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Commodore SX-64 LCD mod!

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  • Commodore SX-64 LCD mod!

    Here's a few teaser pics of a major mod TheCorfiot is undertaking on my Commodore SX-64, and his own machine.

    Over on lemon64 and there's threads about retrofitting a modern LCD screen to an SX-64. The CRT in the SX is lovely and retro but is hard to actually use as it’s tiny, blurry and hard to read. Some clever soul found a 640x res LCD of the exact dimensions and some even cleverer souls designed a superb 3d printed mount, then hacked the screen’s firmware to enable a hidden S-Video mode.. and produced a replacement control panel (replaces the SX-64’s brightness/ volume control PCB).

    But the LCD screens are no longer available… I did the easy bit by getting a chinese manufacturer to make some up for me, inc the right model driver board. (none left btw sorry, maybe if you commission TheCorfiot?)

    Much as I would love to build this up myself I don’t have TheCorfiot Skillz and Bas was commissioned to do all the hard stuff. Inc cut out, reprogram a flash chip, solder the new back in, build and solder up the control board, and remove the original CRT without me killing myself.

    He even found and fixed a design issue with the control board.

    We’re putting some big old speakers in the void created by removing the CRT, then I will spray black the white printed 3d mount, and reset the position so its exactly even all round. I may not bother putting a plexi or glass screen in but the option is there.

    The speakers require 5v, the SX is really marginal so with another TheCorfiot[TM] design and we have stable 5v from a 12v stepdown circuit and a speaker amp.

    The control board also adds a hard reset, a drive 8/9 reset and switch and with even more of TheCorfiot Skillz [TM] he’s built an extra circuit to switch between the 1541 and the 1541IEC that’s also fitted.

    In testing, all thanks to Bas, it all works really nicely! See pics.

    NB Interim test wiring in pics!!!!!

    The key requirement is that it is totally non destructive and reversible. No holes made, and I can get the CRT back in in under an hour if I want.

    Massive credit goes to the guys on lemon64 and, but my implementation is all down to TheCorfiot. Thank you Bas!

    Nb Why don’t we have a more obvious Amibay trusted services section? Front of house, unmissable to visitors? TheCorfiot has touched every single computer I own and is a godsend to us as well as a valued friend. I'll ping the other mods to ask.

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    Attached Files
    Last edited by iainjh; 9 February 2018, 18:54.

  • #2
    The original thread:
    Speed up the transaction ?? Post Interest & as family'n'friends and PM me with what you want and where to send it.


    • #3
      Thanks very much for the Kind words my friend, It was an absolute pleasure especially when everything ends up working exactly as it should, no more clumsy switches for Drive ID or JiffyDOS, everything is controlled by an MCU and it remembers its last settings

      I would like to point out that in the Chassis photo above the LCD wiring is not the final, it was just a lashup for staging and testing.
      A proper cable loom is being made to replace all the current temp rubbish and also wire in the Sound Volume control feature.

      Just got mine to mod now all from the very beginning lol

      Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow June 2016, I Was There


      • #4
        anyone's interested, go directed to the thread mrr... posted! all credit to those that worked out and created all the solutions.
        Last edited by iainjh; 9 February 2018, 20:30.


        • #5
          This looks awesome

          Will one of these LCD modded SX64's be on display at the upcoming Towcester meetup?
          Last edited by scrappysphinx; 9 February 2018, 19:41.


          • #6
            Thats not a bad idea, I can certainly bring mine, unless Bas wants to bring his.

            we're putting big speakers in as well


            • #7
              Originally posted by iainjh View Post
              Thats not a bad idea, I can certainly bring mine, unless Bas wants to bring his.

              we're putting big speakers in as well
              As long as you don't play Micro Hexagon


              • #8
                Can anybody sell me one of that board? If somebody ordered 10 of them?


                • #9
                  eh? youd need to do that yourself, ive none sorry

                  Edit; sorry I may have misunderstood you , do you mean you want to order 10 sets? If so I can tell you where I got them from. Pm me again after you’ve read the entire lemon thread and I’ll find the info... I think I got the last but you might get lucky. Cheers
                  Last edited by iainjh; 10 February 2018, 22:48.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scrappysphinx View Post
                    This looks awesome

                    Will one of these LCD modded SX64's be on display at the upcoming Towcester meetup?

                    I doubt I will have time to get mine done in time so Iain has the Honours, unless he breaks it by then lol
                    Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow June 2016, I Was There


                    • #11
                      Wow, that looks amazing, really great job... i had a couple friends with SX64s back in the 80s that didn't hang onto them, sure wish I'd bought one when i had the chance.


                      • #12
                        Heres a few pics, W.I.P.

                        Got my SX back from TheCorfiot, that took him a ton of work.. thank goodness I had him to apply some skill.. all removable with no trace! Now the control panel works really nicely, switches between jiffydos and drive 8/9, adds a reset and the SD2IEC is snuck in nicely too. Pics of that later.

                        I've taken the screen out again, so the present mess that is the wiring position is all my fault as Bas left it v neat.

