Commodore™ C64 Hardware Projects

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 interests you.

Hardware Developments:

LCD64 looking from behind LCD64 from the front

  • LCD64 (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 the story!
    PC Steering Wheel connected PC GamePad connected

  • PC-Joystick 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 with F15-Strike-Eagle?
  • 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 the code.

    Modified Sega LightGun

  • Light 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 for downloading.
    PPS: Don't forget to check out Jan Derogee's site for even more info about light guns for the Commodores

    AutoRAMDOS Installed

  • 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 GEOS?

    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 the shop.

    Numeric KeyPad for the C64

  • Numeric 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).

  • My first CPLD project...

  • 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 of silicon.

    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 bigger project...

    • 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.

Circuit Simulation of Cartridge

  • EPROM 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
C64 24pin kernal ROM

  • 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.

    • This 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 input).

    • Instructions 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 - transparant blue!

  • 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

  • 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.

TurboProcessor mainboard

  • TurboProcessor 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

  • IDE64 Case Installation: Here is an idea for how to package the IDE64 card so that the circuit board is protected.

IECATA Controller in a 1541-II

  • IECATA 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...

    • Step-by-Step on how to install the mechanism and controller into a self-contained 1541-II case.