Looking for your opinion

Pete1964

New Member
Aug 17, 2019
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Hi all! Looking for opinions on an idea I’ve had for ages. I’m thinking about what in my mind would be the ultimate sleeper build. Using a Commodore PET case and retrofitting modern gaming hardware inside. Let the conversation begin and please just constructive discussion!
 

Markeno

Member
Jul 19, 2019
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My feeling is generally that if it can be kept original I like to see that. There are less of the old machines that are serviceable or repairable all the time. I wouldn't sacrifice a working unit for a project like that. I would expect though that you could find a unit that is not practical to repair, If it can not be repaired (reasonably), then I think it is better to make use of it in another way. I had a 1541 with a bad head that was never going to be repaired, so I made use of the case for something more useful than a boat anchor. It has already donated parts to get two other drives in working order.
 

Pete1964

New Member
Aug 17, 2019
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My feeling is generally that if it can be kept original I like to see that. There are less of the old machines that are serviceable or repairable all the time. I wouldn't sacrifice a working unit for a project like that. I would expect though that you could find a unit that is not practical to repair, If it can not be repaired (reasonably), then I think it is better to make use of it in another way. I had a 1541 with a bad head that was never going to be repaired, so I made use of the case for something more useful than a boat anchor. It has already donated parts to get two other drives in working order.
I certainly wouldn’t use a working repairable PET for this. Not to mention the fact that they are far to expensive on eBay at the least. I will search the flee markets and junk shops mostly. The early PET’s cases are my favorite design of all time. Especially the earlier models, ie. The 1000 model
 
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May 22, 2019
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This is similar to something I want to do... I want to mount a modern motherboard in an old portable computer case. Only, I want to emulate the old hardware and run CP/M or DOS on modern silicon.

Anyway, If you're going to go all out, you could easily put a Micro ATX or Pico ITX computer in the PET's lower section. The display would be a bit more of a challenge, but I'd look for a 4:3 flat panel that will fit the space occupied by the Pet's CRT.

The keyboard is going to be the real challenge... that calculator keyboard is just plain horrible, and it's going to be a challenge to find one that even functions. You could certainly connect the keyboard matrix to a modern computer, using a microcontroller, like a Teensy or an Arduino Leonardo, but I think I'd rely on a modern mechanical keyboard for day to day use.
 

CaseyBaker

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Sep 27, 2019
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The keyboard is going to be the real challenge... that calculator keyboard is just plain horrible, and it's going to be a challenge to find one that even functions. You could certainly connect the keyboard matrix to a modern computer, using a microcontroller, like a Teensy or an Arduino Leonardo, but I think I'd rely on a modern mechanical keyboard for day to day use.
Only the earliest PETs have the chicklet keyboards. From 1978 onwards, Commodore used real keyboards in the PET and ditched the cassette drive to make room for it. These models are called 4032 and 8032/ 8096 in Europe, not sure if they are named the same in USA
 
May 22, 2019
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Only the earliest PETs have the chicklet keyboards. From 1978 onwards, Commodore used real keyboards in the PET and ditched the cassette drive to make room for it. These models are called 4032 and 8032/ 8096 in Europe, not sure if they are named the same in USA
yeah, the 2001 was the original model, and later models were numbered based on the number of columns and RAM. So a 4032 was a 40 column display with 32K of RAM. And those did indeed have typewriter keyboards.
 

TheGeekPub

The Geek Pub
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May 15, 2019
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This is where I stand on projects like this:

If the computer is trashed, and can never be put back to original (ie. you found it in a garbage bin), then go for it, but if the computer can be restored to all original, it should be restored.

If the computer is in good shape, I support modding it as long as all original components are saved and no modifications are done that cannot be easily reversed. In my Raspberry Pi C64 build, this is why I 3D printed all of the components and made them attach to original mounting locations. This way I can always convert the C64 back to the original hardware.
 

JHarley

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
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Northampton, England
I think (as others have said) the 2001 is definitely out of the running, the calculator keyboard as cool as it looks is actually plain horrible to use, I'm actually quite interested in this, I attempted something similar, my concept was to fit a Mac Mini into a Macintosh S/E case with upgrades like a CD drive instead of the 3 1/2 inch floppy drive, unfortunately due to the price of the Mac Mini and the cost of shipping to the UK (there aren't many original Macs over here) I couldn't find a way which was cost-effective for me and I ditched the whole project, hope your sleeper build goes well

Joe
 

segaman40

New Member
Oct 14, 2019
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Hi, I'm a new member and this is my first post, but topic is something I too have thought about for some time now. A while ago I got a Commodore 8096 and a 8250 disk drive, I connected it up and it was fine for around 3-4 hours and I heard a pop, went back into the room and saw some smoke emitting from the machine. I could see on the MB where the likely affected area was so I set out trying to get some help, one place here in the UK that I asked for advice from was a Commodore museum where enthusiasts have various models, so I thought they'd be able to give me some help, they weren't in the least bit interested, they're quick enough sure to accept donations of various sorts over some time, but ask for help and they just say sorry, but no.

