A Vintage Monitor Lives Again With A New Heart

Aside from keeping decades-old consumer-grade computing hardware working, a major problem for many retrocomputing enthusiasts lies in doing the same for vintage monitors. Whether your screen is a domestic TV or a dedicated monitor, the heat and voltage stress of driving a CRT made these devices significantly less reliable than many of their modern-day counterparts. [Adrian’s Digital Basement] has a worn-out and broken Commodore 1701 monitor, which he’s brought back to life with a modern circuit board and a CRT transplant.

Following on from a previous project, he’s using a replacement board sold as a repair option for CRT TVs on AliExpress. The Commodore monitor has its board on a metal chassis which takes the replacement with a bit of modification. He doesn’t say where the new CRT came from, but we’re guessing it was a late model TV as CRTs made over the last few decades are more interchangeable than might be expected. There’s a moment of mild dodginess as he makes a voltage doubler to run the 220 V board from 120 V with a pair of large electrolytic capacitors hot glued in place, but otherwise it’s a success.

At the end of it all after some testing and set-up he has a Commodore monitor with a new heart and multi-standard support. Is it really a Commodore monitor though, or should it have been repaired? It’s a difficult one to answer, but we’d suggest that CRT monitor repair is less easy today than it used to be because many of the parts are now difficult to find. If it saves at least some of the original from the dumpster it’s better than doing nothing. We wonder how long these upgrades will remain possible as even with Chinese plants making these boards and a handful of CRT TVs still appearing on AliBaba it’s clear that CRTs are at the very end of their life.

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Custom Monitor For Pi-Powered Commodore 64

Classic games never seem to have gone out of style and with the emulation powers of the Raspberry Pi, there seems to be no end of projects folks have been coming up with. [Chris Mills] project is a great looking monitor to get his Commodore 64 fix by combining the retro looks of a home-made 64-style monitor with the Raspberry Pi.

[Chris] is only interested in Commodore 64 emulation, at least with this project, and wanted something that would fit on a desk without taking up too much room. An eight inch LCD security monitor fit the bill perfectly. [Chris] ended up building a wooden enclosure for the monitor to give it that Commodore look. The monitor, power supply and cable connections fit inside along with speakers; each of these having their inputs on the back. A fan vents in the back as well and the Pi sits outside running the Combian 64 emulation software.

[Chris] has put up some galleries of build pics. The logo from the old Commodore logo is a nice touch. Read over the Hackaday site and you could build your own Commodore 64, or use the Commodore 64 itself to house the Raspberry Pi if you wanted.