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I have a new VIC-20 at last!

dongfeng

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Well, the waiting finally paid off, I'm now the owner of a working Commodore VIC-20!

I bought it on eBay, quite a good deal as the case of the computer is really quite horribly discoloured... I will put the working insides of this in the case of my perfect (but dead) VIC-20 :)

If the case was in good order... it would sell for about £30 as I have seen similar systems sell for that... prices for VIC-20 systems have gone crazy lately.. look at this one! £60! (US$110) :shock:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI....6&category=3544&sspagename=STRK:MEBWA:IT&rd=1

And there's loads of games with it too 8)

...and all for £8 (US$15) :D

b7_1.JPG


there's more if it you can't see in the photo ^^v

Commodore VIC20 massive job lot, full working order, no reserve VIC20 Includes keyboard, tapedeck, all leads and 27 games. 2 joysticks and a pair of paddle joysticks. Also includes a 3K and a 16K expander packs.The games that come with the Vic 20 are Race fun, anti matter splatter, the catch, cyclons, critters, quakers, cyclons, frogger, centropods and pakacuda, all from rabbit software There is also phantom attack, submariner, hektik, crazy cavey, metagalatic llamas, Quasimodo, space pirates, bewitched, cosmiads, vic panic, asteroids, RIP, sub hunt, 3D maze and neutron zapper There is also two commodore vic20 introduction to basic tapes. There is also 8 books in the package, some are the original books you got with the vic20. If you need any more info just ask. Buyer to pay postage, happy bidding! Please check out my other auctions
 

carlsson

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Hm.. does this machine have grey function keys rather than brown keys as most VIC-20s used to have? It probably means it was a rather late unit, as the breadbox C64s had grey function keys but otherwise the keyboards are interchangable.
 

carlsson

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Ok - on the picture from eBay you pasted it looks grey to me. Btw, it's cool how you take pictures of your current machine ready to run a game, despite it doesn't output a useful picture. 8)
 

dongfeng

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I was testing the machine in the photo! I can run games no problem, they load perfectly... I can 'play' them and hear the music and sounds effects on the game. But... I cannot see anything but white :(

The VIC in the photos, we've had it from new (my grandfather was given it) and when I was young he used to write me programs to play 8)

I'll let you know about the colour of the F-keys when I receive the computer! I really don't know why the computer is that colour, it looks like someone has baked it in the oven :shock:
 

dongfeng

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I received the VIC-20 in today! It works lovely, just like my original machine :) I've dismantled it already, to try and clean up that horrid case a bit... it's still yellow, but I removed and washed all of the keys so that is now perfect!

One question though, my original VIC when you typed: Load "reallycoolprogram" is used to say "Press Play on Tape", which I thought was really cool.
However, this new machine doesn't say that :x It just says: searching for reallycoolprogram

Anyone know why, or is it just the machine? The serial number is WGB67389. It seems to be an earlier machine than my original vic (my "new" vic has case "locators" on the rear of the case are more flimsy (and have broken on this one) and the chips are soldered directly to the board whereas my broken vic they are in holders.

I'll put some photos here later! :D
 

vic user

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That's a new one for me.

The only thing I can think of, is if the cassette drive already had the 'play' button down.

Otherwise, it should prompt you to 'press play on tape', as you mentioned.

Chris
 

carlsson

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Or if one of the VIAs or edge connector or tape recorder cable is broken so it doesn't detect whether PLAY is pressed down or not. Or if it has a modified ROM so a LOAD without device number defaults to disk drive (but then you'd get a ?DEVICE NOT PRESENT error unless that also has been patched away).

If the chips are soldered directly to the board, I would say it is newer than your broken machine. My VIC-20s are as following:

Working, socketed, two-prong PSU: S/N WG C 6435.
FAB NO. 324002-02. ASSY NO 082369 (?). REV D. W-1894 HB.
(c) 1981 Commodore. Lacks a metal shield around the VIC-I.

Broken, surface mounted, DIN-style PSU: S/N WG C 120528.
FAB NO. 251040-01. ASSY NO 250403. REV D. W-1894 HB.
(c) 1982 Commodore. Has a metal shield around the VIC-I.

Since I don't have a working PSU to the later machine anymore (unless the C64C PSU would work), it doesn't matter much that it is broken and no obvious parts to scavenge unless I like to play with the soldering iron.

Interestingly both machines have the same revision number, but the boards are slightly different laid out. Also, the "older" machine has a higher FAB NO, although I'm not sure what it means. There is no ASSY NO on the board, but a sticker which says 082369 on the older machine.

(yes, to gather this information, you have to open the machine and unscrew the motherboard from the case, but it is a great opportunity to take away dust on the back side)
 

dongfeng

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Thanks for the replies! :D

I have no idea why I don't get the "Press Play on Tape" message, I have dismantled the computer AND the tape deck to clean everything up (nice soapy wash and scrub for the cases). I freed everything up in the tape deck, but I still don't get the "Play" message. I will get my original VIC and tape deck next weekend and try it out!

