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isiolia
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Re: Early Intel iMac - Repair it or mod it?

by isiolia Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:06 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:Ordering a Macbook or ordering an iMac on eBay? Either way, I'd love to see some pictures when it comes in. Good luck on your project; I can't wait to see how it turns out.


Oh, sorry, replacement LCD panel for the iMac. The Macbook I mentioned I've owned since it was new/current.

I can honestly say that I have never seen that before. Maybe the layer of plastic got too warm? If you run a hardware diagnostic, does it report back that the iMac has ever overheated?


I haven't either. I think it was due more to humidity, since the metal frame on the front glass has some rust, and there are some spots on the wifi card as well (but nothing else I can see). When I've seen heat damage on iMac LCDs, it's usually more of a color shift towards the bottom of the screen...but that was also on newer ones.

A couple ideas off the top of my head: What if you upgrade to a better monitor than the one that originally came in that iMac? For instance, what if you dropped in a higher-resolution monitor, or a touch-screen, or an HDR screen? How about a screen with a wacom stylus so you can draw right on the screen. If you're not super-concerned about keeping your iMac looking stock, you could add all kinds of creative features that Apple never saw fit to add to the iMac.


I thought of it, especially since these were a downgrade in panel quality from the one you fixed (to the point that people sued Apple over it, apparently - thus is the power of a TN panel). However, the potential cost/effort of doing it just doesn't seem worth it for the rest of the hardware, and I have little in the way of donor parts that'd fit if I wanted to gut the chassis or something. Simply fixing it to stock seems to be the more appealing thing to do for relatively low cost. If I'm buying extra monitors or something, I'd kinda rather leave them assembled given the pile of desktop PC stuff I have sitting here :lol:
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Re: Early Intel iMac - Repair it or mod it?

by samsonlonghair Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:33 pm

isiolia wrote:I haven't either. I think it was due more to humidity, since the metal frame on the front glass has some rust, and there are some spots on the wifi card as well (but nothing else I can see). When I've seen heat damage on iMac LCDs, it's usually more of a color shift towards the bottom of the screen...but that was also on newer ones.


That makes sense to me. I think you're right about humidity. The rust is a dead giveaway! You might want to consider scouring away that rust if you can do so without causing further damage.

isiolia wrote:If I'm buying extra monitors or something, I'd kinda rather leave them assembled given the pile of desktop PC stuff I have sitting here :lol:


You got me there, Isi! :lol:

By the way, I just updated the first post on this thread.
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Re: Early Intel iMac - Repair it or mod it?

by miked Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:54 pm

Damn Samson, I didn't notice you updated the first post to make this the general Mac thread. The thread I made in the Personal Computers section was directly inspired by this thread, so I guess we can just let the one I made die.

Back to the one you just repaired, how is it doing on temperature? I have the same model but with the 2.33Ghz CPU and the 256mb ATI x1600 and the thing can get hot enough to cause artifacts to show up on the screen just by watching streaming video. I use SMC Fan Control to crank the rpms up and it mostly fixes the problem. I probably need to take it apart and reapply the thermal paste or something, but alas I am too lazy.

Other Macs I currently own:

Early 2008 iMac - the first model to change to an aluminum case, though the back is still black plastic. 2.66ghz Core 2 Duo with 6gb ram and the 256mb HD2600. This one also has some heat issues but never locks up or anything. I still run SMC to keep the temps down more for peace of mind more than anything. This has been an absolutely fantastic machine and is luckily not a 32bit EFI like previous models, but Apple did cut this one off at El Capitan.

Mid 2012 MacBook Air 13" - 2.0Ghz i7, 8gb ram, Intel HD4000 and 256gb SSD. I feel this was the best time I could have bought an Air, as later models just got the newer generations of CPUs that are not much of a performance increase. The battery is way past due though and I REALLY need to swap that out.

