Ben Heck Unveils Commodore 64 Laptop

Ben Heck Unveils Commodore 64 Laptop

For a long time geek like me, who got his start in computing by spending countless hours in front of a Commodore 64, Ben Heck's latest mod is about as cool as it gets. Using the original parts from a working C64, Ben crafted a fully functional laptop, complete with a custom enclosure and 15" LCD screen.

"This project somehow has the distinction of being both the longest and fastest portable electronics project I have ever done. I originally started making a C64 laptop in the fall of 2006, and kept pecking away at it every so often. Finally, a few weeks ago, I said “screw it” and started over.

I redid everything in a week and a half - the shortest project ever. (The previous record hold was the Wii portable at 2 weeks) The goal this time was to make something that looked exactly like a computer from the early 80’s, yet in a new form. Including the color beige and texture."

  

The final product looks fantastic. It takes the same aesthetic approach as the original C64 in regard to its coloring and textures, just features in a somewhat large mobile form factor. Two things Ben did update, however, were the power supply and floppy drive. Instead of using an original C64 PSU, a Gamecube power supply was used in conjunction with a switching regulator to convert its output to necessary 5v. And in lieu of a 1541 floppy drive, a 1541-III DTV emulator was used. "For storage there’s a device called the 1541-III DTV to “emulate” a floppy drive using an SD card. The SD card is formatted FAT-32 so you can dump disk images on it using a PC, and read it with the C64 - pretty cool!"

Here's a video of the Commodore 64 laptop in action. And additional information on the built is available on Ben Heck's website.

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Oh yea baby, I got to get me one of these.

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I would love to own that thing too.

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Never have I seen such a beautiful result from such a pointless project.  I probably would have taken the inards of a modern laptop and done everything via emulation - gotta admire him for doing it "the hard way".

The C64 was my first home computer... I'd love to own that thing.

Now, he needs to put a switch on the cartridge port data/power pins and add a reset button so that he can dump cartridges to the SD card!  :)

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that thing is sweet!

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3vi1:

Never have I seen such a beautiful result from such a pointless project.  I probably would have taken the inards of a modern laptop and done everything via emulation - gotta admire him for doing it "the hard way".

The C64 was my first home computer... I'd love to own that thing.

Now, he needs to put a switch on the cartridge port data/power pins and add a reset button so that he can dump cartridges to the SD card!  :)

I think you could also force a reset via a piece of metal between two pins on the serial-joystick port2.

 

not only does it look plain cool but I bet it can do anything a C=64 could do and since he's using a modified power supply he doesn't have top worry about the C=64 power brick burnout thing that always happened.

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digitaldd:

not only does it look plain cool but I bet it can do anything a C=64 could do and since he's using a modified power supply he doesn't have top worry about the C=64 power brick burnout thing that always happened.

Heheh... yeah... those things would get so hot they could burn you - and always began swelling up after a year or two.

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Don't I know it, i ran a BBS off a C=64 for a couple of years went through 2 power supplies. After the second one burnt out i rebuilt the old one with my own parts and that thing lasted me 5 years till i gave it away.

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that just rules!

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Ben Heck does a lot of awesome laptop mods. He turned a 360 into a laptop as well.

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