Power Mac PD1

by Colin Kerr


The idea of the Power Macintosh PortableDesktop is that you can have desktop power in a portable form. Needless to say this particular hack does not have the power of a desktop nor the portability of a laptop, but that said it fits along the lines of the PortableDesktop concept.

The PD1 consists of a Duo 2300c motherboard, a 750 MB 2.5" IDE HD, Duo built-in keyboard, Duo minidock, and a Duo 2300c color screen (this is to be a future addition, see *below* to help me add the screen). It was constructed out of .25" plywood, .5" boards, many screws, nuts, bolts, and glue.

I took no pictures during the construction so I disassembled the unit and took pictures as I reassembled it.

I started by attaching the minidock, hard drive, and motherboard to the .25"-thick base.


Here you can see it all attached with the sides and front added. This is the second try, the first one was about .25-.5 of an inch too narrow and far too sloppy (the front was added last in the initial construction).

Also note that the top of the docking latch has been clipped to make it fit in the case.

Getting the track pad and keyboard attached to the top turned out to be easier than I thought. I created two roughly identical .25" plywood panels. For the bottom layer I cut out three holes matching the keyboard's screw holes (I also clipped off all of the small plastic pieces on the bottom of the keyboard so it would lay flat) and a notch for the track pad. The top layer has a cutout to allow the keyboard to fit through and a notch for the track pad.
Here you can see that the top layer has been taken off and put upside down. Also you can see the palm rest that I cut to attach the track pad to the unit. It is glued in place but all the parts can be removed in case of failure.


I considered connecting the two layers but decided that it would make it to hard to open without catching the cables and too hard to replace the track pad components.
Below you can see that the keyboard is held in place with three screws and washers.


To get these pieces to fit properly was a pain but the final result was that the keyboard was flush with the top of the case, just like it was in the duo. The track pad button had to be cut and sanded to fit in the shortened case. As you can see below razors only cut plastic so well and my low craftsmen ability didn't help either.


Next is a picture of the back of the unit, you can see all of the internals. I'm planing to add a back plate at some point but I want to add the screen first.


*below* The unit measures 7.75" deep, from 2-3" high and 11.5" wide. Even though the dock has been added to the duo it is half an inch shorter than the original. Of course it's wider and taller. While arranging the pieces to make this unit so short it became obvious that the monitor cable would be too short to reach it's port. The addition of the minidock pushed the motherboard two or three inches forward under the keyboard and because of this the monitor cable must be extended about 2 or 3 inches. I have no idea how to do this without destroying the ribbon cable, any suggestions besides cutting and soddering the cable would be greatly appreciated (well actually if you have a way to sodder the cable that might work I'd love to hear it).

Thanks for checking out my first hack, my next hack is yet another wedge shaped computer, but it's going to be much different - think hacked vertical cdrom drive (hacked but not snazzy) mp3/cd-player/macintosh.

Content Type: 
Computer Type: 


Nicely done! I like the "Portable Desktop" concept a lot, and with some PowerBooks it doesn't even require a constructed case. A couple of years ago is discovered a PB 520c with a smashed display in a computer discard pile at my workplace and a thought came to mind. I removed the entire top portion of the PB (display, top lid, etc.), plugged an external display into the bottom half and... it worked. I had a tiny PowerPC "desktop" with built-in keyboard, trackpad, floppy drive and PCMCIA slot for ethernet or modem. Since then I've tried the same with a Wallstreet G3 PB and a Pentium-based notebook (running Linux!) and both of these have worked as well. Not a bad way to recycle notebooks with bad displays.

jman's picture

this would be good for places were size cound be importent
and a also think that useing a powerbook g3 is cool a have one
but i need the screen too much to try this if i had tow i might