Yes, I know-- I know what you're thinking: "*I* would never have fallen
into such a trap. My wisdom would have seen straight to the answer
right away!" Well, perhaps you are right, but for other mere mortals
like myself, the full story might be instructive...
It started with Hovver Bovver. A fun little game I go back to from
time to time on a bright shiny Commodore 64C that sits in the middle of
my lab. Anticipation of another session with borrowed mowers and
yapping dogs led me back to that comfortable seat in front of that
little white computer last night. Of course, I had to re-plug all of
its cables in. I had been testing some other systems on its monitor
and power supply some time back, and left it in a disconnected state,
but that took only a moment.
Everything re-attached, I eagerly flipped the power switch and waited
what seemed like an eternity (3 seconds?) for that happy blue screen to
pop-up. Once again my computer dutifully reported that it was READY!
For fun, for work, for whatever -- it was READY! A few keystokes later
and after enduring the patience only Commodore serial can teach, the
game came up -- in silence. Dead Silence.
Now, those of you who've played Hovver Bovver know how distressing this
was. The wonderful music is part of the whole experience, and nearly
half the fun.
A quiet 64C is not to be tolerated, so I went RIGHT to work. "It's
this damned monitor!" I thought. Luckily, a brown breadbox 64 was
sitting right next door, so I gave it my 64Cs monitor plug and powered
it up. A little typing later told me that, no, the monitor is quite
fine, as is its cable.
"Oh no! It's the SID 8580!" This thought distressed me greatly. Those
chips are damn RARE, and even though I pride myself on replacement
parts, I knew I had very very few. However, that IS what they are
there for, however few they may be. So the pretty white computer came
off its desk and onto the work table. Off came that shiny case! Out
came the keyboard! Every so g-e-n-t-l-y came that flimsy metal shield
protected the 64Cs E-board from interference, and providing the
necessary heat dissipation. Then POP went the 8580, which I carefully
and gingerly set aside, showing reverence even in its betrayal. Out of
my chip supply came the spare, which was carefully put in place. Is it
pointing the right way? Yes! No pins were bent were they? No.. Are we
ready to play now? I hope so.
SILENCE! That little lawn mower pilfering bastard rummaging through
his friends garages in complete silence drove me bonkers! Argh!!!!
"Ok, it's not the SID. I know! It's a cold solder joint under the
audio/video plug! I must have finally cracked it during all that
pulling and pushing of the cables!" So out came the board again, and
under bright lights and magnification, the board was carefully
inspected. Friends, fellow commie-fans, you never saw a finer example
of Canadian workmanship in your life. Every pin in that darn thing was
beautifully secured with conductive precision.
"I give up! Time to replace the board! I've got some spare 64Cs in
that shed with all the leftovers from the 2002 fiasco. I'll find one
of those working, and replace my white and shiny case with its
innards." And so out to the shed I went. One after another, ratty
nasty dirty ugly 64Cs made the trip from my Commodore graveyard to the
shrine of all things good. In went the plugs -- I would have to clean
them all later for having to touch such misbegotten beasts. And then
power on. Nothing. Black screens. Death. Oh well, I knew this might
happen. So off to the get next one I would go, but not before I popped
the cracked and dirtied cases with missing keys to see what might be
left inside. Heck! Not even an "E" board! Old breadbox motherboards
hidden inside 64C cases, ah well -- wouldn't have been good enough
anyway I guess. So off to the next one. SAME result. Black screens,
breadbox motherboards, power light on, but nobody's home. Very quickly
I ran out of 64Cs to try, and I dispaired.
That's when it happened, gentle reader. That's when the light bulb
which I'm sure most of you had alight in your own minds finally went
off in mine. "Isn't there something unique about the 8580? Isn't it a
9V chip? Perhaps this is a power issue after all." So with the speed
that only proximity can make possible, I turned around and squinted at
my power supply. Not your normal 64C power supply mind you -- one of
those enhanced boxes that came with the 1764 REU, which looks a lot
like a C128 supply.
I grabbed my multitester in one hand, and the computer-plug of the
power supply in the other and readied myself to test. "What's this?!"
A quick look at the pins of the power supply plug told me something was
wrong. "THREE pins? I thought there were FOUR?" Well, it didn't take
me long to figure out my assumption was correct, and then the whole
mystery unraveled before my eyes. You see, my friends, the missing
power supply pin had BROKEN OFF inside the socket of my shiny 64C. The
power supply was no longer delivering voltage that made the sound in my
64C happen, and which was apparantly necessary to make ANYTHING happen
in a breadbox board. All those ratty boards worked after all, as did
the SID 8580 I had cast so many dispursions on before. It was a simple
matter of providing the proper voltage.
Hours and hours and hours that would have been better spent mowing.
Gone. I'm such an idiot.
||9/5/2006 4:24:08 PM
Bo Z. wrote:
> You see, my friends, the missing
> power supply pin had BROKEN OFF inside the socket of my shiny 64C. The
> power supply was no longer delivering voltage that made the sound in my
> 64C happen, and which was apparantly necessary to make ANYTHING happen
> in a breadbox board. All those ratty boards worked after all, as did
> the SID 8580 I had cast so many dispursions on before. It was a simple
> matter of providing the proper voltage.
