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Ben Pazolli's Vintage Computer Blog
Tuesday, 10 January 2006
First Entry
Topic: My Commodore 64
I know that this site is dedicated to the VZ200, but I thought I would take a moment to talk about my Commodore 64. I picked up a Commodore 64 with a SKAI-64 Floppy Disk Unit, a Commodore Tape Unit, original boxes, various manuals and some software for FREE in the Sunday Times.

The Unit came with in a non original case which was created by a third party, reminiscent of the C64c. This case made it easier to type, but it didn't look like a real C64. Luckily, they gave me the original case as well. I tried to resist the transfer for fear that I might destroy the computer, but finally I gave it a go. The transfer went effortlessly thanks to some instructions I found in the case. Though it is harder to type now with the thing being two inches off the table, I do believe that the keys now respond better, probably a case of dust collecting. Now it looks exactly like a C64-2.

There were two pieces of software that came with it, one was some drawing program which I haven't loaded yet. The other was a far more useful cartridge of Simons Basic. This wasn't even close to enough software to satisfy my appetite. So I started searching for ways to get games on it. As most of you will know it is not as easy as the VZ200 because it doesn't use standard audio inputs. I found a program and a number of times tried recording a program using a utility taping it on my VZ200 data recorder and then put it into the Commodore's data recorder, but I would always get errors.

After researching on the Internet I found that the only surefire way to get programs on it was to create a cable to interface with the drive, commonly called an XE-1541 cable. I sourced all the components from Alltronics and Dick Smith Electronics one Saturday morning. After a couple hours of work it seemed too easy. When I plugged it in though it would just not work. After another couple of hours of angrily realizing that I had wasted the whole Weekend on this and it didn't even work (I don't count Sunday as a day of the weekend because everything is shut because we have no Sunday Trading). I decided to open it up and have a look at what could of gone wrong, after analyzing the disk end of the cable I realized that it had completely ripped out due to hard to fit case. After completely re-soldiering it, I tried it again and it worked. For all of you thinking of trying the project, it is not hard at all, just don't put cases on till you know it is working. If you really don't want to do it you can email me and I can make you one.

After downloading a few games it came to my attention that most require a joystick, no key equivalent commands. So I hit eBay, and got one imported over from the USA. It arrived and I haven't looked back.

I currently waiting for an order from eBay for a Printer Interface, so I can connect the Parallel Printer that I use for my VZ200. I am also actively searching for a Modem, I believe that then I will be able to Connect to some local BBSes in the area. I have my eye on a Commodore Modem 1660. Though I could settle for any, including a Commodore Modem 1600 (VicModem). If anyone has a Commodore Modem out there email me at bpazolli@gmail.com.

If anyone has any comments about anything, they can again email me t bpazolli@gmail.com.

Posted by vz200 at 9:56 AM EST

Wednesday, 8 December 2010 - 3:49 AM EST

Name: "scofflawvip"

Hi  - just came across this site....see it has been a  few years since anyone posted.

 feeling very nostalgic about my VZ200 having seen some of the images and stories online.  great little machine for its time, and it had a classy appearance.  reckon it offers more character than a lot of the homogenised, commoditised keyboards of taday.

am even searching online to see if i can have a modern keyboard built to approximate a VZ200.

 anyone know of any for sale? there was a VZ300 recently on ebay.

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