Refurbishing an Apple PowerBook Duo 2300c

The last and mightiest of Apple trying to have it both ways: the 1995 PowerBook Duo 2300c, and the only PowerPC laptop in the entire series before Apple canned the line in 1997. It had the Duos’ biggest screen, the most memory and disk space, and the fastest CPU of all, yet crammed everything into a 9.5″ 640×480 display and an 88% keyboard that feels like typing on a bouncy castle.

With the Dock, your little, relatively underpowered laptop was hoovered up into a beige plastic maw to make it into an average-sized, somewhat less underpowered desktop. But you got slots and ports and the ability to use it like a desktop computer — two computers in one! — and that was crucial because without any Dock, even the smaller Mini and MicroDocks, you had hardly any ports at all (MacBook Air has entered the chat).

Docking was so important that Apple even intentionally gimped the 2300 by keeping the 100MHz 603e on a 32-bit bus to maintain Dock compatibility. Yet because Duos were irrepressibly cute, they turned up in many other TV shows and even movies, most notorious is Hackers.

Unfortunately, one of my two 2300c systems is showing evidence of the same problem that ruined the front of my favourite PowerBook 1400: the metal hinges are starting to tear out of their attachment points in the plastic back of the display, and naturally it’s the one with all the upgrades in it. The most common symptom, besides bulging or split hinges when the display is closed at the point where the back and front come together, is the bottom front bezel cracking from the strain as you open it.

See the refurb process in the excellent post here.

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