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Csonicgo

I got a C64!----now what?

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So, I bought a like-new C64 from a guy who had kept it in his closet for decades - this is one of the classic ones with the brown keys. I typed in some BASIC programs to test the SID and other components and everything turned out great. Signal is clear as a bell to boot.

 

Now for the difficult part: What do I need to do to keep this thing running as is? Any points of failure that are common to these NTSC models? This thing is running a little *too* perfect, so I'm a little paranoid that it's going to fail at any moment. :ponder:

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You might want a Computer Saver or similar (there are multiple vendors with similar solutions) to protect the computer in case the power supply goes bad.

 

You might also want to lookup a PLA replacement solution like PLAnkton, realPLA or even the "good old" SuperPLA to have handy in case the original PLA chip breaks, which is the most common issue on the old model C64. You could order one of those right away and plop it in to prevent a future problem, or at least be aware about the chip might die and then be ready to get a replacement. Some claim installing heat sinks on the PLA and other chips that tend to run hot, will extend their life. I don't know how well it works, but it could be a cheap solution to try.

 

When it comes to peripherals, you might want some SD card based solution. The inexpensive ones are the SD2IEC based devices, which work for a majority of purposes but will have trouble in case you download demos and the occasional D64 image file of an original disk game due to the SD device only has limited capacity. There are far more expensive ones like the 1541 Ultimate series, which have a lot more functionality (including cartridge emulation and seldom used RAM expansion) but will also set you back a lot more money. You decide if you want an inexpensive solution with certain limitations or an expensive one that will do pretty much anything you'd expect.

 

I don't know how you connect the display, but the computer has built-in composite video as well as a slightly non-standard S-Video through the DIN connector. You might want to get a suitable cable matching your display, in particular if you currently use RF antenna.

 

There also are other interesting upgrades as various cartridges (EasyFlash series, Epyx FastLoad replica, older fastloader cartridges like The Final Cartridge 3, Action/Retro Replay and various US-centric ones), JiffyDOS etc. Cartridges such as REU (RAM expansion unit) have very specific use so you don't really have to worry about those (and if you get a 1541 Ultimate 2, it already emulates both a REU and various utility cartridges). In the long run you can get a dual SID installed, or a network device but that is way beyond the basics and those are the type of expansions not even I've obtained after 30+ years of usage.

Edited by carlsson
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It boils down to, how much do you want to spend? The 1541 Ultimate 2+ is great, but is more expensive than the SD devices, but totally emulates the 1541 commands. If you go with a "real" disk drive, there are loads of cartridges to speed up commands, and add all sorts or features. Even with these new additions, having a real disk drive can be extremely handy.

Most likely the very first thing, is to get either a computer saver :

 

http://www.lemon64.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=63219

 

Or get a new power supply. You question also boils down to what you are going to use the computer for. Just playing games doesn't require a lot, other fields may.

You should check out Amibay's for sale forums for ideas for what is currently available new and used.

 

 

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If you are looking for actual 1541 drives and some software I have two boxed complete drives (that work and are in excellent condition of course) and a box of disks that I have been looking to clear out.

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Yes bin that power supply and get a new custom one or one of those savers linked above.

After that? Well you have the best selling computer of all time so you are spoiled for choice for stuff to add on to it. Getting a 1541 drive will be easy if you want to enjoy gaming from floppies. Otherwise grab a SD2IEC and hit up the internet to get 1000s of D64 disk images. If you want that warm CRT glow then hunt down a 1084 or 1702 monitor. So much choice with a 64. Enjoy.

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