COMMODORE PLUS/4 WORLD
  Home  Search  Games  Tapes  Covers  Cheats  Maps  Software  New Stuff 
 Hall Of Fame  HVTC  Game Endings  Features  Solutions  Remakes  Publications  Magazines  Effects  Top List 
 Members  Groups  Plus/4 Encyclopedia  Hardware  Tools  Options  Forum 
Login
Back to forumReply To This TopicGo to last reply

Posted By

Luca
on 2017-05-10
18:53:20
 Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's activity: a late Commodore 264 model mounting Micro Illustrator as candidate software, and a very early Plus/4 (serial AA1 000023) used to gain FCC approval commented by Bil Herd.

Posted By

JamesC
on 2017-05-10
18:53:20
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

I would like to see a photo of the Micro Illustrator ROM. Since this is available as a ROM download from Plus/4 World, we should verify whether it's a Commodore ROM or burned by a previous owner.

Posted By

Luca
on 2017-05-11
03:20:53
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

JamesC: This is the picture of the prototype's board, you can see the IC tagged with the "264" on it. I could ask for a bigger picture, if you need it.

Posted By

BilHerd
on 2017-05-11
08:56:17
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

The previous owner was Commodore.

Posted By

JamesC
on 2017-05-11
09:33:23
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

@Bil - so you're confirming that a Micro Illustrator ROM option was on the table at one point?

This is news to the rest of us -- it was our understanding that all the "ready for market" ROM options were released as cartridges over 30 years ago. We scoured the marketing materials, we looked closely at the pre-release magazine articles ... and Micro Illustrator was never mentioned as a ROM option.

The Plus/4 community has seen other software homebrewed into a Plus/4 ROM, such as Compute!'s Speedscript. So it's not impossible for someone to have homebrewed MI into a ROM too, which was the brunt of my question yesterday.

Posted By

Luca
on 2017-05-11
09:37:08
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

Bil Herd: by the way, what could be said about the famous prototype sold on eBay right in this period? I mean, a prototype...with 8501 mounted. A prototype which just got an 8501...

Posted By

BilHerd
on 2017-05-12
16:02:35
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

Notice in the pic that all parts are socketed, this was a West Chester system (264) and my office system. The programmers could have had other ROM's which proved the concept of "Application Rom Sockets" which was a new concept for us. Maybe for the industry?

Regarding illustrator, I can only confirm that it was on the ROM inserted into the machine 30 some years ago while still in the R&D environment in West Chester. It was my personal system, no one has touched it until Rob.

The C16 prototype you saw is real, Okobo-san (manager of Tokyo office engineers) sent me a telex warning it was coming (His words were Gomen nasai B-san), they briefly examined the cost savings of making a single sided board with limited solder-mask, etc., vs the cost of dual sided and smaller. MY gut is that the jumper insertion (0 Ohm resistors) was too problematic, or the square area of the PCB, even single sided, didn't justify the offset in other costs. I had to grin like a madman when I first saw this unit (The one on eBay probably has my fingerprints on it including my now missing finger) as this kind of cost savings out-of-the-silly-box thinking was the heart of CBM's mass production mentality. Apple was selling for $1,799 and we were trying single sided PCB's and custom ICs... Woot!

Posted By

Luca
on 2017-05-13
02:47:39
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

This would mean that this specific prototype has come after the commercial launch of the series, right? And that explains why the 8501 was just on the board in the place of the older manufactured 7501. Ok, gonna upload this too in the hardware section

Posted By

BilHerd
on 2017-05-13
10:50:12
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

My memory is that the 116 and 264 were done but the C116 was being ignored and the 264 had become the Plus-4. Tokyo stepped in and made the C16 which is really the C116 design. Their first swing at the C16 was the single sided, and then production dual sided that you see.

I suspect that this was Sam Tramiel instructing the Tokyo office to produce this initially as a cost reduction though I think that he and Okubo were gone before production, but it's tough recalling timelines so many years later. The C16 was literally a purchasing and specification task as the C116 and chips were done, and Tokyo as really good t managing vendors and custom assemblies like we got from Mitsumi who made the keyboard, modulator and several connectors.

I think we in the US office were surprised that the C16 actually did have some legs, and the housing was pennies vs the C116 which would have had to shoot a few million before the plastic was as cheap.

Posted By

Luca
on 2017-05-13
11:13:56
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

Mh, now it's getting clearer someways... And that means the seller could be right, saying that the 8501 we can see on the board is a replacement of a 7501 gold...

Posted By

JamesC
on 2017-05-15
00:11:38
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

Luca and I had a side conversation about the approximate age of the C16 prototype board.

I did a little Googling, and found the FCC approval date for the C16:
https://fccid.io/BR98YV-16 (scroll down to Grants, then click the EAS tab)

The C16's FCC registration was requested on 22 June 1984, and granted on 26 July 1984. This tells me that the production (dual-sided) motherboard was completed, CBM tested, and outside RF verification acquired by mid-June 1984. Since the prototype chips are all dated late February into March 1984, and the ROMs have stickers indicating March burn dates, I feel it safe to say that the prototype board was made about the same time (early March 1984). It's also interesting to note that the prototype board has mini-DIN connectors for the Datasette and joysticks, just like the Plus/4 (and FCC-approved 264).

If anyone wants to look at the Plus/4's FCC registration (requested 8 December 1983, granted 16 February 1984):
https://fccid.io/BR98YV-264

And the 1551's FCC registration (a year later -- requested 10 Jan 1985, granted 28 March 1985, about which time the Plus/4 and C16 were discontinued in the US):
https://fccid.io/BR97TB-1551

Other Commodore hardware can be researched at this link:
https://fccid.io/BR9

Posted By

crock
on 2017-05-15
05:31:06
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

If anyone wants specific pictures etc, just ask.

Rob

Posted By

Luca
on 2017-05-30
03:28:36
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

Absolutely don't miss the fantastic photo feature of the C16 Prototype shown in this thread at Forum64.de!
It comes out that...it outputs a different, stronger, TED audio!

Posted By

bubis
on 2017-05-30
23:12:30
 Re: Hardware rarities from Rob Clarke's...

I would like to hear TED sound samples, is that possible?
Maybe aiming to high (I always do), but how about emulating it too?

Is this the same thing?

http://www.commodore16.com/forums/topic/c16-board-with-sn-361-found/



Back to topReply To This Topic


Copyright © Plus/4 World Team, 2001-2017