iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2428 SSD Dual Drive Installation

Install an SSD in your iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2428.

  • Author: iRobot
  • Time required: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Use this guide to install a second 2.5" SATA hard drive in your 21.5" iMac.

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Step 1 Access Door  ¶ 

  • Lay your iMac face-down on a soft, clean surface as shown.

  • Be sure there isn't any dirt or debris on your work surface, as it may scratch the glass panel on the front of your iMac. We recommend placing a towel between the iMac and the work surface.

  • Loosen the three Phillips screws securing the access door to the bottom edge of your iMac.

  • All three screws will remain captive in the access door.

  • Remove the access door.

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Step 2 RAM Installation  ¶ 

  • Gently slide the black plastic RAM pull tab out from the RAM slot.

  • Pull the black plastic tab away from the bottom edge of the iMac to eject the module(s) on that side of the RAM bay.

  • This may require a bit of force.

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Step 3  ¶ 

  • Slide the old RAM module(s) out of their slots in the RAM bay and set them aside.

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Step 4  ¶ 

  • Repeat the process in the previous steps to remove the RAM module(s) from the other side of the RAM bay.

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Step 5  ¶ 

  • When installing new RAM modules, it is important to orient them correctly.

  • Be sure the small notch cut into each RAM module (shown in the first picture) mates with the protrusion in each RAM slot (shown in the second picture).

  • Your iMac has four RAM slots. Be sure to slide each RAM module into its slot horizontally. This will prevent getting the modules stuck between two of the adjacent slots.

  • Once you have oriented the new RAM modules correctly, gently slide them completely into the iMac and use your thumbs to firmly seat them in their sockets.

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Step 6 Glass Panel  ¶ 

  • Before beginning, unplug your iMac and lay it on a soft surface as shown.

  • Stick a suction cup near each of the two top corners of the glass panel.

  • To attach the we sell, first position the suction cup with the movable handle parallel to the face of the glass panel. While lightly holding the suction cup against the glass, raise the movable handle until it is parallel with the other handle.

  • If your suction cups refuse to stick, try cleaning both the glass panel and the suction cup with a mild solvent.

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Step 7  ¶ 

  • Gently lift the glass panel perpendicular to the face of the LCD enough to clear the steel mounting pins attached along the underside of the top edge of the glass panel.

  • Pull the glass panel away from the lower edge of the iMac and carefully set it aside.

  • During reinstallation, be sure to meticulously clean the inside of the glass panel and the face of the LCD as any dust or fingerprints trapped inside will be annoyingly visible when the machine is turned on.

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Step 8 Display  ¶ 

  • Remove the eight 8 mm T10 Torx screws securing the display to the outer case.

  • The last two pictures are detail shots of each side of the display.

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Step 9  ¶ 

  • Slightly lift the top edge of the display out of the outer case.

  • Do not lift it too much. There are several cables attaching the display to the logic board.

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Step 10  ¶ 

  • Pull the vertical sync cable connector out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac.

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Step 11  ¶ 

  • Rotate the display out of the outer case enough to disconnect the LED backlight power cable from the LED driver board.

  • Disconnect the LED backlight power cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket (toward the bottom edge of the iMac).

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Step 12  ¶ 

  • Grab the plastic pull tab secured to the display data cable lock and rotate it towards upwards.

  • Pull the display data cable straight out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Do not lift up on the display data cable, as its socket is very fragile. Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

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Step 13  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the LCD thermal sensor cable connector from its socket on the logic board.

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Step 14  ¶ 

  • Carefully pull the display toward the top edge of your iMac and lift it out of the outer case, minding any cables that may get caught.

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Step 15 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the following four screws:

    • One 9.3 mm T10 Torx screw with a large head

    • Three 9.3 mm T10 Torx screws with a normal sized head

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Step 16  ¶ 

  • Pull the optical drive thermal sensor connector straight up from its socket on the logic board.

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Step 17  ¶ 

  • Lift the inner edge of the optical drive and maneuver its connector past the GPU frame attached to the logic board.

  • Carefully pull the optical drive off its mounting pins on the right side of the outer case to gain clearance for disconnecting the optical drive cable.

  • Allow the optical drive to hang down as you de-route the optical drive thermal sensor connector from behind the GPU heat sink.

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Step 18  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the optical drive cable by pulling its connector away from the optical drive.

  • Remove the optical drive from the iMac.

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Step 19 Optical Drive Fan  ¶ 

  • Remove the single 13 mm T10 Torx screw securing the optical drive fan to the outer case.

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Step 20  ¶ 

  • Pull the optical drive fan off the pins attached to the outer case.

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Step 21  ¶ 

  • Pull the optical drive fan connector away from its socket on the logic board.

  • Remove the optical drive fan from the iMac.

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Step 22 Logic Board  ¶ 

  • In the proceeding steps, you will disconnect the following cables:

    • SD Board

    • Left/Right Speaker and Microphone

    • Audio Port

    • Wi-Fi Antenna

    • Right Temperature Sensor, Bluetooth/Ambient Light Sensor/Camera/Left Temperature, and Hard Drive Fan

    • CPU Fan/Ambient Temperature and Power Button

    • IR Sensor

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Step 23  ¶ 

  • Pull the SD board cable out of its socket on the logic board.

