Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June Meeting Highlights!

Thank you to all came out for our June PSCUG meeting. It was tons of fun, and some super pizza. Here are some of the highlights from this months meeting. Thank you to all who came out!

 - Goog showed his Stereo SID Board and played some stereo SID tunes

- A Comet64 in a clear cartridge case 

 - SX-64 with wifi access, using Easy Flash and V-1541

 - Vic-20 multi-game cartridge, showing Jungle Hunt

 - Used Group Zork chat on CommodoreServer
- Showed a Plus/4, along with software on cassette 

 - Gene and Pinacolada working on Land of Spur bug

 - Agent Friday's Enhancer 2000 disk drive
 - Yummy pizza provided by Farrelli's, courtesy of Nightlord

 - Used KipperBASIC and RR-NET to write simple chat messages on CommodoreServer's chat room
 - Nightlord working on his chat program for CommodoreServer (shown is a picture of his connection to the chat room along with the RR-NET chat program)
 - Agent Friday chatting back to both

 - Nightlord playing some Ghosts N Goblins on the C64

- Agent Friday demoing his 38.4K baud for the RS-232 port, and his circuit for testing

- This last pic is a game on the Plus/4... Petals of Doom!

A big thank you to Goog from PDXCUG.ORG for his huge contribution in making these meetings possible. Sign onto COMMODORESERVER.COM chat today!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 19th PSCUG Meeting!

Just a reminder to everyone that we will be holding our 3rd PSCUG meeting at the Pierce County Library Sumner, Wa. this Sunday June 19th @ 5:20pm-11:00pm. Bring your friends and family. We will be discussing more Commodore goodnesss. Bring your retro Commodore and computer gear that you would like to show off. To the left of this blog there are directions. If anyone has any questions feel free to drop me a line or follow me on Twitter @psc64. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

  • Introductions
  • Announcements
  • Presentations
  • Show and Tell
  • Q&A
  • Group Project
  • Tinker time
  • Discussion
  • Gaming time

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May Meeting Highlights...Our 2nd official PSCUG club meeting!

Thanks to everyone who came out to our May meeting. Every meeting is getting better, and the Commodore projects and ideas are enriching. We had a few presentations that were filled with Commodore excitement and generated continual encouragement and improvement to the ever-growing Commodore community. For those who couldn't attend for whatever reason, you missed out. Club member, engineer, and significant Commodore community contributor Gene B brought his projector for us to watch Tron 2010, and show off some presentations. Thank you Gene! Thanks to those who traveled from great distances to attend the meeting. Here are some of the highlights from our May 15th meeting:

- GenCom64 presented GeoRam, GeoPublish, Wheels 128, and Maniac Mansion Gold running on the C64C with GeoRam. Download Maniac Mandion Gold here, Wheels 128 here, GeoPublish help here. Teenage Mutant Hero Heros game was demonstrated on the Educator 64.

- Gsteemso gave a presentation on his IEC Serial Commodore Bus extender which will be ready soon for use, and will have the capability to network Commodore computers. He also discussed the upcoming formation of a new retro-computer group.

Goog presented the EZFlash cartridge and the Comet64 modem using his Commodore SX-64 and WiFi. He also showed off the Tron game for the Commodore 64. For more information about his CommodoreServer and the Comet 64 modem please check out his website CommodoreServer.Com, and PDXCUG.Org. Goog also showed off an early German Commodore 64 production video on the projection screen! What a neat video of early C64 production. Just make sure you brush up on your German.

NightLord demonstrated the his graphics editor that would allow .gif and .jpeg images to be translated into images suitable for the C64 by color coordinating the images with 16 Color Pallet. He uses this to assist in his game and DemoScene creations.

Pinacolada gave an update on his TADA (Totally Awesome Dungeon Adventure) game that is a remake of the famous Land of Spur for the Apple II. For more information on his recent additions to the C64 remake, please check out his blog here

-Gene B showed off his latest YouTube video for his screen framework assembly and test rigging. To view the video click here

- Tron 2010 was shown on the projector with pizza and Stacy's homemade chocolate chip cookies to be devoured by everyone.

- An introduction and presentation to one of the earliest C64 computers the Educator 64.


     - Several Commodore machines and devices were shown off such as:
     - Commodore Amiga CD32 game console
     - Commodore 128DCR computer
     - Amiga 1080 and 1084S monitors
     - Commodore SX64 portable executive computer
     - Commodore Vic-1541 disk drive
     - Commodore 1581 disk drive
     - Commodore Educator 64 computer
     - Commodore 1530 datasette player
     - Commodore 64c computer with 1541c disk drive
     - Geos GeoRam

Our next meeting we will be continuing to dive into GeoPublish and be working on more fix-its for Commodore computer repairs and updates. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Commodore in May meetings greetings retro fun May 15th Sumner....

A reminder to all our Seattle-Tacoma area Commodore fans that we will be holding our PSCUG, every 3rd Sunday of the month, Commodore meeting May 15th @5:20pm-11:00pm Pierce County Library in Sumner, Wa. The location and address are located on the left-hand column of the blog. Feel free to bring any Commodore or retro hardware/software to the meetings to show off. Our last meeting was a huge success, and we look forward to a bigger turnout this next Sunday. If you have any ideas that you would like to share before the meeting, or just have questions in general send me an email. For last meeting highlights please check out PSCUG.ORG Tons of Commodore fun.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Puget Sound Commodore Users Group (PSCUG) Launched!

