Clamshell iBook LCD Upgrade

What is this mod for?

Do you have a clamshell iBook that you still like to play with? Have you found that the 800×600 SVGA LCD is just too limiting? The good news is, you can fairly easily upgrade the LCD in your iBook to a new, brighter, higher-resolution 1024×768 XGA display.

Required Parts

  • LG Apple OEM LCD cable - Apple part #922-5368. Unfortunately, since the clamshell line was officially obsoleted, this part is no longer particularly easy to acquire. Your best bet is to watch eBay.
  • Alternatively, you can try this adapter from PCHub to convert the original LCD cable to work with the higher-resolution display. I have not verified this solution.
  • 12“ Samsung LCD, model number LTN121X1-L02. So far, these have been found in 12” iBook G3 and G4 models. Non-Apple LCDs have not been confirmed to work.
  • Latest iBook firmware update. You can only update the iBook's firmware from within OS 8 or OS 9.

Mod Instructions

Installing the LCD

Unfortunately, I don't have pics from this mod, since I did it many years ago. I'll add pics as soon as I can.

First, remove the display. has a great guide here.

You'll want to use something stiff but not sharp to pop open the iBook's display enclosure. I'd recommend using a plastic putty knife. This will require some force - be careful, but don't be scared if you hear some popping sounds as the plastic bezel separates from the display enclosure.

Once you get the display open, removing the LCD itself is pretty straightforward. Keep the inverter board (the circuit board with a two-pin power connector coming off one end); you can use it with the new LCD.

Remove the original LCD cable - you don't need it now. Attach the new cable to the replacement LCD and route it down through the display enclosure so that it can be plugged in to the main logic board.

You won't be able to use the brackets that the original LCD is attached to. However, the bezel is a tight enough fit that you can generally just lay the display in the plastic enclosure and snap the bezel back on, and it will hold the LCD in place.

Once everything is reassembled and secure, go ahead and power up the iBook to make sure you have a working display. If the display is black but you can see faint images on it (shine a bright light directly at the LCD to check), make sure the inverter is plugged in and the LCD is plugged in to the inverter. If you have a backlight but no display, check the LCD cable connections.

Ready to move on? Now for the Open Firmware mod.

Modifying Open Firmware

Hold down Cmd+Opt+O+F to boot into Open Firmware. Once you're at the console, type the following commands. Hit Enter at each new line. Make sure you type in everything correctly, spaces and all.

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

Hit Ctrl+C to quit the NVRAM editor. Now type the following:

  setenv use-nvramrc? true

Your iBook will reboot. The initial boot screen (Happy Mac for Classic OS; gray Apple logo for OS X) will display in an 800×600 area in the upper left corner of the display, but as soon as the operating system is booted, your display should expand to fill the entire 1024×768 area.

Stuff To Remember

If you ever need to reset the PRAM (via Cmd+Opt+P+R), you'll need to redo the NVRAM edits documented above, since resetting the PRAM clears any custom NVRAM code.

DVD playback does not work on the iBook's display with this mod. You can, however, still watch DVDs on a TV using a video out cable.

The original MacNN thread that started this project can be found here.

The project was moved to LiveJournal before finding a home here. For reference, the LJ community is still available here, although membership is now closed.

wiki/hardware/ibooklcd.txt · Last modified: 2023/10/10 01:00
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