Modern computers are so fast and complex that we would seldom try and fix them on a component level with simple DIY tools. Working on an early 1980s computer is much easier by comparison, with the fastest signals often in the single-MHz range. [Sayaka] demonstrates this by using a cheap $20 oscilloscope to troubleshoot and repair a Commodore 64.
After powering it up for the first time, the C64 displays a BASIC prompt, but none of the keys seem to work. [Sayaka] did what good hackers do, and immediately disassembled it to try and figure out the problem, suspecting the CIA chip as a likely culprit.
[Sayaka] elected to purchase a cheap DS0138 oscilloscope kit to help troubleshoot the C64. It’s not the most capable thing, with a bandwidth of just 200 KHz, but it’s enough to do some work on an old retro machine. After probing around to check a number of signals, she noted that the CIA’s pins seemed to be very oxidized and suffering poor conductivity. All it took from there was a resolder job, and the computer was repaired.
We’ve seen other cheap scopes with altogether more impressive specs, too. Video after the break.