Last night we had our first PSCUG meeting at the Pierce County Library in Sumner, Wa. Highlights and photos for the event can be found on the website. It was truly a remarkable event with several guest speakers that gave some of the best presentations in the Commodore community. The meetings will be held every 3rd Sunday of each month. The next two meetings are scheduled on May 15th and June 19th @5:20pm-11:00pm.  Don't forget our sister group in Portland Oregan serving the greater PDX - Portland Metropolitan area is having it's meeting Tuesday April 19th @ 5:00pm. Details located here for the PDXCUG meeting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Upcoming Commodore Meetings...

Just a quick post to let everyone in the PNW know that there will be some important dates to mark on your calendars for upcoming Commodore meetings. Starting April 17th we will be kicking off Commodore meetings in Sumner, Washington! For those of you who are in the Seattle/Tacoma area and have been looking for other Commodore Users/Enthusiasts to hang out with, this is it. The meetings start at 5:20pm and run until 11:00pm every third Sunday of the month at the Pierce County Library 1116 Fryar Ave Sumner, WA 98390. Scheduled thus far April 17th, May 15th, and June 19th. Feel free to send suggestions or ideas of contest and/or projects you would like to see at the meetings. More details, and the calendar can be found here We are gonna have some fun. Would love to have guest speakers come and chat, and new ideas introduced. We will be following an agenda similar to the Portland Commodore Users Group :

  • Introductions
  • Announcements
  • Presentations
  • Show and Tell
  • Q&A
  • Group Project
  • Tinker time
  • Discussion
  • Gaming time

Hope to see you all!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MSD SD-1 and MSD SD-2 Super Disk Drive Repair

I thought adding a section on the repair of the MSD SD-1 and MSD SD-2 Super Drive would be helpful to all out there that have the common problem of an old MSD drive that just quit working. One of the most common problems with the MSD drives is the capacitors. The capacitors installed on the drive motor circuit boards leak electrolyte. After years of the electrolyte leaking the corrosion begins to eat away at the traces on the circuit board, and cause damage to nearby circuit board components.  
     As you can see in this picture, the leaking capacitor has spewed electrolyte all over the surrounding area causing traces to be eaten as pointed out with the arrow. The ICs near the capacitors also need to be removed and checked for underlying corrosion caused by the leaking capacitors. In the following pictures you see where the IC SN7406N has been removed to further clear any damage done cause by electrolyte. You will need some Isopropyl Alcohol, a toothbrush, solder, soldering iron, desoldering braid, and a small flat head srewdriver (to scrape) for the job.  
     First, open the drive up and carefully remove the drive board from the drive mechanism. There are 3 screws holding the board down, and 4 circuit plug-ins. Be careful not to yank the plug-ins. Once the board is removed you will see that there 5 capacitors. 2 on the right, 1 on top, and 2 on the left. The capacitors you will need are 16v 10μF, and 16v 47μF. Be careful not to order caps that are too tall, as they will rub against the adjacent drive when re-installed.  You can order supplies from  The pictures on the left show the sequence of repair on the leaking capacitors. The 3rd-5th picture on the left show the eaten traces repaired, the IC removed, and the capacitors replaced. 
      Carefully desolder the capactitors, and IC that need to be replaced. Use desoldering braid, on the back of the circuit board, and a hot soldering iron to remove the solder. *Note: mark down the polarity of the capacitor before removing, so that when replaced they are in the correct position, and any plated holes covered over by corrosion should be poked through with a tiny wire. Rock the now loose capacitors back and fourth until the capacitors are removed. Once they have been removed, use a toothbrush with alcohol to clean the surrounding area. Once thoroughly brushed down, use a small flathead screwdriver or razor to scrape the area down to the copper traces. Be careful not to remove the trace itself. If for any reason the trace has been removed, you can use solder or quick grid repair compound to mend the trace. 
     As you can see on my board on the right, I scraped a good deal of corrosion down to the copper on my board. It is important to know where everything is before scraping, so that when you are replacing the capacitors and ICs that they are replaced in the proper position.  Replace the capacitors and IC, and resolder them into their correct position using a hot soldering iron and rosin core solder. 
     Carefully reinstall the board back on the drive mechanism upon repair. *Note: ensure all cables are reattached before turning the drive back on.  Below is the drive mechanism circuit board schematic for reference:

        The leaking capacitors are the most common problem with the MSD super drives. You will notice when you turn your drive on that it may blink 7 times. This is an indication that their is a problem with your drive mechanism. Here is a list of errors noted by the LED on the MSD panel when applying power to the drive:

 Number of Flashes         Component
                             1               Microprocessor U7
                             2                    RAM Ul
                             3                    RkM U2
                             4                    RAM U3
                             5                    ROM U5
                             6                    ROM U6
                             7               Drive Mechanism

The MSD Super Drive user manual is loacted here:

Diagrams and scehmatics for
the MSD SD-1 and SD-2 main board are on Ray Carlsen's schematics website:

Complete downloads for MSD SD-2 here

     A big thanks to Ray Carlsen and his work for helping the Commodore community continue to lead the way in the 21st century!

Commodore SX-64 Executive Portable Computer