Real C64 Cyberdeck

Evolve a real c64 into a portable decking device. Obsolete? Maybe. Useless? Definitely NOT.

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A real c64 case, containing a c64 motherboard. Combine that with a modern display and the c64‘s versatility gives you an all purpose Cyberdeck.
The c64 can be expanded with a Midi module, a WiFi module, and much more.
Also, the display can be used from external devices via HDMI, DVI, VGA, and composite, making this an amazing all-purpose 8-bit deck. Powered by 1 MHz and 64 kB of RAM.

Obsolete, but not useless

The Lore

This is a little bit of Shadowrun-ish fan fiction to provide a background story for this cyberdeck.

Like every decker, every cyberdeck has a story. A past.
And this cyberdeck is no different.

It was born out of old, obsolete, and damaged parts. All of them used to be parts of different computers.
Regular computers. Used for playing games, for word processing, or for education.

As time passed, these computers became obsolete, and ended up in basements or attics, if they were lucky.
Others, which weren't, ended up in landfills and junkyards.

But of those who ended up in landfills, some where lucky, in that they were picked up by scavengers.
People who collected seemingly useful things and sold them.

This was before the Great Chip Shortage of the early twenties.
And when my grandfather - may his soul rest in peace - started collecting these pieces in these years of the chip shortage, he surely wasn't aware about what would finally become of them one day.

The case
He got the case from an online Marketplace. The price was way too high for what he got.
But still, somehow it was what he wanted. He didn't care about the money, he just knew
he wanted a case that's better off being modified and worked on, instead of waiting to be
The case was in real bad shape, but my grandfather started filling the holes and replacing the broken pieces.

The keyboard
He got the keyboard from a friend in Vienna, a collector of weirdly modified computers. The keyboard itself wasn't modified, however. Still, it was in a place of all kinds of different and unique things, that were built by people who wanted something extraordinary.
With the keyboard in his hands, he knew that it was something unique that this keyboard would become an essential part of, too. And despite it's age, it was very well kept and taken care of. It was like brand new.

The mainboard
The component that would be home to all the electric components - the motherboard - is the odd thing in between all these old and obsolete parts.

It was made for all the old chips, but all the glue logic that connects these chips was a brand new design. Not relying on single parts that can fail, but on high-end FPGA technology.
This would be far more resilient to any external influence. On the downside, if it was broken, it was broken for good.

There was no single logic chip that you could replace, the whole mainboard would be gone and need to be replaced.
But one other advantage - and maybe the biggest one - was, that this allowed for much simpler power supply.
12V DC only, instead of 9V AC and 5V DC. This would make everything else much easier.

The other mainboard

My grandfather had another "new" mainboard at hand as well. This one was a true all-in-one solution in that it needed no additional chips. And it was able to mimic peripherals as well.

Still, it was made to fit the original case, so from the outside you wouldn't necessarily recognize what was inside.

I'm not yet sure which board to use. But if one doesn't work, I'll just try the other. And maybe both will work. If so, I'm convinced that each one will give the cyberdeck it's own unique personality.

The chips
Processor, Video chip, Sound chip, and interface chips. All these came from dealers around the place. Hand picked, for sure, but still parts that 
have been taken out of their original homes. Very often, ruthless corporate suits would cannibalize otherwise good devices just for the parts.
It was obsolete hardware anyways, so why should anyone care if a fully working computer was sitting in a basement, or if the parts were sold for good money?

I can't tell you all the stories behind these components, as I haven't been there when they happened. Heck, I wasn't even born back then.
However, I'll take the parts that my grandfather has collected so painstakingly, and I'll see if I can make something good, something new out of them.

What good is a 1 MHz cyberdeck, you ask?
Rumor has it, that with The Awakening in 2011, not...

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this plate goes inside the case to fix the socket from the inside

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 29.57 kB - 09/30/2022 at 06:19



the socket mount to fit the display onto the c64 case

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 65.90 kB - 09/30/2022 at 06:18



side cover for the Ultimate64. this has the openings for joystick and power connector

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 82.89 kB - 09/30/2022 at 06:17



for covering the open part of the middle layer, below the dvi, hdmi, and vga connectors

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 684.00 bytes - 09/30/2022 at 06:16



Cover for the display-control keypad

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 63.17 kB - 09/30/2022 at 06:16


View all 8 files

  • 1 × C64 Case this is the breadbin model
  • 1 × C64 Mainboard you can use any mainboard, I decided for one of the remakes that allows for 12V DC power instead of 9V AC and 5V DC
  • 1 × 8" Display including driver panel and control keypad (power, input choice, display parameters)
  • 1 × DC-power y-cable
  • 1 × DIN to Cinch plug

View all 9 components

  • Radio Gaga?

