My Commodore story

How it all began...

In the year 1986 everything started. I was 12 years old.

At Christmas I got from my parents a Commodore 64 with a Commodore 1541 disk drive and a Sanyo CD3195C color display. I was the only one with the brand new C64C, all my friends had the "normal" C64.

Soon, I played games. But I was very interested in the other things a computer can do, especially graphics, sound, calculating. So I had to learn the COMMODORE BASIC V2. That was no problem. The great manual of the C64 did a well job. I wrote lots of more or less usable programs.

One year later, I received my 9 pin printer Star NL-10. So I was ready to print. The NL-10 is a great printer. The Paper handling and a Near-Letter-Quality-Mode are a few points. It has a changeable interface. You can plug out the Commodore Serial interface and insert a parallel interface for PCs. There were also interfaces for other computers. I bought the parallel interface a few years later, so I could connect it to my PC, to print address labels.

With my C64, there was also a disk called GEOS 1.2 shipped. The Graphic Environment Operating System from Berkeley Softworks. It was fascinating - windows and icons, mouse pointer! It had a painting and a writing program, and some tools like calculator and clock. In the year 1989 GEOS 2.0 came out. It had great enhancements. There was even a spell checker! The printer drivers were also improved. Now I could use the full resolution of my printer. One day in school, as my teacher gave me back a text, which I wrote on the C64, he asked me: "Hey, have you a Mac?" You can imagine his face, as I told him: "No, a Commodore 64!"

Somewhere in 1991, I bought a PC, an AT 286. So my four year younger brother got the Commodore equipment. But it went only three years, as he also bought a PC. The C64 went in the cellar.

Until I went into the Internet! Hey, the C64 is still alive! So I dug the C64 out and installed it. Of course it still works perfectly. Soon I began to ask around for additional Commodore units. A friend told me, he has a friend who owns a C128, which he want to throw away. Of course the C128 was in my hands shortly. I also got a 1541 disk drive. I hoped for a 1571, the double sided, faster drive specially for the C128. But a full working C128 and 1541 is not bad, too. The 1541 is an older one that I have with my C64, it is in the brown case and has a MITSUMI mechanics, the other has the same color as the C64C and an ALPS mechanics.

At the moment I have the older 1541 connected to my PC for data transfer. The C128 is running with the other 1541, display is a Commodore 1084S, which my employer wanted to throw away... I wonder if they had Amigas?

Now I just created a cable to connect the 80-column RGB output of the C128 to the 1084S. It works like a charm! Amazing what a sharp picture the C128 generates and the 1084S displays...

So now I have a full equipped C128. I wonder what would be, if I got a C128 instead of a C64. I think I had written more programs using sound and graphics, because the C128 supports sound and graphics with built in commands. But read more about the benefits of the C128 on my C128 page.

It was around February 1997, as I received my C128. Now, almost two years later, my friend Peter asked me if I want a C128. "There's one lying around, don't know if it works", he said. Of course I wanted to know if it's a flat C128 or one with separate keyboard and integrated disk drive. Peter confirmed me that it's a C128D. He gave me one day for the decision. I have no more place for a C128D, but only one thought that a Commodore machine would get scrap made it easy for me.

The next evening, Peter brought the C128D, a 1901 display, a Final Cartridge III and all the cables to me. The display, the keyboard and the right side of the C128D are badly yellow, but who cares. We plugged everything in and - power on! A loud crackling sound came from the 1901 speaker. Seems that the audio amplifier in the 1901 is bad. I have to take a look at that. But I will use the 1084S anyway. The start-up screen of the C128D came up, 80-columns output, C64 mode, everything worked fine! For testing the drive and sound we loaded a game in C64 mode, everything ok, so far I could distinguish the game music from the crackling noise.

Of course I installed the C128D as my new main (Commodore) machine. The fan which was installed in the power supply was very loud, the bearings were worn out. I installed a better one which is temperature controlled. Must be a rarely C128D now with temperature controlled fan. :-) Did I mention that this C128D was never opened before? The "warranty void if removed" seal was intact!

The year 2000 started bad for my Commodore collection. The 1084S display died this evening. :-) After I watched TV for an hour, there was a quiet crack, and the picture went black. I think something with the tube. Who cares, I will dispose it, together with the 1901 display. Now I use my original C64 display - the SANYO CD3195C. I'll have to test if the monochrome signal on the RGBI-Port of the C128 will work with it. Or does someone know, if it is possible to display the color 80columns signal on a composite display? Is there a converter for that? Please mail me!

In Summer 2001 I got the last affordable Commodore unit for my collection - a "breadbox" C64 (I think a SX64 will remain a dream). The C64 was owned by a real freak - no screws in the case, an installed reset button and an additional switch, but not connected. Maybe he wanted a CPU-stop switch...? And there is a cable soldered from VR2 pin 2 (+5V) to pin 2 of the user port. As this is connected anyway on the motherboard, this connection is either broken on the board or it is additional, for more current on the user port? :-) Anyway, everything works fine on it.