C64 Reloaded: New C64 mainboards
The Commodore 64 will celebrate it's 32nd birthday this year, and that's a significant birthday for a Computer: If written in hexadecimal notation, 32 becomes $20. After such a long time, more and more C64 boards are failing and can't be repaired any more: Even after exchanging all chips, a board may still not work. A possible cause for this is a defect of the circuit board, which is extremely tedious and expensive to find and fix.
We will therefore produce new C64 mainboards shortly. We have kept close to the schematics of Commodore Assy number 250466, because this version is accepted to be the best compromise between cost savings and compatibility. We have only changed the circuit in very few places, so production is still possible with parts that are available today.
C64 Reloaded will fit in all original C64 cases: The classic "breadbox" cases and the flat versions of the case that were used in later production years. We've had a positive surprise when measuring the power consumtion, because our new mainboard uses modern DC-DC converter technology: We use an EuP-compliant 12V DC wall power supply that will use less than 0.3W(*) in standby. The original C64 requires 3.9W(*) in standby, and when powered on, power consumption rises to 21.6W(*). Our C64 Reloaded only takes about 5,7 Watt(*) - roughly a quarter of what the original computer required, despite the fact that we're using the original Commodore chips. This economical approach doesn't mean "weak" in any way: The DC-DC converters have lots of power reserve to supply even very power-hungry expansions like the "Super CPU" or the Commodore memory expansions 1750 or 1764.
The C64 Reloaded does not come with a TV-Modulator. There's an S-Video output in it's place, and audio is passed to the outside world through a 3.5mm stereo plug, which lets you use standard audio equipment. The known connectors for joysticks, cartridges, monitor, floppy drives, data cassette and userport are of course available on C64 Reloaded.
C64 Reloaded will be shipped partly assembled: The processor (CPU) and the sound chip (SID) are not included and need to be put into ZIF-sockets by the customer. The PLA and video chips are also in zero-insertion-force sockets, so they can be exchanged easily. As opposed to the original computer, our board can be jumpered between PAL and NTSC without the need to solder anything. By customer request, the board can be equipped with two Kernal ROMs and two character ROMs, which can be chosen by pressing and holding the Restore key. This way, you can use popular speeders and localizations such as German and Swedish Umlauts.
Although we strive to replicate the C64 as close to the original as possible, we've introduced a technical innovation: A video effect known as "VSP-effect" to the C64 scene leads to intermittent crashes of some C64 models, which is also known as the "VSP-bug". On customer request, C64 Reloaded can be equipped with the VSP-Fix: It consists of an additional chip that is plugged into a socket of our new mainboard.
C64 Reloaded will be available in limited quantity starting july 2014 for 149,90 EUR(**). We will start taking pre-orders soon.
(*) Measured at the 230V AC side. Measurement device not calibrated. Board equipped with 85xx HMOS chips
(**)recommended retail price including 19% VAT. Price and VAT rate may differ in your country. Shipping cost not included.