Commodore 64 Original Hardware Laptop

People may break down your door for this
Click photo to super-size it

This project somehow has the distinction of being both the longest and fastest portable electronics project I have ever done. I originally started making a C64 laptop in the fall of 2006, and kept pecking away at it every so often. Finally, a few weeks ago, I said “screw it” and started over.

I redid everything in a week and a half – the shortest project ever. (The previous record hold was the Wii portable at 2 weeks) The goal this time was to make something that looked exactly like a computer from the early 80’s, yet in a new form. Including the color beige and texture.

Sorry Apple fans, the logo does not glow
Luckily the blue in the logo matches the blue SD card. Not to sound like a TLC host or anything, but that sort of stuff is important in design.

Anyway, about the project itself. This is a fully functional Commodore 64 laptop using actual hardware, specifically the C64C motherboard which was one of the last and smallest revisions. It uses a Gamecube power supply in place of the original power brick.

For storage there’s a device called the 1541-III DTV to “emulate” a floppy drive using an SD card. (Click here for more info) The SD card is formatted FAT-32 so you can dump disk images on it using a PC, and read it with the C64 – pretty cool!

For more information, the making-of, pictures and video read the rest of the story below.

I am taking a break for a while because I am pretty tired and burned out from all the portable making this winter and spring. If you are interested in projects, hit me up in a month or so.

Looks like those broken ancient skeletons they are always trying to put together.

As mentioned before this started with a C64C motherboard. It’s smaller than most, but I needed it to be even smaller. I chopped off the power input/joystick end and also shaved off the cassette port tabs. I ditched everything about the original case design except the size – I wanted to keep the whole thing at 15″ x 10.5″, which is about the smallest it can get with the 15″ LCD screen involved.

Oh this was a SNAP to wire!

The keyboard needed some hacking to make this size, specifically the function keys. I lobbed them off, bypassed the traces and then rewired the keyboard plug so the whole thing was thinner.

I recycled the original connectors so there was one less thing to buy!

It's ready to Step Up 2 The Streets

The keyboard… with the function part sawed off. I opted to use the original keyboard because 80’s computers had such great keyboards, why ditch ’em?

Always use headers and connectors - very handy

A close up of the keyboard and joystick area on the motherboard. Some kind engineer put via’s in for all the joystick connections, so even with the joystick ports cut off, it was easy to rewire. The new function keys are wired directly to the keyboard pins on the motherboard as well.

I design in 2D because I'm old school and won't change!

Time to start the design! Once again I did everything in Adobe Illustrator because that’s how I roll. I started the layout around noon on a Wednesday, with a goal of routing it Friday morning.

Thus, I have to draw everything 2 times... :)

Side view of the design. I used a lot of V-bits to give everything sharp angles and a very 80’s feel. This includes the screen, which is “recessed” in the lid to allow room for the raised keys when closed. This top deep bevel matches up to the bevels around the lower portion when closed.

The case is in 4 parts, 2 for the lid, 2 for the base. Like the recent Xbox 360 laptops everything is curved, beveled, and slow to rout.

In the 80's black was the new beige

Color revision of the laptop design (This was probably on a Thursday night just before The Office came on) This shows me how the unit will look and simulates the shading on all of the surfaces. I ended up going a darker beige when I painted it because light beige didn’t look quite right.

This consumes more cans of the not-that-cheap Krylon paint at Ace, but it’s worth it to be right!

Want to check out the design file? Click here to download, AI 10 version.

If you want to see how the case was made, check out this story. This case was done the exact same way.

With pinouts written inside before I forgot how I wired it.

Keyboard frame with parts inside. This includes the SD disk drive thing, the sound amp, 2 speakers (it’s not stereo but I wanted a “full” sound), volume slider, LED indicators, function keys and the Nokia LCD screen you can attach to the 1541-III-DTV for whatever reason. As usual black plastic screen door material was used to cover the holes.

All of this connects via 1 cable header to the main motherboard so it’s easy to take the unit apart when testing. This is in contrast to say my Xbox 360 laptop where there are… let’s see… 4 different things you have to connect when placing the lid.

Inside view of the base with components. It’s actually fairly simple overall, the complexity is in all the small parts and connections.

Like the newer Xbox 360’s I lay parts side-by-side instead of on top of each other, it gives me a lot more breathing room with wires and is less of a headache.

As mentioned earlier I used a Gamecube power supply for this project. It plugs into the back, then goes to a big meaty PC power supply switch. When switched this sends 12 volts to the LCD, 12 volts to the SID and a switching regulator creates 5 volts for the C64 logic, audio amp and 1541-III-DTV.

(Note: The 1541-III-DTV is cool but it really needs a new name. Or just a shorter one)

Testing the SID chip. I had a few laying around, needed to know they worked. They all did, in fact! The function keys weren’t wired up at this point so I had to stick the circuit board back on and use a screwdriver. This is my life.

