We are currently shipping pre-orders. News of arrived boards have triggered yet another wave of pre-orders, so the delivery date for new orders had to be moved to mid-december now. All orders placed and paid before december 31st, 2017 will be served. There will be no shortage. We are delivering, and we continue to do so.
The Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 is a C64 Motherboard for building a C64 on your own. The board is shipped with empty ZIF sockets for the key chips such as CPU, port chips, sound/video chips. All other components are already assembled and pre-tested before shipment.
For building a C64 computer with this board, you need to supply the key chips on your own:
- CPU 6510 or 8500
- two pcs. CIA 6526 or 8521
- video chip 6567, 6569, 8565 or 8562
- one or two sound chips 6581 and/or 8580
As opposed to the first C64 Reloaded board, the C64 Reloaded MK2 will automatically identify the installed chips. It will not only generate the correct clocking, but also set the right voltages for the chips that you have chosen. Further, it configures the filter-capacitors for your favourite SID combination. This means that the Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 is a completely jumper-free design.
The Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 includes the following on the board:
- all memory
- flash rom for Kernal, Basic, Character and your own sets of ROMs
- clock generator equivalent to the CSG8701 chip with two custom crystals
- PLA equivalent to the CSG 906114-01 chip
- Stereo-SID circuit configurable for three different popular addresses
- S-Video and 3.5mm stereo outputs
- USB to serial link for configuring the board with a terminal program
- high-efficiency power conversion for operation from a single 12V supply
- Power switch with integrated reset function
- six all-black high quality ZIF sockets
The all-static memory system is designed to be VSP-safe with all video chip versions. While the original C64 was based on dynamic memory, the Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 uses a 128k S-Ram chip. This ensures component availability for a long time in the future, and it reduces power consumption.
The ROMs of the Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 are held in a user-writable flash ROM. You do not need an Eprom programmer/eraser to flash your own Kernal ROMs. All you need is a USB cable and a terminal program on a Windows-, Linux-, Mac- or Amiga PC. Your ROM files can then be transferred to the Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 using the standard X-Modem protocol. There is space for up to three additional Kernal ROMs, and you can overwrite the non-volatile ROM space up to 10.000 times.
The clock generator of the Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 automatically adapts to the type of VIC-II chip that you have installed: PAL or NTSC chips require the correct colour clock, and the processor also gets a slightly different clock speed depending on the local TV system. You don't need to worry about any settings, as all timings are configured to the exact values that the original C64 computer has used. This ensures 100% compatibility while maintaining zero installation pains.
The Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 does not require a PLA chip. All the functions of this delicate chip are integrated in the main logic chip of this new main board. Although this means that this part of the main board is not driven by an "original chip", we can guarantee full compatibility, because the chip has been reverse-engineered in every single detail.
The Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 allows installation of a second SID at the user's choice. If you want to build a 100% compatible computer, you can just leave the socket for the second SID chip empty. If you want to go for stereo or have a possibility to switch between new/old SID while music is playing, just drop in a second sound chip into the ZIF socket. This sound chip can be configured to be a stereo extension at addresses $D420, $D500 or $DE00. Another alternative is to let this chip play the same music as the first SID chip, and toggle between the first and the second chip while music is playing. This is all configured without jumpers, using the USB-serial link to a Windows-, Linux-, Mac- or Amiga PC.
The original C64 can use a standard TV as a monitor, because it had a built-in TV modulator. The C64 Reloaded does not use this technology any more, because in the year 2017, TV sets with an interface for that kind of signal are not common any more. The C64 Reloaded has two connectors in the place of the TV modulator that let you make use of more common audio and video interfaces: An S-Video connector and a 3.5mm audio jack. These two connectors are mounted on a separate circuit board, which is mounted at an angle on the C64 Reloaded. This puts the two connectors in positions where the holes of the original C64 case can be used, and drilling or milling won't be required.
The high-efficiency power conversion of the Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 is identical to the circuit of the predecessor: With up to 4 amps of current, there is lots of reserves for your power-hungry expansions. If combined with a state-of-the-art 12V power supply, power consumption of your complete system can be cut by over 75% if compared to the original 1980s computer and power supply solution. Devices that connect to the user port and make use of the AC voltage also work flawlessly with the Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2.
The power switch looks just like the original, but instead of two positions, it has three of them. In "down" position, the computer is switched off. In "middle" position, it's switched on. The "up" position will reset the machine, and automatically click back into the middle "on" position. This lets you use a reset button without the need to drill a hole into your case for an additional button. Further, the functionality of this button can also be configured to be a SID- or Kernal switcher.
Last not least, we've listened to our customers who criticised the looks of our first C64 Reloaded board. While the general consent was that the black circuit board looks great, many people didn't like the 1980s-characteristic green of the ZIF sockets. We have therefore equipped the Commodore 64 Reloaded MK2 with custom black ZIF sockets.
Real pictures, not computer generated. Pictures show an unpopulated pre-production board. Actual appearance will vary - see text. Final appearance will be shown in real pictures in august 2017. SID chips not included. Commodore is a registered trademark, used under license.