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Old 31 December 2017, 04:10   #1
Retrofan
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Changes in my C64

Hi:

I was thinking that after making my "new/retro" PSU http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=89484



I should also share the improvements (or at least changes) that I am making in this C64 that was ugly enough to receive a paint treatment. This is the first time that I paint a vintage computer, but this time it was needing it badly.

So I had in mind to use black or red, but I've finally painted it orange -it's called orange-blood- and I will also paint with a permanet marker some lines in white and maybe some in black. Please notice that it looks more red in the photo that it actually is. Just imagine it more orange, as this is how it is.

So, just to share it after the painting and to comment a couple of things:



I first had a ghosted image of the letters -like a shadow- when booting. It was just like a pixel moved to the right:



So I first changed all of the caps including the ones of the RF modulator. As the image was still the same, then I installed a Lumafix that made ... nothing. But today I changed the VIC-II chip with a new Rev 5 one and now the image is crystal clear, whiter letters and no ghosting anywhere. Note that I'm using scart, not S-Video (modern led TV's just don't have it; some won't have scart even).

Today I've installed a SidFX to have stereo and I've also added some heatsinks:



And it is now playing great. I've played right now Robocop 2 from my cartridge and the shootings were sounding in a speaker and the music in another Edit: BTW if you want to use a nice joystick for Robocop 2 that lets you have a button for jumping -space-, get a QuickShot Chimera III.

Tomorrow I will make the holes for the switches and the mini-jack.

I will make the holes in the lower part of the case. Not because it will be more centered (on the contrary) but just because you can open the case without problems with the cables. (Edited) I don't think so.

Last edited by Retrofan; 25 February 2018 at 02:06.
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Old 02 January 2018, 00:38   #2
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Just to comment that it was straightforward to make the holes for the switches, but the stereo mini-jack connector just didn't get through the plastic. It happens that the plastic in the rear part of the breadbin (mine at least) is very very thick; like 4mm or so.

So I've filed -dremeled- an internal rectangle around the hole; like 1mm, so now the connector passes through the hole and you can screw the metallic round nut outside.



And I've got to comment that I'm not very happy with the color/result, so I will sand it flat and paint it red instead and I also have in mind a beautiful upgrade once that I've started making holes... So if everything works as I'm planning, I will make NINETEEN HOLES MORE...

But that will be in a month or so as I've ordered parts not available but from China.

Of course I will first try this mod -there are related mods but none so great- without making any hole. And if I can't get it working then I won't post anything here. But if it works then I will make the holes, paint and wait for it to cure, etc and then you'll see it in this thread in a month and a half, two or so .

Edit: I won't make so many holes, I'll only cut a rectangle with the new solution I've found.
Edit 2: Now that I've finished it, I can share what was my first idea. Not in english though, but it's the only one showing it:

[ Show youtube player ]

Yep, I've searched for a lot of solutions everywhere and I've finally decided what's best IMHO.

Last edited by Retrofan; 28 February 2018 at 01:54.
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Old 02 January 2018, 10:13   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrofan View Post
Note that I'm using scart, not S-Video (modern led TV's just don't have it; some won't have scart even).
Note that SCART is not just 'SCART' - it is a messy standard that can be used with many different kinds of signals. It can be used with Composite, S-Video or RGB but since the C64 cannot do RGB you're left with either Composite or S-Video. I assume you're using S-Video then? I have a video cable that I bought from the same place and it is also wired for S-Video. As you mention, some TVs cannot do S-Video and the presence of SCART in my experience only guarantees that it can be used with Composite. This is the case for my Panasonic plasma TV - it will only do Composite or RGB through the SCART socket so it doesn't work with a C64 SCART cable wired for S-Video, so if I want to hook it to my TV I need to use a SCART cable wired for Composite.
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Old 02 January 2018, 11:30   #4
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Were those the original stickers? :-) Some hardcore collector will be committing seppuku somewhere if you modified a genuine silver label. :-)
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Old 02 January 2018, 12:17   #5
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Were those the original stickers? :-) Some hardcore collector will be committing seppuku somewhere if you modified a genuine silver label. :-)
I think the original silver label do not bulge like you see the large one do in this picture? The ones I've seen have looked like regular flat silver-colored stickers.
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Old 02 January 2018, 19:49   #6
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Yep, it isn't the Silver Label, but my labels aren't very common either and I like them. Edit: I'll change them as they are a bit damaged .

