The Commodore 64 remains one of the most influential of the 8-bit home computers four decades after its launch, so not surprisingly there is a huge enthusiast community surrounding it. With so many produced over the years it was available one might think that there would be no shortage of surviving specimens, but sadly time and component failure have taken their toll and the classic micro is not always the most reliable kid on the block. Thus a cottage industry has sprung up supplying C64 parts, leading [The Retro Shack] to have a go at making a new one entirely from scratch.
As you can see in the video below the break it’s not quite an entirely new ’64, as parts including some of the custom silicon come from failed boards. The PCB is a modern recreation of the original and the SID sound chip is an ARMsid though, and most of the parts come from a handy bagged-up kit that makes assembling the BoM much easier. Instead of the big silver box of the original RF modulator is a modern composite board, and there are a few issues with minor connector part differences.
Assembly is simply a very long through-hole soldering process, and once he’d completed it there was the expected refusal to work. We’ve all been there, and eventually he traced it to an incorrectly fitted chip. If you think you’ve seen a few brand new C64s here before you’d be correct, one of them even used LEGO for those elusive keycaps.
10 thoughts on “A (Nearly All) New Commodore 64”
Brings back memories of the joystick with built in c64.
It was probably cheaper then the bare PCB for this project.
I think Jerri Ellsworth designed it for some Chinese company and it’s not much more then an FPGA and some chicken fodder.
Maybe the FPGA code leaked somewhere on the ‘net.
I think the C64 DTV was inspired heavily from the C-one project https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-One
Unfortunately the C-One project I think is closed source, but there have since been other FPGA implementations such as the Mister core. https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/C64_MiSTer
There is also the Ultimate-64 which is the best of both worlds. You can mix and match FPGA cores with real chips.
The C64 Direct-To-TV was a custom silicone blob that Jeri worked on after she made a partial FPGA implementation for the C-One board.
It can be downloaded here: http://c64upgra.de/c-one/
Custom silicone huh? on a joystick, bet the debouncing was tough.
The VLC project also has some silli cones on occasion.
The worst thing about the C64 was probably that Microsoft didn’t understand how to properly manage stacks in the 6502, limiting the BASIC’s recursion depth drastically. The best thing may have been the overlaid ROM and RAM so you could use all 64k, including the kludge of copying the BASIC over to RAM so you could patch it extend it. (Unfortunately there was no easy way to use the latter to solve the former.)
I still have 6502/C64 code in a file from my attempt to implement Subjective Color on my B&W TV. Obvious what my error was, in retrospect; I’ve been half-tempted to find a C64 and old TV and finish that bit of silliness someday.
There’s another really interesting new board coming along:
Thre was a made in Italy Apple II clones series named Lemon II https://leganerd.com/2011/02/15/lemon-ii/ (link to page in Italian) and one of them was named Lemon II biprocessor 64 because had a Z80 chip to run CP/M.
tough I loved my C64…
in the end it can not reach the icon aura of the PET I used before… the phosphor green glow and the iconic design… snifffff.
Waldorf & Stattler figured that long before:
For anyone interested in this project, part two has been uploaded where the whole thing gets a brand new case as well which is very non-c64 looking but looks amazing!
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