My very first Commodore 64 lives again

Last weekend I received a call from my parents asking for my help to remove lots of storage boxes out of the loft area prior to them having some remodelling work done up there. About half of the boxes are mine anyways so rather than put them back after the work is complete, thought that after all these years since moving out, it would be best to take them with me.

Spending an afternoon Looking at all those items in their boxes was just an amazing trip back through the years. In particular it was the boxes full of computer hardware and software that caught my attention the most. Some, I remembered being stored up there, but others I’d completely forgot about. For example I’d forgotten about my Dragon 32 and Commodore 16!

Of the items I was keen to find was my Commodore 64. This particular one was special because it was my very first Commodore 64 I owned. My parents brought it me for Christmas in ’83 and for a good five or six years afterwards, this was my most prized item.

Shortly after 1986, Commodore revamped the ageing bread bin aesthetics of the original 64 and subsequently released the c64 model C with a new slimmer designed case that looking something like the C128 and newly released Commodore Amiga 500.

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I really liked this case with its all white modern looking keys and slimmer design but I certainly didn’t want to buy this new C64c just for the sake of a new case (at the time, I was saving like mad for my first Amiga).

Thumbing through one of the computer magazines back in the day (think it was 1986 issue of Commodore User), I remember reading about a replacement case, similar in style to the C64c that was being sold for £19.99. It wasn’t white, and I’d still have the drab brown keys but anything was better than the ageing old fashioned brick that was starting to loose it’s appeal – it’s funny how, after 25 years, that same brick is now my preferred c64 case.

After more happy years with my new cased 64, the Amiga came, followed by various consoles and PC’s and my C64 was in the corner, unloved and finally boxed and placed in my parents loft. It’s been there ever since…..until now.

Here she is in all of her Pink-ish glory. Thankfully, being boxed and in a dry loft, she was still in pretty good shape with only a mild layer of dust.

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After a good blast with a can of compressed air,a bit of a wipe with a damp cloth and prodded with Q-tips.

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I removed the case screws to have a poke inside just to check that all the main board components at least looked o.k. They did, but you never know 😦

Next to my other C64. Which case do you prefer?

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The origins of these third party replacement cases

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So, would it work after all of these years? Only one way to find out!

I also have the original power supply but for this first initial test, I’ll be using a known working one to start with.

It was so great to see the familiar c64 boot screen again. I wondered if I’d have the same luck with the datasette unit?

This is a third party tape unit sold by a company by Mills in the 1980’s. It’s called a ‘Load-IT’ datasette which, thansto the addition of acoustic signal LEDs and adjustable tape head screw, helps to load even the most stubborn of tapes. The idea is that you would play a game tape and adjust the tape head for optimum reading. The more LEDs lit, better the signal and thus increasing you chance of loading the game. No more frustrating long only to find after 10 minutes it didn’t load.

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After attaching the unit and powering on the unit, the LED’s lit up and after testing the play, rewind and fast forward buttons, the tape motor appeared to be working.

Testing the tape head adjuster (oops, uploaded upside down).

Would it load a game though?

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Me getting rather carried away with the US Gold loader music (Bruce Lee) 🙂

I’m so chuffed that everything still works after all these years (including the original power supply) To all, this may seem just like any other Commodore 64, but to me, it’s mine and my very first one…and after locking it away in the loft, I have some making up to do 🙂

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First job, restore it to it’s former glory by replacing the case.

Treat my Commodore to a few new toys…more on this in a later post.

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