@Demolition thanks a lot for your posts. I don't have an idea about how the Scart or S-Video connections work, all I know is what I see/try. Using a cable with scart (a good one from Retro Computer Shack which I don't know what is wired for) my C= was giving the image shown with ghosted letters. Trying with another cable (also from them) with S-video output while also using a Video converter, the image was perfect in my VGA monitor (maybe not so white letters but no ghosting).

After changing the VIC-II now the image is perfect for me (white letters/no ghosting) using the formerly tried scart cable. Listen: I don't care about having a "vintage original retro display", I prefer to have the best one I can get nowadays and I'm now getting it with the VIC-II R5 as commented. My idea is that if Commodore changed the VIC-II chip it had to be for some reason, but ... you know, I also prefer the old SID one

Last edited by Retrofan; 23 February 2018 at 01:54.
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Old 22 February 2018, 00:39   #7
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Just to update the project, I've added a P6KE 8A diode to protect (more) the 5v line from the PSU, as seen by Jan Beta and Perifractic Retro Recipes (I think that he is actually retired but he keeps working repairing pool pumps or something for a living. Poor guy, please support him at Patreon ).




Edit: Forget about this part about my idea of an angled adapter. See my edit in post 19.

I want to have the Ultimate II+ vertical instead of horizontal (who doesn't?), so I've bought and soldered now two cartridge connectors; one angled and a normal one. They are a bit expensive as they are hard to find:



It doesn't seem that anybody has done this before. I will fill the pins room with somekind of poliuretane/silicone, we call here Sicaflex (I think that's the brand), or maybe I will try Sugru as it's also no conductive (that's what they say).

I saw that Akira was using a cartridge expander board (so the Ultimate is vertical and it rocks that way) and seing how expensive they are I just thought about a cheaper way to get exactly what I want.

The thing is that I need to find a board to connect it yet. I think I could try with this
https://www.ebay.es/itm/Commodore-64...UAAOSwfVhaQqer

And just to tell that I've got another very, very nice mod in the works

I've been painting it, but it will take a week for it to be ready:



Maybe you've noticed a hole somewhere... That's my incoming mod


Edit: About the paint:

TIPS: I want to tell about a couple of things if you want to paint your case. These are just my thoughts:

1: If you use a very good branded spray and it seems to be dry in a few minutes.... REMEMBER this: It isn't dry at all. It can leave your fingertips pressed on the paint if you just hold it with some preassure. My advice is that you forget about your case for 5 days at least.

2: If you didn't wait for time enough as I've recomended and then you decide (as I've done) to paint something with another colour, the thing/problem is that you will surely use a painting paper tape to cover some parts.
It can work well, but ONLY if you stick it for the less time the better and in that case even, you better apply some water and soap where you sticked that tape after a few minutes. But well, it all depends in the time that you've left the case to dry. If for example you didn't wait for so song and you leave it sticked and you decide to let the board to dry in the sun, then the glue on the tape will react with the paint and then it all will be a complete s**t.

You've been warned.

Last edited by Retrofan; 02 March 2018 at 00:52.
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Old 22 February 2018, 01:35   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrofan View Post
Just to update the project, I've added a P6KE 8A diode to protect (more) the 5v line from the PSU, as seen by Jan Beta and Perifractic Retro Recipes
This is not a good fix, you need a proper cutting circuit in case something goes bad with the 5V.
Consider building something like the SAV64. I have one and it's great (and also lets you use regular power supplies for AC/DC to power the C64, or a combo of old and new).
http://www.c64os.com/buyersguide?feature=sav64
It has physical relays, you can hear it click when powering on and off.

