Tuesday 1 July 2014

Computer project love!

It looks like this school holiday is going to be a geeky goodness event for me.

My poor unloved Commodore needs to run again, but she's in bad shape thanks to one of the kids dropping her accidentally, and while it sucks I know sugru will fix the internal damage caused so I'm not as worried. Bar what colour I'll be spraying the beast once I've completed all the mods and repairs I want to do.
Those are as follows
Image Credit: OldComputersnet

New power supply,
There is a reason all C64 owners should make or find someone to make a new PSU loom is thanks to the absolutely stupid decision to fill the supply casing with epoxy resin, causing heat issues and this cooks the internal circuit goodness inside. the failures vary but in many cases it leaks power into the C64 and cooks components. To fix this you utilise a 9VAC 1amp power supply. and a 5VDC 1.5amp supply, the old power cable chopped into it, and it's cool. But there are probably better mods with a 24Volt AC supply. for this which I may end up doing but for now I've got a 5V and 9V supply here I can use for testing. (should of grabbed them both from self storage this morning D'oh!)

Reset Button - An easy enough mod, but to make it classy the choice of button will be essential.

SD2IEC - One of the best floppy drive replacement tools ever manufactured and the prices of these have dropped over the last year or so.

Case repairs with sugru - Ronseal really but If it's going to save me some hassle to get the beast looking good It's worth it.

Sprayjob - It'll probably be a cool colour but unsure yet of this as I want to make it special.

Svideo or VGA Mods - This will be the hardest thing to sort as it'll be the most expensive component change or modifications. So for now an afterthought until I get a donor board for practice on!

Dual SIDS for music creation.
Now I'm hoping the SID will be ok as it decided to stop working with the current power brick. to test it I'll be using vicious Sid 1 and 2  as they seem to have SID modules which work amazingly well with failing chips, also can show where a chip is failing by the filters that it can trigger. It's a good test from the awesome people in the scene. However I'll be adding another SID chip for stereo sound goodness and for using music software. for the giggles I'll embed them both to show you how far developers have been able to push the C64's audio to new levels and still do, (Musik: Run/Stop by Mahoney for example) Hence perfect for benchmarking a SidChip's health and validity too (I kid you not the fakes are a plentiful, many work but many crap out)

New ceramic and electrolytic caps - the largest killer of computers is the capacitors, the electrolytes inside the cap dry out and fail. so it's always best to replace them, especially when they're 30 years they'll be as close to death as they can be so devices can go wonky even with good internals. Some of ceramic caps are due replacement but if they need doing I'll happily send the board to be fully recapped and the IC's socketed to local electronics experts if possible. (Why did Surplatronics in luton close)

The Keyboard is also getting some love with the Keys being lovingly cleaned and drying on the sill now in the coolish air. while the keyboard internals have been wiped down with a damp cloth. 31 years of grime... YUK!

Now while this is a lot of work to do it'll be cheaper than buying a "RARE C64 UNIT UNTESTED LOFT STORED NOT AMIGA OR ATARI" especially when most of them

have dying parts inside them or worse untested or swapped for dead parts but labelled untested.

Also one of my other projects I'm getting into os either the Grouchbox or the SlyBox, depending on what I decide to make

Image Credit
The Slybox is an old Pace Sky digital Box, gutted and inside will be a Mini Itx motherboard, in this case the VIA EPIA 800 model, small hard disk and windows installation. inside this will be powered with 12 volts 80watt nano ATX power supply. The reason is simple, inconspicuous computer nobody will think of stealing.

I'll be posting the Slybox,or Grouchbox and the C64 work progress over the next few months as it'll be a slow set of projects both mentally and financially purely down to the amount of work I'll be pouring into them all.

I'll also be hoping to get a Raspberry Pi computer to help me and the girls learn how to code again, I've seriously forgotten. Then again my pinnacle game at college was Who wants to win a pack of beer and Slap the stoner, all on a crusty 16bit copy of Turbo Pascal written, worked well but useless in real word applications, but the principals could be similar to basic I feel. Then again I wish we were given better programming languages at college too as TurboPascal was good but I'm not sure it was relevant these days. Please correct me if incorrect.

For now I'll leave it with a c64 in bits while the keys are drying off so expect some instagram love on this later!


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