    Martin Goodwell10/13/2022 at 19:14 0 comments

    This one comes as a surprise to myself, as I never even remotely thought about doing what I finally ended up doing :-D

    I added an FM-Radio to the Cyberdeck

    This is actually based on a common chip, the RDA5807. Connection goes to the userport, which is pretty easy with the Ultimate64, as it features internal Userport headers

    The userport only provides 5V, but the radio module actually requires 3.3V. As part of the original packaging, the userport connector of the radio came with a diode and a resistor built-in.

    I only removed the userport connector (because I'm connecting to the internal headers), but kept the "voltage correction appliance" in place.

    Power-on and run the provided application... TADAAAA

    The connection to the FM radio was established successfully.

    Next comes the channel scan: check

    Reception quality is actually really good. Much better than on my living-room amplifier, for example.

    Also, the amplifier that I added earler today already proves itself again to be the right choice: it offers two audio inputs. One coming from the SID chips, the other one coming from the FM radio module.

    Finally, a picture of the wire that acts as antenna

    I decided to put it between the keyboard and the top shell. This keeps it in place just fine and if I need to remove the top shell, I can easily remove the antenna without too much hassle (which is always an important thing for me - disassembly of the machine still needs to be easy, no matter how much stuff you put into it).

    Find more information about this awesome radio here:

  • Amplified

    Martin Goodwell10/13/2022 at 17:19 0 comments

    Finally, the new amplifier board arrived today. An Adafruit Max9744. 

    Put it into place immediately, and it works perfectly. 

    Audio input is coming from the Sid Tap Headers, as described in my prevoius update. This means that the audio is not processed by any FPGA components on the mainboard and directly fed into the amplifier  

    I still have to find a good solution for the volume control.

    I‘ll probably try to print a better looking knob and will also print some frame to fix it to the enclosure.

    Whatever it will be, you‘ll be the second to know.

    Summarizing: audio is playing perfectly fine, no hum or other disturbing noises.

  • Real Audio

    Martin Goodwell10/11/2022 at 16:17 0 comments

    The mainboard I use provides header pins for getting the audio signal from inside the case (as opposed to the external Audio/Video connector)

    However, this only works if real SID chips are installed. Wirhout these, the board provides FPGA simulation, which isn‘t bad at all. But still, no internal audio without soldering without real SID chips.

    This is why I decided to put SID chips in. 

    I‘m still waiting for the amplifier to arrive, but first test revealed they work great. 

    One chip would be sufficient, but hey, it‘s all or nothing :-)

  • Speakers and Screws

    Martin Goodwell10/06/2022 at 11:17 0 comments

    The Speakers

    The solution for having audio on the Cyberdeck was still missing. The unamplified speaker was barely audible.

    So, I ordered an amplifier PCB and some speakers. The speakers arrived yesterday

    So: where to put these? (just two of them, of course). And how to fix them?
    Do I need to drill holes to get the sound out of the computers's case? Or is there "the perfect place" to put them?

    After some back and forth (not looking at the right spots), I identified that the vents at the front of the case would be great because I wouldn't have to drill. 

    The only downside of this: longboards (the earlier C64 mainboard revisions) probably won't fit into the case anymore, as the speakers occupy some of their space.

    The white stuff underneath the speaker is double-sided glue tape. I used this to find out if the speaker collides with the keyboard, which is coming down from the top.

    Once I was in the process of fitting the speaker to the vents (what would be the best position?), I found out by pure accident that the speaker had the same width as the vents themselves.

    With this being clarified, I started to model a bracket that would allow me to keep the speakers in place.

    And I just glued them to the case. Bottom line.

    In case I want to remove the speakers one day, because I wanted to put a longboard in, these brackets are small enough to not collide with the mainboard. So, I could even keep them in, without a need to removing them.

    Et voilà, the speaker and it's bracket :-)

    Next question: how can I make sure that the speaker doesn't fall out?

