C64 Keyboard Layouts

Back in the days, Commodore 64’s were modified to accommodate other keyboard layouts with special character sets – like Spanish, Swedish or Danish. I have an Assy 250407 Rev. B breadbox (link) that was originally used at a Danish High School, so the character set has been changed to Danish by swapping the Kernal and Character ROM’s. I have had a few of these machines and it seems like the chips and adapters were manufactured by a professional company back in the days. A .pdf copy of the Danish mounting instructions can be found here.

Commodore 64 Danish Keyboard layout. Original PCB's made for Danish schools. See more on breadbox64.com

Commodore 64 Danish Character set made for Danish schools. Read more on breadbox64.com.

Instead of swapping the keys, small labels were added to indicate the three additional characters.

Commodore 64 with a Danish Keyboard layout. Stickers put on top of keyboards with the special characters. More on breadbox64.com

And here are the three special characters…

Commodore 64 with Danish Character set made for Danish schools. Read more on breadbox64.com.

The small PCB’s simply replace the original Commodore Kernal and Character ROM’s.

Commodore 64 Danish Keyboard layout. Original PCB's made for Danish schools. See more on breadbox64.com

Commodore 64 with a Danish Character set made for Danish schools. Read more on breadbox64.com.

I also wanted to share another professionaly looking Kernal/Character set that I have not seen anywhere else. It was ‘hidden’ in a broken machine I came across and I was quite surpised to be greeted with this screen when the machine finally booted.

Commodore 64 Danish Keyboard layout from 'Expert Radiohuset'. Original PCB's made for a Danish company. See more on breadbox64.com

It also has a Danish character set, but the colors of the background, border and text have been changed. Apparantly the company ‘Expert Radiohuset’ was a local radio/electronic’s store that was placed just a few miles from my house back in the 80s. My best guess is that the store modded the ROM’s for their in-store machines to get peoples attention – but I have no idea why they would change it. I dumped the ROM’s and the only changes I could find were made to the Kernal and related to the colors and text, much like I did in this post (link)

The PCB’s are green on top and the quality actually seems higher than the ones described above. The ROM’s look like this.

Commodore 64 Danish Keyboard layout from 'Expert Radiohuset'. Original PCB's made for a Danish company. See more on breadbox64.com

Commodore 64 with the start-up screen color changed. The character set was made for a Danish company called Expert Radiohuset. Read more on breadbox64.com.

And here are the ROM’s mounted in a machine.

Commodore 64 Danish Keyboard layout from 'Expert Radiohuset'. Original PCB's made for a Danish company. See more on breadbox64.com

Commodore 64 Danish Keyboard layout from 'Expert Radiohuset'. Original PCB's made for a Danish company. See more on breadbox64.com

I guess the idea of modding the start-up screen by customizing the colors and text is not new after all…

© breadbox64.com 2016

4 comments on “C64 Keyboard Layouts

  1. I have a C64 with a Swedish/Finnish keyboard layout, but buttons are normal without stickers and no additional pcb added. Just changed roms. Looks like roms had some stickers that are now missing. Curious thing is also that every chip is socketed exept for the ram’s. I don’t know if these are rare or not. Haven’t seen any other unit like this.

    Keyboard: link
    Letters: link
    ROM’s: link

  2. Hi Mikko, thanks for sharing! I’ve seen pictures of the non-sticker Swedish keyboard keys before, but I don’t know how rare this is. They look great by the way! I would definately prefer the real thing instead of the sticker solution mine has 🙂

  3. Hi Mikko!
    There are different versions of the swedish C64. The swedish C64C was sold with stickers on the keycaps only but the C64 breadboxes were sold sometimes with stickers and sometimes with real keycaps. I have all three of them in my collection. Handic also sold stickers and ROM’s separately as upgrade-kits for people who already had non-Swedish C64’s. In Japan it was the other way round. People bought standard Kernal and Char ROMs to downgrade the japanese C64 (to make them compatible). That is why it took me so long to find a Japanese C64 with original ROMs.

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