Referbishing a Commodore 64 326298 Rev A 1982(FAB 326295 Rev D)

I picked up another Commodore 64 quite cheaply. This poor system had been stored in some bad conditions. I am not sure the conditions, but it had been wet at one point at least and damp quite a lot. When it was put there, it was probably pretty rough looking as far a browning of the plastic. This was an early Commodore 64 from 82 originally. Oddly the serial number label had no serial number printed on it. I have seen some labels that ink can be removed from by some cleaners, so I don’t know if it had been wiped off or never had a number.

Internally it as all there. The old paper foil shield was dirty and had mold on it. There was dirt and dead bugs all inside it. The first thing I did was pull the paper shield and toss it out, I then pulled the keyboard and mainboard out. Next I hosed the worst of the dirt and bugs out of the case with a hose.

Next I removed the bottom shield from the mainboard. It showed quite a bit of corrosion on it.

Before I tried to fire the board up, I did a bit of cleanup on the board itself. Then I looked it over to see if anything needed addressed before trying to power it on. I first checked that the power switch was making good contact. I then checked the Fuse was good. I also pushed all of the socketed chips in to make sure they were tight.

Looking over the board it was dated as 1982. There are some odd things about this board, it has had all the main chips socketed (all “wide” chips). The main chips are also all dated 1984. Three of the ram chips have been replaced and are also dated 1984. The remaining chips are all from 1982.

Here you see all t he main socketed chips. CIAs, the 3 Roms, the CPU, SID, PLA and VIC II from 1984

The next odd thing about this board is that it has a 8 Pin Video Socket instead of the 5 Pin Video Socket that was originally on it. julrod over at Lemon 64 said he had heard that Commodore service centers had upgraded the 326298 boards with 8 Pin Video Sockets. I have yet to test if the 8 Pin socket includes the added Chroma signal for S Video like video output. Looking around the 8 Pin Video socket I saw 4 cut traces (some on the bottom some on the top) around it and there are two wires on the bottom side leading off to points on the board.

Here are the two wires off of the Video Socket, you can see some of the cut traces too.

I connected the cleaned up board to a display and my power supply. It actually came up to the normal startup screen showing all of the memory. The video was noticeably poor compared to my other later Commodore (a 1984 model). It has bad Jail Bars on the screen for one. I then connected up my full test harness an test cartridge. The board passed all of the tests. I fired it up with my Pi1541 and started up a game.

The next day I spent doing a lot more cleaning of the computer. The case was cleaned with some CLR Mold and Mildew cleaner, a brush and a toothbrush. It still looks bad due to the lack of the badge, the bad browning of the plastic. The plastic is streaked oddly in the browning as it isn’t very uniform. The top has a crack on the right front corner. Three of the mainboard mounts are sheared off. The narrow right tab is missing that holds the back on. Two keys are missing and the posts are broken on the keyboard. The keyboard worked, but it wasn’t very responsive. It is quite dirty as well of course.

Most of the screws are rusty. Some of them are very badly rusted, anything in the “front edge, including the base screws. I put them into some vinegar. After soaking in it for awhile, the rust was removed from them. It left them looking a bit different, but they were in much better shape. I also did the same with the keyboard springs.

I removed the cage around the VIC II area. It was quite rusted, and I don’t like them anyways, as it makes it hard to get to the parts inside. It may be a decent heatsink for the VIC II though, I replaced it with a real heatsink though. The computer has a factory mistake where R10 by the VIC is 300 Ohms where it should be 120 Ohms. Ray Carlsen recommended putting in a 220 Ohm resistor in parallel across the existing R10 to bring the resistance to what it was supposed to be. This corrects the resistor in at R10 brings the strength of the Composite Video output to what it should be.

Here you can see the new Blue 220 Ohm resistor stacked on the original R10 just to the right of the VIC II

Here is the keyboard disassembly.

I lightly cleaned the keyboard pcb with some IPA. Once it was put together again, it did seem like it was more responsive. I haven’t tested it fully though. Keep in mind that too much cleaning of the contacts will rub the carbon off and they won’t work properly.

