Commodore64 DIY kit

Hi all.
Just wanted to give a heads up, for this replica-kit of an Commodore64. Sure it is not a complete kit, as it is the board, resistors and caps that you buy. However. It is possible to make a brand new Commodore64 machine. Well… At least as new as it can be done. (some chips have not been replicated yet)

SixtyClone on Tindie website

What do people think? And yes. I have bought one 466-Board my self. (not recieved yet)

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Looks like these boards are envisaged as helping refurb and repair:

The boards were created to allow Commodore 64 computers that had damaged or faulty PCBs to be successfully repaired. This can be achieved by moving all components from an original board to the replica board, or even replace some parts with more modern alternatives.

I suppose you could use a board as the basis for a remake, but the case and keyboard always seem (to me) to be the stumbling block for remaking. Injection moulding still have large setup costs, and 3D printing isn’t quite there yet. One day!

Pixelwizard sell brand new cases, made on the original C64-C case molds. They use modern plastic, so no yellowing. The keyboard are also to be sourced, except for the keycaps. The SID have been reproduced in an FPGA chip, and you can get 100% compatible PLA’s. There are S-Ram solutions that fixes the VSP-Bug. There are only a few chips and the keycaps, that the community screams for. The VIC-II being one of the most difficult chip to replicate.

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Ah yes, good point, I do vaguely remember the resurrection of original moulds - a good trick if you can do it!

Yup.
My plan is to build the darn thing. I have even found a someone that sell new old stock RF-Modulator’s. As they are non-used devices, I might get away with recapping the one I bought. I will be using sockets on the board, and I will buy a new case. The keyboard will not be bought, as I have a couple of working ones in the closet. For voltage regulators, I will go for 2amp ones, just to be sure that they are running absolutely stable. I will not use an original PLA, as the original ones are not the best. They were produced in a way, that the chip selfdestruct’s or dies if you like, even when they are not powered on. Finally I will see if I can source as many new parts as possible, like DB9 ports and so on. For parts that can not be sourced, I need to find a dead yet complete longboard.

Basically… I might end up with one of the newest C64 in my country… As we are not many, who is into vintage computers, and even fewer are into building their own vintage computers from scratch.

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Regarding PLAs, this solutions seems to be very interesting, PLA20V8 / GAL-PLA by Daniël Mantione (opnen source):

https://www.freepascal.org/~daniel/c64pla/

See this video (YouTube / Adrian’s Digital Basement):

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So what has yet to be replicated and still needs original parts?

Yup… I have seen it before, that video. All these PLA’s are like all over the place. :slightly_smiling_face:

As far as I can remember from the top of my head (logic chips excluded) then it will be the following:

  • CPU (so far, not seen any other brands)
  • VIC-II
  • Some of the ports/connectors
  • Keycaps

I have asked around, trying to figure out if any C64-FPGA coders, think it is possible for them to create a dropin replacement VIC-II chip, if they modded their code. The maker of Ultimate64 seemed to think it is possible.

Another person, have started a kickstarter campaign, to produce kaycaps, because the one from 2015, seems to have taken the money and left.

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So this one doesn’t seem all that tough: as far as I can tell the only additional logic you need is the 6 PIA I/O pins and the ability to tristate the address bus. So you could just create a small board that could be plugged into the 6510 socket that would hold a 6502, a couple of tri-state buffers, a PIA, and a bit of address logic, right? (Or more likely, an FPGA programmed to do the work of the above. Though I dunno, maybe at that point you might as well have the FPGA emulating the 6502 as well.)

Well…
Someone have done the CPU, with the use of off the shelf transistors. However, it was the VIC-II that I was referring to, as possible FPGA replica. Regarding the CPU, then I think The8bit Guy have soldered an Basic computer, and it was not a MOS CPU. It was Nec or Samsung or something like that. Made under license. I just do not know if they are in production anymore.

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Found and bought a cheap original C64 board, to harvest ports and other rare parts from.

Checking the WDC website (https://www.westerndesigncenter.com/wdc/) no manufacturers are listed for the 6510. (I wasn’t even aware of 6510s being rare.)

Well…
WDC have made the 65c02, that is a low powered processor. However, I do not know if it is compatible as a C64 CPU.

Yes, the C-variants are still in production (however, no 65C10) – and I’ve also no idea, if they are compatible. (They should be lower power, but about the same otherwise. I don’t know, if they also perform the same on illegal opcodes, which may be a crucial issue with some games.)

The 6810 is a Commodore Semiconductor Group (CSG) part, not a WDC part, and I don’t know if WDC even has the right to manufacture versions of it. (What happened to CSG’s IP after Commodore went bankrupt, anyway? Did GMT Microelectronics get it? They went out of business, too.)

Anyway, if they did, they would almost certainly be CMOS, so there would be some minor software incompatibilities. I can’t see why they would, though; the main difference is the 6 pins of digital I/O, and WDC has full-on 6502-based microcontroller units with lots of I/O for the market that wants that.

The W65C02 does have a bus enable signal that does the same thing as the 6501’s AEC, though, so that does solve one hardware compatibility problem. The only other thing you’d need would be a minimal PIA on addresses 0 and 1 (as I’d mentioned above). And then avoid software that requires the 6502’s bugs and illegal instructions.

I think I will just stick to a MOS variant then. Just to be on the safe side. No need to buy something that I can not use. Right? :slight_smile:

Actually, I would think that a Rockwell NMOS part would work as well. They were a second source for MOS CPUs, after all. I’ve not actually checked the Rockwell NMOS part I use in my Apple 1 clone, but I could do so.

And keep in mind that many of the “65C02” CPUs you buy cheaply on-line (from AliExpress, Ebay or wherever) are actually NMOS parts, and thus fully compatible. Like half of mine..

Basically. They are rebranded or? Fake chips in other words, that are not so fake after all?

Chips from non-reputable sources could be anything. There are numerous threads on 6502.org about this. Yes, sometimes you’ll get an NMOS 6502 which is marked as a CMOS one, but that’s by no means the only possibility. (Probably best to have this discussion over there, if you can add anything to the existing threads.)