This is the place to discuss our glorious C64/128 machines and their very active scenes. Other C= 8-bits welcome, too!
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu May 18, 2017 9:36 pm

Our vintage computers age year after year, and yet the venerable Commodore 64 is pretty much a work horse that doesn’t quit. At least, by and large, it is a perfectly fine piece of machinery that should continue to work for many years. However, it does have one Achilles heel: the big PSU brick.

In theory the C64 could experience bad caps, but it’s a much rarer of an occurrence than found in some Amiga models.

Ray Carlsen (Seattle, WA), the well-known electronics technician who builds his own high-quality power supply replacements for Commodore systems, had this to say to a forum member mrr19121970 on Lemon via an email exchange:
I don't know where the "replace all caps" idea came from... perhaps from Amiga and Apple motherboards which have caps that do fail often and leak onto the boards. Commodore 8 bit stuff never needs routine cap replacement. I've never had to do that for a repair.

What does kill C64 machines (and some Amigas) are those old power-supply bricks. And when those components fail, they can shoot an over-voltage into the C64 and fry it beyond repair. This is one of the key reasons Carlsen creates brand new power supplies that are intended to last another 30 years or beyond, for both C64s and Amigas that rely on power bricks. I have several connections who have opted for the Carlsen-made PSUs, and they love them. I will likely be picking up some for my A500 and A1200 later this Spring. My C64 drives use bricks, too, which need to be modernized. Carlsen has affordable replacement solutions for those, too.

However, another option to consider for the C64 computer itself is the SAV64.

It allows you to use your existing C64 brick, but should the brick fail the SAV64 protects your machine (think of it as a fancy surge protector on steroids). It has an LED light to indicate the health status of your brick, which can be reset if need be. In addition to this barrier of safety, it also has power cord ports for 5VDC and 9VAC barrel connectors to allow easy use of alternative power sources - thus replacing your brick PSU altogether if you so desire. It is designed to handle 3 Amps in order to protect and power your C64 system.

I got a SAV64 this week.

Right off the bat, I noticed the the build quality is at a very high, professional level. This device was made to last and is like a little tank. The SAV64 isn’t a 100% guarantee of protecting the C64 against everything that could go wrong, but it’s a very reasonable insurance policy against one of the largest threats C64s face - the aging C= power bricks.
The build quality of the SAV64 is top notch.
The SAV64 can be used as a protector against over-voltage, but it can also replace your 30+ C64 year-old power bricks.

There are still more SAV64s available. If you’re a member on Lemon, you can PM skidivingirl and she’ll get you all fixed up. There's more info over on Lemon about the SAV64.

Note: If the attached links lead to posts with “Sold” in the topic title, that means the pricing on that page is out of date. Regardless, skidivingirl is a very responsive and friendly cat, so don’t hesitate PM’ing her for info on the various forms she is active.
When plugged in to power, regardless if the C64 is in use, the SAV64 is at work.
The power cord of the SAV64 plugged into the C64. It uses a nice metal barrel connector rather than rubber/plastic.
All 3 devices I typically use simultaneously with my C64: the Ultimate II cartridge, Jim Drew's WiFi modem, and the SAV64.
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Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Thu May 18, 2017 10:12 pm

I believe I'm using a newer 64 power power supply when it comes to the C64. It's not a "brick" anyway, it's about the same size but it's super light. Also; it works with my VIC-20 as well... I just switch the two up plug for plug. Not sure if that's a power supply thing or a specific model thing in terms of it being compatible with both the 64 and VIC - I know that's not true for everything though.

I do have a brick or two around here somewhere... Don't know why I decided to use the newer style... Probably had something to do with the VIC-20 I got out of the trash. I have two power supplies for the Amiga. Not sure if I"m using my original or one I got later. Oh yuck; I'm going to be quite pissed if that thing blows up on me and fries everything. Such an unfair way to go; because there are no signs it's going bad until it's had too much. I should open it up and peer around.

All my computers are connected to surge protectors; I'm deathly afraid of lightning storms messing up my old systems/CRT monitors. I usually just shut them all off in bad conditions.

(clears throat) - linking stuff from Lemon... Like they'd ever do the same for you :P yuck! :D
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu May 18, 2017 10:45 pm

That's the the thing - I'm using surge protectors, too. But the bricks are the main cause of C64 death these days, and there's no surge protector for that - except for something like the SAV64 which goes between your surge protector and the machine. If my brick explodes, I can always just use normal power plugs later on, too. So, it's a nice insurance investment. And, it allows me to keep using the brick I've got until it ultimately goes to that power brick place in the sky.

