“Quicksilver Pi” – Putting a Raspberry Pi into a PowerMac G4 case

I have a Raspberry Pi which I use primarily for Raspbmc. I also have a PowerMac G4 Quicksilver computer. I don’t use the Mac anymore, but it has a wicked cool case. After I found out about the Raspberry Pi-powered Mac emulator in a 1/3 scale classic Mac case, I thought using my G4 case as an enclosure for the Pi would be a nifty project. (I learned along the way that converting the Quicksilver case to hold a micro ATX motherboard is itself a popular mod.)
Quicksilver Pi

Design Plan

I’d like to use as much of the original components of the G4 as possible. Hopefully I wish to use the cabling from the power supply and the front panel buttons/LED.

Intelligence Gathering

Collecting information when planning a project is always an important step.

Pinouts (Power Supply, etc.)

Use ATX power supply with Raspberry Pi

PowerMac G4 (Quicksilver) conversion to µATX case

Parts Sourcing

Status

I ordered the following:

  • ATX-Pi (and assembled it)
  • Adafruit’s panel-mount cables

This was all before I discovered the Fairywren. If I had been aware of it earlier I would have purchased it instead of the ATX-Pi. (I probably will anyway.)

With the pinout differences between the ATX 24-pin power connector and Apple’s 22-pin variant, I planned on using the built-in power supply with a custom adapter. Molex‘s Mini-Fit® Jr™ pin removal tool lists for about $20. The cost of the tool, the ATX extension cable, and the labor to make them work together made a difficult and inefficient solution. I admitted to myself that it makes more economic sense to buy a regular ATX power supply for the Quicksilver Pi project. This simplifies the design and makes my job easier.


I purchased a Corsair CX500M power supply. Although overkill for this purpose, it is silent and very capable. I just might use this case for a “Hackintosh” later on, so I thought I shouldn’t skimp.

I have ordered the Quicksilver G4 mATX conversion kits from The Laser Hive. I chose a black back panel color to match the power supply. This is a wonderful outfit. They are very helpful and quick to respond to e-mail.

I have spent considerable time tracing the schematic for Apple’s 820-1284-A, the PCB with the power LED and power, reset, and interrupt switch. I will eventually make mods to this board akin to the following:


As I wait for the Fairywren to become available — I learned of it after it finished on Kickstarter — I purchased a sheet of plexiglass to temporarily mount the Raspberry Pi and the ATX-Pi. I admittedly don’t have the equipment to do the job properly, so the prototype I am using is crude and ugly.

I’m thinking of having a custom sheet of acrylic machined/laser-cut with the standard mATX mounting holes in it, along with mounting holes for:

The location of the aluminum case and ATX-Pi needs to leave room to “thread” the cables inside the case. I’m still working on this.

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