Commodore 128 disassembly

Commodore 128

I recently bought a Commodore 128 (C128) on Swedish eBay for a good price. In this post I will write a few notes about the disassembly of this lovely machine (I wanted to inspect the insides, and give it a good clean). The C128 was introduced in 1985 as a sequel to the popular Commodore 64. By default, the C128 runs in “Commodore 128-mode”, but many people used the “Commodore 64-mode” instead (press the Commodore button while booting the machine) due to the large software library of the C64. Very few programs and games were actually written specifically for the C128. The C128 came in several versions, including the Commodore 128D, which included a built in floppy drive.

Commodore 128 disassembly

The C128 is easily disassembled with a Philips screwdriver. Just remove the screws according to the images below.

Commodore 128 disassembly
Remove the six marked screws from underneath the C128.
Keyboard connector
Gently lift the keyboard, and unscrew the grounding cable and disattach the keyboard cable.
Commodore 128 RF shield
Remove the remaining five screws from the RF-shield.
Keyboard removal.
To remove the keyboard from the casing, unscrew the six marked screws.

There we go! Now you can inspect the motherboard of your Commodore 128, as well as giving the keyboard some basic cleaning. My machine was in very good condition. The capacitors looked good, and the only thing I notice was some minor oxidation on the motherboard (no broken traces according to the multimeter). Hence, no urgency for doing a recap, although I will perform it some day when I feel like doing a soldering session. The unit turns on fine in both C64 and C128 modes, and I will do more extensive testing later.

Commodore 128 motherboard
Commodore 128 keyboard

When assembling the C128 again, align the LED like in the image below. The keyboard rest on top of it.

C128 LED

My C128 came with a Datassette 1531 which was very dirty. I used a toothbush to remove the dust, and alcohol + Q-tips to clean the internals. Then, I applied some silicon grease on the mechanical parts. Oh, and while googling, I also learnt that there are “Datasettes” and “Datassettes”. This unit is a Datassette with 2x “s”.

Dirty Datassette 1531
Dirty Datassette 1531.
Clean(er) Datassette 1531
Clean(er) Datassette 1531.

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