Believe it or not, Commodore 64 is still being used for commercial purposes. Analogik has discovered this truly rare occurrence at MYER Centre main bus station terminal – Brisbane, Australia. How reliable C64 is proves the fact that it is still being used to inform travelling people of 21st century.
Commodore 64 is Alive and Well
2004-02-27 OS News 38 Comments
In the works:
A souped up C64 running on a 6502-compatible 20mhz CPU, and other bells and whistles.
BTW: You can hear an interview with the chick who is developing this thing at RetrogamingRadio:
These things are great. I have two of them, and they both still work quite well, despite their age and the beatings they’ve taken over the years. They don’t make’em like they used to.
For all of the technological advances in the time since it’s introduction, I think that the C64 will forever be one of my all-time favorites.
Ha, ill go down to the bus station tommorrow – I got to see this with my own eyes
I know until a year or two ago I know UC Irvine had a Commodore monitor in front of the registrar’s office that just displayed the next open window number. My guess is that 15-20 years of service just eventually killed the monitor. Nevertheless the monitor lasted a long time.
“Believe it or not, Commodore 64 is still being used for commercial purposes.” Absolutely…
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY still uses an old C64 to display updates on their electronic billboard; which show the time, upcoming events & other important information…
Around 1994 I made a working teletype system using a pair of Amstrad CPC464 64k pesonal computers running BASIC software that I wrote, which encoded and decoded morse code and transmitted using the sound card, receiving incoming messages through an electrical circuit connected to the joystick port.
I miss the ease with which older computrs can involve the user in programming…..
C64 was “common” in smaller bus (and other transportation) terminals for displaying departures/arrivals. And if it´s not broken, don´t fix it. This one seems “broken” though.
Ah, the lovely C64
If I do not remeber badly, they ceased to produce it around 1992 because of how expensive was to manufacture the 1514-II/1551 floppy drives, not because there wasn’t any demand.
I do also remember that C64 Clones were really popular in China at the time.
If so why is the text all in lower-case?
My C64 and indeed the Frodo emulator I just fired up shows the C64 reset screen is all upper-case.
Maybe somebody at the bus terminal is playing a joke.
..seems there’s plugged-in in some cartridge which uses some of the free basic memory..
It is because there are two modes on a C64, one allows upper and lower case and the other allows upper case and graphical symbols. I think you change it by pressing the commodore key and shift and control or alt or something, havn’t had one for a while now tho
IIRC, if You boot C=64 with CAPS LOCK on it will go lowcase. Or You could simply change it. 🙂
Ah, Buck Rogers! Shamus! baby! =D
Wait, that was the Vic 20
The C64 breaks at completely unexpected moments, a pure stochastic process. I should know, I have a couple of crates of these babies….
However, the C64 seems more reliable than the Plus/4 or the C16. There the PLA is realy the weak point.
15 years, 20 yeras of ininterrumped services!
uau!!!!!!!!! that’s is a low tco! that is low cost computing!!
today the computers really sucks. we need to get back to the reliabilty of those models. (a single board with all included, low cost, simplicity, etc…)
If I remember correctly, the bus terminal under the MYER centre was completed in 1988 as part of the refurbishment of the whole building.
It was also part of a government initiative to improve Brisbane City traffic for the increase in tourism due to the World Expo held there in the same year. At the time it was pretty revolutionary, and by the looks of it, it’s still going strong (except for the odd reboot). I think I even snogged some girl under one of those things when I was in high school… Ahhh memories
Buck Rogers? Shamus?
I think you mean Radar Rat Race… First cart I got with my VIC=20 back in the day.
On the subject of the lower case, there was a third way it went lower case. I had a third party memory cartridge that forced it to lower case regardless of the switch setting… I think that was the one that included a real floppy controller, instead of the @#$% slow serial port one.
These things still running surprises me not. For the most part computers of that era were built on the KISS theory, and as such have so little to go wrong in them of course they’ll still work. My Trash-80 Coco (original board, custom case, modded to 64k, inverse video switch, upper/lower case rom, multipack built in, disk controller on board with a 40 meg MFM drive running NitrOS/9) still runs like a champ.