2017 5k iMac - 4.2Ghz i7, 16gb ram, Radeon Pro 580 8gb and the 3tb Fusion drive. I honestly felt ridiculous typing out those specs. :lol: What can I say, I earned some extra cash over the summer and I decided to treat myself. I don't even come close to tapping into the potential of this machine with the type of work I do. While this machine was bought for work, I did install Bioshock Remastered just to check out the display, and it ran at the full 5k resolution (5120x2880) at a solid 60fps. Those "haha, gaming on a Mac?" memes can go to hell when it comes to this machine. The most amazing piece of tech I have ever owned by a long shot. The car I currently drive cost slightly less than it, granted I got a really good deal on the car. :oops:
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Re: Early Intel iMac - Repair it or mod it?

by CRTGAMER Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:38 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:
CRTGAMER wrote:Now if there were a similar guide for the earlier G3 CRT combos, some have a history of the video failing. Usually an over saturated pink screen caused by the PCB failing and not the tube though.

Hmm... This is an interesting problem. I don't have a lot of experience working on Cathode Ray Tubes, but I'm sure you're familiar with them, eh CRT? :wink: I understand you own more than one G3 iMac, right? Do any of them have a pink screen problem such as you described? If so, what's the model number and emc number? I'd like to look into it out of curiosity.

I'm assuming you probably have OS9 installed in a dual boot configuration, right? I would try booting into both OS9 and OSX. You might also try booting to a target disk in another mac. Do you have the pink screen on both operating systems? If not, then you have found where your problem lies. If the Pink Screen persists irrespective of the operating system, then I think we need to look at the firmware next.

I have heard that some of the G3 iMacs need a firmware update, or conversely, that they need to be restored to their previous firmware. This would probably be a job for OS9 I think. Make sure you download all the different firmware revisions for your G3 iMac. Have them handy on a flash drive or burned to a CD-R. Try the most recent firmware first. If that doesn't alleviate the problem, move onto progressively older firmware. If none of these works, make sure to re-reinstall the newest firmware at the end of this step. Newest firmware is nearly always the best firmware.

Once we rule out the Software and the Firmware, let's move onto the hardware. From here we remove the internal monitor and try to replace it with compatible parts. Standard disclaimer: Be careful; CRT monitors can carry enough charge to harm/kill a careless person. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that, CRTgamer.

I think I mentioned before that older tray-loading G3 iMacs have an internal VGA connection buried inside the machine. I failed to mention that back in the day, Apple used a proprietary connector for VGA signals. Sound familiar? :roll: Apple's gonna apple. The old school Macintosh VGA connector is fifteen pins just like every other VGA connector, but it's shaped a little differently. Instead of three rows of five pins, The Macintosh video connector has two rows of pins (eight on one row, seven on the other row). The one in a G3 still transmits a VGA-compatible signal, you just need to source a cheap adapter. These used to be more common back in the day, but I haven't spied one in a few years. Looks like this:

It was decades ago, I got a free iMac G3 that had the pink screen. IMacs of the era had this sporadic problem, a chance bad luck with some breaking after a couple years while others with no issues decades later. No list of which exact models or mghz chip, a random shot. After trying firmware, software updates and OS9/OSX different bootup, turns out the problem is usually fixed by changing the Flyback transformer. A pricey option for a free old iMac; ended up just getting another off Craigs List. I currently own two iMac G3s, both run just fine.

This is where the LCD repair on your iMac a little more straight forward, a good move! The video of the LCD all contained when swapping the screen vs the iMac CRT has components merged with the computer motherboard.

The Firmware update for the G3 required for OSX (also some G4s and G5s) and has to be installed while in OS9 (both mine have 9.22) before installing OSX. I use OSX 10.4 which is the newest that is compatible with the G3 series. My earlier recommendation of both operating systems installed really is the way to go having the best of both systems and the most games available. Newer Mac games of course will not run on the old G3, but neat that OS9 games can run under OSX without a reboot and older OSX games run as well. Or just reboot to OS9 if that is preferred; then reboot back to OSX when needed.

