View Full Version : VIC-20 at flea market (!)

November 5th, 2006, 02:05 PM
I just got back from the flea market this fine Sunday afternoon and scored a pristine looking Vic-20 for $10, in a rough box. Has power supply and everything. I haven't tested it out yet but for that price I'll risk it. If not then it can be a really neat project for a case mod. But it's near new looking, no case ywllowing or anything. I hope I don't get in trouble for it, my wife doesn't even know about it yet. Main consideration is room, and it really isn't taking much space so I oughtta be okay. Such is domestic life, heh heh :)

Wanted to share.


November 5th, 2006, 05:28 PM
Ah man... I wish I got that lucky! Which flea market was It?:)
To bad I can't find an apple II at a antique store. Or at least some vintage computer.

November 5th, 2006, 10:21 PM
Luck was the name of the game, for sure. It was the one at Dyer and Broaddus here in El Paso. Still haven't tested it out yet, and no time tonight. It even came with the warranty paper! I went ahead and dug up my other C= stuff, and I'll finally be able to play Gorf the way it was meant to be played and VooDoo Castle and see our solar system as soon as I dig that up. So cool! I never thought I would actually have a Vic 20 to work with, as they're rarer than C64's around here.

And I found two different astromech droids from star wars, r2-d2 and r4-g9. I'm an astromech fan :)


November 7th, 2006, 03:07 AM
Not trying to point fingers, but as far as I know Gorf is an arcade port, so if you want to play the game as it was intended... well, you need something else and much bigger than a VIC-20. ;-)

November 7th, 2006, 06:01 AM

But Gorf was prominently featured in a VIC-20 commercial with William Shatner...



November 7th, 2006, 10:38 AM
It'l still be pretty cool to just have it on the Vic. Maybe Bill will Beam in to make fun of me or something, heh :D

Does this thing have the same serial ports as the C64? Not standard rs232c? Can I use a floppy drive on this thing, the brown C= ones?


November 7th, 2006, 01:25 PM
User port: Yes, almost identical to C64. A few pins differ. Most RS232 interfaces should probably work, but you might want to look up the exact pinout before connecting something fancy.

IEC port: Yes, identical to C64 so you can connect the exact same disk drives, printers etc.

Mike Chambers
November 7th, 2006, 03:12 PM
wow, that is awesome! i'd love to have a VIC-20... or a C64 for that matter. i used to have a C64 when i was a lil' kid... i think my grandpa sold it at a garage sale back in the late 80's :( :( :(

my friend says he has a C64... he has the box in his basement, but is unsure where the actual machine is. he says likely in the garage or hidden behind tons of boxes in the basement. he said he'd give it to me when he finds it, as he has no use for it (go figure, eh?)

November 7th, 2006, 04:03 PM
Great! I have a C2N cassette player with no tapes and I think I have a fdd floating around here somewhere in a box.

It's tested and everything seems to work great! Gorf is fun but HARD! I love it! I'll lok up the pinout cause i wanna make sure about the voltages cause the prices at Lantronix seem to have gone down, and the wi-fi stuff is a lot cheaper now, near half! The wibox has been discontinued for some reason, but the circuitboard version (no box) is still there. I wanna get one for the Vic and the ST's.

The Flashback2 controllers DO work on the Vic-20. WOHOO!!

Terry Yager
November 7th, 2006, 04:13 PM
Hey Nathan, I got some VIC-20 soft/firmware for ya. Pm me...


November 7th, 2006, 04:40 PM
Terry, PM sent.

i tried hoking it up to the TI monitor I have but I guess I need a matching transformer, too easy. Gotta get one for rca, though, and if I got to radiosmack then it'll be about $10, as I have the transformer but for coax. I need one anyway (the coax-rca adapter). No problem.

How fast can the modem be for this thing? I have one that can dial down to 900 baud, I think, and this is a 300 baud era machine. Can I use that one? Sorry, this thing is too cool. I'm excited.

/edit I figured out that I don't need any kind of transformer, I just had to adjust the vertical hold. So now it works fine!

November 7th, 2006, 11:30 PM
I think the fastest modems out of the box are up to 1200 or even 2400 baud. There are no SwiftLink, Turbo232 or similar for the VIC-20, not as far as I know at least. It all depends on the software, how it is programmed.

| |

Pin VIC C64 | Pin VIC C64
2 +5V +5V | B CB1 /FLAG2
3 /RES /RES | C PB0 PB0
4 JOY0 CNT1 | D PB1 PB1
5 JOY1 SP1 | E PB2 PB2
6 JOY2 CNT2 | F PB3 PB3
7 LPEN SP2 | H PB4 PB4
8 CASSW /PC2 | J PB5 PB5
10 +9VAC +9VAC | L PB7 PB7
11 GND -9VAC | M CB2 PA2

+5V is max 100 mA, 9VAC is max 50 mA. PB0-7 are the general purpose data lines. CNT and SP are connected to the CIA on the C64, but the same pins have other purposes on the VIC. I'm unsure whether negative phase on 9VAC is functionally equal to ground. To fully understand all these signals, you'd need to dig much deeper. Simple RS232 converters and modems are likely to work on both computers.