There are others, simpler and cheaper, you can build yourself or order for cheap.
Quote:
I want to have the Ultimate II+ vertical instead of horizontal, so I've bought and soldered now two cartridge connectors; one angled and a normal one. They are a bit expensive as they are hard to find:
[...]
I saw that Akira was using a cartridge expander board (so the Ultimate is vertical and it rocks that way) and seing how expensive they are I just thought about a cheaper way to get exactly what I want.
There's a reason cartridge expanders exist: problems with signals. This port is very sensitive to interference, and I am afraid your home made invention will probably create issues. The cartridge expanders are more than just extra ports all lined up together and with dip switches, there are other components on them.

Even with my professionally made cartridge expander (it's not expensive, it's only $30! http://store.go4retro.com/x-pander-3...port-expander/ How much did you even spend on those connectors?) I have issues with 1541 Ultimates and the PHI2 settings, where they would trigger VSP bugs when there shouldn't be any. The most reliable way to connect a cartridge to a C64 is directly to the port, with no expander.
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Old 22 February 2018, 01:51   #9
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Thanks Akira for your advices, much appreciated

About my "idea" of the angled connector: Yep, no idea if it will work yet till I try it. Thanks for the link if I need it afterwards

About a cutting circuit and my diode, this is just "another" protection I add. Jan Beta also uses a power saver (a model from bwack) with it, and I also use one that I got from Ebay and that I enclosered in a C=64 cartridge.



BTW -offtopic- I'm very sorry to say that All of the images that I was using from Hostthenpost have.... vanished

Well... you may have an idea of what that can mean to someone that has hosted pics there for a couple of years . I'm uploading now the pics (that I've got) from my mobile to another place.

Last edited by Retrofan; 23 February 2018 at 01:42.
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Old 22 February 2018, 01:56   #10
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IT might look as if it works at first, but you can soon encounter trouble and end up thinking your 1541U is broken. As I said, I have PHI2 issues even with the xpander3, so...
It's just that cartridge port is stupid flakey. This is the main problem with the SX64, because the cartridge port is connected via a ribbon cable to the motherboard, it introduces a LOT of timing issues. 1541Us, for a long time, did not work on the SX64 because of this.

My rule is simple: a 1541U-II is fine equipment, not cheap. Why use it in combination with cheap shit? I try to use the best things on my C64. If I use top peripherals, I want top solutions and accessories for it. No point in ruining the line i=of quality, it's just asking for trouble.

It's like with cables, when you have a damn good audio system, and you use shitty cables, you are just ruining it.
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Old 22 February 2018, 02:11   #11
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I totally agree about the cables. I've changed ... all of them in the last month... . Scart ones, scart selector, hdmi ones, hdmi selector and audio ones -a lot- to get the best ones available (I know for sure that Maddi is the culprit : [ Show youtube player ] )

What you tell about the cartridge connector is something that I'll have to try too. Thanks a lot for telling about the possible issues.

Edit: And offtopic: I'm making this mod just because I was a bit tired of using the original hardware. Do not take me wrong: I Really love it. But as I've said, I already have three more "original" C=64's, and now with this one I want to try something "funny" (colour/leds and so) and also while injecting some modern components.

Last edited by Retrofan; 22 February 2018 at 11:34.
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Old 22 February 2018, 06:28   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
This is not a good fix, you need a proper cutting circuit in case something goes bad with the 5V.
Consider building something like the SAV64. I have one and it's great (and also lets you use regular power supplies for AC/DC to power the C64, or a combo of old and new).
http://www.c64os.com/buyersguide?feature=sav64
It has physical relays, you can hear it click when powering on and off.
I am not sure I trust those devices built around relays.. What happens if the voltage suddenly increases while the C64 is powered on? A relay is slooow, so will it react in time before the C64 is damaged?
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Old 22 February 2018, 10:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrofan View Post
BTW -offtopic- I'm very sorry to say that All of the images that I was using from Hostthenpost have.... vanished
I always use http://imageupload.co.uk/ and never have this issue across any forum
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Old 22 February 2018, 17:03   #14
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I am not sure I trust those devices built around relays.. What happens if the voltage suddenly increases while the C64 is powered on? A relay is slooow, so will it react in time before the C64 is damaged?
Well, I am not the one who invented these, and I know the schematics were out there but I can't find them, but I guess this is a trust or die situation for me? Since I wouldn't know any better.
If I can find the schematics I'll post them, would be very interested in hearing your opinion.