For the keyboard I turned to a little inspiration from Perifractic at Youtube. I had to tear down the whole keyboard to clean it properly. It also wasn’t making good contact on some keys, so I decided I would clean the pcb on it. I don’t have spare keys, or posts. I decided I would try repairing the broken keyboard posts with some pieces of Lego Cross posts. It does look like it may work, I don’t know for how long though. The one key the “pound” key is one that I doubt I will end up using, so having a repaired post there shouldn’t be a big deal. The other key was the 8 key so I decided to move that post to another position where it will get less use. To do this was a combination of a drill bit, using a Dremmel, and Xacto knife. While the Lego Cross axel looks like the key post top, the problem here though is that it is just a bit too large. A Lego piece that accepts the Cross Axle will go on a Commodore Post, but a Commodore Key won’t got on the Lego Axle. I don’t know if some of the Lego Axles are a little different or what though the ones I had wouldn’t work with the keys properly. I ended up using a small file to file them down to a more fitting size. I found that superglue won’t get a great bond on Legos, Bondic doesn’t either. I did try some model glue, which was said to be able to fuse Lego pieces. I don’t know how well it is holding. I may eventually replace the damaged posts, but for now they are hopefully ok. I still need to get 2 springs and two keys.

I reassembled the keyboard with the repaired posts.

I also took the top off of the Modulator and cleaned and polished it up. The plate on the Cartridge Port had some bad rust on it as well. I desoldered it from the board so that i could get it properly cleaned up. They both turned out to be a good improvement. I was going to paint these pieces but decided not to. Instead I put some teflon liquid to try to protect them from rusting quickly. I also used it on the screws. It puts a bit of a coating on stuff and is used to protect tools from rusting as well. The other part/parts I pulled to clean up were the two parts of the Fuse Holder. They were badly corroded. I desoldered them and polished them.

The board now looks quite better. I also installed heatsinks on the VIC II, SID, PLA, and CPU.

The conditions left the metal plate around the power LED corroding and the paint lifting off. I ended up cleaning it as best I could. I have to figure out what to do with it for painting etc. The main case badge was missing, and from the condition of the browning of the plastic , it must have been missing for a good while.

In an effort to get the old case looking a little better, I scrubbed the case with a paste of Baking Soda to get some of the marks off of the plastic. It did get rid of some of them. The plastic is still streaked brown.

For the crack in the right front corner on the top, I melted the plastic from the inside with my solder iron set to a lower temperature. This held the part in place, but for the crack on the outside, I used some model glue, that seems to have fused the plastic there pretty well. I also put a little on the inside to even out the melted plastic. Be careful about getting too much of that stuff on the plastic, it will dissolve it making it soft. It may not harden properly again if that happens.

Some of the pins in the components were rusted, and rusted badly on the bottom side. So I thought I would just clip them closer to the board. When I clipped at least two of these they just came right off. They were rust clear to the solder. I don’t think they were rusted below the solder. I tried to remove as much rust as I could. The presence of rust encourages the formation of more rust unless I am mistaken in what I have heard.

So far restoring this old beat up 64 has mostly been a lot of cleaning and some physical repairs. I did do the R10 fix. I still have more to do with it, and I am not sure when I will find the proper replacement keys. I was thinking of just ordering any key to put on the keyboard so I have a full keyboard, but I am not sure yet. I will probably recap the board. I have to fix those 3 board mounting standoffs that are broken off. I may fix the broken case tab on the right as well. The heatsink on the 5 Volt regulator is a bit loose, so it won’t be making the greatest thermal transfer to it. I will see about fixing that up before using the computer too much as well.

I am looking at the options for replacing the case badge. I also plan to paint this case and not to try and retrobright it or anything like that. The letters on the keyboard keys are also yellowed. On the left side it isn’t too bad, but as you go across the keyboard it gets quite bad. This computer will never be the best show piece. I think I like it though for the 8 Pin Video on the early board, and the main chips being socketed. I could easily use this board to test most of the typical breadbin primary chips. Being is such poor physical shape gives me a bit of freedom as this case will never be “like new” again, I can do what I want and not have to feel like I am harming it. It is a bit unique and it will remain so. I didn’t check the Chroma output on that 8 Pin video port yet, but I will get around to that probably later this week.

