In this post I will mount a Raspberry pi 3 in a Commodore64c. The purpose is to create an emulator environment for a variety of videogames and computers. When I ran the emulators for Commodore 64 and Amiga, I think the right “feeling” did not kick in due to lack of keyboard and the possibility to use old joysticks. For this build I choose to use the chassi from a Commodore 64 model c since this was the computer I owned as a child. I have seen some variants where a Raspberry pi is built into the old “breadbin” C64, but not as many in the newer C64c.
Demands for the build:
- Absolutely no harm to the C64! No drilling or gluing in the chassi!
- Fully working keyboard and joystick ports.
- USB-in for connecting additional gamepads etc.
- The possibility to turn the Raspberry on and off through a power switch.
- Commodore 64c chassi
- Raspberry pi 3
- Keyrah v2
- Usb + hdmi cables
- 3D printed plastic mounts
- m2 mounting details
Commodore 64c Raspberry pi step 1: Keyrah v2
Keyrah v2 is a real nice product that suits perfectly in older computers from Commodore. The card enables db9 joystick ports and the original keyboard to be identified as USB-units in the computer you connect them to. Keyrah is manufactured by Vesalia Online. Oh, and it comes shipped in a really cool box:
If you want to power the Keyrah through the internal connector, you have to solder a 4-pin USB-header to the card as shown below.
I soldered together a customized USB-cable for this port, by using connector cables from Arduino and an old USB-cable.
In the below picture we can find Keyrah v2 + two original screws from the C64, and a 3D-printed plastic piece to cover the cartridge port of the C64.
As stated above, the Keyrah works perfectly in computers from Commodore. Below I mounted it in my C64c.
Commodore 64c Raspberry Pi step 2: Raspberry pi
Several 3D-models that can be used to mount the Raspberry pi in the breadbin variant of Commodore 64 exists. The layout of the Commodore 64c is a little different though. Therefor, you either have to edit the 3D models in a suitable software, or make some manual adjustments of them. I choose the later option on this model from Thingiverse. All you need to do is to file the two mounting holes a little bit to the sides, and use some spacers and washers when you mount the Raspberry. I keep the holes for the 15 mm ports open, and use the 10 mm hole for the power switch.
To mount the Raspberry in the holder I utilized brass heat seats available at Amazon. On this plastic mount, a USB-in and micro-USB power cable will also be mounted. I just super glued these items, after roughing up the plastic surface a bit. HDMI-out and the “ordinary” USB-power cable can be connected directly to the Raspberry through the cassette tape port. The dongel in one of the USB-ports on the pi is to connect a wireless keyboard I keep around, just in case.
Commodore 64c Raspberry pi step 3: Power block
Finally, the Raspberry needs power and a power switch. Thanks to the Power Block from Petrock Block a switch can be utilized to send a shut down signal to the Raspberry. In the picture below you can see the LED of the C64, the Power Block, the power switch, and cables. The power switch and the LED can easily be attached to the Power Block through the cables. Thereafter I connected the micro-USB cable from the 3D-mount to the USB-port of the Power Block. To this micro-USB switch you connect your power supply if you want to utilize the Power Block. I decided to change the power switch on the picture to a more discrete button as a last step.
Finally, connect the USB-cable from the Keyrah to the Raspberry pi. Done!
The following configurations are needed:
- Through a jumper on the Keyrah you choose between American or Germany keyboard layout.
- I run RetroPie on the Raspberry. If you use the VICE64-emulator for example, you have to tell the emulator which key to use for reaching the menu. I did it through using the wireless keyboard during first startup. I choose the “£” key since it is not used for much else. Do not forget to save settings after this step! To use the joysticks, you have to configure to use “keysets” as joysticks. Then, use the joystick input (Up / Down / Left / Right) when you configure the keys.
- The drivers for the Power Block needs to be installed. This is performed through a script that you can find on the manufacturers web page (see link above).
- Update: To get the keyboard to sit more firm, I recommend 3D-printing and adjusting some mounts to fit your particular build.
Update 2020: I have restored the C64 to its original condition and is now running all my games on “real” hardware.