My G3 OS9 Game Folder
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I do take advantage of the VGA connector (slot loader) in the back using just the standard VGA cable from a larger VGA monitor. A duplicate image and not an extended desktop; no settings needed even if dead G3 screen. :idea:

I own a ruby and ingigo iMac G3 and maxed out with two 512mb memory cards; just two colors of the huge variety over the standard beige IBM compatibles. Ooh, the 70s Flower Power case!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G3

The iMac G3 is a series of personal computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Computer, Inc. from 1998 to 2003. Noted for its innovative enclosure via the use of translucent and brightly colored plastics, it was the first consumer-facing Apple product to debut under the recently returned interim CEO Steve Jobs. It was updated over time with new hardware and colors, until being supplanted by the iMac G4 and eMac in 2002. The marketing and sales success of the iMac G3 contributed to Apple's turnaround from financial ruin in the late 1990s and revitalized the Apple brand as design-oriented and simple. It was, nevertheless, criticized for abandoning then-current technological standards like the floppy drive and the Apple Desktop Bus connector in favor of the emerging USB standard. Sir Jonathan Ive, currently Chief Design Officer at Apple, is credited with the industrial design. Its unique shape and color options helped ingrain itself into late 1990s pop culture.

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Re: Early Intel iMac - Repair it or mod it?

by samsonlonghair Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:54 pm

miked wrote:Damn Samson, I didn't notice you updated the first post to make this the general Mac thread. The thread I made in the Personal Computers section was directly inspired by this thread, so I guess we can just let the one I made die.

It's all good, miked! I don't want to compete against you; I would rather collaborate with you! I like what you brought to the table regarding gaming on a Mac. :D

I have changed the name of this thread to better reflect the broader conversation.

ATTENTION MODS Please merge miked's thread with this one if it's not too much trouble. Thank you very much.
viewtopic.php?f=49&t=51849&p=1120530#p1120530

miked wrote:Back to the one you just repaired, how is it doing on temperature? I have the same model but with the 2.33Ghz CPU and the 256mb ATI x1600 and the thing can get hot enough to cause artifacts to show up on the screen just by watching streaming video. I use SMC Fan Control to crank the rpms up and it mostly fixes the problem. I probably need to take it apart and reapply the thermal paste or something, but alas I am too lazy.

Funny you should mention it, miked. I have the opposite problem. When the original hard drive got pulled, the hard drive temperature sensor got pulled along with it. Since I don't have a temperature sensor, the iMac assumes it is in constant danger of overheating. In reality, the SSD I installed generates less heat than a mechanical HDD, but the iMac doesn't know that. As soon as I turn on the iMac, the fans run at maximum speed constantly in attempts to cool down a hard drive that isn't really overheating.

Thanks for reminding me of SMC fan control. I will need to utilize this application just to slow down my fans.

You may be on to something with regard to thermal paste, but before you go to that trouble consider just a few well-placed blasts of canned air. Make sure you don't have dust clogging up your ventilation. You say, "too lazy," but I think there's wisdom in your hesitation. It makes sense that you don't want to dismantle the iMac if you don't have to. It's a big job, and it's a non-zero risk. There's plenty of fragile parts under that screen. I would only remove the iMac screen after exploring all other options.

miked wrote:Other Macs I currently own:

Early 2008 iMac - the first model to change to an aluminum case, though the back is still black plastic. 2.66ghz Core 2 Duo with 6gb ram and the 256mb HD2600. This one also has some heat issues but never locks up or anything. I still run SMC to keep the temps down more for peace of mind more than anything. This has been an absolutely fantastic machine and is luckily not a 32bit EFI like previous models, but Apple did cut this one off at El Capitan.

Mid 2012 MacBook Air 13" - 2.0Ghz i7, 8gb ram, Intel HD4000 and 256gb SSD. I feel this was the best time I could have bought an Air, as later models just got the newer generations of CPUs that are not much of a performance increase. The battery is way past due though and I REALLY need to swap that out.