Once I was done cleaning it up, and I finally put the keyboard back together I fired it up again to try out a game again. I “think” it looks a little better onscreen. It still has noticeably worse jail bars than my other Commodore 64. I am only using it on my little 7″ composite display so I don’t know how bad for sure until I put it on a bigger display.

As I make progress on the restoration of this Commodore 64 I will probably do a followup post on it.

Pi1541 in 1541 Case & More (Bare Tapuino, Audio & Composite LCD power) – Part 1

I am looking to put a Pi1541 in a spare 1541 case I have. It seems a bit roomy for such a thing. So I am looking to put some additional items into it. 

I plan on putting in a Tapuino (Bare Tapuino). The controls for the Pi1541 and the Tapuino will be installed into the 5.25″ drive plate. 

I also have a 7″ LCD TFT display, commonly used for Backup Cameras in cars I guess. I have shown it in my other blog posts here when testing the C64. The LCD runs off a 12Volt supply, it typically shows that it is drawing around 250mA of current at 12Volts. I have picked up a MeanWell dual voltage power supply. It has 2 inputs, so I will be wiring it to the Pi as one input and to an external port to have it connect to the C64 etc if I like. The harness that it came with has a PS/2 type connector, so I will put a pass through in the 1541 case to allow easy disconnect.

I am looking to also put in a small mono audio amp with control on the 5.25″ plate as well. The amp will have an input in the back of the case to accept input from the C64/128 etc. It also has a switch to get the audio from the Pi instead, I don’t recommend flipping the switch with the C64 connected and powered up though. Also the C64 etc should always be OFF when plugging or unplugging it, as well as the device it is plugging into for safety.

Power will be handled by an internal MeanWell supply or two, using the original power connections and switch off of the back of the 1541. 

I am mounting the Pi above the power switch with the USB and Network port accessible. I also want to make the HDMI accessible too. The Pi’s card slot will be extended to the front of the 5.25″ plate to aid in swapping the cards. 

I figure if the Pi’s ports are accessible, and the card slot. I can easily swap the card and run other things on the Pi. That is if the gpio connections wouldn’t cause a problem. 

I am going to design a board for the main Pi1541 circuitry as well as the Bare Tapuino and LCD connection. I am not sure of my ability to make the board myself. I was originally going to go with a single sided design, but it ended up getting more complex. While I possibly could have still done it with a fair number of jumper wires on the other side, I think it would have just been to messy for my taste. If I can’t make the board, I may look at ordering one from one of the pcb manufacturers.

Here is the first mockup of the front Panel. The Pi1541 and audio volume control for the audio amp is on the left, with the Tapuino controls on the right side. This was before I started cutting the mesh panel for the controls.

Here is the panel after I got it all cut out. I did put fresh coat of black paint on it. It wasn’t the most fun to get correct. The LED holes are slightly off, and I have adjusted the leads on the LEDs to shift them a little. The buttons seem to work well, and the LCDs are fine. The holes were done with my cheap Harbor Freight Drill press. The LCD and SD Slot openings were done with the Dremmel and a cut off wheel mostly.

The Tapuino is based on the Tapuino design that has the option to do tape copies with another cassette or cassette emulator. My unit won’t have that connected up, but I figured the design should have it. I couldn’t find the 1.7? schematics that include addtional status LEDs as well as a buzzer/speaker. I am not sure I want the buzzer, although it was neat idea I guess, and I don’t need the status LEDs, I have the LCD which shows the status fine.

I am building the Tapuino with a bare ATMega instead of using an Arduino Nano or Pro Mini or such. I have partially built up the Tapuino on an Uno, and on the Bareduino for some testing. I should really finish building it up on a breadboard to verify it actually works before etching the board though.