It actually worries me seeing win98/2K/XP boxes being pressed into service for simpler things (like lottery machines), as there’s just too much that can go wrong with these more advanced devices.
[quote]Buck Rogers? Shamus?
I think you mean Radar Rat Race… First cart I got with my VIC=20 back in the day.[/quote]
Heh yeah Ratrace too..Gosh, I had more fun back then.
This cool 8bit computer has a huge community here at Brazil, counting even with custom-made ethernet adapters, SCSI adapters, Zip-Drive adapters and lots of other cool hacks made of TTL circuits!
Check uzix.sf.net for a unix clone that run on this Zilog’s Z80 based wonder!
I was a technician for a Commodore authorized dealer.
I’m not sure if they were selling units into the 90’s but Commodore and Gold Star(the company that handled warranty, parts, and support in the final years) sold parts until the end.
These weren’t refurbed parts either. We ordered a variety of parts from Gold Disk as Commodore was going under and they were new including 1541, 1571, and 1581 drives.
We eventually stopped supporting the older systems but I distinctly remember speaking with someone(Software Hut?) about acquiring Amiga parts–they had purchased some of Gold Star’s inventory–and I recall him saying how he had a warehouse full of C64/C128/C128D parts.
“How reliable C64 is proves the fact that it is still being used to inform travelling people of 21st century.”
Actually, the fact that it is still being used to inform travelling people of the 21st century proves how reliable it is, not the other way around.
You must have gotten confused with Microsofts announcement about how patches cause exploits.
It looks like they have a fast loader cartridge of some sort. Default “Basic Bytes Free” on a C64 is 38911. The fast loaders would sometimes have a lowercase “boot” screen.
I think most people missed whats most interesting here. There is no 6502 anywhere on the board, its emulated in Altera Acex FPGA with a soft core. This is a neat way to resurect any old computer. The 6502 cores that are out there are not very fast though.
I often wondered about building something more interesting such as a DEC10 or Cray supercomp, these FPGAs can now hold vast amounts of cpus that can run upto 300MHz way way faster than the originals. How do I know, well I am doing a cpu that would replace the aged Transputer but not same instruction set. I am tempted to add Alpha opcodes but I think I’d be in trouble. The real reason for not doing this is always lack of relevance, what would a DEC10 be any use for today.
I think if you look in embedded apps, or in labs you would find lots of old 1 board 8b comps esp well made ones like the Beeb. If it ain’t broke, leave it alone.
Not sure if it’s changed, but three or four years ago my family and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. On the second floor (if I’m not mistaken) are these little computer kiosks that you can interact with. They had really old looking graphics and as I went to fiddle with the buttons I could see into the kiosk. Inside was a shiny solid state TI 99/4A. I laughed out loud.
Hey don’t lough at the TI9900 chip. It was one of the best cpus around in those days, but the implementation was very slow (0.1mips) and TI had zippo interest in competing against the mean lite 6502 or the 8080->z80 of the day, but on paper still far better. It was after all a minicomputer cost reduced into a not so cheap nmos chip.
TI probably should never have been in the pc console biz either as the cpu only got more crippled by all the junk surrounding it. Still one of its best features, the idea of regs in memory is the way cpus should go, solves many many design problems and perf is fine once they are cached into workspace cache (T9000 did this).
hehe neat.. i wonder if they remembered how to run the software.
“today the computers really sucks. we need to get back to the reliabilty of those models. (a single board with all included, low cost, simplicity, etc…)”
Some of the Unix Workstations are like that. Minus the low cost that is.
“I think most people missed whats most interesting here. There is no 6502 anywhere on the board, its emulated in Altera Acex FPGA with a soft core. This is a neat way to resurect any old computer. The 6502 cores that are out there are not very fast though. ”
That will not give you some of the hardware-dependent “quirks”.
“Inside was a shiny solid state TI 99/4A. I laughed out loud.”
Be glad it wasn’t a Colecovision.
Yes, as of last Saturday they’re still being used, on the second floor, to teach the fundamentals of physics. The monitors are the original TI/994A monitors as well, and they are as fuzzy now as I remember them from when I was actually *using* one.
I think that section of the Museum is the last “original equipment” from an upgrade I remember them doing going on 15+ years.
I’ll be really upset if/when they ever change that section…it’s one of a few “original” exhibits that really hasn’t changed at all since I was a kid, and they’ll probably just dump the computers in the trash. Pity.
Ah, a pleasant trip down amnesia lane. The TMS9900 was a nice processor in its day. The TI 99/4 & 4A, seemed bad because TI didn’t take them seriously as computers; they saw the “home computer” as a glorified game console. Initially, they provided no way to program it without purchasing a “development system,” which required a TI 990 minicomputer, except that it did have a sssslllloooowwww and effectively useless BASIC interpreter. It’s a long story, but by the time TI Consumer Products division really started to “get it” and even designed a replacement, the TI 99/8, powered by the very nice TMS9995, it was (probably) too late. Because TI cancelled the 99/8 on the day it was to be announced, we’ll never really know if it could have survived the onslaught of the IBM PC and compatibles.
If you’re interested in the 99/8, you can learn a bit more about it by googling ‘TI 99/8’. At the time of cancellation, there were a number of engineering models in existance, and some of them are still around.
“That will not give you some of the hardware-dependent “quirks”.”
Why not? Emulating the “quirks” is easy.
“Why not? Emulating the “quirks” is easy. ”
I can’t find the link at the moment, but there was a story about an individual making a DVD of the demo scene, and the trials he went through getting them there. Seems a lot of these demos use the “peculiarities” of their respective systems. Things nearly impossible to duplicate by emulation.
There’s another story about a company that uses the old commodore sound chip in their product to get a unique sound. Something that emulation couldn’t give them.
Hmmm. How do you know the Commodore screen isn’t just a desktop background/boot up screen/screen saver/etc? I used to have this type of stuff on my Windows PC since I was a big fan of C64. One could easily use an image of the C64 screen in one of those slideshow screensavers and just have it loop forever. I’d believe this more if we actually saw the computer in action.
i was a huge fan of radar rat race for the vic 20. the tape drive was a nice touch as well.
I am pretty sure the 6502 internals are so well understood by quite a few folks esp WD that all its quirks are known and have been implemented but I could be wrong. The 6502 chip itself can easily be figured out under a medium scope, probably only a few hundred gates. I used to do this all the time for other chips 25yrs ago.
Ofcourse any peripharal chips are likely not to have been reversed so they may well have quirks.
..somehow, via SID emulation. With sidplay2 and xsidplay i enjoy tens of thousands .sid’s once in a while. Thanks to both the musicians as well as the develops of sidplay/xsidplay! Because of this the spirit of an innovating piece of the C64 will remain living on my computers for a loooong while as i see it now. Unfortunately, the quality of the emulation leaves much to be desired. I’ve planned to buy a Catweasel, which has a SIDchip on it. This card comes in the form of a PCI as well as IIRC Zorro. There are drivers for Linux. I’d love to plug this baby into my PC; the PCI version, ofcourse. However from what i’ve gathered the quality of this chip leaves much to be desired too – regarding quality of the actual sound…
WOW…does THAT bring back memories. My first “computer” was a Vic20 with the “Data-sette” tape drive. I can remember pressing play (to “load” a program)…and then leaving to get a pack of cigarrettes from the 7-11 (meanwhile, I asked a family member to turn the tape over when called for)…and when I got home, it was usually not ready yet.
Thank God for CD-ROM!
Q-Link (the predecessor to AOL?)
Epyx games (Summer Games I & II, Winter Games, World Games, Street Sports Football/Basketball/etc., and the Epyx joytstick that clicked and fit right in your hand)