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Advice on buying a used Commodore 64?


FenderGuy1

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I used to have 8 bit computers back in the day ..and loading from tape etc.. was a real pain... still fun to play with, but things have moved on

 

I still my old Atari ST somewhere in a box, when released it was the only computer out there with built in midi ports for sequencing etc.. very advanced for its day !

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I've been meaning to reply to C-64 threads for a long time, but I mostly just lurk here so I never got around to actually doing it.

 

First off, I don't understand why anyone would have to go a buy a C-64 in 2012. Everyone had C-64's back in the day and today they are not really worth anything in my opinion, because there's so many of them that they don't really have any vintage value. Bottom line, I wouldn't pay for a C-64. It's something you take off of people's hands because they'd just throw it away anyway. Ask relatives, your parents friends or co-workers, neighbours or whatever - anyone who were of or had kids of the C-64 generation. They will likely give it to you if they have one.

 

If you are serious about making music with the SID chip (personally, I think that trend has come and gone) you might want to find the old brown C-64. Breadboxes as we call them over here. SID came in two versions and the oldest one sounded a bit better.

 

Personally I wouldn't care to much about whether it comes with a 1541, Datasette or any amount of software. I can understand wanting the 1541 or a 1571 for that matter, for full retro experience and all that but for practical purposes they are a pain. Mostly because of format crashes. Everything you'd ever want as far as software goes is available online. So you can get it downloaded to your PC, but then what. Hook up an old 5-1/4" drive to dump it on and then move to the C-64? Takes some work to get the PC to write it in C-64 format (I never even bothered to find out how that is done but I'm pretty sure it can be) plus you'd have to have access to empty floppies... Tape? I think there are ways to hook up the datasette to a PC, or programs that uses the PC soundcard to convert files into "datasette audio" you can record on a stereo tape deck and then use, but.... Ethernet? Takes some work to get that up and running on the C-64. Best way is to make one those cables and use an old PC (old enough to have the LPT port, new enough to browse the internet on it) as a 1541 emulator. You can store all you'd ever want for the C-64 on the PC hardrive and just mount disk images there and load it from the C-64 just as if it was a 1541. It will even be kinda retro because it is still slow as all hell due to the C-64 incredibly, even for the time, badly designed I/O. [ www.64hdd.com ] So, in short, if you have to buy, think twice before you spend extra on one just because it comes with a lot of software.

 

What else... some sell non working 1541, but they kinda do work, just the head got misaligned. The 1541 had no zero track detection so in some cases (some copy protection schemes, and after read errors) the drive would slam the head right into a solid stop, over and over, and eventually it'd be misaligned. It was fixable back in the day, but finding calibration disks today might be difficult. The 1571 didn't have that problem. Plus it didn't get insanely hot as the 1541 either.

 

Speaking of hot, old C-64 power supplies dies often due to heat build-up as well. If I recall correctly they were molded totally shut so there's no easy way of opening them up to fix anything. So it might be worth checking that the supply really works. I think the newer ones were better, and have fuses, which I don't think the old ones did.

 

Normally I'd say to make sure you have an old TV to hook it up to, but I assume you'll have no problem there. The C-64 seems to generate a kinda wonky RF signal that new TVs with digital tuners in them don't like at all.

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I'm thinking of buying a used Commodore 64 after my Commodore 128D arrives, so i can add more to the Commodore collection. and all the other retro PC's out there, so any advice?

I wouldnt have thought you of anyone need advice lol.. you seem to know more about them than most people do.. :P

 

My advice would be to stop collecting bits of old hardware..... I used to have all the retro gaming stuff that just sat there gathering dust and sold it all on ebay as one lot... I mean what are you gonna get from another old computer that you dont already have? Or is your goal just to have as many as possible??

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It's too bad that your collection won't ever be worth any thing.

Ohh common.. people collect all sorts of things that they like, anything from badges to stamps to gnomes to anything with a frog on it.. they dont have to be worth money for a person to collect something.

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Ohh common.. people collect all sorts of things that they like, anything from badges to stamps to gnomes to anything with a frog on it.. they dont have to be worth money for a person to collect something.

Well old computer value is starting to go up! Saw a used c64 on eBay for the original price it sold for!

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