Picodore – C64 DTV Palmtop

[Jason] sent in this nice palmtop C64 (cache) project based on a PSone screen. Notable hacks: PIC 16F88 to encode rs-232 to PS/2 keyboard output, Atari keychain joystick and a SD card slot (not functioning yet). The case was made of wood and laminated over with contact paper.

20 thoughts on “Picodore – C64 DTV Palmtop

  1. Wow, the second article in a row with ~242 bytes of wasted “FP” bandwidth per computer. Is it just me or does anyone else get excited to see that a great idea has been commented on only to be emotionally crushed when greeted by a less than useful “FP”?

    Quick question, did the C64 (and C128) just use PS/2 for the keyboard interface or just the mini newer mini-C64’s? I’ve been trying to figure that out for a while.


    1. I know it’s 9 years later, but the Commodores had the keyboard built-in, and accessed them using a I/O chip with 8-bit parallel ports.

      The C64DTV is a custom chip designed by Jeri Ellsworth. She put a lot of hack potential in, so you can connect up a PS/2 keyboard. The C64DTV chip emulates an original keyboard internally, and does the translation for using a PS/2 keyboard.

      The disk drive port is also available, so you can connect a real Commodore floppy drive, or the floppy to SD adaptor. The adaptor was designed for real C64s so it works on those too of course.

  2. Maybe this construction method will catch on. I got the stainless steel contact paper at a local big-box hardware store for a few bucks. Looks great and is fairly durable. To get nice clean egdes, I removed the backing from an oversized piece, stuck it on the surface and then I used an X-Acto knife to cut off
    the excess by running the blade along the edge.

  3. Awesome project! Nice hacking going on there. The mini joystick is a nice touch. RS-232 to PS/2 is something I hadn’t considered recently, but could use in a project of mine.

    Severedbrain: only the new mini “DTV” C64s have a keyboard port. Rather pointless to have a keyboard port on a computer that is /in/ a keyboard. Additionally, the IBM AT hadn’t been released yet, which introduces the keyboard protocol PS/2 keyboards use. So, even if it did have a keyboard port, it wouldn’t be ps/2 compatable.

  4. I seriously think hack a day should auto-flood the required email address with giant banner images that read “Congratu-effin-lations! You were the first poster on H.A.D. your parents must be proud of you!” To every one that simply says ‘first post’

  5. Severedbrain: the C=64 and C=128 had matrix-scan integrated keyboards. It was only the new C=64-based devices (like the hummer, or the joystick) that have PS2 capability.

    The C=128D had a detached keyboard, but i’m not sure what signalling/pinout it used… but i’m pretty sure it wasn’t PS/2, since the 128D came out in 1986, while the IBM PS/2 came out in 1987.

  6. wow I have to say I *really* like the construction of this project. My own hacks are often just modified boards or modified firmware; I’ve always been very poor at the “artsy” side of things, and using wood always looked “cheap”. I’d never thought of gluing contact paper on to give it a metallic look. Wow!

  7. The rs-232 to ps/2 is great. I have a bunch of palm v keyboards that use that, and I have yet to find a way to convert it from 232 to ps/2 or usb. I’ve seen rs232 to newton serial which send me in the right direction, but this is like giving it to me. Now all I need to do is add this to a usb pic and make it show up as a usb hid keyboard. I’ll have a nice little pocket foldup keyboard for some headless servers (along with a ps2 lcd screen)

  8. Thanks for the tips, I did some further idgging on my own and found more info. Apparently the C128/C128D keyboard are nearly identical to the C64 keyboard except with some additional scan-codes added in software. In that vein, I wonder if the matrix-keyboard to ps/2 conversion done in the newer devices is done via a hardware interface (I’d love to liberate that for personal use) or in software on the Black-Blob.


  9. HI is your Picodore 64 going into business on the market, if you get enough demands, for example, or if not could you make me one for a good (enough)price?
    I thought I would like it the instant I read your article in RETRO GAMER page 99 (issue 35). Please see if I can possibly own one, if I like it after you give me some more details say, what can you still do with it like you could do with a commodore 64. Or is the screen 5 inch’s across including or without the diplay game window, I think you get my gist… I hope you get enough demands to be able to sell your own, do you have a factory where you can contruct copies? Yours hopefully, Matthew Durlac

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