Thursday 31 March 2016

Commodore 64 USB keyboard with Raspberry Pi 3

Here is another update to my Commodore 64 with a Pi in it range. Now including the Raspberry Pi 3.
The Pi 3 follows on from the Pi 2, increasing processor speed to 1.2GHz and adding bluetooth and wifi support onboard, whilst keeps the same form factor.
This is yet another variation on how I fit this into the Commodore 64. This time it is sitting in the cartridge slot, and for once I'm exposing the microUSB power connector.
I don't really like these and try to avoid using them. There are too many poor quality microUSB cables and phone chargers out there. I have been using various alternative power options, including the DC-DC converters on the dual USB joystick board for the C64.
There are now Raspberry Pi branded power supplies available, and these perform well. One key thing for me is they have two core figure of 8 cables, designed to carry DC power, rather than the far too thin ones normally found in microUSB cables. The recommended ones for the Pi 3 are 2.5A, and I have used the standard 2A ones for the Raspberry Pi2 and the Raspberry Pi B+ I used to run Spectrum emulators.
I now include one of these with the Raspberry Pi builds to ensure the user has a decent source of power.
As the Pi has connectors all the way around, the LAN and USB jacks are not accessible. The LAN jack is extended to allow external access (in case you don't want to use the wifi).
One of the USB ports is used by the USB keyboard controller on the back of the keyboard.
Another is used for a 4 port USB hub installed where the user port was. The other two are spare, possibly for a USB mouse or memory stick to be left permanently connected inside?
That all fits together quite nicely, for once, without hot melt glue.
The Commodore 64 Pi is available from my Etsy store. There are lots of options available, and different combinations, let me know what you want and I will see what I can do.

2023 Update

USB Keyboard Controller Kits are available from my Sell My Retro store: