New Commodore VIC-20 Build

In a recent episode of [The Retro Shack], a new Commodore VIC-20 is built, using a ‘Vicky Twenty’ replacement PCB by [Bob’s Bits] as the base and as many new components as could be found. The occasion for this was that a viewer had sent in a VIC-20 that turned out to be broken, so in order to diagnose it, building a new one with known working parts seemed incredibly useful.

Advantages of the reproduction PCB are a number of board-level fixes that negate the need for certain bodge wires, while also having footprints for a wider range of round DIN connectors. The non-proprietary ICs were obtained along with other standard parts from a retro computing store, while the proprietary Commodore components were scrounged up from your friendly used component selling sites.

The result is what from the outside looks like a genuine VIC-20, and which should prove to be very useful in diagnosing the broken VIC-20 system in the future, as well as presumably to play some games on.

Thanks to [Arranyn] for the tip!

14 thoughts on “New Commodore VIC-20 Build

  1. My friend Pieter Hintjens made some games for VIC20, I have the last copy of his games on tapes, I have to find a way to dump them and put all that into an emulator. Anyone with experience with that, considering that those tapes might be the only ones?

    1. You “just” need to find a way to record the sound into a computer. The easiest way is probably to buy these USB cassette players and record into a WAV or high quality mp3 file.

      1. Not sure about MP3. My understanding is it has some psychoacoustic compression properties that mean it loses data in a way that can corrupt cassette data. Something lossless would be more appropriate for archival.

        1. About 14 years ago I successfully migrated my tape programs on my C64 I made in 1985 by using a generic audio recorder to record the data into one large WAV file. I then used a program to extract the files in PRG. A quick search shows there is also one for a vic called wav2vic.

      2. When I rip my old cassettes, I rip an entire tape side to a .wav in Audacity, then I chop them up. I then run them through a dodgy program I wrote to decode TRS-80 tapes.

        It’s best if you use a very good tape player. I found that the right side of a dual deck player I have gives a much better signal, probably because it got less use and its tape heads are cleaner.

    2. I’ve dumped loads of Vic 20 games with a very good success rate. Time is against you on this, you need to do it sooner rather than later as tapes are starting to fail. I’d be happy to do it if you sent me the tape. I have a dc2n which was designed for dumping commodore tapes (Google it)

  2. What about the keyboard, though ?
    Use a C64 keyboard ? That would be funny and ironic, kind of.
    The C64 values the VC-20 keyboard the most, as far as the VC-20 is concerned.
    It has those cute orange keys, afaik. ^^^

    Also, there’s both a PET and a VC20 emulator for the C64.
    So technically, there’s an alternative.

    That being said, there’s some use for the VC-20, surely.

    Personally, I remember reading about a BASIC program for the VC-20
    in an old radio book which calculated satellite orbits for ham sats.
    No graphics, of course. But still kind of cool in a perv way, hi. ^^

      1. Cool, makes sense. 😎
        The other little computers, ZX81/ZX Spectrum were also used for such tasks at the time.
        Building an alarm system, logging temperature, plant watering apparatus, etc. And of course, the classic – controlling a robot arm. πŸ™‚

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