Here's some pictures:

All the bits
DSCF0017.JPG


more
DSCF0018.JPG


The VIC before I cleaned it (yuck!)
DSCF0020.JPG


expansion! the 16k (brown) one doesn't work.. yet.. :x
DSCF0022.JPG


Start screen
DSCF0024.JPG


I will post the shots of the mainboard for you carlson, wait a while, ok! :D
 

vic user

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Talk about a nice vic 20 starter kit! :)

I hope you get the 16K cart working, and all you have to do is fiddle with those external dip switches.

That 'creepy computer games' book looks way cool!

Hope you scan it :)

Chris
 

carlsson

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6519 BYTES FREE? Was that with or without the Super Expander cartridge plugged in? Normally you should get either 3583 (unexpanded) or 6655 (Super Expander's +3K) at boot-up.

You may find that cleaning the connector on the 16K cartridge does wonders, or else you can try to get it out of its case (be careful not to break anything) and see if you get contact with the bare card.
 

Terry Yager

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The VIC (in America anyways) came in at least two different memory configurations. The early ones had around 2K and in the later version they kicked it up to around 5K. There were other differences as well, but I don't recall right now what they were. (Different power supply?)

--T
 

vic user

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Wow, I had no idea there were different memory versions of the vic 20 in the States.

Yes, I have seen only two versions for the power connections for the vic 20. Either the original two prong connector, (which runs hotter inside the vic I think), and the later version using the same DIN connector as the 64 etc..

I used to think you could tell which connector the vic used by looking at the case, specifically the vic 20 logo. I thought the old brass one was linked to the two prong one, and the rainbow colour spectrum vic 20 logo, was linked to the 64 DIN connector, but that's not the case.

Chris
 

carlsson

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Hm.. Terry, if you can back that statement with some source, it would probably be a great surprise to the community. The only thing I know is that Commodore later pre-installed 16K RAM into VIC-20 and sold it as VIC-21, but AFAIK all models had at least the original 5K RAM.

If Dong is experiencing 6519 bytes without a cartridge, either there is some extra RAM inside the machine or something is screwed inside. It is a typical symptom if the cartridge has bad contact, but I don't quite know how it comes. There probably is a plentiful of POKEs and other things one can issue to test that the machine is OK.
 

carlsson

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Of course, Terry might mix it up with the UltiMAX, which was a 2K console predecessor to the C64 with touchpad keyboard. There are a few references to a 2K VIC-20 on the net, but in most cases they seem to be mentioned by people who haven't been close to a VIC in twenty years and can't recall even half of the technical details they pretend to know. :eek:
 

Terry Yager

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carlsson said:
Hm.. Terry, if you can back that statement with some source, it would probably be a great surprise to the community. The only thing I know is that Commodore later pre-installed 16K RAM into VIC-20 and sold it as VIC-21, but AFAIK all models had at least the original 5K RAM.

If Dong is experiencing 6519 bytes without a cartridge, either there is some extra RAM inside the machine or something is screwed inside. It is a typical symptom if the cartridge has bad contact, but I don't quite know how it comes. There probably is a plentiful of POKEs and other things one can issue to test that the machine is OK.

Hmmmmnn... This page has the early ones at 4K(?). I dunno, I'll keep checking.

http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?c=252

--T
 

Terry Yager

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carlsson said:
There are a few references to a 2K VIC-20 on the net, but in most cases they seem to be mentioned by people who haven't been close to a VIC in twenty years and can't recall even half of the technical details they pretend to know. :eek:

Heh-yah...sounds like me all right...old-timers disease settin' in I guess.

--T
 

carlsson

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Ok. To clear the confusion, I present a complete memory map. :)

$0000-03FF: 1K of "low" RAM, mainly system memory but in theory possible to use for your own needs if you bypass both Basic and Kernel.
$0400-$0FFF: Empty slot where the 3K expansion cartridge fits
$1000-$1DFF: 3.5K of "user" RAM
$1E00-$1FFF: 0.5K of screen memory (which is part of the user RAM)
$2000-$7FFF: Three empty slots of 8K each (total 24K for expansion)
$8000-$8FFF: Character ROM
$9000-$93FF: I/O blocks address space (VIC-I, VIA etc)
$9400-$97FF: Colour memory RAM in nybbles (four bits/byte)
$9800-$9FFF: I/O blocks address space (probably for expansion)
$A000-$BFFF: Empty slot for 8K RAM/ROM (games cartridges etc)
$C000-$DFFF: 8K Basic ROM
$E000-$FFFF: 8K Kernel ROM

So the user RAM is 4K, but 0.5 kB is "stolen" by the graphics. Here we get 3.5 kB. Since it is possible to fill the screen memory with code or data, some people still see it as 4 kB (but beware of clearing the screen!). If you add the "low" RAM, we end at 5 kB. If we also count the 1 kB of nybbles as 0.5 kB of RAM, there is a total of 5.5 kB...

Your suggestion that there was a 2K machine is surely possible, but it
would break compatibility with the 3.5/4K machine, just like a machine expanded to 8K breaks compatibility - the screen memory is moved from end of RAM to start of RAM to allow a continuous block of memory for Basic.

Did this confuse even more or clear any questions?
 
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