Now the unit is in what I like to call “open working” condition. This is where I test that everything runs, more or less fits together, and that I haven’t once again used too small of a choke in my switching power supply and that it isn’t smoking.

Testing out the 1541-III-DTV for the first time (or at least the first time I got it on video)

Finally I install the hinges. These are some nice friction hinges from McMaster-Carr that I had left over. I’m glad I put them to use since they’re expensive. Above we can see some spacers being glued to the keyboard frame, and held in place at a 90 degree angle while they dry by my laptop. Very useful.

Finally the unit is screwed together and away we go! As with the Xbox 360, I countersunk all screw holes. Since this unit is only 2.35″ thick I could use shorter (ahem cheaper) screws to lash together each half of the case. There are also 2 completely useless “decoration screws” but I’m not telling where!

Google Earth view of laptop. The little LCD screen below the keyboard works with the SD card and displays some info. It’s not really necessary but was fun to add. Also, along with the function keys, it fills in some empty space on the inside panel and helps with the symmetry.

Red LED’s were used for the indicators because I am now officially sick of blue ones. I thought about red and yellow just to shake things up, but I went for the all one color “bank of indicators” look.

This is a cool view of the unit, showing how thick it… isn’t. Each half is made from .75″ and .5″ material sandwiched together. The keyboard is raised from the main surface, which itself has different levels all beveled with a V-bit into each other. You can also see how the LCD screen is sunk in to allow the keyboard to fit when closed.

Bottom of the unit. It says “Made in USA” twice so nobody forgets. Yeah! Oh and yes there’s a cartridge slot still. (Is it just me or does the C64 has the stickiest, highest-friction cartridge slot of all time?)

Front view. Growing up I was an Atari kid, so I was quite impressed to see the stuff the C64 could pull off. Arcade ports that were more ambitious than their Genesis counterparts in some ways.

During coats I dabbed the painted surfaces with a sponge to give it more texture. The vent holes are basically pointless, but it gives me a good place to put the speakers. I actually did put heatsinks on all the IC’s inside the unit, not just the SID, for good measure. Why not? Again, there was room, and any weight I could add to the bottom of the unit to balance out the top is a good thing (because you know aluminum DIP 40 heatsinks are SO heavy)

Unit closed. I redid a C64 logo from scratch. Back when I was a graphic artist we always had people bringing in business cards or other crap artwork and wanting it “blown up to a buildboard”. So vectorization of crap is one of my many talents – I even supplied my rebuilt “Colecovision” logo to the current IP holders.

The C64 loading a game. Unlike the MyIDE interface on the Atari, the SD card thing suffers from the limitations of the C64’s IEC interface… oh well!!!

And YES, I know an expansion port disk system exists but for whatever reason we decided years ago that wouldn’t work for us, and I’m not going back now!

Closer view of the keyboard. I really struggled with what color to paint the volume slider, then figured some other parts were gray so why not. But I only had silver metallic paint!

So, since the economy is “in the dumpster” (thus explaining why there was a line of cars at Sonic yesterday and nowhere to park at the mall) I didn’t buy a whole new can of paint, just used silver and said “close enough!”

Unit closed, showing the precious friction hinges, video cable to screen and the power plug.

Finally here’s a video of the main unit being used.

Looking back now, I think this is probably one of, if not my favorite project I have done. It just looks so beautifully ugly it’s great, like it came out of a time machine from an alternate reality 80’s where this existed.

Before you email, I am aware there was a portable C64 in the 80’s but I think we can agree it wasn’t quite like this.

Now I am taking a break. Building 5 Xbox 360 laptops, this, and some other stuff I’ve yet to show in a span 4 months has worn me out.

However, next week as a special bonus, I will run a story on the C64 laptop that WASN’T – a kind of cautionary tale of modding gone wrong. Stay tuned!

LINK – A great clip with a C64 cameo.

For your own laptop, “wireless internet broadband” could be helpful when traveling.

417 thoughts on “Commodore 64 Original Hardware Laptop”

  1. Good Job on it Ben! Looks like what a C64 portable should look like.

    I’m a bit amazed though this thing hold both the longest time taken to make a portable and the shortest time to make a portable record.

  2. Great job Ben. That really brings back memories. I still remember the day I bought my first commodore floppy drive to use with my C-64. I dreamed of having a portable version.

    I eventually purchased a SX-64 but thats not really that portable, more luggable actually.

    I’ve thought about building something like this myself but I was going to cheat and use the all-in-one chip from the C-64 joystick.


  3. At the end of the article Ben left us with a teaser for the follow-on story for “the C64 laptop that WASN’T” – which was equally cool looking (yes, I’ve seen it: think Michael Jackson’s jacket from Thriller) – but when I saw the first picture in the above post (he hid the NEW design from me) my heart stopped. The design is just soooo RIGHT for the time period, and amazingly clean!

