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.