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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:44 am

The C128RM (Remastered) is now available for pre-order. The actual shipping date would be Q3 of 2019.
c128rm.jpg
You get the bare board and a USB adapter (presumably for firmware updates) for €259.90.

You have to supply 20 of your own chips.

The good news is that if you have your own chips already, the 128RM is 100% socketed. So at least you don't have to solder anything just to put it together. You would, however, need to likely de-solder an existing C128 to source all of those chips.

Overview and Benefits:
THE128RM is a massivly reduced size of the 128 8bit computer. It is designed for the slim size case and packed with everything what you needed.

The board is compatible with 2 SID-Chips. You can also select between 6581 or 8580 and route signal or poti signals to the suggested chip.

Each SID has its own AMP. It is protected agains overtemperature and current overloads. This Amp is suitable for telephony, audio, and servo applications.

The128RM has its own PAL/NTSC clocks. TOD or the VIC-Chip (also the videoconverter for the VDC-Chip) is switchable between regions.

The VDC is converted to an S-Video signal and shares the same output as VIC. Also the video is switchable between 40/80-ON or OFF, or even between VDC-/VIC-Video signal.

The video signal is smoothed out for better picture quality.

The VDC chip is switchable between 8563 or 8568.

Almost every pin is marked with an “PIN number” and a “PIN name” at the backside, to easy find correct pins for future mods.

The Color-RAM’s higher 4bit is not anymore pulled high and it is possible to access via software.

The power supply accepts any DC voltage between 5-36VDC, that is above 3A or more. The Input also protected against reverse polarity protection.
Each logic IC have an operating voltage of 2-6VDC.

THE128RM uses 2oz Copper PCBs design provides sufficient trace paths between components to handle greater than normal power loads and to remove heat and noise from the critical components.
My friend Brian Green (icbrkr) - the sysop of ParticlesBBS and massive C128 fan - had this to say about this interesting project:
It is a bit pricey especially since it doesn't come with chips. I'd still buy it, but the biggest problem I see is no RGB-I output. They've combined mono composite on the video output, but I spend most of my time in 80 columns. If there were a way to get RGB-I out on it via dongle or whatever, I'd be all over it.
So you wouldn't be able to use your original Commodore monitor like the 1084S for 80-column mode, but the S-video would allow you to do either mode with more modern monitors. (Just not both videos simultaneously, but how many programs supported that?)

Interestingly, since the board is so much smaller than an original C128, you're supposed to go grab a brand new C64C case. Kind of a wild idea - to have a brand new C128 of sorts packed into the 64C case!

Go check out all the photos and details here.
c128rm2.jpg
Photos © THE128RM 2018


User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:14 am

There is a really long podcast with the creator of the board, which I've not yet had the chance to listen to. Perhaps he explains the case/keyboard options more.

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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA
Website

Posted Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:58 pm

wow.. but yeah no.

no 80 col. might as well just use a c64 instead and to stick it in a c64 case you loose c128 keys, numpad, etc.

I just dont get the point of it to sacrifice so much for such an expensive board with no chips?

Would be interesting to see if the addressed the C128's cartridge slot electricals and improved compatability (or reduced...) with know 128 carts..

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:12 pm

In terms of the 40/80 key being gone on the 64C keyboard, from the creator: "The 40/80 key gets its own button on the right side, next to the video switch." So he accounted for that.

But yeah, the price is probably realistic in order to source such a small batch. I love that the 128 is getting some love as it's usually forgotten. But part of me really wishes it was like the Reloaded MK2 - in that it would be a drop-in replacement into the 128's keyboard or (heart pound) 128DCR.

Nice little form factor, though. Sort of the A600 of C128's, if you know what I mean.

User avatar
rpiguy9907

Posted Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:01 am

intric8 wrote:
So you wouldn't be able to use your original Commodore monitor like the 1084S for 80-column mode, but the S-video would allow you to do either mode with more modern monitors. (Just not both videos simultaneously, but how many programs supported that?)
I am not sure what you mean the 1084S certainly supports S-Video and will display a beautiful 640x200 picture, it has separate inputs for Chroma and Luma. Perhaps not as pixel perfect as a digital signal, but very convenient.

I will be really curious as to how the "smoothing" on the video output works (is it an algorithm, or just a set of analog filters). I almost would prefer the latter.

I can't wait to see how it looks on an old 1702 monitor (which also supports S-video).

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:21 am

Perhaps not as pixel perfect as a digital signal, but very convenient.
Yeah, I meant a straight S-video plug without converting to chroma/luma. But you're right. I personally have never done that - is it noticeable? Any blurriness?
I will be really curious as to how the "smoothing" on the video output works
Yeah that made me wonder if it works like a built-in LumaFix, which would really surprise me. The team working on the C128 LumaFix only just announced their upcoming product a week or two ago and had been working on it for some time. Could this board also have figured things out there completely by reworking the motherboard?

I'd really want to see a working demo of the machine I think, but the more I think about it (for just me personally) the 20 chip requirement have made me come to realize this is not a project for me. It's more for folks who are willing to do projects like the GBA1000 or Alice board - really roll up their sleeves and do some work. Desoldering and chip scavenging will be involved. After all of the work to get the chips, you're left with a C128 equivalent of the A600 (feels like). At least the install looks really fast and easy, which is cool. But I'm going to pass. I mean, maybe if you had 2 dead C128s, and were able to salvage all of chips between the two...?

But I love that the 128 is getting some attention for a change.

User avatar
rpiguy9907

Posted Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:44 am

intric8 wrote:Yeah, I meant a straight S-video plug without converting to chroma/luma. But you're right. I personally have never done that - is it noticeable? Any blurriness?
I am not convinced that it has an S-video connector on the back. If you look at the pictures it looks like a large, round DIN just like the Commodore 64. They may just be using the term S-video as shorthand for Commodore Separated Video. I look forward to finding out, as re-using the old DIN makes it a lot more practical.

I agree whole heartedly that it is nice that the 128 is getting some attention!

I have limited space, so while I am also disappointed it is not a drop-in replacement for an existing 128 enclosure, I would definitely appreciate the desk space saved with the smaller form factor.

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alterus
Victoria, BC
Website

Posted Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:47 pm

Guys, the Chroma Luma output of the C64 and C128 IS S-Video. It just has different plugs, but its the same type of signal. You can easily convert a Commodore video cable to S-Video by connecting the right wires.

I'm very tempted by this actually. The main thing that has kept me from using the regular C128 is its massive footprint on the desk. A new one the size of a C64C would be ideal. Also, I NEVER use a numeric keypad, so I absolutely wouldn't miss that. Before I commit, I want to see how the 80 column video looks, and it absolutely has to be in colour, not a BW signal.

I went through my stash of chips and turns out I have everything needed already. It definitely makes it more tempting knowing I don't have sacrifice a C128 to get this working.

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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Posted Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:01 pm

Wow. Very cool. I don't think I would want to butcher my working C128 though. Also I would not want to give up RGB and the C128 keys and numpad. I use those in C128 mode. Basically it has a C64 keyboard connector and I happen to love the 128 keyboard.

I get the price, small batches and all, but it is just too much for me.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:16 pm

and it absolutely has to be in colour, not a BW signal.
Hm... I thought I read it was mono in 80-col mode. That would certainly be a downgrade especially when using full-color BBSes like yours.





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