Refurbing a C64 with a Raspberry Pi

When [Carl] first heard of the Raspberry Pi, he immeidatly though how freakin tiny this board is compared to a Mini ITX motherboard. After ordering a Raspi, [Carl] decided to put his barely-larger-than-a-credit-card computer inside a Commodore 64.

[Carl]‘s updated C64 functions exactly like the original – the 30-year-old keyboard works thanks to the help of a Keyrah keyboard and control port adapter. This adapter was soldered to a stripped USB cable, allowing [Carl] to keep the finished project looking very clean and tidy. Of course, the composite, HDMI, and Ethernet ports are broken out, allowing for this computer to connect to any network or TV.

For a final touch, [Carl] painted the case. He originally wanted to spray on a black, red, and purple motif to match the Raspi, but he eventually settled on a beige and red style. [Carl] really put together an awesome build, and for much, much less money than the rereleased C64 Windows-powered monstrosity goes for. You can check out the build log video after the break.


Comments

  1. Tweeks says:

    Reminds me of the “Appledore” retro-mushup that one of the guys in my user group did a number of years ago:

    “This is Fredrik’s Appledore. An Apple-I clone in a C64 case with a Propeller C64-to-Serial interface “terminal” and VGA output.

    The Propeller is used to interface the C64 keyboard to the replica-I apple clonevia RS-232, and also output the text to a VGA output to form a seamless “computing system”. Very cool. :)”

    Tweeks

  2. Giles says:

    Poor Commodore…

  3. spoonfed says:

    Re ” C64 windows powered monstrosity”, I thought it was running modified Ubuntu, even the link says that!.

  4. n0lkk says:

    Nice hack, and finished result. Purists, LOL :) Few who would restore a C64 to working order would use it for their current computer needs, like few of those who restore a Model T, would use it for their daily driver.

  5. Hirudinea says:

    Wish I had an old PET shell to send this guy, or since he mentioned the lineage of the ARM processor maybe an old BBC Micro.

  6. Johnny O. Farnen says:

    All right. That is it. My first computer was an Atari 800. Yeah, it was the one with the peasoup monochrome monitor integral.(I still have it, and it still works just fine!)

    After seeing all these C64 builds, I have ordered the parts to per form a Resurrection of that model of Atari.

    Just picked up the “no monitor” version for six bucks.

    Game On!

  7. Z-Man says:

    Should have used a Vic-20.

  8. HexRage says:

    Re ” C64 windows powered monstrosity”

    Yes, the re-released C64 is indeed sold with a modified version of Ubuntu. I do not believe that Windows was ever even listed on their site as an option.

    OP screwed up.

    • Tony says:

      HAD editors skim the articles, and are barely literate anyway. Articles are compiled by taking a few keywords and mashing them together with not-so-current memes.

      Typos are eliminated by their team of monkeys who right-click the squiggly lines and pick the first one.

      A roll of the die determines whether to randomly insert ‘arduino’ somewhere.

  9. Mats Svensson says:

    Next up:

    How to rip out the canvas in your dusty old Rembrandt and mount a modern LCD screen in the frame.

    • Blue Footed Booby says:

      Do you really think a piece of mass-produced computer hardware with extremely well documented design is really analogous to a totally one of a kind hand-painted work of art by a historically significant artist? If so, you are the physical personification of the death of culture.

      People need to try a lot harder at distinguishing between real destruction of history and pure sentimentality.

    • Carl says:

      thats a bit unfair!

      This was more like just the frame to start with, I have mentioned many times in the video and blog post that is beyond repair,if it was working I would not have done it.

  10. Alex says:

    It’s funny how people perceive life\nostalgia, because let’s face it, the tape medium is certain to die.

    So where do you draw the line? Sure you can replace the old tape with new ones, but it’s not quite the same!

    But how far does one go? I for one love the Mod.
    Saving the software even through emulation, in a case is a huge step above emulation alone.

    I probably would have used a HDMI to Vga converter(if I had the skills)

    Keep the best, turf the rest! Can’t live in the past for ever.

  11. Daniel says:

    Imagine a Commodore SX64 with a Raspberry Pi board and LCD screen instead of CRT.

  12. orenbeck says:

    Folks- I’m feeling as if it’s become more important to flame/troll or just fling poo than be sincerely participant. So? RTFA and Watch The Video BEFORE commenting on a Hack. The overwhelming majority of Hacks posted here deserve a lot more respect. As does this one.

    Saving the legacy case and keyboard from oblivion is worthy of honorable mention as a starter.

    Showcasing the application of that adaptation board also serves to show us that “Yes- an older keyboard CAN be integrated with newer hardware, and it’s not too steep of a learning curve either.

    Good Show!

  13. Juri says:

    hello very interesting project, one question what os or software did you used to emulate c64 with Raspi?

  14. Void says:

    Nice project. I’ve got a Commodore plus-4 sitting around and this sounds like a good use for it. There are still massive amounts of C64’s sitting around, they made millions of them so it’s not like they’re rare even after 30 years.

  15. Carl says:

    I have been told by the people who supplied me with the keyrah usb interface that its hit its end of life, but they are working on finding a replacement soon.

  16. Mike Stroz says:

    This is a very good project for a raspberry pi. I am actually typing this from my own version of raspberry pi commodore.

    • Carl says:

      Nice one Mike,
      Its nice to use the classic hardware when possible, you can’t beat it. I installed finch on my 314 and it felt very nostalgic, not that I was old enough to use telnet the first time round ;)

  17. Kelly says:

    The charger conjointly has 2 USB ports that mean if you have got 2 devices
    in want of charging, you wouldn’t like to wait for one to complete.
    Check the signal indicator with the top with the screen,
    if you can finjd no bars or even a ‘No Service’ indicator try waiting 10 minutes or move to an alternative location prior to the
    service returns and also the ‘E’ can be viewed next in your signal bars.
    Of course, should it be Tupperware, it doesn’t count, because I love my Tupperware and can never ppart with it and I know a
    whole lot off other Tupperware lovers that feel the same way.

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