My Commodore VC20

Adding to my collection of Commodore computers this time around is a German variant of the Commodore VIC-20, called the Commodore VC20. Supposedly vic is a rather rude word in German hence the name change! It was a cheap eBay purchase and the seller states the ‘power light come on’ so for the low price I though it was worth a look.

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Other than the new badge the computer is almost no different to my VIC-20, although as you can see, side by side it’s heavily yellowed with age.

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My Vic-20 wasn’t as aged as this but thanks to a spot of RetroBrite, the original color was restored and so if the sun does come out on this rather damp November, my new VC20 will also get the RetroBrite treatment.

The VC20 was shipped to me boxed with a few games and appears to have survived transit, dent free and no loose parts rattling around inside πŸ™‚

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There’s just one small thing to check first, does it actually work?

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Erm….judging by the all white screen, I’d say no πŸ™‚

The power light does indeed light up but no picture is displayed on screen. I tested with another RF box and my new composite cable which I’ve been using on my c64 but I still only get a white screen.

Popping the lid to have a look see inside. Apart from the usual bit of dust, all components seem ok and no visible damage.

A-ha, this certainly won’t help, a broken fuse.

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With this replaced, I tried it again doubting that this was the problem and yep, still get a white screen. Looking up the hardware symptoms online it appears that the fault may be the video chip u7 (later rev board) and as this is a socketed chip I might be able to replace it.

…but for now, it seems that’s about all I can do at the moment. If it’s not repairable I’ll use it for spare parts as I’m in need of a Vic-20 keyboard and once the case is retrobrited, it might be useful down at the Retro Computer Museum.

One thing that did work, via my other VIC, was the cartridge game Cosmic Crunch which was bundled with the machine. It’s a very old title but a rather fun Pac-Man clone with the player sprite has been replaced the Commodore ‘C=’ logo πŸ™‚

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….and it’s a bloody tough game too!

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