    I didn't want to glue it to the case. And I didn't want to glue something on top of the brackets to keep them in place. Because in case of necessary disassembly, glueing means breaking. And I didn't see a viable chance to mount screws anywhere, at least not in a meaningful way.

    But again, the answer came by itself: the keyboard will sit on top of the speakers anyways. After some trial and error, I found out that the keyboard will not touch the speakers, it will sit about 5 millimeters above it.

    So, I decided to put some soft pads on top of the speakers, which allow the keyboard to put enough pressure on them to keep them from moving.

    These pads could be a tad lower, but the case still closes in a solid way and the when the case screws are in, everything sits tight.

    The outside view shows that the speakers should have enough exposure to the outside to keep the 3-channel SID-sound coming :-)

    From an audio perspective, all I need now is the amplifier board. This is supposed to arrive later today, or tomorrow, and I'll do a separate update about that.

    The Screw

    While I was in the process of mounting the speakers, I identified another pending issue with the case: a broken socket for the mainboard

    The one in the top corner is the problem.

    As I was warming up the 3d printer for the speaker brackets anyways, I decided to add another piece to the print job

    It fits perfectly. And as screws usually don't go well together with FDM prints, I always go for inlets

    With this in place, the board has much better fit again.

    And it just feels great to improve something - especially this once-wasted case.

  • Added cable cover

    Martin Goodwell09/30/2022 at 14:47 0 comments

    Covering the cutout for the HDMI cable was easy. The modelling took 10 minutes, printing took 20. 
    Glueing it together took another minute :-)

View all 5 project logs

  • 1
    How to build your cyberdeck

    A Spark

    When I saw a 8 inch 4:3 display online, I was hooked. It even featured all the inputs one can dream of: HDMI, DVI, VGA, and composite.

    4:3 is important because it's close to the original aspect ratio of CRT monitors.

    The idea was born: "I could build a cyberdeck out of this and one of my C64s."

    The display consists of the actual display, a driver pcb, and a keypad to control the monitor (select input source, control brighness, power on/off, etc)

  • 2
    Printing the display enclosure parts

    A home for the display

    The main part of the project would be to design and create the enclosure for the display. So, here we go

    The enclosure consists of 3 layers:

    1st layer (bottom-most) actually holds the TFT screen. (display_tft_front.stl)

    2nd layer (middle one) will act as a backplate to the screen, and be the mounting point for the driver pcb. (display_tft_middle_6.stl)

    3rd layer (top-most) will act as the protective cover. This will need openings for the various connectors. (display_tft_back.stl)

    The screen layer

    This would keep the display in position.

    As the three layers of the display will need to be fixed together, this layer also contains 4 openings for screw inlets. So, the screws fixing the three layers will come in from the back side and end up in this layer.

    The middle layer

    This would keep the screen in place from the back side, and it provides the mounts for the driver pcb.

    The square left-out space at the bottom is needed for the flat-cable connection between driver board and screen.

    The four big holes at the bottom will be used for fixing the hinges on the display case.

    The four small holes at the corners provide a way for the screws to finally fix the layers together.

    The back cover

    This not only acts as the protective cover (it literally has your cyberdeck's back), it also provides openings for the connectors of the display.

    After all, the display should not only be usable with the C64, I'd like all the connectors to be accessible from the outside.

  • 3
    Assemble the display enclosure

    Place four M3 screw inlets into the 4 corners of the front-layer

    For the middle layer, you'll need four M3 inlets for fixing the driver board, and another four M5 inlets for fixing the hinges.

    Melt these into the printed parts and you're ready to connect them (the inlets are still missing from this picture)

    Then, place the screen inside the frame

    After that, put the middle layer on top of it and fix the driver board to it. Make sure that the flat cable between board and display fits. Otherwise you'll need to either cut or re-draw and re-print the layer.

    This is how it looks from the front by now. We're also still missing the inlets in the middle layer in this picture.

    Next, you can put the back cover on and fix the screws from the back. You should have a perfect display enclosure by now.

    As you can see, we have a direct few through the round openings directly to the backside of the screen. This isn't nice to see and might be a potential problem for damaging the screen.

    So I printed an extra plate that exactly fits the opening. Looks much better. (display_blind.stl)

    Mount the hinges

    With the enclosure being done, feel free to apply the hinges to it.

View all 6 instructions

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