This device is supposedly -made for- such a scenario. So if it doesn't work in that case, what's the point?
I mean, there's much more than just a relay in there. I know there are simpler ones, but the SAV64 has a bunch of components.
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Old 23 February 2018, 01:26   #15
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Quote:
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...Even with my professionally made cartridge expander (it's not expensive, it's only $30! http://store.go4retro.com/x-pander-3...port-expander/
Now I remember why did I think in making this angled adapter. It wasn't only the price, but also that I don't like to be using that one just to hold one cartridge when it will take all of my table just for it. Just in my humble opinion:

http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server40...0.1280.jpg?c=2

And also:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
...It's just that cartridge port is stupid flakey. This is the main problem with the SX64, because the cartridge port is connected via a ribbon cable to the motherboard, it introduces a LOT of timing issues. 1541Us, for a long time, did not work on the SX64 because of this.
It isn't the same to use a ribbon cable (thin cables) than to solder two different cartridge connectors; it will be safer than what Commodore made back in the day with that model . Well, just my thoughts.

I just think that it would be a very nice thing if someone could sell a board just to connect a vertical cartridge; just one.

Edit: There is, see the edit in post 19.

Last edited by Retrofan; 01 March 2018 at 00:32.
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Old 23 February 2018, 15:50   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
Well, I am not the one who invented these, and I know the schematics were out there but I can't find them, but I guess this is a trust or die situation for me? Since I wouldn't know any better.
If I can find the schematics I'll post them, would be very interested in hearing your opinion.
This device is supposedly -made for- such a scenario. So if it doesn't work in that case, what's the point?
It may work great if the PSU is already dead when you turn it on since the relays will not turn on until the voltage has stabilized for a while. But in case the PSU suddenly dies while you're using the C64, then the relays need to turn off really quickly before the increasing voltage has a chance to destroy anything and this is what I doubt it can since relays are so slow. Having the PSU die while it is being used is not uncommon in my experience as I have experienced this two times on different occasions. In one of those two cases, there was nothing to protect the C64 and it was killed. In the other, I had a crowbar circuit between the PSU and the C64 and it proved itself as it successfully protected the C64 from the now faulty PSU. A crowbar circuit is based around a Triac/SCR which has a reaction time which can be measured in nano-seconds unlike relays which are easily 1000x slower.

Now it would be very nice to hear from people with the relay-based savers who have experienced a PSU going bad while using their C64 and whether it succesfully managed to protect the machine.
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Old 23 February 2018, 17:59   #17
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The whole point of this device, as it was sold, was to prevent your C64 from dying in that very specific scenario, when the PSU goes bang while operating.

I guess without looking at the schematics we're kinda speculating a lot here, so I'll try to find them, but yeah I would like to hear from anyone having had that issue while using a SAV64.

[edit] the original diagram the SAV64 is based on can be seen here:
http://www.lemon64.com/forum/viewtop...r=asc&start=75
There's a lengthy explanation.

Last edited by Akira; 23 February 2018 at 18:34.
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Old 24 February 2018, 00:34   #18
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Quote:
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...Now it would be very nice to hear from people with the relay-based savers who have experienced a PSU going bad while using their C64 and whether it succesfully managed to protect the machine.
Not exactly while using it but from booting instead, this is my experience:

I am using now since some months ago a power saver that I bought from Ebay (the one I've posted). Something very weird happened to me. By then I was using my perfectly working original C64 psu and I was making my own new PSU.

I have to say that I was always using the power saver between any PSU and the C=.

So I connected my homemade psu and it didn't boot the Commodore. Later I saw that as I had soldered a diode in the wrong place, then it couldn't work.

The thing is that then I connected my trusty original PSU and the Commodore didn't boot either. . The Power saver showed a very dim light on it.

