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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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:34 am

This was a pretty fun build, even though it didn't turn out the way I originally planned. In this build I managed to create an entirely brand new C64 with the exception of the keycaps and a small handful of original chips. This was not a cheap build, but a labor of love - a virtual shrine. And it is one of two that I'm building (more on the 2nd build soon).
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Don't you want to hold one of these? Are your hands clean?

This build includes:
Yeah, that's a lot of coin. I know. But in theory this computer should outlive me, so I'm OK with that. And it's good enough, it's smart enough, and doggone it people like it!

After having previously installed the MK2 Reloaded, all this machine really lacked was a new keyboard. I picked up the Mechboard64 with yellow switches. The keycaps are originally from a destroyed breadbin (destroyed by a careless Ebay seller). I retrobrighted the glphys and got it ready for a transplant.
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In case you're wondering about the ... case ... it has a clear dust cover on top of it.


For those that aren't familiar...

The MK2 Reloaded is a modern recreation of the C64 motherboard that utilizes some of the original chips. So the foundation is "green" and simplified, while avoiding the FPGA route and staying "pure".

The Mechboard replaces your old cheap plastic C64 keyboard bracket with a laser cut aluminum bracket with a silky smooth black powder coated finish and a black printed circuit board with white silk screen writing. More importantly it provides 66 Gateron microswitches of your choice (red, yellows, browns or blues) taking your C64's typing skills to a whole other-worldly level. I went with yellows for this build, as yellows are the closest to the original feel.

To be completely honest I originally planned on using the Mechboard64 with a brand new laser cut case I had custom made in Germany. I installed my Ultimate64 into the case and wanted to put the Mechboard in that build, too. After speaking to the creators of both the Mechboard and the case, I am the first person to attempt to do this.

Unfortunately, after several hours (and a bit of modding) I discovered that the two products are simply not compatible. But that story is for another day.

Disappointed but resigned, I decided to move the Mechboard into my MK2 build to make that machine the nearly 100% new machine instead. I'd say it worked out pretty well. And the Mechboard took all of 2 minutes to install using an extension cable I'd previously picked up from Lau (aka MtnBuffalo).
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Everything you see in this photo is brand new except the keycaps, the original chips on the MK2 motherboard, and the table. And that screwdriver. This machine is newer than the Airbook sitting over on the floor.


I'm extremely happy with this build.

The only thing I plan on changing is the case badge - it should be a darker one. I do prefer the look of the breadbin keys so I will likely be putting the original 64C gray ones into the plexiglass case if I don't source another nice breadbin set from a dead machine.

The only thing about this build that is disappointing is the MK2 Reloaded and WiFi modems are not compatible. That's a bit of a hit because I can say without hesitation that the Mechboard64 has upgraded this C64 to have the best, most fluid keyboard I've ever used. It's sexy to type on this thing. And not being able to easily get my BBS fix with this machine is a tragedy.
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I will be ordering a second Mechboard if Lau opens the project back up again (sadly it's on hold right now due to a lack of support). If there was ever a Mechboard made for the C128D? Good god - my head would explode.
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Mr.Toast
Roseville, CA

by Mr.Toast posted Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:29 pm

OMG, that is sexy 8bit nerdiness^2.

I came late to the retro party and missed out on the kickstarter cases. If you ever see one, PLMK!

And the mechboard? I would LOVE to get in on that if he ever does a respin on that. Or maybe, we should just say fuggit and do our own 128 mechboards….

AmigaLove.com presents mechboard128

Maybe after the rejuvie project is wrapped?
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:42 pm

Dude - if you're really wanting one of the Mechboards you should ping him on his site and let him know. He'll put you into a non-binding pre-order list (with no money exchanged). He's not going to do another run unless there's enough demand.
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Mr.Toast
Roseville, CA

by Mr.Toast posted Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:25 pm

Done! Hopefully there will be enough interest for another batch run.
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oldbull

by oldbull posted Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:20 pm

Does the "Ultimate64" have the same wifi modem compatibility issue?
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:23 pm

Yes and no.

The Ultimate64 doesn't have a User Port - so it can't use the same WiFi modems. But it has built-in WiFi. The firmware just hasn't bee updated yet to support it. But it will some day. At that point, I might swap the Ultimate build and MK2 from their respective cases.
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

by Zippy Zapp posted Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:38 pm

intric8 wrote:Yes and no.

The Ultimate64 doesn't have a User Port - so it can't use the same WiFi modems. But it has built-in WiFi. The firmware just hasn't bee updated yet to support it. But it will some day. At that point, I might swap the Ultimate build and MK2 from their respective cases.


I thought it had a header for the userport so that you can wire up an adapter? Does he plan on releasing an adapter? If not, it wouldn't be too difficult to make one, if the pinout is available.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:44 pm

That's true:
It is therefore possible to create an extension cable that brings out the user port.

However I've not seen anyone try this. If you know about a source please let me know. I'd go for it until the internal WiFi is worked out.
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

by Zippy Zapp posted Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:03 pm

Oh I see it now. Here is the pinout:

U64 UserPort Header Pinout.

It should be pretty easy to create an adapter and send it off to OSH, at least for someone that knows the dimensions and how to work eagle or kicad. It would be cool if CBM Stuff made one as an option for the WiModem.

I have to admit I am now looking at the Ultimate 64, even though I know I don't need one. LOL.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:06 pm

I have to admit I am now looking at the Ultimate 64

Yeah, and this weekend Gideon released a firmware update with NTSC support.

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