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Old 25th May 2010, 22:13   #1
Warrior_Rocker
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Apple Cinema Display ADC to DVI conversion

View the updated project log on my personal site, XodusTech.com

Hi,

I recently acquired an Apple Cinema Display 20'' model A1038. Some may know but many may not that these displays used a single permantely attached cable to provide DVI/USB/Power to the monitor. Newer Apple Cinema Displays use a similar cable design that now breaks out into power,usb,dvi.

What I did was chop off the ADC (Apple Display Connector) cable and dremel a hole for a DVI socket on the back of the monitor. The pinouts for the panel were readily available and using that and a basic understanding of DVI I was able to solder up a compatible DVI socket.

This allows me to use any DVI cable on hand instead of a mutant pigtail that the Apple ADC to DVI converter would mean. The next step was to provide power to the display. Apple Cinema Displays use 24-28V DC at 4 to 15 amps. This model requires 24-28v at 5.5A. A simple ebay purchase of a 24v power supply was all I needed to have a dedicated solution to powering the monitor.

I cut a hole in the back for a DC socket, as well as an input socket for the monitors built in USB hub. I cut a small oval to mimic the look of the embedded usb ports. I need to clean the residue off the plastic I just need the right cleaning solution.

The monitor works great and the color is stunning. Both Windows 7 and OSX recognize the panel right away. In the test shots I am using a Mac-Mini to drive the panel using a mini-displayport to DVI converter. Then a DVI cable running to the panel itself.
.
For reference here is an ADC cable below (the one I removed was exactly like this) It provides power, usb, and DVI signals





Back of the monitor. No permanent cables anymore!



Two usb 1.1 ports, and the added USB input and Power input sockets.



Close up of the DVI port. Now that I have the wiring worked out I am going to bind up the loose wires and hotglue over possible solder break points.



USB, Power, and DVI cables connected to the monitor.



OSX booting up!



Hackaday homepage!



Engadget homepage!



Bit-Tech homepage!


Thanks for taking a look!

Last edited by Warrior_Rocker; 20th May 2012 at 17:02.
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Old 26th May 2010, 06:44   #2
lenne0815
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nice hack, but for my taste a bit too much work for that big chunk of plastic
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Old 26th May 2010, 09:05   #3
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pretty kewl, but seems like alot of work for 20in display. Could just go buy a 23in 1080p Asus for $180 and save your time.
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Old 6th Oct 2010, 23:56   #4
Wordmc9
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hmm, nice mod , i got my self to this lcd , but no mac,, any link for this schematics or smthg.
im new around here, or is there any newer guid to this ?
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Old 5th Nov 2010, 02:35   #5
macmarty15221
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Props on this very functional hack, I'm glad it made it to HackaDay. I'll echo a plea: since you've worked out the wiring details, could you post a sketch of your solution?

A buddy and I have 30 of these displays stashed away, they were discarded by a university exactly because they lacked current-standard connectors. It'd be awesome to be able to upgrade them as you have done.

Like some folks say, "obsolescence is merely a lack of imagination".
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Old 5th Nov 2010, 02:51   #6
macmarty15221
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... And now let me turn around and address the naysayers above.

Guys, I think you are missing the point. W_R started with a high-quality monitor that still worked, even though most of the corresponding ADC Macs have gone to the Big Bit Bucket in the Sky. This hack takes that monitor and puts it back into a new and useful life. Much better than it taking up space on a shelf, or (worse yet) getting scrapped for lack of a machine to drive it. That is the worst kind of "e-waste" in my book. Solid functionality, but under-appreciated.
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Old 5th Nov 2010, 18:15   #7
Warrior_Rocker
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Thanks for the kind words everyone!

In response to posting a schematic, I will try to cobble one together. I started by basically guessing the order of the Clock/D0/D1/D2 lines for DVI, since you need at bare minimum these pins to drive a DVI based monitor. The rest I also used solid guesses as to which pins were DDC (monitor ID) and Hot Plug.

If anyone has any extra of these monitors as macmarty15221 mentions he may have 30 of them, I would like to get my hands on another 20'', or any size really. I have macbook with a dead display and I suspect a dead LVDS controller, but with working DVI. I would love to integrate the macbook into one of the old style Cinema Displays so you can see the macbook through the back clear plastic.

I am looking more into monitors that can be driven natively with DVI, unlike the LCD in a laptop or most desktop LCD monitors which are LVDS based. The idea being that we can actually make use of these monitors instead of having a box of 20 laptop displays with no chance of driving them.

In my Cinema Display I have removed the back white/silver inner plastic housing around the monitor. This lets you see all the electronics through the back since its clear. I had to extend the standoffs for each of the screws by about 3-4mm since the inner housing added about that much of a spacer inbetween the front and back clear plastic pieces. I did this by cutting a BIC pen into small lengths and then super gluing them to each standoff.
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Old 8th Nov 2010, 22:16   #8
Stork
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmarty15221 View Post
...A buddy and I have 30 of these displays stashed away, they were discarded by a university exactly because they lacked current-standard connectors. It'd be awesome to be able to upgrade them as you have done...
I would be interested in buying one of these monitors from you which is in good shape (no dead pixels). Are you going to offer them for sale with shipping? Are they the 20 or 23 inch monitors?

