PowerBook Duo 230

So, I kind of lost my marbles and decided to work on a nearly 30 year old computer as a project. Growing up in a PC family: my knowledge of the classic Mac operating system is quite limited compared to modern anything, or even ye ol’ MS-DOS. I’ve also never been as fond of emulators as actual hardware.

Bits & Pieces
From different sources:
  • PowerBook Duo 230 /w charger and dead battery
  • MiniDock with the modem, HDI and mDIN connectors
  • External HDI-20 floppy
  • 20 MB RAM module (not pictured)
The laptop is known to have a dead SCIS drive, so it’s a bit of a project out the barn door. One that I hope to solve with a RaSCSI in the long run. Powering it on stand alone with the charger for a quick test, I’ve actually never heard a drive sound that so bad. I’m guessing the head must be glued wherever it is parked. 
But it still booted to the old GUI BIOS like ROM with its floppy icon of sadness, as expected. Trying to connect it to the dock and power up, I was only able to get an odd chime and then couldn’t get anything to power on.

Partial disassembly

Unfortunately while I was getting some tools to begin disassembly: the charger went POOF and lovely smoke. I’m going to take a guess that it blew a capacitor, and trying to power the dock was the final nail in its coffin. Fortunately it was only plugged into the wall at the time, and didn’t scorch my secondary desk — which is conveniently located near windows.
On a positive side: I managed to disassemble the Duo without breaking the tabs on the upper frame nor miraculously the ones on the center clutch cover. I found the 250 video at Jason’s Macintosh Museum a superb example of the process. I’ve no interest in complete tear down, so I stopped at detaching the screen and hard drive.
Forgot how much the smell of rubbing alcohol sucks, but with plenty of that and some gauging with a take out plastic knife, I removed the turned-to-goo rubber feet from the bottom frame and screen bezel. At first I didn’t care, since it was just sticking a bit. Then I noticed the grey goo was coming off on my desk, and then they had to die.
Aside from Apple’s fondness for little plastic bezels, the Duo 200 series is actually easier to take apart than my old ThinkPad X61/T61 series. The Duo’s plastic seems a little less terrifying than I expected, but to my understanding how brittle the plastic has become is a major problem in such old PowerBooks. Therefore, I am taking great care.
Much to my surprise it looks like the unit has a memory module installed. Size unknown, can’t find enough indications on the chips to tell. In any case, if I get her operational whichever module is larger will be the one fitted.
Problems to be solved:
  1. Power
  2. Storage
  3. Software
Not sure that any third party replacement chargers exist at this point. It’s old enough that it’s hard to even look for a replacement. Best plan is probably take the charger to work, crack it open, and see what can be done with the remains of the adapter. As far as I can tell the 24V chargers from the old G3/G4 models have a smaller tip. May be better off digging up a suitable 24V charger, cutting the tips, splicing the old one to a younger adapter, and borrowing some heat shrink.
I assume it’s possible to split and replace the cells in the NiMH battery pack, but that’s not really a priority to me. I’ve heard that Battery’s Plus does that, but the ones near me don’t.
Storage wise I would like to fit a RaSCSI with a Pi Zero in place of the internal drive if possible. By being careful not to fubar the ribbon cable to the old 320M Quantum drive, I think that should be fairly painless aside from making sure the headers are on the right side of the board. Pre-emptively, I’ve resurrected my old Pi 2 Model B. When kits or assembled boards are available, RaSCSI is my plan.
I just don’t see a point to buying a 30 year old hard drive. They’re expensive time bombs, and it’s probably cheaper to buy a few PowerBook 100/200 series for parts than acquire a drive on its own. No one has made this kind of drive since the mid ’90s or so.
Software is fairly easier a solution. My plan is a boot floppy, but it may be possible to just setup an image in an emulator and load it on a RaSCSI. The hardware pickles need solving first. I’d like to get System 7.5.x or 7.6 operational. Preferably on something NOT a 30-year old hard drive. On my OpenBSD machine, I’ve setup Basilisk II but had no luck installing system 7.x there. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to try on the Duo itself.
Also, I should probably try and crack open that floppy drive and see what parts may need lubrication.