User avatar
Olem
Norway

Posted Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:43 am

Hi folks, it's been a crap year, so to stay sane I've done a bit of soldering. I'm not the first guy on the ball here by any means, but I made some SixtyClones and thought it would be fun to share:
AttackOfTheSixtyclones.jpg
As you see, I couldn't quite decide which one I wanted the most, so I got the whole range. They've been kicking around in my workshop/office for a while now, so excuse the dust and smudges. I started out with the earliest revision that's available, the assy 250407. This is by far the PCB with the most components, with the elaborate clock-cycle circuitry around the vic II-chip and the eight old school RAM chips:
assy407.jpg
All the logic here is new, and the MOS chips are mainly from a black screen 407 I bought a while back, hoping it would be a simple PLA fix. Turned out it was more serious than that, and it ended up as a donor board. The vic here is a nice, ceramic revision 3. It definitly needs a heatsink, but I can't get myself to cover that beauty up at this point. Might swap it out for a plain one in the end. I ended up using PLAnkton on this one, a nice solution that I saw obitus1990 also used in the build he posted here. Wanted to try out a PLAdvanced, but couldn't get hold of one at the time. Later! The modulator is a NOS unit that gives an OK picture, the colors bleed a bit but that's how it is with this vintage of C64s.

And of course, I do recommend the ArmSID, it's a super nice alternative to original chips.

Used modern Kemet polymer caps in place of all the small electrolytics one, and went a bit overboard with the big ones in the power section, as you can see:)
assy407-2.jpg
Got a thing for those nice, orange Epcos/TDK capacitors. The 1000uF one is actually a polymer capacitor, correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think any other brand makes thl axial polymers at all. And when I'm on the topic, here's a nice article about recapping the C64 and picking polys that I used when I was researching this build, as you can see I went with the 10uF Kemet that the guy recommends:

https://www.element14.com/community/com ... or-the-c64

Then, on to the great 250466. This was the flavour of C64 I had when I was a kid, so it's got a special place in my heart.
assy466.jpg
The vic is a 6569 revision 5, supposed to be the best of this generation, and the SID is the 6581R4AR. Advanced resonance, I'm told it means:) From what I gather, this is the setup many 466 were shipped with. The CPU and the CIAs are from a 469 donor board that's still fully functional, soldered sockets in there and put it in storage.
assy466-2.jpg
The small electrolytic caps on this one is mainly replaced with polymer caps from Panasonic, went with the SEP-series. Same brand for the power caps as on all the others:) Went with a Shuriken RF replacement, and found that it's best to use it with a lumafix to tune out the jailbars. At least on my old samsung LCD monitor, might be different on a CRT. In my opinion the picture quality is about the same as on the 407, quite good but not stellar. But hey, that's how it's supposed to be! And it certainly looks the part:)
assy466-3.jpg
The number of parts is a whole lot lower on this one compared to the 407! Used the SaRuMan for RAM and a GAL PLA, havn't tried that one before. It's working really well, but it puts out a bit of heat, so be aware of that. I'm not sure I'll use it in the long term.

And finally, the 250469 shortboard:
assy469.jpg
A fun, quick build. The chips are mainly from a shortboard that I messed up while testing out modulator mods. Had to make amends for that, and here it is. The PLA is a NOS part, and I got hold of a nice ceramic basic/kernal ROM, I believe it's a part that originally was made for the first run of 128s. The modulator is an original that've recapped, and the picture quality is the best of the bunch. Much better color saturation, the other two seems a bit washed out in comparision. It's got jailbars, but that's really the only downside.
assy469-2.jpg
And of course, a few of those nice Epcos here too. Just for fun, here's the 469 with the original board I used for reference during the build, A nice revision 4 with clear, matte solder mask. Makes it really easy to see what's going on on the PCB:
assy469-3.jpg
And a final familiy shot:
Group.jpg
The next step is of course putting these in cases, I'll do an update when I get around to that. Hope this was a nice diversion, it sure was for me! Shoutout to Rob who did the reverse engineering and made the PCBs, go check out his stuff on Tinidie.

Cheers
Olem.

User avatar
Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Posted Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:39 am

That is awesome stuff there! I am loving it. I ordered a 466 board in purple on Monday. Just to have fun and put one together. I stalled in my Amiga 2000 repro after finishing all the resistors and capacitors because I got busy with other stuff so maybe this will help with the motivation. I need a 3 week vacation to get caught up on all my projects, *sigh*.

On a related note did you have any problem sourcing parts? I have multiples of all the Commodore chips, some NOS like a few SIDs (6581R4AR) and other chips so I have no problem with the Commodore chips. I do think it will be an issue for the little power items like the coil and some other parts. I don't want to take them off any of my working C64s, obviously.

I am digging the polymer caps. I know they are expensive compared to electrolytics but they look cool and they won't leak. I usually go with Nichicon or Panasonic long life caps in the 10,000 hour range. They should last a long time too and are quite a bit cheaper. But for this build I may go with polymers.