Anyway, I stripped this down to the various parts, I couldn't believe the build quality of these beasts, they are built like tanks, the main housing is around 10mm thick. I thought like the original poster, it might be good to utilize the hardware somehow. Maybe installing a modern PC or gaming console inside, also to look at maybe converting the keyboard to USB, and fitting a small LCD monitor into the monitor housing, I know in some eyes this may be sacrilegious, but it's such a shame to have it just stuck there amongst my many 8-bit computers and consoles, looking at me just begging to get back into service, just kidding, but seriously, it would be good to utilize it some way, it just looks so good, I have attached a picture to show the kit. Truth is, is really just lay there gathering dust, but when I started to watch the 8-bit Guy's video's, I followed it through to his website and saw the forum and asked to join. I have several 8-bit computers, Atari and Commodore amongst others, but that brings up another thing too.

Years ago I bought a Commodore computer on ebay, it's currently buried amongst various boxes, but I think it was called a PB80, I haven't even looked at it for ages, if I remember rightly it looks like a bigger version of the original C64. I know there was a fault with the video display, sort of lines running across the display laterally. I think the research that I did suggested it was a similar chip to the video chip in the old 64's, but thats not for sure. The PC was built in Germany I think from what I remember on the label, when I asked for advice on an American site, people just seemed interested in buying it rather than giving help - must be a common trait eh? Thing was, I couldn't even find any software for the computer so perhaps it was just some kind of proptotype that was abandoned, I had only paid about £30 for it and I only bought it out of curiosity, so again, that too was consigned to it's box and stored away. If anyone has any idea, I'll drag it out again and check the actual model details. So first post, sorry to rabbit on, take a look at the 8096 picture, as I said the build quality was very good then, and as for that disk drive, it's heavier than my old woman, all the best.

NB I tried to upload a couple of pictures but it tells me the file size is too large, betwee 1-2mb, sorry
 
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JHarley

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
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Northampton, England
Hi, I'm a new member and this is my first post, but topic is something I too have thought about for some time now. A while ago I got a Commodore 8096 and a 8250 disk drive, I connected it up and it was fine for around 3-4 hours and I heard a pop, went back into the room and saw some smoke emitting from the machine. I could see on the MB where the likely affected area was so I set out trying to get some help, one place here in the UK that I asked for advice from was a Commodore museum where enthusiasts have various models, so I thought they'd be able to give me some help, they weren't in the least bit interested, they're quick enough sure to accept donations of various sorts over some time, but ask for help and they just say sorry, but no.

Anyway, I stripped this down to the various parts, I couldn't believe the build quality of these beasts, they are built like tanks, the main housing is around 10mm thick. I thought like the original poster, it might be good to utilize the hardware somehow. Maybe installing a modern PC or gaming console inside, also to look at maybe converting the keyboard to USB, and fitting a small LCD monitor into the monitor housing, I know in some eyes this may be sacrilegious, but it's such a shame to have it just stuck there amongst my many 8-bit computers and consoles, looking at me just begging to get back into service, just kidding, but seriously, it would be good to utilize it some way, it just looks so good, I have attached a picture to show the kit. Truth is, is really just lay there gathering dust, but when I started to watch the 8-bit Guy's video's, I followed it through to his website and saw the forum and asked to join. I have several 8-bit computers, Atari and Commodore amongst others, but that brings up another thing too.

Years ago I bought a Commodore computer on ebay, it's currently buried amongst various boxes, but I think it was called a PB80, I haven't even looked at it for ages, if I remember rightly it looks like a bigger version of the original C64. I know there was a fault with the video display, sort of lines running across the display laterally. I think the research that I did suggested it was a similar chip to the video chip in the old 64's, but thats not for sure. The PC was built in Germany I think from what I remember on the label, when I asked for advice on an American site, people just seemed interested in buying it rather than giving help - must be a common trait eh? Thing was, I couldn't even find any software for the computer so perhaps it was just some kind of proptotype that was abandoned, I had only paid about £30 for it and I only bought it out of curiosity, so again, that too was consigned to it's box and stored away. If anyone has any idea, I'll drag it out again and check the actual model details. So first post, sorry to rabbit on, take a look at the 8096 picture, as I said the build quality was very good then, and as for that disk drive, it's heavier than my old woman, all the best.

