User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Fri Dec 13, 2019 12:08 pm

I've been working with a friend on and off for about a year on a C128D project. We hit a bit of a roadblock, and my only fix (that I could think of) was to look for a donor machine. I actually not only found a donor machine, but even a spare donor (and fully populated) motherboard. So both machines should be 100% good to go here in a few days if I can get my act together. This time of year is busy...

Anyway, once I got my new C128D in the mail I needed to hook it up and make sure all was well.

The power light and disk drive light both came on, but I got a black screen. I pulled the case off and pressed down on all of the chips. Voila! She sprang to life!

The case is in very good condition (thank you metal cases!). The keyboard needs a clean, but feels brand new.

The motherboard appears to have never been touched, either. Everything is 100% original. The previous owner told me he had to replace the character ROM. Other than that, though, minty fresh.

The only issue I'm seeing right now is the internal disk drive isn't reading disks. When I got the box open to my horror the disk the owner put in the drive during shipping had popped out. In fact, the latch itself seems to need some attention. The latch spring is missing (the one that pops disks out when you open the latch) and the latch itself looks like a Ken doll's very tan arm, which is a no-go.

But all in all, I'm very happy. I can't wait to get my original 128D finished up so I can show you folks it's nifty mods. It's pretty cool.
The new C128DCR's video is perfect. Almost no jailbars in 128 mode (which I never use in 40 column mode), crisp and gorgeous 128 80-column mode and jaw-dropping perfect C64 mode. STOKED. I was going to trade my freshly refurbbed 1902A for a 2002, but I think I may be keeping it now.

User avatar
Zippy Zapp

Posted Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:53 pm

Nice find. I am with you on the notion of backups and take heat from it on a regular basis from the Wife. ;) I have at least two of every model that I own. Only 3 of these computers are actually my originals (1 64C, 1 A2000 and 1 C64 which was my friends first 64) And 4 Commodore drives (1541C, 1541-II, 1571, 1581) All the others that I have I acquired over the years. So I totally get why you want backups. These are old computers and they won't last forever.

Now that we have wonderful motherboard replacements for most Commodore/Amiga computers, it is my hope that the original chips will be duplicated with drop-in replacements that are 100% compatible. People are doing amazing things with FPGAs and ARM chips so it would be awesome to see replacements for the various Amiga and Commodore chips.

User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:56 am

Case in point, I was working on my original C128D this weekend on a project I've been off and on for a year. I had to undo some previous wins and rethink them. My solution wasn't pretty, but it worked. Then I was onto a new exciting project I'd been saving since March. I was all in.

And after lots of soldering and testing and getting everything ready to button up, the internal 1571 - which I replaced a year ago - began to malfunction. The head's stepper motor started stepping forward but would never return to home, so it would (after a 3rd read) bottom out and literally crash against metal. It sounded like a machine gun.

So, I pulled out my 1 backup drive and installed it and now everything's great again. Except of course I am on the lookout for another backup. :lol:

I did eventually get the new piece to work, then found out it had unknown bugs and - at least for my setup - was useless and I had to remove it all. Nearly the entire weekend down the drain, but at least now I can use the machine again.

As one of my friends said after I related the drama, "The highs and lows of retro computing!" I was going to do a video about this machine originally, but now that it is showing a code break it's probably not worth the time.

User avatar
Lexington VA

Posted Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:57 pm

hmm I dont remember jail bars on my 128dcr with a 1902a...

my project is a ntsc + pal switch for my 128dcr.. i have all the chips but my last proto didnt work...

Return to “Conquests”