Here is one of the latest designs for the board printed out for fit testing. You can see the MeanWell supply there at the top left. I did mount the supply close to where it is sitting, but I did turn it to get acess to the ports, and also have metal to get it properly screwed into. The Raspberry Pi is mounted there to the left. I used some M2.5 salvaged screws and a metal plate. I used salvaged heavy wire insulation as custom height standoffs for the Pi. The screws pass through them tightly and it keeps the board from getting down on the metal plate below. The plate is mounted to the holes where the regulator heatsink had been mounted to the frame. That lets the Pi get good ventilation as well being at the vents. I retained the original power jack, switch and fuse and run that into the MeanWell supply. When I did the mockup fitting I found the design (laying there to the left of the case) that I had was over too far. I squeezed it down a little. While it cleared the Pi pretty well, it would have interfered with my SD Card extension. You can see the little bit of of white strip there going under the fake circuit board. It is also that wider white flat cable going up past he power supply. The latest change to the board is I have extended it and put the mark in for the third screw in the upper corner.

Here is where I started putting in the openings for the port on the Pi. I started by drilling the holes near the corners. After that I largely used the Dremel to open the bulk of the holes. For the finer fitting I used a fresh Xacto knife and some small hand files.

I was very happy that I was able to leave the posts between the ports and that I didn’t have to open them up with gaps between them. So here is the side of the case with the Pi in it when I was basically finished with it. There you see the Network card and USB ports opened into it.

I have mounted a HDMI extender as well, that is in the lower portion of the case.

Here is the front panel installed and the Pi1541 powering up. I have the audio amp off, and the Tapuino isn’t present inside. Also the Tapuino is powered by the C64 Cassette port anyways.

Here is the additional rear port for the Tapuino. It is a 6pin Din to a C64 Cassette edge connector connector. The cable is an old Cat5 Stranded wire cable which is very flexible and actually nicely durable. The shell on the Edge Connector is a DB15 shell that I had to work the holes a bit to get aligned well enough to get screwed in.

Here is the custom cassette cable.

Here is the current state of the back of the case. The left RCA port is the Video IN for AV2 on the LCD Monitor output. The red jack is the Audio in for the internal speakers, with the switch beside it to switch between that jack and the Pi for Audio. The Pi Audio is mixed with some 470Ohm resistors to prevent damage to the Pi as I am mixing the Stereo inputs down to Mono on it. The wire there in the one old Serial port hole is the PS/2 like connection for the LCD Monitor. I am using a temporary cable I made up for that until the board is etched though. The last thing I am thinking to add is a Reset button for the Pi. I didn’t put one on the front, for one there is not much space, and I don’t want to accidentally hit it.

The Pi is intended to have the card swapped and be used for other things. So for other setups I plan to take and setup one of the front buttons as a Safe Shutdown button. Then the Reset button on the back would be the power on button to wake it from that state.

Here is another shot of the monitor on the Pi1541 powered up.

Without the custom board, the Pi1541 isn’t complete and the Tapuino doesn’t exist except the control panel though. So here is the internal as it is setup awaiting that. I have most of the wiring done, and the header cables made up now.

Here I have removed the Pi. I needed to install the header to the Run pin on the Pi. I had wanted to show the mounting bracket a bit as well. So that made it convenient. The Pi is fully removable by unplugging cables and taking out the 4 screws. In the picture you can see the HDMI extender there below the plate as well as the hole in the plate that lets the heat sink on the bottom of the Pi to come through it. The 4 small holes in the plate are where the Pi screws in. There you can see some although maybe not all of the various headers. The long on on the left being the Tapuino port cable. I really wanted to leave enough to get the case open safely. The headers are not keyed(blocked holes), so I want to be able to easily double that I have connected them all up correctly without fighting the cables. You can see the little speakers mounted up where the old physical drive was. The speakers were salvaged from some old unknown laptop years ago I believe. They were stereo speakers, but as my Amp is Audio, and it was happier driving them in series than even a single one (too much power was going to burn up the little tiny amp). So they are wired up in series to lower the overall output, but driving both speakers at once. The little mono audio board is there as well. The little black thing on between the speakers there with ROHS on it is an ground isolation device, because the Pi and the audio amp were on the same power supply I was getting some interference.