                        I sprayed the white 3D printed mount dark grey to blend it in better. I had to enlarge the mount holes in the mount somewhat and push the frame to the left to align to the opening better in the sx-64. See pic: a little more alignment is needed, washers added underneath the holes.
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                        Again, none of this is in anyway criticism of the mount or the design which is just ace! I also varied the design a bit by adding a protective glass
                        in front of the LCD - this was best done by buying a 6"x4" clip frame and chucking all but the 1mm thick glass
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                        A few pics here of lining it up, I put a few layers of trimmed double-sided tape under the bottom edge to prevent the edges splintering over time - and position it more centrally. Amazingly the glass is held in quite firmly so i didn't need to pad the left and right sides - was going to use stick-on rubber feet, but no need. Metal bracket to left and red tie to right, for use later.
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                        LCD now back in the mount with control board clipped in behind. Nylon ties to avoid cable strain on right. Little square steel bracket to left. Found in my box of bits, and needed to strap over some nylon ties to hold the screen, frame and glass up to the case. Nylon tie in a loop to the right frame.
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                        I've not set up the speaker yet. Bas gave me a 12v amp with a rotary to help decide, but that one sounds a bit junk, as he said it might. So onto the next option. Bas used a 12v to 5v board to step down, as he found the sx's 5v is so marginal to be useless for the next step.

                        I bought a couple sets of cheapo USB powered speakers to try.. this one had 2 satellites and is the 'woofer' component of the set. I've disconnected the satellites, and will use the volume knob to tweak the levels later. Need to add a choke to smooth out some noise back into the 12v supply and display.. if it also hisses with background noise it might need some further attention.

                        The speakers have a rather excessive 4 feet of 3.5mm input and power, I've just rolled them out of the way inside the speaker for now.

                        lining up only:
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                        Nylon ties are likely.

                        Next up:

                        Test the speaker, mount the choke and the wires so dont flail around

                        Make sure no noise on lcd

                        get volumes right


                        glasspaper 3d printed end caps a bit

                        double sided tape

                        screw it all back together!
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by iainjh; 16 March 2018, 23:59.


                        • #13
                          Awsome mod! Well done chaps.
                          Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

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                          • #14
                            ta Charlie

                            I'll have to have a look at how to echo c64 keyboard input to the serial port. I can make a comms program the 1st program to boot on the sd card.

                            There's plenty of space in the sx for a pi or zero, a psu, a speaker and a seperate display input to the lcd. it could be fun using it to emulate a limited set of machines, sam coupe, spec, 6128, c128/ vice etc.

                            Joystick - no issue, use a ps3 controller for retropie. Plus there's an unused switch to the rear of the sx that could be of use.

                            BTW charlie I have a spare of the pants lcd driver board. model kyv-n2, if its of use to you. I dont know if it only drives 640x480. its got vga, composite in i think.

                            - - - Updated - - -

                            More pics. the lid is on for now.

                            I soldered some jumper leads onto the speakers pot controller and now the volume is controlled from the original sx64 front panel.

                            Plenty loud enough and no sid hiss, yay!

                            There is some noise on screen still when the speaker is powered, as Bas warned, it seems to create a bit of noise even when the volume is at zero. It'll do for now..

                            I had to pad out the original sx-64 control knobs a little, as they didn't have enough free depth available to click in to adjust the lcd settings menu. A teeny bit of paper jammed down inside each, each now works.

                            It is a bit weird how this particular LCD panels brightness works, as you cant turn it down so far to actually turn the screen down to black. hmm.

                            I double-sided taped and then nylon tied the speaker in place so thats solid.

                            Plus nice new big rubber feet screwed on all round, where the originals, weren't.

                            next up -as above, and find some wet and dry paper to smooth out the 3d printed end caps before investigating why my handle mech has suddenly got a load worse than when I got it not long ago.


                            Proper SX colours, and now readable!

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                            Flip and Flop looks better than this: hard to take pic, the screen does seem to reflect a lot in pics, far worse than in real life. I do need to realign the mount better.
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                            testing the essentials:
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                            Also readable, yay!
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                            Last edited by iainjh; 17 March 2018, 17:00.


                            • #15
                              I've got to say my IIe is mostly used as a retro emulation box, having a Pi inside it. Why not a C=64SX indeed..?

                              If you're not bothered about the C=64 and Pi sides communicating I have a suggestion - The SX has a separate keyboard so I guess tapping in to the matrix shouldn't be too hard... wire that up to the Pi's GPIO and with a little readily available software you could interact with a Pi inside fairly seamlessly. If you could switch the TFT between Pi and C=64...
                              I know there's projects around using a Pi as replacement for hard to find hardware (like PiSCSI drive). I wonder it anyone's written any software to allow a Pi to be a SD2IEC, SuperCPU, or something like that..?

                              Um, as the A2Pi software works off a serial connection I bet it could be re-purposed to work with a C=64... with the '64 being a 6502-ish machine and the software's on Github I suspect minimal recoding would be needed - well beyond my measly skills, but likely trivial for anyone who actually knows what they are doing... Hey, the Beeb runs a 6502 and has loads of ports - I'd love to be able to run A2Pi on one of my Beebs...

                              ...a Pi can already be used as a Co-Pro...

                              ...sorry, getting carried away.


                              Oo, oo:
                              Last edited by Charlie; 17 March 2018, 21:50.
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