November 8th, 2006, 08:10 PM
I sure wish radio smack carried this kind of thing. There's one electronics store n this town and every single time I've gone there they didn't have what I needed, "we can order it." Well so can I, that's why I went to a store so I wouldn't HAVE to order it. That's okay. Mouser rocks.

Thanks for the info, carlsson. I found a bunch more ideas to try over at Bo Zimmerman's site.


November 10th, 2006, 08:14 PM
My cassette player doesn't work. When I enter run, it says, OK SEARCHING but the tape doesn't move. So I took it apart and all the belts are there and seem to work okay, not loose or anything. But I did see there was a connector on the inside that matches the cable end. Could these things be daisy chained together??

I'm gonna skip the modem for a while, though it's still on the back burner.

November 10th, 2006, 09:08 PM
The belts in my CCR-82 had moved off of the path it was suppose to take. I actually figured out that it should be routed around the other side of one of the wheels and now the takeup reel works during play and record. It would just sit there when I first got it. All the tape would quickly build up on that side.

Later I found a service manual, and yep, I had figured out the correct belt path.

November 11th, 2006, 01:35 PM
Nathan: The usage of the interior connector has been discussed back and forth for 20+ years. Most likely it was used at the factory for testing the function. As far as I know, it is not good for daisy-chaining or copying one tape to another. There were special tape adapters for that purpose.

Perhaps the VIA chip (inside the VIC) that handles the cassette is broken. Does the tape recorder work on a C64 or any other Commodore computer you may have access to?

November 12th, 2006, 01:10 AM
I don't have another C= to test it on (wish I did). And I figured that it had been asked about before (internal connector). I haven't heard back from my teacher yet (I gave her a system with a bunch of stuff and I want to see if she'll give it back or at least one or two pieces, as I'm not sure she uses it or not). probably Monday I will. I have my eye on an ebay auction though, so I might get something soon.

I have a different datasette recorder, but I'll have to make an adapter for it. I'll call it a project.

November 13th, 2006, 05:10 PM
Is this a complete floppy drive? I was thinknng about getting it for the Vic. The same seller has a 1200 baud modem I might pick up, too.

http://cgi.ebay.com/FSD-2-Excelerator-Plus-Commodore-Compatible-Disk-Drive_W0QQitemZ300047656756QQihZ020QQcategoryZ7494 5QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

And can anyone tell me more about it?

November 14th, 2006, 12:42 AM
The Excelerator Plus is a third party disk drive clone. It should work with all Commodore computers that use the IEC interface, but I've never used one myself. Basically it is maybe 90-95% compatible with an original 1541 (re-engineered ROMs I'm sure). Only a few peculiar original floppies will be dependent on the exact ROM version and fail to load.

$5 + eventual shipping sounds like a good price - in particular for a boxed drive - but with more than 2.5 days to go, the final price may differ.

November 22nd, 2006, 10:00 PM
Until I get a disk drive, does anyone know how to adapt a cassette player to this thing? I have a pinout for the C= connector, what do the pins correspond to as far as the sound/mic/control connectors in a different recorder? Mine is a GE "Computer Cassette Recorder." My C= seems to not work :(

November 23rd, 2006, 01:26 AM
You would need a specific D/A converter to hook up a 3rd party cassette recorder to a Commodore (or Atari, Spectravideo and many other brands). There were a buy of DIY and commercial products that offered this interface, but generally a loose C2N - or a clone tape recorder - is so cheap that it is not worth the trouble looking for an interface/converter. Perhaps where you live, there are no Commodore user groups, but wherever there are C= users, there tends to be a good selection of spare parts. I bought a spare C2N for about $4 earlier this year, but it was a local swap meet.

So, you won the Excelerator auction?

November 23rd, 2006, 11:48 AM
I didn't bid the first time, and then it got relisted and I'm watching it. I don'tthink I'l be able to get it, my wife has little patience for me getting things liek that. In a way, I can't blame her, but then there's me, heh heh. I liek the stuff. It ends in 5 hours.

There may be something in New Mexico or something, I'll have to check there. I know the datasettes on ebay are going for not cheap, that's for sure, before shipping. I might sit on this project for a while, unfortunately.

/edit well not real cheap, I might still find something.