NB I tried to upload a couple of pictures but it tells me the file size is too large, betwee 1-2mb, sorry
Hi mate,

Most likely the pop you heard was the power supply, Commodore power supplies are notorious for 'exploding', sounds like a good sleeper concept, as to the other computer I'm drawing a blank, could possibly be another version of the 64 for Europe, who knows, anyway welcome to the forum

Best Regards,

Joe
 

segaman40

New Member
Oct 14, 2019
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Hi mate,

Most likely the pop you heard was the power supply, Commodore power supplies are notorious for 'exploding', sounds like a good sleeper concept, as to the other computer I'm drawing a blank, could possibly be another version of the 64 for Europe, who knows, anyway welcome to the forum

Best Regards,

Joe
Hi, thanks for the response, I have been without my broadband, thanks to BT, for a few days but it seems OK now. Actually, the pop I referred to was on the motherboard, I think it was a capacitor of something, there was a purple/black smear on the main board, it was this I mentioned when I contacted the Commodore museum here in the UK. I thought it maybe a relatively simple matter to replace it. I was annoyed with myself really, I should have done a little more research but I couldn't wait to boot it up, ah well. Yes the P80, or whatever it is, I really do think it must have been a proptotype which was dropped, but again, thanks for the reply.
 
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Markeno

Member
Jul 19, 2019
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If you resize your pictures you can upload them. You can open them in a program and choose to resize them. Typically I just open them in Paint on windows and then hit the resize button at the top and set them to 50% and that is enough, depending on your camera it may vary. It would be good to see it. Many picture/image editing programs have a resize option.

You may have blown a capacitor or something, but if the capacitor was removed then, it would likely turn on if nothing else was broken. I am not saying it would work properly, but it may operate without it. Pictures would likely have to be seen to have any chance of helping you identify what it was though.
 

JHarley

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
20
4
3
Northampton, England
Hi, thanks for the response, I have been without my broadband, thanks to BT, for a few days but it seems OK now. Actually, the pop I referred to was on the motherboard, I think it was a capacitor of something, there was a purple/black smear on the main board, it was this I mentioned when I contacted the Commodore museum here in the UK. I thought it maybe a relatively simple matter to replace it. I was annoyed with myself really, I should have done a little more research but I couldn't wait to boot it up, ah well. Yes the P80, or whatever it is, I really do think it must have been a proptotype which was dropped, but again, thanks for the reply.
Yes, capacitors are a bit problematic, whatever it is I'm sure it can be repaired, it's just a matter of identifying the problem, the P80 sounds quite interesting as I've never heard of it?, hope you are having a good weekend

Thanks,

Joe
 

segaman40

New Member
Oct 14, 2019
6
2
3
If you resize your pictures you can upload them. You can open them in a program and choose to resize them. Typically I just open them in Paint on windows and then hit the resize button at the top and set them to 50% and that is enough, depending on your camera it may vary. It would be good to see it. Many picture/image editing programs have a resize option.

You may have blown a capacitor or something, but if the capacitor was removed then, it would likely turn on if nothing else was broken. I am not saying it would work properly, but it may operate without it. Pictures would likely have to be seen to have any chance of helping you identify what it was though.
Hi, thanks for that, I'll spend some time this weekend and play around with the pictures, actually, the pictures I mentioned were of the hardware, including the DD, but I will drag out the MB and have a closer look where the problem was. I have a couple of BBC model B computers, they too have issues with capacitors, I think much of the old stuff I have stored for so long will also be problematical. I played around with the original xbox consoles and they were the same. I did try to reboot the PC a few hours after, but no luck, the monitor didn't display anything as I remember, but as I say, I will dig it out when I get chance
Regards
 

segaman40

New Member
Oct 14, 2019
6
2
3
Yes, capacitors are a bit problematic, whatever it is I'm sure it can be repaired, it's just a matter of identifying the problem, the P80 sounds quite interesting as I've never heard of it?, hope you are having a good weekend

Thanks,

Joe
Thanks Joe, I'll find the box housing the old Commodore machine, and I'll upload a picture of that, I honestly don't remember too much about it other than what I have said, so I'll take a couple of pictures from various angles, maybe someone will know. I'm sure it was built in the old West Germany as it was, and it has a P80, PB80 logo as I remember. I have collected several 8 & 16 bit computers from the 80's but this one is a bit of a mystery. As I said, I couldn't see any software for this piece of kit so it's just an ornament really. A couple of guys in the US replied when I first asked about it years ago, so maybe they're more clued up on the PC, so I will reply to you and get some pictures, I appreciate your interest too, thanks again

Tony
 
May 22, 2019
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I'm sure it was built in the old West Germany as it was, and it has a P80, PB80 logo as I remember
Oh, I know what that is.

For a while, Commodore made PC clones, the PC-I, PC-5, PC-10, PC-20, PC-40, PC-50, and PC-60.


If you have one of those, you have a fairly rare item, as those are hard to come by today. No wonder people were offering to buy it from you when you asked for help fixing it! :)
 

segaman40

New Member
Oct 14, 2019
6
2
3
Oh, I know what that is.

For a while, Commodore made PC clones, the PC-I, PC-5, PC-10, PC-20, PC-40, PC-50, and PC-60.


If you have one of those, you have a fairly rare item, as those are hard to come by today. No wonder people were offering to buy it from you when you asked for help fixing it! :)
Ah, thanks for that, I intend to get it out this weekend to check what it actually is, I thought it was a P80, but I'll know this weekend, thanks again