2017 5k iMac - 4.2Ghz i7, 16gb ram, Radeon Pro 580 8gb and the 3tb Fusion drive. I honestly felt ridiculous typing out those specs. :lol: What can I say, I earned some extra cash over the summer and I decided to treat myself. I don't even come close to tapping into the potential of this machine with the type of work I do. While this machine was bought for work, I did install Bioshock Remastered just to check out the display, and it ran at the full 5k resolution (5120x2880) at a solid 60fps. Those "haha, gaming on a Mac?" memes can go to hell when it comes to this machine. The most amazing piece of tech I have ever owned by a long shot. The car I currently drive cost slightly less than it, granted I got a really good deal on the car. :oops:


That's a really cool collection of Mac computers, miked. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of your 5K iMac. Where do you work that you need an iMac? Will they hire me? :lol: :mrgreen:
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Re: Early Intel iMac - Repair it or mod it?

by samsonlonghair Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:13 pm

CRTGAMER wrote:After trying firmware, software updates and OS9/OSX different bootup, turns out the problem is usually fixed by changing the Flyback transformer. A pricey option for a free old iMac; ended up just getting another off Craigs List. I currently own two iMac G3s, both run just fine.

This is where the LCD repair on your iMac a little more straight forward, a good move! The video of the LCD all contained when swapping the screen vs the iMac CRT has components merged with the computer motherboard.

Oh, a G3 iMac modded with an LCD screen would be pretty darn sweet! :mrgreen: I wouldn't sacrifice a working G3 iMac, but if I ever came across a broken one, I would certainly give this a try.

This gets the wheels in my brain spinning! I wonder...what kind of cool LCDs you could install into a G3 iMac? If you wanted it to fit right, you would need to source a fifteen inch 4:3 LCD panel. This would limit your choices among modern LCDs. If you weren't as concerned about a perfect fit, you could expand into all manner of other options. You could have the highest-resolution G3 iMac in the world! Maybe a touch screen for that cool jukebox? Without the Cathode Ray Tube, you would have a lot of extra space inside the iMac case too. You could utilize that space for extra storage or maybe mac mini for the ultimate boot options. With two computers inside the same case, you could boot OS9, OSX for PPC, OSX for Intel, and Windows too. I'm not saying this makes practical sense; I just think it's a cool idea. :mrgreen:

CRTGAMER wrote:The Firmware update for the G3 required for OSX (also some G4s and G5s) and has to be installed while in OS9 (both mine have 9.22) before installing OSX. I use OSX 10.4 which is the newest that is compatible with the G3 series. My earlier recommendation of both operating systems installed really is the way to go having the best of both systems and the most games available. Newer Mac games of course will not run on the old G3, but neat that OS9 games can run under OSX without a reboot and older OSX games run as well. Or just reboot to OS9 if that is preferred; then reboot back to OSX when needed.

My G3 OS9 Game Folder
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I do take advantage of the VGA connector (slot loader) in the back using just the standard VGA cable from a larger VGA monitor. A duplicate image and not an extended desktop; no settings needed even if dead G3 screen. :idea:

I own a ruby and ingigo iMac G3 and maxed out with two 512mb memory cards; just two colors of the huge variety over the standard beige IBM compatibles. Ooh, the 70s Flower Power case!

I love having extra boot options for different operating systems! Your OS9 games folder is really cool. I might ask you for help when the time comes to set up OS9 on my G4 iMac. I did something wrong last time I tried. For now, I have a few other Mac projects coming down the pike.
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Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade

by CRTGAMER Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:09 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:Oh, a G3 iMac modded with an LCD screen would be pretty darn sweet! :mrgreen: I wouldn't sacrifice a working G3 iMac, but if I ever came across a broken one, I would certainly give this a try.

