Commodore C64 Hardware
This page details a number of Commodore related
hardware projects. I try to only build simple hardware projects
involving minimal wiring and at most a handful of other components....
nothing too complex to be found here! Feel free to download whatever
(300kb) is a hardware /software project for the Commodore C64.
A Hitachi controlled alpha-numeric LCD screen is hardwired to
the UserPort and the Kernal ROM coded to operate with both screens
(video and LCD). A 40character by 4line LCD display is wired up
and mounted to C64c case (deck behind the keyboard now tilts for
view angle adjustment). The download zip includes the necessary
information to wire this project up, demonstration software in
BASIC, a replacement Kernal ROM and general information about
LCD interfacing. Thanks go to Commodore Scene Magazine for publishing
A/D Converter: (21kb) Always wanted to use your PC steering wheel to do
a few laps of Pole-Position? How about use a "real" flight controller
Well it is now possible with this analog-to-digital converter/adaptor.
Unlike other circuits that simply connect the PC-joystick to
the PotX and PotY inputs, this circuit converts to analog signals
to the standard digital up /down /left /right equivalents
so you can use all the popular games without having to patch
Gun: (142kb) these are the updated instructions for converting
a Sega 3050 Light Phaser for use with a Commodore. Two trigger
options are described, a "LightPen" mode and a "LightGun" mode.
The first mode is compatible with software such as Micro-Illustrator,
the second works with shoot'em ups such as Operation Thunderbolt
(included in download!).
The instructions include pinout information
for the adaptor and a BASIC demo/test program for the LightPen
mode. Note that only Control Port#1 on the C64 is connected to
the Light Pen input on the VIC chip. Standard Light Pen software
will also work with the Light Phaser. I'd like to hear from anyone
who knows of other Light Gun games for the C64. Now.... if only
I could find time to program a C64 version of Virtua Cop!
PS: Operation Wolf with lightgun support is now also available
PPS: Don't forget to check out Jan Derogee's site for even more info about light guns for the Commodores
- AutoRAMDOS: (332kb) Ever wondered what that EPROM socket in your REU
was for? Ever wondered why RAMDOS is not automatically loaded
when you boot your C64? Ever wanted to use your REU for more than
Wonder no more... Auto-RAMDOS loads at the push of a button
when you boot your C64. It uses external SRAM at $DE00 to improve
compatibility (no C64 memory page is used). All three parts
form a neat stack that can be mounted where the EPROM socket
is on your 1700, 1764 or 1750 RAM Expansion Unit. RAMDOS v4.3
is used, with JiffyDOS compatible installer.
If you do not press the push-button at start-up, your REU
will be as required for GEOS and other applications. By the way, parts
or the complete upgrade can be found in
Keypad: (30kb) the C64 did not have a numeric keypad available and
so this project was built back in 1990 when I was spending much
of my time keying-in sprite data and machine code. The keypad
connects to control port#2 and a software driver transfers the
key presses to the keyboard buffer. As a bonus, the keypad keys
are directionally decoded and so can be used to cursor around
applications supporting joystick control (I found using the keypad
preferable to the joystick for drawing in many graphics applications).
- Using CPLDs for Commodore projects
- : Ever wanted to build a great project, but find that it just
ends up taking so many chips that you never get around to building
it? Well, CPLDs are the programmable way to create you own piece
To introduce myself to the world of CPLDs I built a simple
memory expansion detailed in an old magazine. This memory expansion
project was selected as it was the most standalone design available
and could additionally serve as the starting point for an even
- This article
takes you casually through the technical detail of what CPLDs
are and outlines what my choice of CPLD was after having walked
this road... I ended up going for Xilinx chips and a development
kit from Digilent.
- For detailed information about the 256kb memory expansion
project, here is the
scan of the Transactor article.
Cartridge: (280kb) these are
the instructions for re-using some of the more complicated Commodore
cartridges as your own EPROM /project cartridge. Some of my future
projects will be based on modified versions of these carts as
they solve the problem associated with obtaining double sided
PCBs. Included are reverse-engineered schematics and PCB photos
- The SuperGames cartridge can use two standard 27x64, 27x128
or 27x256 type EPROMS. It additionally features a 4bit control
port (74LS175) at $DF00-DFFF which controls bank switching.
- The Magic Desk I cartridge is normally configured for four
2364 (24pin CBM type) ROMs, but by changing the jumpers, it
can also be configured to use standard 27x64, etc, type EPROMS.
It also has a 4bit control port (74LS175) which by default
is configured to control memory banking. Unlike the Supergames
cartridge, all contacts on the edge connector are present
making it ideal for interfacing projects
- 24pin ROM
Replacement: On most early build C64 computers the Kernal
ROM is stored in a 24pin device. To upgrade the ROM with your
own type using standard 28pin 27xxx devices you will need an adaptor.
The same adaptor circuit can be used to convert game cart ROMs
many of which use also 24pin ROMs.
circuit allows one EPROM to
contain up to 3 different Kernals, selectable at the flick
of a single on-off-on switch (thanks to Jochen for his design
for installing the kernal adaptor to your C64.
- Guide to identifying
where the Kernal ROM chip is in your C64/128 (for all types).
- DTV64 Micro
Tower: Here is a hack to put the DTV64 in a cool transparant
micro tower case. No longer is this machine just a game!
- DTV64 Keyboard Console: Here is a hack
to build the DTV64 into a mini-Keyboard with a similar footprint and layout to the original C64.
Upgrade and Case Installation: Here is an idea for how to
package the TurboProcessor CPU accelerator card. I even upgraded
the EPROM to JiffyDOS and PwrLoader!
- IDE64 Case
Installation: Here is an idea for how to package the IDE64
card so that the circuit board is protected.
Controller in a 1541-II case: Here is an idea for how to package
the IECATA project. I bought the PCB and AVR chip from the creator
to give it test drive. My hope was that I could build something
small enough that it could be mounted into a C64c. In the end
a 1541-II case had to do...
on how to install the mechanism and controller into a self-contained