Here I have reinstalled the Pi after putting on the little blue header pins for the Run connector. You can see the 12pin connector that will goto the Pi1541 section there. You can see the temporary PS/2 type connector that goes to the LCD laying below the case, the proper connector is already on it, so that it will just plug strait into the circuit board when it is ready. The three sets of wire that will goto the Tapuino section are there as well, the flat ribbon from the SD card slot, then one for the buttons and one for the LCD although the ends of them are obscured.

Here is the Pi header. I didn’t have a header that was large enough to connect it all up in one piece. The remaining pins are not being used. Some go off to the front panel, the smaller wires blue and white and one red one on the second 5Volt pin. The others are going to a 12pin 6×2 header that will then plug into the Pi1541 board that I haven’t created yet.

I have run the audio from the Pi for a good burn in while running in Linux playing some Youtube videos. If I turn the audio up to where it is nearly distorting it does start to get very warm. So I probably will have to watch that I don’t overdrive it and burn it out, but if I keep the volume reasonable it should be just fine.

Here is a shot of the latest board layout. I just did some work on it last night to extend it up for the third mounting hole there. There are some other minor adjustments compared to the paper printed mockup shown above. The Tapuino and the Pi1541 board are completely independent but just on the same board. You can see the DRV LED header there in the upper right. That header is to goto the original Green drive LED on the case front. It will be an always on light when the main power switch is on.

With the free version of Eagle it limits your building area, so that is at the extreme top edge of usable board area in the free version. If I could have put it at the extreme top I would have though. It is also right at the far right edge as well. You can extend the board itself, and you can put Text on the extended area, as well as that through hole mark for the screw. There is a little room to go further left, but I think the bottom is about as far as it can go down. It is a little trick there with Eagle to find your edges.

If you look at the Pi1541 section, you will see some additions based on Steve’s Wiring Diagram for the Option B hardware. I while haven’t seen any boards using those additional signals he said that it would work with the current firmware, and that it is for some later additions.

I guess I will need to work out the Pi Reset/Restart button location and wiring and testing. I then also am thinking of painting the plastic case as it is a bit oddly discolored. and has some writing scratched into the one side. I figured on filling in the scratched on letters, and then painting it. I want to save that for a bit later though, so there is less risk of damaging the paint while building it still. Also if you look at the pictures you may notice things like the external Audio and Video jacks are not yet connected up. That is due to the interest in painting the case before installing them permanently.

I also have not yet worked out the issue in that the MeanWell supply I picked up needs a minimum load on the 12Volt line. I did try with a load resistor, and that worked, but it is wasteful, and generates that much heat 2.5Watts? I don’t want to introduce the heat inside the case. I would then need a fan, but I was thinking if I would want a fan, why not just get a fan that would use the current itself. I did have a small 12Volt fan that uses 200mA of current, but it was way to loud. The way I have been using it so far though is to always have the LCD connected up. That puts sufficient load on it, but my intention is for the LCD to be optional and not always connected.

I will post an update once I get the board made up. I may post another on testing though if anything interesting comes up.

Commodore 1541ii Replacement Power Supply

My 1541ii didn’t come with a power supply. I initially tested the drive with some pins on power leads from my variable power supplies. That worked to test that it was functioning. It certainly wasn’t the best way to use the drive long term. I had a MeanWell dual output 5Volt and 12Volt supply I picked up for another project and had ordered in a 4pin Din connector. The next time I used the 1541ii drive, I had wired it up with that drive. Well right as I started using it the drive failed on me (see prior post). It turned out the SRAM failed for some reason. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the MeanWell supply or not. That supply requires a minimum load on both outputs for it to work properly. I don’t know if it wasn’t getting that load and was sending the wrong voltages to the unit.

