Macintosh PowerBook Duo 230


  • Type: Laptop
  • Manufacturer: Apple Computer Inc.
  • Released: October, 1992
  • Discontinued: July, 1994
  • Price: 2610 USD
  • OS: System 7.1-System 7.5.5
  • CPU: Motorola 68030 @ 33 MHz
  • FPU: optional 68882 in dock
  • Memory: 4 MB (expandable to 24 MB, Duo RAM card)
  • ROM: 1 MB
  • Screen: 9″ passive matrix LCD, 4-bit (16 grayscales), 640×400
  • Storage: 80 MB – 120 MB SCSI hard drive
  • Dimensions: 1.4″ H x 10.9″ W x 8.5″ D
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs (1,95 Kg)
  • ADB port: only with dock
  • SCSI port: only with dock

Released 1994: The PowerBook Duo 230 is a notebook personal computer introduced on October 19, 1992 by Apple Computer, Inc. Priced at US $2,610, the PowerBook Duo 230 was the high end model of the two simultaneously released PowerBook Duos, the lower end being the US $2,250 PowerBook Duo 210. With a 33 MHz Motorola 68030 CPU, 4 MB RAM and an 80 or 120 MB SCSI hard disk, the PowerBook Duo 230 was nearly identical to the simultaneously released PowerBook 180 except for the smaller 9.1 inch greyscale “supertwist” passive-matrix LCD and the lack of a FPU.

Along with the 25 MHz PowerBook Duo 210, the Duo 230 was the first dockable Mac. By eliminating the internal floppy drive (as with PowerBook 100) along with other size and weight saving measures, Apple got this one down to 4.2 pounds. Because of its design, there is no way to use a floppy drive, SCSI device, external display, or network without adding a DuoDock of some sort.

With the October 1993 introduction of the PowerBook Duo 250 and 270c, the 230 replaced the 210 in the entry level, eventually being discontinued entirely on July 27, 1994 shortly after the introduction of the 68040-based PowerBook Duo 280 and 280c.

Catalog advert
Catalog advert from fall of 1993

My PowerBook Duo 230

I got it at local pickup together with an external floppy drive. The machine worked and booted up, but had some “ghosting” on the screen. I replaced the capacitors on the mainboard and on the LCD panel. Still not 100% perfect display, but the ghosting it’s not that noticeable. I also replaced the PRAM battery by soldering two coin-cell type batteries together, maybe I also added a diode to prevent charging if it had a charagble battery originally, can’t remember exactly how I did it.

LCD screen capacitors
LCD screen capacitors
Mainboard on my workbench.
Battery replacement
Battery replacement

PowerBook Duo MiniDock: A friend of mine had the very cool PowerBook Duo MiniDock that turns a PowerBook Duo into a bare-bone desktop Macintosh with al the standard ports. Including a video port to use an external monitor with 256 colors. I traded him in with an Commodore A2088XT bridgeboard he wanted for his Amiga 2000 computer.

Unlike the other Duo Docks, which require the case to be closed and outlet powered, the MiniDock makes it possible to use the internal screen and the dock at the same time as well as run on battery power for an hour to an hour and a half.

MiniDock Mini Dock M7780
MiniDock Mini Dock M7780
Macintosh PowerBook Duo 230

Remi Jakobsen

I'm collecting classic computers and video games, stretching from the 70's into the 90's. Restoration, history, usage ...

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2 thoughts on “Macintosh PowerBook Duo 230

  1. With the built-in Ethernet (via a versatile AAUI transceiver), SCSI port (forerunner of today’s FireWire ) and ADB (similar to USB ), it had all the features of desktops at that time, making them the first “Landmark Laptops: The most important notebooks in computing history – Apple PowerBook 500 Series” .

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