Commodore 128 motherboard in high resolution

March 4, 2016

Here’s a high-resolution photo of C128 motherboard for no particular reason:

Commodore 128 motherboard

Click for more pixels

This one has a Scandinavian character set, that’s why the three paper labeled EPROM chips.

One point worthy of note, though; You often find being said that the Commodore 128 has the “new SID”, 8580. That’s not the case however. Read the rest of this entry »


Setting up a retro PC for a MIDI card

September 22, 2013

Pentium II casing detail

My retro enthusiasm is not limited to C64, or Commodore alone – not at all.

Recently I put together an old PC. In fact, everything started when I grew interested in MIDI music. Or to be more precise, how different consumer sound cards render the music. I found it fascinating how MIDI compositions can sound very different using different sound cards and sound patches. Especially when it comes to previously familiar game musics. Many have felt the same, and there are various sites on the net where you can listen and compare game musics recorded from different sound cards.

Inspirited from all that I bought myself a NEC XR385 from eBay. Basically it’s an OEM Yamaha DB60XG MIDI daughter card. These seemed to be regularly available from a Chinese seller, and didn’t cost that much. Bought mine in early spring, but it ended up taking almost four months until I actually got my card, but that’s another story. By now the supply from the Chinese seller seems to have been depleted, sadly.

The NEC XR385 MIDI daughter card

The NEC XR385 MIDI daughter card

When I finally got the card, I had to put together a setup around it. The card cannot be used alone as such, as it is designed to be plugged into a special wavetable a.k.a. Wave Blaster interface found in many 90s and later sound cards. Another option to use the card would be to convert it to an external MIDI sound module. Read the rest of this entry »


The beauty of simplicity

February 4, 2012

You know the classic Suncom’s Totally Accurate Controller MK2, right? Better known simply as the TAC-2. The favourite Atari-standard joystick of countless people, with the reputation of being indestructible. Other than durable, it’s also a very good game controller. The design is simple, you can hold it in your hand very comfortably, no matter if you’re left or right-handed. And the feel and tactile response is top-notch.

While not completely fail-proof, at least TAC-2 withstood abuse much better than most other joysticks that were commonly used with Commodore 8-bits, Amigas and Atari computers.  Both the durability and usability are result of very, very simple yet functional design.

I mean, have you ever looked inside of that controller? It appears that there isn’t anything that could ever fail.

Here’s a picture of TAC-2 dismantled. You can completely take the stick apart and put it back together without using any other tools than a screwdriver, which is needed for the three screws that hold the case together.

The buttons and directional switches are nothing but robust construction where metal part presses against another when you press a button or the stick into some direction. In its simplicity it’s ingenious.

But in fact there are some common issues with TAC-2. The buttons tend to become unresponsive over time. As with any switch, metal oxidation is the main reason. Or plain dirt. Eventually this may happen with the directional stick too. But in fact, you could try to rub the contact surfaces clean to make better contact without even opening up the controller. Just wiggle the stick around or rotate the button with your thumb while pressing it. You know you used to do that! Read the rest of this entry »


Brilliant picture from Amiga with RGB-SCART

January 25, 2012

I wanted to be able to hook up an Amiga 500 to TV with decent picture quality for an upcoming gaming session. Instead of using the lousy composhite signal or the dreadful RF antenna cable I wanted something much better because modern TVs don’t forgive low-quality video signal. In fact, flat panel TVs tend to make old systems look really bad. Low resolution and sharp, pixelled graphics (in contrary to e.g. real life video) transferred using blurry and noisy signal, and then displayed stretched and processed on a HD panel. You know it ain’t gonna be pretty! The best way to prevent the worst eyesores is to use high quality video signal at least.

So, off to make a RGB SCART cable for that Amiga. Read the rest of this entry »


Revealing Stats

December 14, 2011

People search for funny things on the Internet. Every now and then even my blog statistics display some curious search phrases. Today, when I had a look on my blog’s stats, this is what I saw:

I can only wonder why someone looking for Jeri Ellsworth nude has landed on my site. It must have been disappointment though, as I can assure that I don’t have any risky pictures of Jeri around.

Instead I can present you with some metaphoric retro nerd-porn involving Jeri in a different context. Behold, my C64 DTV signatured by Jeri – the creator herself!

C64 DTV hidden file showing the DTV-team.

How’s that for ya?

Also, I hope that the person trying to figure out if Commodore Amiga CD32 and Amiga CD32 are the same thing found an answer.


Sega Saturn DIY Virtua Stick

March 25, 2010

I like my Sega Saturn. I like the fighting games on it. I like arcade sticks. But I never had the Virtua Stick for the Saturn. So I decided to build one for myself.

Read the rest of this entry »


Reviving Saturn 3D Control Pad

December 22, 2009

Few days back I was planning something quite different but ended up fixing a broken Sega Saturn 3D Control Pad – the analog variant of Saturn controller that came bundled with Nights into Dreams.

The magnet (circled in yellow) should not be here, but insidethe other trigger's plastic cradle

This one was only slightly broken. It was otherwise ok, but the other analog trigger did not response at all. I remember opening it up in the past, but now that I took second look inside I realized what was wrong. Read the rest of this entry »


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