After that I went back to using my regulated variable supply for the 12Volts and a 5Volt fixed bench supply I have to test the drive from there on. The MeanWell is intended for another project, but it my not be used for that project either as I don’t think I will be providing the “minimum load” on it.

I decided to order in a used dual voltage power adapter from Ebay to become the new supply for this drive. The one I picked up is 5Volt 1.5Amp and 12Volt 1.5Amp. So it is more than sufficient for the job, provided the quality and condition of the unit is good.

The supply I picked up to convert for the 1541ii

All I really needed to do was cut off the existing 4Pin Mini Din connector and replace it with a properly wired 4Pin Din connector. While I could have purchased a cheap new supply and done the same thing with it, I felt this “old” supply was probably going to be better quality than the cheap replacements. It did come in looking a bit dirty like the picture above, but it cleaned up well and tested fine.

Here is an image of an original supply. Notice the Pinout there. Only 3 of the pins are used on the 1541ii Supply. It is said that the ratings on these original supplies were rather low, potentially causing them to overheat and be unreliable. That sounds a bit like the original Commodore 64 supplies now that I think of it..

Image of an original supply.

Here is the supply with the connector changed out.

While I don’t normally wire the “ring” of the Din Connector up to anything, I did wire the second ground to it as it was a convenient way to keep it out of the way, and I don’t know if that 4th pin goes to anything inside the 1541ii. I probably should have taken pictures of the connector before closing it up.

After soldering on the wires to the pins in the Din connector I insulated all the pins and wires with Liquid Electrical tape. It has a bit of hold to the wires, but mostly is to help prevent shorting in the connector in case a wire pulls loose. There isn’t much room in there to get normal heat shrink on the pins, as it is best to keep the casing to wrap the clamp part of the connector to. I did the same thing with the Commodore 64 power connector, and my new video/monitor cable.

I did put a piece of heat shrink on the cable under the strain relief cover of the Din plug. That piece of heat shrink builds up the end of the cable just a little and makes the strain relief bit grip well. Without it, that relief tends to pull back easily and will likely tear prematurely. I have done the same thing on my Commodore 64 Power Supply’s Din plug. I wish I had done it with my new video cable I made. My old original video cable could have really used it as well, but I don’t want to take apart the connectors and redo all of the soldering on them. There is a bit of risk in damaging the Din plugs as they melt easily when the heat is applied to solder and desolder the wires.

The supply seems to work fine with my 1541ii. The Din Plug quality is rather lacking though, I think it will hold up ok, but the fit isn’t the nicest.

Commodore 1541ii Repair. already..

Watching some videos, I noticed the 1541II had a grounding wire going from the one screw on the mainboard up to the right side of the drive assembly. I happened the have a braided ground cable of approximately the proper length that I salvaged recently and was on the bench still. I cut it down a bit and soldered a second lug to it and put some heat shrink on that end. The original one that I saw was not insulated, but as this one was already covered in heat shrink I figured I would leave that. I also picked up some new 10uF 25Volt Panasonic Electrolytic caps with my last order from I figured I would swap out the 3 original capacitors on the board. I went ahead and replaced the capacitors and reassembled the drive with the additional of the grounding strap. I had rigged a Meanwell dual voltage power supply with a power cable for the drive and figured I would test it out. I fired up the Final Cartridge III+ and brought up the Disk utility and checked the status of the drive, it came up normally. I attempted to read the disk and it failed then it started blinking an error. I turned it off and reset it and then it only blinked the light with a somewhat slow blink and kept turning the drive.

I rechecked everything, made sure again the capacitors were installed correctly, that nothing had shorted. That the power supply was supplying the proper voltages. I swapped the VIA chips. The board is fully socketed, so I removed and reinstalled all of the chips. I used my IC identifier on all of the 74 logic chips and they all read fine. I don’t know if that IC checker is just an identifier, or if it really checks for proper operation. I also tried both in normal mode and in JiffyDOS mode.

