Who needs a thermometer with an iMac? That’s what a 2009 iMac owner living in New England must have thought before turning that computer into an online weather station. A project that shows us the enormous resistance of this machine in a really harsh climate and the creativity that we can apply to our old computers during their renewal.

Temperature records worthy of an M1

As seen on coldmac.macfixer.com, this Mac is staying in a shed near its owner’s home in New England, an area with a particularly cold climate. The computer is configured to measure its own internal temperatures: processor, bridge, motherboard, and hard drive, as well as external temperatures, including dew point and ambient humidity.

According to the owner, the shed where this iMac lives has no thermal insulation, the door is not waterproof and there are two ventilation holes in the walls. Even so, the temperature is usually about 5 degrees warmer than outside at night. Something that hasn’t stopped this computer from recording lows of -13.72ºC.

These readings come from a USB thermometer with which the computer reads the ambient temperature while using its own sensors to know its internal temperature. All this data is collected and presented in the graphs that we can see on the website. A website that, give the brave machine credit, is hosted by the iMac itself.

Simple scripts collect sensor readings and store them in a database and a web page takes the values ​​from this database and displays them graphically. This project manages to demonstrate that Apple’s official minimum operating temperature of 10°C is undoubtedly conservative, since the computer has reached almost negative 14 degrees without its operation being affected. At that time, the processor temperature was around 2.22 ºC, a few tenths above that of the motherboard and quite far from the 7.22 ºC of the hard disk. Temperatures that even a Mac running M1 can watch in awe.

It’s clear that the creative possibilities with our older devices are endless. A year ago we saw a GameBoy turn into a controller for Apple TV and today we meet the iMac weatherman.

Picture | Robert Gramme