Mod of the Year 2018

A little more than a year has passed since I presented Mod of the Year 2017 (link). That machine was a tribute to my all time favorite Commodore 64 game Montezuma’s Revenge (link). Since then, I’ve spend a quite some time on creating a brand new keyboard for my C64 Reloaded MK1 machines (linklink). The keyboard is called the MechBoard64 (link) and is my humble contribution in reaching the goal of creating a Commodore 64 from new parts only. While previous Mod of the Year machines were all heavily modifed, this year it is all about getting as close as possible to assembling a brand new Commodore 64. The machine is therefore made from brand new parts.

Even though the calender reads 2019, this is how the Mod of the Year 2018 Commodore 64 was created. Enjoy!

Pixelwizard C64C Slim Case
C64 Reloaded MK2
MechBoard64
Power Supply Unit
SD2IEC Mod
Custom Kernals
Finished Machine

Pixelwizard C64C Slim Case

The foundation of the machine is a Pixelwizard (link) case in retro black. More images of the case can be found here (link).


Power LED

Pixelwizard also offers power LEDs in different colors. I got a nice sweet blue one…

3D Printed Parts

The Pixelwizard shop carry quite a few 3D printed options for the Commodore 64. I got the 3D printed keyboard mounts and power plug to close the gap surrounding the power socket of the C64 Reloaded MK2. As the keycap adapters for the MechBoard64 are also 3D printed, I have included those as well – more on that below…

New Case Label and Black Case Feet

I wanted to keep things new and therefore added a new C64 sticker without a serial number! It wouldn’t be right to add an original sticker anyways. Furthermore, for some unknown reason the Pixelwizard case came with white feet (link)?? I therefore added some black case feet from Poly.Play (link) to keep the overall theme black.


C64 Reloaded MK2

The C64 Reloaded MK2 motherboard looks like this. More images of the board can be found here (link).


MechBoard64 

As I wanted to keep the machine as black as possible, the keyboard was populated with all black Cherry mx microswitches. The keyboard is usually made with microswitches from Gateron (link).

Shift Lock LED MOD

The standard LED of the ShiftLock key was exchanged with a blue one to be identical to the color of the power LED. As the Shift Lock switch has two SIP sockets installed, the mod was really easy and did not call for any soldering or anything…

Keycap Mod

I’ve previously tried to add new keycaps from Signature Plastics to the MechBoard64. However, due to the location of the keycap sockets, I had to give up on that idea (link). Because there is still no new keycaps available for the Commodore 64, I had to paint the ones I had. I therefore scavenged some yellowed keycaps and painted them with transparent paint. I guess that the transparency depends on the amount of paint that is added. I therefore simply added letters by hand and finished it off with a final layer of varnish.


Power Supply Unit

The C64 Reloaded MK2 uses a 12V DC power supply. I got mine from Individual Computers (link). The unit comes with adapters to accommodate power outlets from all over the world. nice and neat!


SD2IEC Mod

I installed an SD2IEC unit inside the machine. I don’t often add new games or programs, this solution does not call for drilling holes to case. And updating the SD card is a matter of removing 5 screws so not something major. I’ve even added a momentary push button for the disk skip function of the SD2IEC. It’s placed neaer the cassette plug and can easily be reached from the outside. More information of the mod can be found here (link).


Custom Kernals

The machine has been modded with custom kernals including JiffyDOS. I wanted to keep things in the same dark theme as the remainder of the unit… Turning on the machine now greets me with the standard slightly modified CBM Kernal with grey colors. Flicking the Reset switch upwards for about 1-2 seconds, releasing it and then flicking it upwards again for less than 0.5 seconds will load JiffyDOS. Activating the Reset switch for less than a second will simply reset the machine and load the current Kernal. Nice!

More information of the custom Kernal mod for the C64 Reloaded MK2 board can be found here (link).


Finished Machine

A little video showing the Mod of the Year 2018 in action.

And finally some images of the finished machine.

And that sums up the Mod of the Year 2018 Commodore 64. Now we just need new keycaps to complete the machine and make everything from new parts.

© breadbox64.com 2019

6 comments on “Mod of the Year 2018

  1. Awesome – you have such a good eye for Scandinavian minimalism and details! Well done! The only thing missing is Ethernet connectivity and a TCP/IP-service!

    Since you most likely have a way better overview of the C64/128 community than most of your fans, may I please ask how you regard the current (January, 2019) possibility of having brand new keycaps manufactured in the near/nearish future?

  2. Thanks Pete! Yes, it sure needs some kind of ethernet connection or internal wifi. I now have a must-have for the Mod of the Year 2019 machine 😉

    Here is my two cents on the whole ‘C64 keycap situation’: I don’t think that the Phase5/Indiegogo campaign will deliver new keycaps very soon and most likely ever 🙁 I have, like a lot of people, spent quite a few money on keycaps from that campaign. Even though I’ve dreamt of brand new transparent and orange keycaps for ages, I now simply consider my Phase5 perks as lost…
    If we are ever going to get new keycaps, I believe the best way is through another crowdfunding initiative. In hindsight, such a campaign should be done by well-known people in the community (like the A1200 team) who has showed that they can deliver large quantities of plastic parts. To gain momentum on such a campaign, it is really important that the people running it have a realistic grasp on things including price, delivery times and most importantly continuous updates. Finally, to make things easier on the campaign team, I would go with a lot fewer keycap colors, e.g. colors that goes with the colors on the Pixelwizard cases. If such a campaign is going to happen, it will most likely take at least a year from the crowdfunding part ends until the keycaps are delivered.

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