After all of that I also tried powering the drive with my fixed 5 Volt linear power supply and my variable regulated supply set to 12 Volts. The same results pretty much every time. I did a search and couldn’t find anything on that issue. So I had done all I could, I went to the Lemon64 forum to see if I could get any feedback on the issue. Someone pointed me to Ray Carlson’s 1541II troubleshooting text file, and after reviewing it there was a reference that the issue may be the SRAM and if not that the next would possibly be the DOS Rom.

The SRAM socket was an ugly thing so I figured I would start replacing it. I pulled that cut up socket and installed a new old stock one I had around. That didn’t fix the issue though.

Here is the old “socket” (for U5) after removing the solder. The socket for the 7406 (U7) is also desoldered. That socket was not seated flush to the board and was leaning toward the U5 socket making it just a bit too tight a fit. I put it down flush to the board like it belonged.
The board after removing the socket.
New Old Stock socket on the left and the original “socket” on the right.
Here is the new socket installed for U5 before putting the chips back. Yes it seems to be a gold plated socket.

Next I desoldered the SRAM chip from my spare 1541 board as it is the same type of chip on it. I installed the salvaged chip and the drive worked. Well it quit blinking constantly.

I then assembled the drive and connected it back to my Commodore 64. I went to check the status and it came up normally. I went to read a disk and it just error blinked. So I took the top back off of the drive, it seems the head wouldn’t move under it’s own power. I checked if it was free, and it would move with the power off, but there is some resistance. I don’t know how free it should normally be though. I then used the Alps drive test built into the Final Cartridge III+ to move he head around, it moved out but it didn’t move back the first time. The next time it did move back. I tried a few times and then I put in a disk. I was then able to read the disk normally. I read a few of the programs on it and it seemed to be working again.

I am going to get some silicone grease put on the rails to keep them freed up. I hope this drive will keep on working properly now. I am on to getting a proper power supply wrapped up for it as well.

Commodore 5 1/4″ Drive Transit/Transport Card

I currently have a 1541 and a 1541ii drive. Neither (as well as the third parts drive) came with their Transit Card. I found info on the cards at Ray Carlson’s site. The cards are to protect the heads from banging around and getting damaged while being transported. They do a combination of pushing the head to the back by the head stop position and hold it there during transport to prevent damage to the drives.

So I took the images from Ray’s site into Gimp 2 and recreated the text and boxes etc. I did grab a color copy of the commodore logo from a Google search, and put on it to replace the original. It worked out great, except my printer can’t handle cardstock that is stiff enough to make the cards. I did a test print on some cardstock, but it was too lightweight. I then used that as a template to mark and cut one onto a heavier piece of stock that worked out very well. The overall dimensions minus the back tab are 5.25″ by 5.25″ with the 7/8th inch tab offset on the back. The card needs to be stiff enough that the tab on the back does not bend when inserted. If the card it too wide, of course it won’t fit into the drive. If it it too deep it will not let you latch the drive shut on it. The second card I cut from the thicker material did fit my 1541ii drive fine, but my Alps drive didn’t latch because it was hitting the front of the card just a little bit. I knew it was slightly deeper than the original I had printed, but that showed there isn’t much wiggle room in there. I trimmed that little bit of excess off of the front of the card and it fit perfectly in to the ALPS drive.

The shape of the card is based on the 251171-003 that fits the 1541, 1541ii and 1571 drives. It is a bit of a pity that I spend so much time recreating the card graphics, but I can’t print one on heavy enough stock with my printer. Overall I think it turned out well though.

Yes, I know I did not put in the proper foreign characters..

The base information for the card was from Ray Carlsen’s site:

Commodore 128 Power Supply Recap

I also have a Commodore 128 and original power supply. The supply was in working order. As had a capacitor kit for it, I figured I would take care of replacing the Capacitors in it. The main trick is that my supply’s model number doesn’t match the contents.

The model on this drive seems to indicate the internal supply should be
310416-05 but the internal is actually a Mitsumi 252449-01. I checked the supply before so I knew which kit I needed.