I love having extra boot options for different operating systems! Your OS9 games folder is really cool. I might ask you for help when the time comes to set up OS9 on my G4 iMac. I did something wrong last time I tried. For now, I have a few other Mac projects coming down the pike.

I did not mean the LCD mod on the G3, but yes that could be the easy fix. Great idea! For the broken iMac CRT, the easiest method would be using the existing VGA output to install an LCD inside.

You can install OSX 10.4 as an upgrade to retain the existing OS9.2. That is after the firmware up to date thru OS9 first. I installed larger IDE hard drives in both my iMacs, so I backed up the OS9 folder to a CDR and then to the new hard drive. Default bootup is OSX with option to run OS9 in Classic mode or a reboot to OS9.

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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by samsonlonghair Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:18 pm

I promised to tell the forum about my G4 iMac after I finished my early Intel iMac project. Today I'm making good on that promise.

Preface: Pondering PowerPC iMac

Back when I was in highschool, the computer I wanted most was an iMac G4. I remember watching highlights form Steve Jobs's keynotes speech on TechTV. The first time I saw that beautiful LCD panel float in the air above the stately white hemisphere, I was hooked. I had never seen a computer like that before. The iMac G4 represented the intersection of technology and design to me. That retro-futuristic look reminded me of the Jetsons. Unfortunately, it simply wasn't in the budget. I had no money to spend on a fancy Apple computer at the time.

Image

Back in September 2016 I posted in the "Retro PC" thread. I asserted that I had learned my lesson about PowerPC Macs.
samsonlonghair wrote:The lesson I learned is that PowerPCs can be a fun hobby box, but I can't rely on one to be my main workhorse. I eventually sold that G5 PowerMac partly to make it someone else's problem. As for me, I don't run any PowerPCs any longer. I'm all Intel these days. Sometimes I think about picking up a sweet "desk lamp" G4 iMac just to use as a client for VNC.

Source = viewtopic.php?f=49&t=50612&start=110

Imagine that! I thought I had learned my lesson. :roll: I thought I was going to keep my Mac setup "all Intel". Who was I kidding? Guess how that turned out! :lol:

Getting the G4 Goods

One year later, a G4 iMac popped up on Craigslist for a price so good I couldn't resist. All pretense of having learned my lesson about PowerPC systems flew right out the window, and I found myself emailing the seller without hesitation.

One Problem: I was in Richmond, and the iMac was in Washington D.C. beltway sprawl. The distance wasn't too bad, but the traffic around that beltway is something out of Mad Max's nightmares. To solve this problem, I utilized the metro system. I drove from Richmond to the Springfield-Franconia metro station. There I bought a metro pass and rode the train across the D.C. metro area. I brought an empty suitcase with me to carry my iMac. I changed trains once and met the seller outside another metro station. She pulled right up in a little green sedan, stopped in the middle of the road, and showed me the iMac. I handed her a pittance of cash and walked away with the iMac, the mouse, and a badly-yellowed keyboard. I loaded the iMac into the suitcase and lugged it back onto the metro rail. One problem I failed to account for: The G4 iMac weights about twenty-two pounds (not counting the accessories). Lugging that suitcase around the D.C. metro system wasn't especially pleasant, but it's still better than trying to drive around the beltway. Plus, the price was absurdly low; I actually spent less money to buy the iMac than my metro pass cost that day! :mrgreen:

System Specs and Setup Section

My iMac is an 800 MHz model with a fifteen inch screen from 2002. This was, I believe, the first year that the G4 iMac was produced. She had never been upgraded; She still had the original 60 GB IDE hard drive, and the stock 256 MB of SDRAM.

When I got home, I set up my iMac on top of one of my old radio consoles. Isn't she beautiful?
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She's so svelte and trim!

