Making a Video Adjustment Tool

Originally published 24 March 2000 as a Mac Daniel column for Low End Mac.
Revised slightly 31 July 2003.

Q: How can I adjust the video in my Compact Mac?

A: Well, you have two choices. Buy a video adjustment tool or two (essentially a non-conducting screwdriver — you'll need a couple different ones) or make your own.

Here's how I made mine. This assumes you have some basic tools around the house; if you don't then, you're probably better off buying the nonconductive screwdriver at Radio Shack or a similar electronics store.

Obtain one standard toothbrush and a Dremel (or similar) rotary tool with a cutoff wheel. Cut the head off the toothbrush just behind the bristles, leaving the neck intact. Trim in the shape of a slotted screwdriver roughly 1/4" (5mm) wide and 1/8" (3mm) thick. Make it long enough to reach through the holes in the analog board, about 1/2" (12-15mm) long. Try it out and make any adjustments to the size as necessary.

Now, take the other end and trim it so that it is about 1" (20-25mm) long and about 1/8" (3-4mm) square. This can be used to adjust the screws which take a square bit (as opposed to a slotted bit). For guidance in how to adjust the screws, I recommend Larry Pina's books The Dead Mac Scrolls and Macintosh Repair and Upgrade Secrets. seems to be the only truly reliable source, where one pops up every month or so. eBay is also a possible source for the Pina tomes.

This same procedure could probably be followed with a wooden dowel or even a large chopstick, but the plastic is easy to cut with the Dremel and easy to trim up as needed. (And we all have old toothbrushes, or will very soon — I hope.)

The one adjustment I haven't yet figured out how to make a tool for is the one which requires an Allen-type (hex) head. If anyone has a good method for cutting the toothbrush into the proper hex shape, feel free to contact me.

DISCLAIMER: High voltages are present inside all-in-one Macintosh computers. Serious injury, fire, or property damage can result from improper adjustment or tinkering. Neither the author nor this web host assume any responsibility whatsoever for any ill effects that may occur as a result of reading this document. You, the reader, accept total responsibility for your own actions.

copyright ©2000-2004 by Chris Lawson