Commodore C16 Resurrection With A Raspberry Pi

[lactobacillusprime] had a non-working Commodore C16 and too many Raspberry Pi computers, so he decided to bring the C16 back to life by emulating it on the Pi. At the heart of the project is the Pi, along with a small board that converts the old style Commodore keyboards (and joysticks) to a USB port.

Once you have the keyboard as a USB port, the rest of the project is more or less mechanics and software. [lactobacillusprime] did a nice job of getting everything in the new case, along with all the I/O wires routed through the existing ports. For software, Emulation Station does the job of launching the Commodore emulation on the Pi.

Of course, there’s no reason to limit yourself to just the Commodore emulator. Emulation Station along with the right back end emulators will allow this machine to play games that no real Commodore C16 could.

Of course, we were happiest to see him boot up Commodore 64 BASIC. Perhaps we should complete all those half finished C64 BASIC projects we started back in the 1980’s. In general, we hate to see old computers gutted instead of repaired, but at least this one will continue running its software. If you are upset about seeing a machine gutted,  you can always switch over to our previous coverage of putting Commodore guts in a new box.

27 thoughts on “Commodore C16 Resurrection With A Raspberry Pi

  1. Commodore 64 is essentially a dead computer system and you really can’t use it because it’s not IBM compatible. You can’t use it as a word processor since documents will not import into Microsoft Word–which is what most industry and schools use. It makes better sense to simply use a C64 emulator — but you can still use the C64 keyboard for the PC with Keyrah–installing a rasberry pi doesn’t even make sense because you still need your monitor. The good thing about Keyrah is that you can hook up your joystick into it and it works.

        1. If an ass-hat teacher/professor/etc won’t accept a PRINTED document I would be having a serious discussion with the dean of the school/school board – most of my homework I have done on a “word processor” (the hardware kind), Now granted I’m not taking any classes that require graphs/charts/etc but that’s what compasses, protractors, rulers, and graph paper is for :P

          1. So when you leave college and get a job and your boss asks to to write a report and email it to him, you are going to …….
            It called getting you ready for the real world,

        1. Solution: Write a conversion tool.
          I think you’re misunderstanding the motivation behind this _hobbyist_ project.

          By your logic, nobody should rebuild classic cars because they get poor gas milage and different fuel chemistry when compared to a modern vehicle.

          Sometimes people just like doing things.

          1. That’s a poor comparison. Classic cars are rebuilt because cars of today and yore still operate the same way. They take gas and convert it to forward motion. Many classic cars are very powerful and handle about the same. They all drive on roads. Old computer platforms behave the same way but the “roads” computers operate on now are not compatible with older systems. Older systems are slow, operate on archaic achitecture, and waste power like an oil spill. The only thing new computers have in common with older computers is the electrons running through them.

            Tl;dr, mechanical systems are timeless, electronics systems change every minute.

          2. heh amazing that people here just dont seen to get it. This is a fun project, nothing more. Since when does everything need to be practical? I personally think this is a neat idea if you have extra PIs laying around. I didn’t hear anywhere in the video that this is a modern PC replacement, so not sure why people are even talking about that.

            This is perfect for those who want to emulate C64 games and get a physical nostalgia hit at the same time by having the real case and keyboard.

    1. To me, this is like building a hot rod in your garage. It isn’t for the practical utility of it. It doesn’t save money and you aren’t going to compete in the Indy 500. But you still want to do it.

    2. You could say the same thing with Statue of Liberty. It’s dead weight and represents something that no longer exists: open country for immigrants. Nowday most immigrants are kicked out quickly when caught unless they applied for green card properly. It was a gift from France, a country who is the butt of joke for the last several years. Yet people are spending money and time keeping the statue in good condition rather than scrapping for copper.

      You could say the same for vintage cars like Model T Ford or Mustang. They are gas guzzler and lack modern safety features and are better off scrapped for new car but people still keep them, invests a lot in cleaning and polishing them and keeping them in good repair.

      I could say the same thing with ancient computers. It’s almost impossible to share data between today’s computer with my 35-year old Commodore PET but I still use PET now and then.

      My point, it may be old but for some of us there are reasons to keep old things around. It can be anything from just fun to important history to sentimental factors.

      You don’t like C16 or C64, fine give me all of your Commodore stuff. I’ll see they get better treatment than you would give them. You can keep modern POS Microcrap. Which I might add modern computer seems more prone to hardware failures and software disasters than 30 years old computers.

      1. What are you on about? You could have just said, “Dude, I accidentally ate acid. Please give me your commode.” The politico dickslap was unnecessary and 11 million people would highly disagree ;) The whole reason Chicken Fries are back at BK, as speculated by some, is to simply feed this population for several weeks until the final crop harvest is done. Perhaps if Sir Dyson could develop a working vacuum with less suction and a cheaper price we wouldn’t be in this mess, but that is why cars have noodles. The egg becomes the least important ingredient, superseded by a rich abundance of herbal aromas, and when served under a glass table, becomes almost edible. It seems counter-intuitive to think that trees can also be withholding of fruit and shade if given enough Netflix envelopes to mail pieces of a quilt to Tennessee and have her assemble them into a VCR cozy to keep the remotes from scratching the top. Harley was seen as he fell into the roiling sea, never to be heard from again in this county at some point due to low average pollen count. :D

    1. Eh, it’s summer, anything that moves is newsworthy. With today’s Hackaday, you have to take the non-hacks with the hacks.

      What bugs me, though, is the over-the-top praise. “did a nice job of getting everything in the new case”? In my opinion, it looks like he threw everything into the case from across the room.

    2. Yah, at first assumed that he had at least had to design that converter board for connecting the keyboard to the pi. Now that I see he did it with a pretty much ready to use product… not seeing much of a hack here. But.. it is interestnig to know that the Keyrah exists in case I ever decide that I want one.

    1. +1… My kids’ MIcrosoft-only school has yet to figure out that this family has been using OpenOffice and LibreOffice for 3 years. Why pay for something when free, compatible software is available elsewhere?

      1. I’m glad to here that you have had no problems. I have a side-job managing a website where among other things.. monthly a lady sends me a MSWord file. The site’s original developer used to just upload the doc for users to download. I at least convert it to pdf before uploading because.. come on.. Word!

        Anyway.. it’s usually about 10 pages or so long but if I open it in Libre Office or Google Docs it always cuts off somewhere around page 2 or 3. I always end up having to use the terminal server at my day job just to convert this thing.

        Why won’t Mickeysoft just die already! Then again.. I do like the concept of Surface and everyone else seems to be dead set against producing a tablet that can also do real work…

  2. Thanks Al for featuring my little video. I guess not all were too impressed by it. But I feel they don’t get the reason for doing this. This was not done to create a C16 PC keyboard. This was done to somehow resurrect the C16, without having to repair the seriously damaged motherboard inside. The only way I could think of making this into a ‘compatible’ C16 again was to use a Raspberry Pi2 and emulation software.

    The point of this whole experience was to resurrect my old C16 into something useful and stand-alone, with C16 functionality and more. So it seems like the C16 is still functioning and more. I wanted to be able to use it as a C16

    Vice C16 does work, and I can play the games on a CRT/LCD hooked up over composite / cinch plugs like the real thing. Yet I can make it run C64 software and even C128 software and all sorts of other systems too with the same emulation package on the Raspberry Pi 2 using old fashioned 9 pin Atari style compatible joysticks.

    Repairing the C16 motherboard was not an option, several of the chips suffered heat damage and some of the traces on the board had eroded.

    – Mark

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