I never knew that there was a woofer built into the inside of the G4 iMac. When I first fired her up, the "gong" chime sounded deeper and fuller than I had ever heard it. That sound got even better when I pulled out my box of Apple accessories...
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I went digging through my Apple accessories and found two important devices: 1) a pair of Harmon Kardon transparent spherical speakers I had squirreled away for years and 2) an Apple iPod dock from 2002 that's compatible with firewire. I went ahead and ran a dock cable to the firewire 400 port on the back of my iMac G4. I put the iPod dock right next to the left Harmon Kardon speaker. I like that everything is period-accurate. I have the feeling that this iMac is going to turn into a jukebox after everything is said and done.
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I still need to find an iPod that can sync via firewire - maybe an iPod mini. I noticed the "ice white" hemisphere was looking a little dingy, so I put a magic eraser on my shopping list.

UpGrading Uh Gadget
I did a little reading into the the strenuous process of working on the G4 iMac. From what I read, it seems there are two "easy" internal hardware upgrades, and a bottomless rabbit hole of harder upgrades depending on your skill level. There's an access door on the bottom of the hemisphere, but there are only two slots here. One slot is for additional memory and the other is for wifi. Now here's where things get odd: There are actually two different size memory slots. The accessible RAM slot on the bottom is laptop-sized form factor, but the other RAM slot (buried deeper inside the dome) is desktop-sized form factor. I've never seen another computer before or since that uses differently sized RAM modules. Apple's gonna Apple! :roll:

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Stock configuration for my machine is 256 MB desktop RAM inside the machine and an empty laptop RAM slot under the access door. I decided to tackle the "easy" upgrade first. I added 512 MB of SDRAM behind the access door. This left me with (a somewhat oddball) 768 MB of RAM for my iMac G4. I felt a little concerned that mismatched memory of different sizes and different form factors would yield kernel panics. Believe it or not, everything is running perfectly stable.

As you can see from the above photo, my iMac is running OS X 10.2 - otherwise known as Jaguar. I never used jaguar before, but now that I have it, I like it. I plan to upgrade to 10.4 Tiger, but I want to keep Jaguar around too. I'll detail more on that in a forthcoming post.

Still to come
-Restoring a badly-yellowed Apple Keyboard
-Upgrading the Operating System and Dual boot options.
-Installing wifi for pennies
-Jukebox Jamming
-Gaming on an iMac 8)
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by samsonlonghair Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:22 pm

Update:

I realized that I didn't include pictures of the access door in my last post. Let me rectify that now. I snapped a few photos just to show how it works.
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The access door isn't a hinged door. It's actually an aluminum plate affixed to the bottom of the G4 iMac. Four phillips head screws spaced forty-five degrees apart around the circumference hold the plate in place. This aluminum plate serves as testament to Apple's commitment to good design. The G4 iMac is beautiful, even from below. I only wish mine wasn't scratched.

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Under the plate, one can find convenient access to the laptop-sized RAM expansion and the "Airport Extreme" Mini-PCI card slot. The loose wire in this photo is the antenna to connect the Apple "Airport Extreme" wifi card.

Edit: By the way, does anyone know how I can plug a line into the headphone jack without turning off the external speakers? I'm experimenting different ways to use this machine as a jukebox in my audio setup.

Another Edit: I'm currently working on restoring the badly-yellowed keyboard that I bought with the iMac.
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by isiolia Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:33 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:Edit: By the way, does anyone know how I can plug a line into the headphone jack without turning off the external speakers? I'm experimenting different ways to use this machine as a jukebox in my audio setup.


Far as I have seen, the system turns off the internal speakers at a low level (some say hardware, some say low level OS). The much simpler route to "fixing" this is to use a USB audio device instead (can be had for a few bucks). At the very least, that will let you toggle things without needing to unplug them, since having one won't disable the internal speakers.

The other solution I've tried messing with before is Soundflower (I think the older edition will work on PowerPC, the reborn one is a no go). That will basically let you create a virtual audio device for output, which you can then manipulate settings for...though it may not help if the internal speakers disappear on a system level. Haven't it for this purpose, I was trying to use it to give a volume control for HDMI audio out, since OS X completely disables that and a user really wanted it.
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