Archive for the ‘Random Stuff’ Category

Pimp my breadbin – part 3

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

There’s been a bit more work on the “pimped” C64 this weekend. The first job that really needed doing was servicing the keyboard, so the shift lock was unsoldered and the circuit board taken off, then the key tops removed so that they and more importantly the contacts on the underside of the plastic could be separated for cleaning:

And finally, all of the plastics were lobbed into a hot bath for half an hour to soak before literally being hung out to dry since we’ve got some surprisingly strong clothes pegs.

Then, after over two hours of methodically reassembling the keyboard whilst watching Strictly along with about a hour this morning to re-solder the shift lock and screw everything back together, it looks like this…

…which is probably how it’ll look in the Oldschool Gaming area at at Play this coming weekend. The badges and power LED still need to be changed out (I’ve broken the latter trying to get it out of the shell so it doesn’t work and couldn’t find any blue LEDs in my parts box anyway) but I’m quite pleased with how it came out after the cleaning and the shiny plastic was down to using WD40 on a cloth, a tip I picked up from a Retro Game Tech video on YouTube.

I did end up wondering something during this process as well, these cases are pretty robust so what happens if you put them in a dishwasher…?

The answer is that it didn’t do a perfect job (if I’d dried it before taking the “after” picture that might have helped) and will need a bit more TLC at some point, but the results were reasonable especially considering how grubby the insides of the case were going in, so that’s one to remember in future.

Pimp my breadbin – part 2

Monday, September 29th, 2014

It’s less than a fortnight until the Play Expo in Manchester so my thoughts have turned to preparing the computers that will be there under the metaphorical Oldschool Gaming banner (and at some point a literal banner will actually be purchased but in the meantime we have the cute little A5 standees). One of those systems will be the “pimped” C64… well okay, it’s still just a stock breadbin motherboard with a Nano SwinSID added so far, but after a bit of surprisingly industrious filing earlier it now resides in a C16 case!

It’s still very much work in progress because the keyboard needs to be completely stripped down and serviced, the case needs to go into the bath to clean it properly, the badge and power LED need changing… you get the idea. But the first steps have been completed with an unexpected degree of success; the cartridge port and RF modulator connector holes have been widened to allow for the differences between C16 and C64 motherboards:

The board seems happy with the new home (despite all the screws being missing apart from those needed for the keyboard) and it’s sat there running Shadow Of The Beast from cartridge right now because the SD2IEC that was being used for testing isn’t compatible any more; there isn’t a hole in the case for the cassette port it needs to draw power from.

Pimp my breadbin

Monday, September 1st, 2014

This time last week my Beloved and I were thinking about the journey home from my parents’ place in Kent and, along with the kit I’d dragged down there to get some work done, we came back with some C64s because I want to “pimp” one a bit and needed a working or repairable board as a starting point. Here’s the one I’ve pretty much settled on with Blok Copy in the back to test it and act as a power LED…

…which was working perfectly when it arrived but someone (well okay, probably me) had already removed the SID so the Nano SwinSID that I was given and had been saving for this project was installed. It was then given a quick clean and the thermal paste removed from the VIC-II before being left on test for a day. Here’s an “after” picture taken just now (I’ve just had a quick game of Co-Axis RX to test the joystick port… honest!) with a keyboard, joystick, SD2IEC and Action Replay 6 connected for more thorough testing.

And yes, that’s a C16 keyboard connected to it, but the underlay is from a C64 keyboard so it works correctly – whilst I modified one like this back in the 1980s for my main work C64, this must have been given to me as is during the 1990s because the shift lock is connected and I wasn’t able to do that!

At some point a degree of bravery is going to be required on my part because, when the appropriate parts and time show up, a soldering iron will be taken to this fully working board. The plan is to add recently-created replacement parts like the SwinSID and a replacement PLA – as well as socketing the relevant parts of the board) to produce a machine to demo these toys at events. The SD devices tend to get as much attention from people as the games being run from them do so having a machine I can just open and point to the shiny new components would be good.

I’m currently in two minds about the case though, because I have a couple spare but there is also a deceased C16 here so the case from that could be used with a few modifications to it and the board. I really like the idea of the black case with a neon blue power light, but part of me thinks the stock breadbin with all of the new toys “under the hood” would be cool as well… so more thought is required it seems.