BTW, congratulations on rescuing these monitors so others can use them.

Warrior_Rocker, I highly encourage you to draw up the schematics. A bunch of us would use them. TIA.
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Old 9th Nov 2010, 14:31   #9
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Hi, the pictures are missing. Do you have them on flickr or something?
Awesome hack!
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Old 27th Nov 2010, 05:51   #10
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This is beautiful! I am working on this mod but had a pigtail that was working with my G5 but not with the MacBook Pro. So I set out to do this. I've got the connector soldered after much tedium but now I am getting a very green display on the MBP and the G5 just shuts down after the Mac Boot tone. Its as if there is no red information coming through when using the MBP as a source. I have researched enough that I think pin #1 and #2 are the TMDS red channel but they seem to be carrying voltage and are connected without any shorts or breaks in the circuit.

Any thoughts? Do you have a color vs. DVI pins as my display is the very one you modded. Down to the internal connectors. I'd be happy to give some pictures of mine once finished but I will warn that I am not the skilled Dremel operator you seem to be.

Cool mod!
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Old 27th Nov 2010, 13:17   #11
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Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.Yaka is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.
Nice mod kudos for working it all out
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Old 12th Dec 2010, 18:20   #12
CBW
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Looks Great! I am doing this mod on a 23" cinema display IF... 1) I can use it on a PC with DVI output, and 2) The USB controls of the display will work in that hookup. So, to that end, what software would I need to drive the USB, and what all does it control on the display?
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Old 14th Dec 2010, 13:48   #13
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Ooooh, would a similar approach work with an iMac G4?

It looks to have a similar kind of setup to the wiring of one of the built in screen.
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Old 19th Jan 2011, 22:38   #14
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Reinventing the wheel?

Apple sells an adapter for $100 that does exactly that (you can also find them on ebay but generally not for much less). If you have the time to hack it, sure, but it's a lot of work. I currently use a pair of 23" Cinema displays with ADC on my PC at work; my company paid for the adapters so no worries there. Beautiful picture, although I had to color match with my Spider 3 Colorimeter since the displays had been heavily used. Note that if you're using these with a PC, you'll lose all picture controls, but you can connect them to a Mac first, change the settings to your liking, and then move them back.

To Fiyero with the G4: search for Belkin DVI ADC adapter on ebay. You can generally pick one up for about $30. It's probably not the sort of thing you can make yourself, since getting an ADC connector is all but impossible (unless you know someone who just hacked up his ADC monitor).
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Old 9th Mar 2011, 06:18   #15
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A question for Warrior_Rocker

Warrior_Rocker,

Thanks for your post on modifying the Cinema Display. You did a really sweet job. I tried something related in that I tried to create a split tail out the back of the Cinema Display. I don't know why it didn't work, and my wife would not let me plug it into the new laptop that we have to test it out that way. I think I'm going to try to put the cable back the way it was before I cut it up and simply buy the adapter because maybe this project is beyond my skills.

Well, my first question is about the voltage running through the signal wires (0-, 0+; 3-, 3+) Besides testing for continuity, is there a way I can use my volt meter to test if the video card in my G4 Cube is working properly and that the monitor's inner workings are sending the right signals too?

I'm afraid I might be coming across as pretty dumb, but that's what happens with newbies.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 1st Jul 2011, 17:16   #16
joe16tons
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Hi there, love the mod
I have 2 of these monitors ready for moding but i also have 3 x 15"apple studio displays model number M7613
These came with a cable attached which split into 3, usb, dvi and psu tails. I was wondering if anyone knows if I could remove the cable from one of the 15" monitors and wire it into one of the big ADC ones....maybe they have the same plugs internally?
I'll get my screw drivers and check it out
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Old 24th Jan 2012, 02:48   #17
laptoplover2
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Sorry for sounding noobish, but about the power supply, could I just use like an extra laptop charger or something? Also with putting on the DVI cable, how do you know which wire to connect to which inside the monitor?
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Old 17th Apr 2012, 07:03   #18
xars22
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i have a slightly different model apple cinema display. Mine uses DFP video cable at one end (inside monitor) to connect into the ADC. I was thinking i could install a DFP to DVI adapter and then a DVI to VGA or HDMI. But I need some help with the power adapter and usb parts. so I have two questions:

1. How do I wire the 4 wires for the power into a 2 wire power supply? (I noticed the one used in this mod was just the standard 2 wire power supply but is connected to the 4 pin power plug in the display)

2. How do I wire the 8 wires from the usb inside the display to a 4 pin usb female connector?

Any help would be great. I love this mod!!! An excellent use of a perfectly good monitor that needed a gender change, so to speak.
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