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Step 24  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the microphone, left speaker, and right speaker cables by pulling their connectors toward the right side of the iMac.

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Step 25  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry all three AirPort antenna connectors up from their sockets on the AirPort board.

  • During reinstallation, connect the cable with no stripes to the socket marked CH0, the cable with one stripe to CH1, and the cable with two stripes to CH2.

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Step 26  ¶ 

  • Pull the hard drive fan connector toward the top edge of the iMac to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.

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Step 27  ¶ 

  • Use your thumbnails on both sides of the Bluetooth/ambient light sensor/camera/left temperature connector to push it toward the top edge of the iMac and out of its socket on the logic board.

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Step 28  ¶ 

  • Use your thumbnails to push the right temperature sensor connector toward the top edge of the iMac and out of its socket.

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Step 29  ¶ 

  • Pull the CPU fan/ambient temperature sensor connector toward the bottom left edge of the iMac and out of its socket on the logic board.

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Step 30  ¶ 

  • Pull the power button connector toward the bottom left corner of the iMac to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.

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Step 31  ¶ 

  • Use your thumbs to push the IR sensor connector toward the top edge of the iMac and out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Pull the IR sensor board up from behind the front face of the outer case.

  • Remove the IR sensor and set it aside.

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Step 32  ¶ 

  • Pull the audio port cable connector toward the left side of the iMac to disconnect it from the logic board.

  • Do not pull the cable toward yourself (away from the front face of the logic board) as you disconnect it.

  • Peel the audio port cable off the front face of the logic board and let it hang down as shown in the second picture.

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Step 33  ¶ 

  • Remove the following seven screws:

    • Two 7 mm T10 torx screws

    • One 30 mm T10 Torx screw

    • Two 25 mm T10 Torx screws

    • Two 21 mm T10 Torx screws

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Step 34  ¶ 

  • Remove the following four screws:

    • One 9.3 mm T10 coarse-threaded screw

    • One 25 mm T10 coarse-threaded screw

    • Two 22 mm fine-threaded screws

  • Pull the upper right and lower left corners of the power supply away from the rear case to dislodge the mounting posts attached to the power supply's corners.

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Step 35  ¶ 

  • Carefully lift the power supply out of the outer case and rotate it to expose the cable lock as shown, minding the DC-out and AC-in cables still attaching it to the iMac.

  • Disconnect the DC-out cable by depressing the locking mechanism on the connector while you pull the connector away from its socket on the power supply.

  • Once the locking mechanism has cleared the socket, pull the DC-in connector away from the power supply.

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Step 36  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the AC-In cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket.

  • Remove the power supply from the outer case.

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Step 37  ¶ 

  • Remove the plastic wall that is installed directly to the right of the LED driver board.

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Step 38  ¶ 

  • Slightly pull the logic board away from the back of the outer case, then lift it upward to clear the lower front face of the outer case.

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Step 39 SSD Dual Drive Installation Connecting the Cables  ¶ 

  • In the following steps, you will hold the logic board slightly away from the outer case as you connect the new hard drive cables included with the dual hard drive kit.

  • As you connect the cables, do not put excessive strain on any of the other cables connecting the logic board to the outer case.

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Step 40  ¶ 

  • First, locate the small connector on the SSD power cable.

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Step 41  ¶ 

  • Connect the small plug on the SATA power cable to the socket labeled SSD Power on the logic board.

  • The socket is located just below the GPU heat sink.

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Step 42  ¶ 

  • Next, locate the 90º connector on one end of the SATA data cable.

  • The color of your SATA data cable may be different than the cable shown here.

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Step 43  ¶ 

  • Connect the 90º end of the SATA data cable to its socket on the logic board next to the SATA power connector.

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Step 44  ¶ 

  • With both SATA cables connected, they should look like the logic board shown in the photo.

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Step 45  ¶ 

  • Next, while holding the new hard drive cables against the GPU heat sink, lower the bottom edge of the logic board back down into the outer case.

  • When re-seating the logic board, it is helpful to tape the many connectors that attach to it out of the way to avoid them getting trapped beneath the board.

  • Before pushing the logic board against the back of the outer case, first route the hard drive cables in the channel near the bundle of power cables.

  • As you place the logic board into its recess, route the hard drive cables through the small channel cut into the plastic pressure wall near the fins of the GPU heat sink.

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Step 46 Installing the Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • In the next few steps, you'll install your new drive into the case of your EMC 2428 iMac.

  • The drive will sit behind the optical drive in the space highlighted in red.

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Step 47  ¶ 

  • To secure your new drive in your iMac, you will need to place high strength double-sided tape at the four corners on the side of the drive with the SATA connectors.

  • Peel the backing off one side of the double-sided tape and place the pieces at the four corners of the hard drive.

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Step 48  ¶ 

  • Connect both the SATA data and SATA power connectors to your new hard drive.

  • The SATA connectors will be nearest the top of the iMac when the hard drive is installed.

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Step 49  ¶ 

  • Remove the backing from the double-sided tape and place the hard drive inside the iMac.

  • Carefully set the drive into the iMac optical bay as close to the lower left corner as possible.

    • Do not to repeatedly stick and un-stick the tape, as the adhesive will become weaker.

  • Once you are happy with the hard drive's placement, firmly press down along its edges to ensure full adhesion.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order from Step 33.

For more information, check out the iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2428 category page.

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