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:33 pm

Beautiful work. I really envy those skills.

How are you liking your Shuriken? I got one for a C128DCR board that needed its RF replaced but I haven't given it a go yet. Is your video sharp, and colors as you'd expect? A friend of mine and I learned the hard way that the C128 actually depends on the RF modulator being installed...

User avatar
obitus1990
New Orleans, LA, USA

Posted Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:29 pm

I really like your color choices for the caps versus the black background. Well done. I hadn't heard of the Saruman RAM replacement before seeing your post.

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:32 pm

Just re-read your entire post and caught this:
Went with a Shuriken RF replacement, and found that it's best to use it with a lumafix to tune out the jailbars.
I have a Lumafix, but I've kinda been avoiding it like the plague. You've at least given me hope there.

User avatar
Olem
Norway

Posted Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:31 am

The Shuriken works all right, I think. Right out of the box I got a bit more jailbars and color bleed that I liked, so I put the Lumafix in. Now, the Lumafix is hard to tweak, that's my experience anyway, but I got a nice picture out of it in the end. The 250469 here puts out better video, so what I would like try in a future build is to make a shortboard with the 469-specific Shuriken just to see how that looks.
Here's a picture of the screen, ignore the moire effect, it's not there IRL :D
picture-shuriken.jpg

User avatar
Olem
Norway

Posted Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:20 am

Zippy Zapp wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:39 am
That is awesome stuff there! I am loving it. I ordered a 466 board in purple on Monday. Just to have fun and put one together. I stalled in my Amiga 2000 repro after finishing all the resistors and capacitors because I got busy with other stuff so maybe this will help with the motivation. I need a 3 week vacation to get caught up on all my projects, *sigh*.

On a related note did you have any problem sourcing parts? I have multiples of all the Commodore chips, some NOS like a few SIDs (6581R4AR) and other chips so I have no problem with the Commodore chips. I do think it will be an issue for the little power items like the coil and some other parts. I don't want to take them off any of my working C64s, obviously.

I am digging the polymer caps. I know they are expensive compared to electrolytics but they look cool and they won't leak. I usually go with Nichicon or Panasonic long life caps in the 10,000 hour range. They should last a long time too and are quite a bit cheaper. But for this build I may go with polymers.
Thanks! The purple board will be a fun build for sure, good luck with that. The parts were surprisingly easy to source, the only thing I didn't find new (excluding the MOS/CSG chips, of course) was, as you mention, some filters. The line filter at L4 on the 466 was a headscratcher for a while, but eventually somebody over at the Retro Tinkering Discord group came up with the Kemet SHO-301. It's rated at 4A, a bit less than the 5A the service manual states, but the board is not supposed to handle that much current anyway.

On the 469, I couldn't find new versions of these little guys:
FilterL4.jpg
There's two of these tiny coils, at L3 and L4. If anybody knows of a possible modern replacement, please let me know. The 8 terminal line filter on the 250469 is also hard to find new, but it's possible to use the Laird CM4545Z131B-10. The footprint doesn't fit, so a hack is needed, but I think Rob might add a solution for that on a future revision of the board. You can also use a filter from an A500.

Other than that, you can get most parts from Mouser or Digikey, Retroleum sells the 2114 color RAM and logic chips that can be troublesome to find, and then there's G0pher: He sells complete parts kits in his shop here, it doesn't get more easy than that:

https://retro8bitshop.com/product/commo ... parts-kit/

I'm a bit paranoid about caps leaking and messing up my stuff, that's one of the reasons I used polymer caps. The other thing is that you get more stable power to the frail old ICs, I like to think that it might make a tiny little difference when it comes to preserving them. And then they look mighty cool ;)

You might have seen this, but if you haven't, here's a little inspiration for your A2000 build. Chucky made a very nice, methodical guide a few weeks back, I'll follow his method for sure if I build another one, check it out:
http://wordpress.hertell.nu/?p=1029

User avatar
Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Posted Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:56 am

@Olem,

Thanks for the tips, much appreciated. I have two orders that are on the way for parts from Digi-key and Mouser. It looks like I found most everything. Thanks for the tip about parts from the A500, I would not have thought to look there. I have two A500 motherboards that I use for parts because the PCBs have many broken traces. I think I have a spare color RAM from a parts 64 board that I stripped all the ICs from as the board was broken, literally. But, like an idiot, I don't think I took all the power components before I chucked it. I did take the connectors, modulator, and ICs.

I am also going to use a ARMSID as I have 2 of those and have been wanting to try it out. For PLAs I have a NOS S100 variety and some GAL-PLAs I made up in addition to 2 PLANktons which is what I will probably go with. I may even install ZIF sockets on the major chips just to make it easy to swap chips. Maybe.

Thanks!

User avatar
fxgogo
Website

Posted Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:24 pm

I am only getting back into my 8bit stuff, so a lot of the details are lost on me, but those photos are gorgeous. I think they would work well as a series of framed prints.





Return to “8 Bits”