These pages contain instructions for upgrading your eMac optical drive to a SuperDrive. For information on upgrading the hard drive in an eMac have a look at Chris Cieslak's page .Update: Chris' page seems to have gone away, but if you follow these instructions you will gain access to the eMac HDD. You can replace this with any standard IDE/ATA Hard Drive.
Update February '06
These instructions refer to the original eMac. There may be differences in later versions but the instructions should be essentially the same. Also please note that if you are looking for an answer to the question "Will brand x DVD drive work with the eMac, the answer can probably be found in the drive database at
There are potentially hazardous, even lethal, voltages inside an eMac. I recommend leaving your eMac unplugged for 12 hours prior to opening the case to reduce the risk of high voltages. Even with this precaution be careful to avoid touching the CRT.
Performing the upgrade detailed here will invalidate your eMac warranty.
I cannot accept any responsibility for the consequences of using the information contained in these pages.
If you do not feel confident about your ability to perform this upgrade, you should seek the assistance of a professional service technician. The life, or eMac, that you save may be your own.


Right, now that we have that out of the way, on with the show. Here is what you are going to need:


Start by removing your airport card (if you have one) and then placing your eMac face down on your work surface. I found that it was easiest to work on the floor. If you are not working on carpet, place a sheet or blanket under the eMac to protect the screen and case from scratches eMac face down ready for disassembly

Case Removal

Remove the tilt/swivel stand (if fitted), memory expansion cover, the two small plastic feet, three hex screws from the bottom and two hex screws from each of the sides of the eMac.
memory cover removed bottom screws side screws

Note that the three hex screws from the bottom are longer than the other hex screws.
You can now gently lift the case off. There is a small wire that connects the power switch to the eMac. Lift the case off about 1-2 inches and disconnect this cable. Use one finger through the IO port hole and another through the power cable hole. case removed


The speaker assembly simply lifts out. You will need to disconnect the speaker cable before you can remove the assembly completely.
speakers removed

Next, remove the screws holding the fan assembly to the chasis. You will need to disconnect the fan power cable, the mains cable and unscrew the earth wire.
fan removed

Now you can remove the metal EMI shield. This is held on by a number of small phillips-head screws.
shield removed
Finally, disconnect the video cable and remove the screws that are holding the drive module in.
video connector
Removing the drive module is a little tricky. There are two DIL connectors that join the logic board to the rest of the eMac. These connectors mean that the board does not simply lift out, you need to be a bit more firm than you would think. I advise wobling the assembly to ensure that you have got all of the screws and then pull the unit out. You will see two small pins toward the front of the eMac. Once the drive assembly is clear of these pins it should come out easily.
drive assembly cd front

Installing the DVD

Removing the CD drive is simply a matter of disconnecting the power and data cables, removing the two screws on each side and then sliding the drive out. Before installing the DVD drive I decided to remove the flip-down flap on the front as I was unsure if it would get stuck on the front of the eMac.
The Apple Hardware Documentation for the eMac specifies that the SuperDrive is an IDE Slave, while the CDRW drive is master. I originally set the SuperDrive to slave and it worked, however I have now changed it to master (and it still works). The reason for the change was that you are unable to boot from a CDROM with the drive set to slave.
dvd flap removed


Reassembly is straightforward, simply follow the steps above in reverse order. The locating pins mentioned above make replacing the drive assembly easy. You do not need to apply any force when reinserting the assembly. Simply ensure that the screw holes line up and the screws will ensure that the connectors on the assembly make contact correctly.
The only other tricky part is the connection of the power switch cable. I found that the best method was to attach the square black connector to the Mac and then use the two finger technique to connect to the switch when the case is nearly closed.
When tightening the hex screws, do not overtighten them or you risk cracking the case. These screws do not need to be super-tight as they do not hold a lot of weight.


Once I booted up, I was gratified to see that the System Profiler said that I had a DVD/RW drive. I was able to burn a DVD/RW and a CD-R as well as read CDs & data DVDs. DVD player didn't work until I copied HIServices.framework from the System/Library/frameworks folder to System/Library/PrivateFrameworks.
I have installed iDVD3 from iLife without any problems and sucessfully burnt both DVD-R and DVD-RW discs.
I hope this is helpful - if you have any comments or feedback feel free to mail me