An Up-To-Date Datasette For Commodore TED Series

Retro computer enthusiast [Steven Combs] documents his adventure building the TEDuino, a modern replacement for the Commodore Datasette which uses an SD card instead of audio tape. He based the design on [Peter Edwards]’s Tapuino project, which was featured by Hackaday back in 2014. [Steven] took the aesthetic design to a new level, and also modified it to work with his Plus/4 and other TED series Commodores.  We are amazed that he was able to design this enclosure in SketchUp, and impressed with the results from his Creality Ender 3. He went to great lengths to match the color and style of the Plus/4, and pulled it off quite well. [Steven] also applied some interesting design features in this enclosure. The PCB modules are snap-fit, the buttons are made as a single piece – not unlike a living hinge. The 3D-printed strain relief for the cable is a nice finishing touch, and we cannot disagree with [Steven]’s sage advice – “Gorilla anything is just cool”.

This is only part 1 of the project. Stay tuned for future improvements, tweaks and embellishments.

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Restoring Commodore’s Unloved Plus/4

The Commodore Plus/4 was not loved by the marketplace after its launch in 1984. Despite its namesake feature of having productivity programs built in, its lack of compatibility with Commodore 64 software and oddball status meant that it struggled to find acceptance. However, like so many retro computers, it maintains a following to this day. [Drygol] had collected a total of eight neglected units, and set to giving them a full workover.

First on the docket is cleaning, and [Drygol] makes short work of disassembling the computers and removing decades of dirt and dust. Keycaps are treated with Retrobright to restore their original color. The black styling of the case means it gets a simple wash down instead, and then a rub with thin oil to restore the plastic’s original sheen.

[Drygol] steps through various popular hacks for the platform too, from 6510 CPU replacements for the often-failing 7501 and 8501, to SD2IEC card interfaces to replace the much-maligned storage original storage options. Damaged keyboard studs are replaced with hacked-up Amiga parts, while LEDs that are long out of production are swapped out for cut-down modern parts.

The impressive thing is just how much community support there is for an also-ran Commodore that never truly caught the public’s eye. Efforts are ongoing, too, with projects like THED aiming to reproduce some of the custom chips used on the platform.

We’ve featured posts on the engineering that goes into Commodore’s 8-bit computers as well, like this excellent piece from [Bil Herd] on the story of the Commodore 128. Of course, if you’re working your own wonders with retro hardware, you know who to call.