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Are ANY C64 brick power supplies good?

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I have about a half-dozen black bricks which came with original bread-bin C64s (and one early 64C,) model 251053-01 and -02, and about the same number of beige which came with 64Cs, model 251053-10.

 

These bricks are known for eventually sending fatal voltage through the computer.  Is there a cut-off for when they got better, or did they just never get better?  I would like to trim down spares and get good modern replacements for ones which I know will fail.

 

Any ideas?

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I believe the answer is that the design never got improved. As long as you handle it with care, I believe the voltage regulator inside will stay in place and as long as it electrically doesn't quit working, overvoltage won't happen. But there are a few too many conditions there. Personally I've been lucky and used at least a half dozen various power supplies without a saver and all of those still behave as expected, but I'm fully aware of the risks. Sometimes I wonder if the 115V ones you have are more likely to fail than the 220V ones over here. At least ours got the specs updated along the way (e.g. 5V @ 1.5A later became 1.6A and 1.7A) though perhaps the circuit was the same.

 

I've seen some people producing aftermarket PCBs meant to be inserted in the power supply, utilizing the original 2x9V AC transformer but replacing the rectifier and regulator with modern components. Doing a such modification would void any electric safety regulations, but since you're dealing with 30+ year old stuff anyway, they might not be that electrically safe in the first place.

 

I don't know how much of the price for the newly manufactured power supplies are part costs and how much is labour and markup, but if it wasn't for electric safety, there would be a big market for DIY replacement kits instead of throwing away mostly fine power supplies just because one tiny component has failed.

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Thanks.  My experience with the C64 power supplies is not perfect, but the only failure I ever had was one just stopped working.  I replaced it and all was well.  But, like you said, given their age I am rather hesitant.  Not to mention the heat output tells me these things draw more power than a modern supply.

 

I could go a few routes here, including sell these and replace the ones I need with modern supplies, or just buy some savers.  Maybe chuck the oldest ones just to be sure.

 

Now, I have a few C128 power supplies which I can inspect and repair as necessary.  I feel far more confident in those, although I am sure they are also pretty inefficient.

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Yes, the C128 power supplies are built according to completely different standards. I've had such ones fail on me too, but the general consensus is that those won't damage the computer when the supply goes bad.

 

One could've wished that Commodore with the introduction of the C64C and different casing of the power supply, would based it on the already existing C128 one so the newer ones were deemed safe but it doesn't seem to have been the case. Instead you have those 1541-II and 1581 power supplies that also die like flies, except they don't cause overvoltage.

Edited by carlsson
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