Ah, we've all been there, Bo. Take a look at my posting under
"Partial CIA failure". Another Ray Carlsen story.... I had brought
him a C128DCR for diagnosis and repair. The little, added drive and
JiffyDOS switches were easy to fix. However, why wasn't the machine
acting correctly? He tried every chip, even going as far as to socket
every chip in order to get the machine to power up correctly with a
proper screen and the correct number of bytes free. Even with the
replacement of all chips, the machine refused to work. He spent a long
time trying to determine what was wrong, even calling on help from
others. Finally, he looked at the expansion cartridge port. Inside
that port, several of the metal fingers were bent and touching each
other! Voila, problem solved! He fixed it, and the C128DCR is now in
perfect, running condition.
Fresno Commodore User Group
9/6/2006 1:11:38 AM
Join the elite club. Been there, different situation, same waste of time.
Let's move into the double idiocy round, where the stupidity is staggering:
Setting up the Wall o' Commodore here in the basement and spending hours
trying to determine why the monitor won't work, only to find out the
cable I "thought" was for that monitor actually plugged into a nearby
unpowered 1702. Don't even ask how much time and effort was expended...
Same premise, power supply confusion.
Add other variations, salt to taste. Yummy.
Oh, and the SX-64 re-assembly fiascos:
Disassemble SX unit, find issue. Boot up machine with guts hanging out.
All works. Put boards back in case, button up and slide the plastic
vent sleeves in and tighten, forgetting to verify operation before doing
so. Curse as you tear the whole thing down to find you forgot to
re-attach some cable inside.
Closer to home: Unscrewing the hundreds (thousands I tell you) screws
in a VIC/64 KB mech, cleaning, screwing them all back in, only to find
you forgot to put one of the posts back into the KB before assembling.
Yeah, been there. Less drastic variations include unscrewing a virgin
C128, starting a JDos swap, getting a call, buttoning up the machine,
plugging in, only to realize you, um, forgot to plug a KERNAL back into
C'mon, you need more apprentice time before you can run with us big
boys. Post when you've swapped out 4 SFD-1001 mechs before you realize
the IEEE cable connector on the B128 is a bit corroded and all the
9/6/2006 4:15:51 AM
Group: comp.sys.cbm Date: Tue, Sep 5, 2006, 9:24am (CDT-2) From:
>Yes, I know-- I know what you're thinking: "*I* >would never have
fallen into such a trap. My >wisdom would have seen straight to the
answer >right away!" Well, perhaps you are right, but for >other mere
mortals like myself, the full story might >be instructive...
>Hours and hours and hours that would have
>been better spent mowing. Gone. I'm such
To e-mail me, add the character zero to "dowcom". i.e.:
MSWindows is television,=85 Linux is radar.
9/6/2006 6:02:51 AM
Seems like all you young blokes have little to NO experience with
When you talked about plugging in all those computers to that same
power supply, I thought you were going to reveal the KO. THE HURTING!
Nope. You were lucky son.
Those of us who have REALLY been there know - it's ALWAYS the
POWERSUPPLY. Even if it isn't. If it couldn't possibly. EVEN if it
could NEVER BE!
My old commie went out years ago. This was past the time those things
were hanging out by the lots in the thrift stores, so you had to wait
patiently a month or two to find one, making excuses to take the trips
back and forth to the thrift shops to scout for one.
Well, a month past and I found another one. No power supply. That's
okay - ALREADY GOT ONE.
BTW, this was at the time I had just ordered 64hdd with a pwr-load rom.
Turned her on. Everything worked. Noticed the speaker on the monitor
there was a little loud. Turned her down. Loaded up the last game I was
playing at that time, the same one that was on when I crashed and
burned the last 'puter. One of those Jeff Minter lama disco games that
throw out so much multi colored light it will induce paroxysms if you
don't avert your gaze periodically.
Well, Nick Coplan can probably tell you many goofy emails I sent him
later - trying to blame either 64hdd or Ancipital or both for frying
YAC (yet another computer).
I already told you it was the power supply so I won't drag this story
on. A month later and another thrift store find, I power the new-to-me
breadboard up to an awful loud buzzing in the speaker. The READY prompt
is up but the cursor is blinking really fast. Then garbage on the
screen. Then blank. Just like the last two computers.
Can't blame 64hdd or Ancipital this time.
I think I may still have that power supply around here. Kind of like
those kids who keep viruses on disks. If I knew what was good for me I
would have thrown it away.
Maybe I keep it around to remind me, to threaten me - to keep me on my
toes. One day I may forget. One day I may just pull out that old black
power-supply-of-death thinking everything's okay with the world - and
DEATH to another C64!
Maybe I hope to get a drill and pry it open and murder the little power
supply insects that torture pure current and make it sizzle and blacken
up the wire to another hapless, HOPELESS c64.
NO, I will not relinquish that cursed power supply until I exact
revenge. For it was my humble self-birthday present when it had
attacked me and mine. It was when I splurged on a 64hdd setup when I
could barely make ends meet.
Death works like that sometimes.
9/6/2006 6:32:23 AM
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