Of course first I thought that my homemade psu had destroyed something, but then I remembered that I had bought another new C64's PSU, so I used it and the C64 booted perfectly well.

So? My trusty C64 PSU died just after I tried my homemade one. I've tried it with another C64 and yes, the old one doesn't work now and my homemade one does just like the new one.

The thing is that it died but it didn't kill my C64. I can't know if it could have killed it without the power saver, but I've decided to always use it.

Last edited by Retrofan; 11 March 2018 at 23:00.
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Old 27 February 2018, 20:39   #19
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I've installed a stereo VU meter. It is getting the power from the C= and it's connected internally to the SiDFx stereo jack output.

Yep, this is my great mod and it fills the hole you previously saw in the case

I've made another small hole on the left side where I've put the button it uses, soldering two cables.







Edit: With my PSU -Open this image as this is how it will be working-:


Edit: The ugly drop of thermal glue that you see in the power saver cartridge case has been cutted after the photo.

-Remember-:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Carlsen
For me the current measurement is the most important as it
tells me immediately if the board I'm working on has shorted chips.
Blank screen is the most difficult symptom to diagnose since many
things besides shorted chips can cause it, so I use anything I can
to assist in the diagnosis. Note that there are half a dozen
different C64 boards and each has a normal current draw, anything
from 700mA to about 900... and all are normal. Above that, look for
shorted chips.
It's a pity that in photos or videos you can't see how really are the colors that the VU meter shows (it seems it's using only one color), they look really wonderful and it uses different led colors. In fact this image is a bit more accurate:

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/CekAA...93U/s-l500.jpg

Another video showing it: [ Show youtube player ]

I'm downloading now some 2Sid demos and 2sid's that are made for double sids.

I will try to make a video soon, but you know they all are "cutre" videos of bad quality

Edit: Change of mind.
As I wasn't sure to find the board I need to make my cartridge angled adapter and as it also was too much a hassle and a lot of risks (thanks, Akira), I've searched a bit and I've just bought this expensive adapter instead:

http://idoregesz.hu/wp-content/uploa...adapter_01.jpg

I just think that it's impossible to make by yourself something so beautiful.

Last edited by Retrofan; 11 March 2018 at 23:03.
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Old 01 March 2018, 03:58   #20
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Bad quality video as promised

[ Show youtube player ]

I have to say that I don't know yet what the options are pressing the button, I just know that if you press if for a couple of seconds (maybe it's more) then the display changes and it offers different configurations.

I also have to comment that trying Sam's journey, the VU meters were showing just the same in both sides, but trying Robocop instead it shows them moving diferently (well... maybe?) and it also sounds much better. I haven't tried playing 2Sid sids or demos that are made to use two sids yet.

And also:
I like the videos where some Guru tells about some mistake or problems he has made or found.

I made a thread about making my own PSU but now, today, I've found some problems with it. Maybe the two different PSU's it needs and I used weren't the best ones.
So if I have to change them, I will and also tell about the changes. Nobody is perfect and also you can't be 100% sure about a mod till you try it.

These are the problems with my homemade PSU today: I plugged in the Robocop cartridge and the colors got wrong after the first movements playing.
I cleaned the cartridge and it kept the same.
Then I tried with the dead cartridge and it detected a BAD Colour chip (also a U2 I believe to remember).
The thing is that if I use the PSU I bought from Ebay it doesn't find any problem with the Colour chip and also Robocop plays perfect.

My idea now is to buy another PSU from Ebay and install it inside my C64 psu case avoiding problems.

Edit: Now, taking a look with the multimeter:
Robocop II cartridge inserted. Booting it with the homemade PSU and having the multimeter black pin connected to ground on the cart port and the red one connected to the first (upper) pin where the led connector plugs in, it shows 4,120 volts.

Using the Ebay PSU and making the same it shows 4,49/4,5 volts.

I'm actually thinking in just shortening the cable. Remember that it is showing some wonderful 5,1 volts from the homemade PSU using the original cables.

You know that it all depends in the lenght of the cable and the thickness it has.

Last edited by Retrofan; 03 March 2018 at 14:37.
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