Catalina next to an emulated System 6 & 7.5 along side Mac OS 9 too. My first experience of Macs was with System 7, I owned a Apple Performa 450, it was my 1st computer. Ive seen a video recently where someone put an iPad inside a Classic case, thats kinda modding the wrong way round isn't it?. As opposed to building a desktop Hackintosh thats good at its job. The mini G5 is awesome, it looks about 1/2 the size of my G5. Cube, they're so expensive now, especially a well looked after one. But that floating effect is still a winner for me, some of these vintage Apple cases just make good mods IMO!.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
148
Motherboard
ASRock x99e-itx/ac
CPU
E5-2696 v3
Graphics
R9 Nano
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Classic
Mobile Phone
iOS
But that floating effect is still a winner for me
I started collecting Cube cases in 2013. I completed two builds and sold them. This is all I have left :(

5cubes.jpg
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
148
Motherboard
ASRock x99e-itx/ac
CPU
E5-2696 v3
Graphics
R9 Nano
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Classic
Mobile Phone
iOS
The side story on this old machine... Shortly before creating this mod, I got the dreaded checkerboard on the original. This is a tell tale sign of needing caps replaced. After this mod was complete, I went back and replaced the caps.

mcii-01-cleaning2.jpg

Snipped off the old caps and cleaned the motherboard with isopropyl.

mcii-02-cleaning.jpg


Top image is before cleaning and bottom after. Then I prepped the replacement caps.

mcii-03-caps.jpg


Reassembled everything (sans case) and powered on!

mcii-04-revived.jpg


mcii-05-alive.jpg


She lives. Pretty noisy between the fan and the aged SCSI drive, but once inside a case it may quiet down a bit.
 
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