The supply came with 4 plugs in the screw holes in the bottom. They aren’t always the easiest to get out. One was already missing and the next two came out easily. The final one I ended up drilling a small hole in it to pull it out. I wasn’t worried about putting them back in.

The supply with the original Capacitors.
The new Capacitors.

This a rather simple job. There are only two capacitors in this model of supply. The replacement ones are a good bit shorter, and have a very slightly smaller diameter. They are good quality and 105 Degree rated, as well as low ESR types for proper operation in this switching power supply.

Here you can see all of the flux still over the bottom of the board from the factory.
Here is the board after I switched the Capacitors and cleaned the flux from it.

Here is the board after installing the capacitors. I also touched up a few other connections. I cleaned the old flux from the board as well, it looks much better cleaned up.

Here is the completed supply reinstalled in the case with the old capacitors beside it. I tested them and they do appear to likely be fine. I will still trust the supply to hold up with the new ones in long term.

Assembly of a Final Cartridge III+ for the Commodore 64

I ordered in a Final Cartridge III + Kit from bruktmoped on Ebay. Considering the distance coming from Norway to the US it arrived more quickly than I expected. The parts in the kit were of good quality. The board was very nice, the resistors and diodes had “real” leads like they used to 20 years ago, not the ultra thin ones that are typical of today’s cheap resistors that I get in from the east. Yes, I buy the cheap stuff for my hobby work. I don’t know if they were new old stock like some I have purchased, or if you buy them from an electronics supplier that they are still like that. Either way, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the quality of the parts.

The Final Cartridge III+ is a reproduction of the old Final Cartridge III. The chip came already programmed. You can apparently make your own up with additional programs, but mine here is just setup as bruktmoped shipped out the Eprom. I laid over the electrolytic capacitors and raised the LED off the board, as I was installing this into a 3d printed cartridge case that I again picked up from ibuy24 on Ebay. I have picked up a number of 3d printed cartridge cases from ibuy24 now.

Here is the assembled board.

The only thing that was lacking was a jumper (and instructions) on what to do with JP1 there. I didn’t know what that was for, and no instructions came with the kit. I did initially try it without the jumper at all and it did not operate at all like that I did some searches on the FCIII+ and found some pictures and a bit of info on that. That jumper seems to set the board up for the type of Eprom that is on the board. For the size of Eprom the board came with, it needs to be in the left position. I did install a jumper header though rather than soldering in a permanent jumper. To get the case to fit I had to use an extra short jump, which I did happen to have in my surplus jumper bin.

It fits great.
Here is the top cover which I drilled for the Freeze and Reset buttons.
Here on the front I drilled for the LED.
Here on the back I hollowed out on the back side so the LED could get closer to the surface. I also had to take a little out of that support platform around the screw standoff .

So I drilled out for the Reset and Freeze buttons on the top as well as the LED with my drill press. The drill press gives more control than a hand drill, but you could do it with one. I would probably have used my Dremel instead of a hand drill though if I didn’t have the drill press. My drill press isn’t anything fancy, it is just the cheap model from Harbor Freight which I picked up for around $50 with one of their coupons. I did have to take a little out of that support area for some clearance issues for the short jumper as well. The case came with a nice brass thread for the screw as well, which I think was a nice touch. Another nice touch as you can see the case has an insert plate for the label area. I am going to make a custom label for on it before securing it permanently to the case.

Here is the cartridge installed into the Commodore 64 and powered up.

Here is a quick view of the menu system on it. You can navigate with the function keys and select the option with the Commodre “C=” Key. You can alternately navigate the menus with a Joystick, or I guess a mouse if you have a compatible one.

I really enjoyed putting this kit together. The board and components were of good quality, and it and was a lot of fun for someone like me that is. I would far rather put stuff together to use than buy it prebuilt. It isn’t like I did a lot, although the case took a bit of time to get the buttons just right and such. While the bare board looks very nice, I am happier with a cartridge in a case. The case makes inserting the cartridge so much easier because it aligns it to the slot, and aids removal by providing a good grip as well as protecting the circuitry from static shock and such. The case has a good solid feel to it as well.