But I need to swap out my floppy drive bricks for some of Ray's plugs. They're cheap and well made. Dude knows his stuff. He's retired and probably won't be doing it for that much longer, so I definitely want to get in on that action before he decides to quit for good.

There just aren't that many Rays out there anymore, you know? Both he and the lady from Lemon (in North Carolina) make some really fine products to protect our gear. I'm down with that. :)
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Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Thu May 18, 2017 10:52 pm

I think you're underestimating the power of your Mario pin there... He's going to be there for you ;) haha, I love that thing!
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu May 18, 2017 11:05 pm

Hah! Mario... that, my friend, was hand-made by yours truly. It really is the plastic version of pixels. Let me introduce you to Perler Beads. They are a ton of fun to do, especially if you think in terms of pixels.

I would so attempt to do Alias from Curse in perler beads, but it would probably take a few weeks to map it out and actually make it look good. It takes a while just to figure out the ironing/melting process, especially on big pieces.

I saw one guy on Twitter a while back where perler bead scenes for retro-gaming were all he did. Like, non-stop.

Look at this.
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Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Thu May 18, 2017 11:12 pm

Oh yeah; she's a looker :P - I believe she shows up as an NPC in Secret of the Silver Blades and Pools of Darkness. Always looking fine! I forgot how good looking the Amiga version of Curse actually is... Just been so long since I played and there are screens here and there which look awfully similar in DOS... But I think the main thing was that it's just not as pretty as Pool of Radiance on the Amiga... I mean I was not thinking it was a straight port, but I was thinking it was minimal in terms of upping the graphics. Boy' I was wrong on that one! The game looks fantastic on the Amiga, absolutely stands apart from all other versions as the best! Must be those blue screens, they reek of DOS EGA; but no, the game is beautiful.. And having just looked up those Blue videos where he played it in DOS... Yuck! My apologies you beautiful Spanish girl! Mico-Magic did the port for Curse? I think that's what it said when I loaded it up the other day. - They also did Star Flight. One of the most unique RPGs ever made, and best on the Amiga!
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Fri May 19, 2017 10:14 am

Some recent comments on Twitter about C64s getting zapped by their power bricks:
Mine died this way. Ripple from the PSU and the RAMs died. Tried to replace with a crappy soldering iron and I failed and it made things worse. Then I just hot air blower-ed the valuable chips out (might have broken them?) and I'm planning on getting a C64 reloaded...
C64 power supply failure is happening more often now that they're 30+ years old. It just happened to this guy. His power supply went over-voltage and damaged his C64
The video is of the popular vlogger 8-Bit Guy, and his realization that his brick power supply zapped his C64 while demoing a totally different project.

8-Bit Guy:
So unfortunately this is a common failure if not the most common failure of all Commodore 64 problems. The power supply will start sending too much voltage when it goes bad, and thus frying the rest of the computer along with it.
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Zippy Zapp

by Zippy Zapp posted Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:24 am

The Sav64 is a good device if you are using the original brick of death. Actually ALL of the Commodore power supplies that shipped with the C64 and C64c, Plus 4 and newer Vic-20CR are all prone to failure and overvoltage.

The exception is the Power Supplies that shipped with the 1764 REU and the C128. These are switching supplies and they are very reliable. I still use my 1764 Power supply. They shipped two different models with the 1764. One is a lighter 2.5 amp supply and one is identical to the beefier C128 power supply only with a Round DIN plug for the C64. I think that one is 4.3A and has a fuse on the bottom. I have both of these as I bought two different REUs over time and the newer one came with the C128 style power supply.

Don't ever trust a Commodore brick that shipped with a C64/C even the newer tan colored bricks as they are still the same just a different color.

On a side note the Amiga Supplies are also reliable. For the A1200 they skimped a little on the power supply but you can use an A500 supply with the A1200 too. You can also easily convert a mini ATX supply for the Amiga too. I have even seen people do this with the Pico ATX supply.
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by EbaYau posted Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:46 am

Hi....i am a new user here. In my case I have two power supplies for the Amiga, the bricks are the main cause of C64 death these days, and there's no surge protector for that - except for something like the SAV64 which goes between your surge protector and the machine.

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