    H.G Wells has nothing on Ben Heckendorn in the time travel department!!!

  4. Concerning:
    “The C64 loading a game. Unlike the MyIDE interface on the Atari, the SD card thing suffers from the limitations of the C64’s IEC interface… oh well!!!”

    Another SD interface exists (sd2iec is the firmware name, there are different flavors of the HW, one being my uIEC) that supports the fast JiffyDOS protocol. With a JiffyDOS KERNAL in the C64 and the uIEC/SD2IEC, IEC limitations should be greatly minimized.


  5. That is bloody fucking awesome, heck it is NOT just a retro laptop. It is a C64 bragtop (brag and top ) which is probably the coolest thing I have ever seen. Thumps up 🙂

  6. hmmm you could have used the game Bubble Bobble as to show how Arcade like the C64 could go, in the way of the porting job went. Since the sound in that game is very arcade like, but perhaps I am wrong about that. But still it is a great bragtop you have made.

  7. wow… just… WOW 🙂

    This really brings back a lot of memories… and good one, too 🙂

    When is this little baby going into mass production? Just kidding 😉

    Awesome job mate… best of luck on the next project!

    – Nicolai, Denmark, Europe, World.

  8. Oh my God, I want one.

    Ben, beautiful Ben, I’m sure flattery will get me nowhere, but how much?

  9. This is awsome, i have to admit, i am blown away!
    It is that sweet, that if you ever wanna sell it, i’ll give you nearly any price 🙂
    Please contact me if its the right time.


  10. Beautiful unit, but I really think you should have gone with the 1541Ultimate for storage. 1541-III (and uIEC/sd2iec) is only compatible with a small subset of the available games.

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  12. Would an Epyx Fast Load Cart actually work with the 1541-III DTV, I wonder? It cuts a crap-load of time from disk loading. Every 64 user had one!

  13. Nifty! I still fire up the C64 emulator once in a blue moon to play Paradroid or Blue Max.

    But, eh, did you say your six-year old thumbs were more “nubile” in that last video when talking about the joystick (which looks like Atari, not commodore to me)?!?!?

  14. Actually, the VIC=20 had the stickiest expansion port interface. It had the same number of pins as the 64’s, but it was 2x the width.

  15. Ohh man im so impressed and filled with envy.

    the time i have spend on c64 emulators, and on the machine itself.

    you should maybe consider making a amigaP 🙂

    All of my respect.


  16. That’s really impressive. I mean, I’m sure you get that sort of response fairly often, but I still had to say it. Everything just looks right.

  17. Where’s the battery? All portable laptops should have a battery so you dont have to plugin somewhere… Plus if you added a battery to the bottom you could of kept an external power supply, but would of added complexity to the internal power design. It would of added more weight to the bottom if that is still an issue too.

  18. This is a beautiful project. I’ve been hoping to see someone create a modern C64 remake like you see new NES, SNES and Genesis 3rd party consoles on eBay. Hopefully we will get a C64 system that maintains that 80s look. 🙂 Too bad there wasn’t a way to mass produce these laptops for the Commodore community to buy. I know I’d get one. 🙂

    Oh, quick question. I didn’t see it mentioned. Does the laptop run on a battery also, or only AC power?

    Thanks and great work

  19. I said “Oh My God!” over and over again. Wow. Now all we need is Geos.

    Definitely gonna blog this.

  20. I used to to write games/progams in BASIC to the point of costing me a relationship back in ’85 (She didn’t GET it!- now my wife of 10 yrs. is understanding and learning her computer and all that’s involved).
    If I’d have had your lapper instead of my 64C, that relationship would’ve ended even sooner! Which would have been ok, too. LOL
    I truly appreciate what you have done, it’s nothing short of awesome – your dedication to your projects is inspiring!

  21. Well done! I still have 8 to 10 C64 in my basement, all partially broken, but I’m pretty sure mixing the working parts together, I could get 3 to 4 working ones out of these 🙂

  22. Amazing!
    Very well done, mate! This reminds me of the good old times when me and my C64 spent long nights together 🙂
    Where to buy? *g*
    In times like these this one is really a great achievement!

    Greetz from Germany

  23. Amazing job! I love the C64. If only Commodore could have produced this instead of their massive boat anchor the SX64! (I had one of those as well).

    Your writing style really makes your articles a pleasure to read.

  24. Very beautiful mod. Seeing something like this always brings joy to another dull day. Great! I hope that you find a job where you can use your extraordinary good modding skills.

  25. I´d pay my son´s University savings for an Amiga 1200 portable in the same fashion and good taste as this C64… Great work Ben. Contiune amazing us… you are really the ONE.

  26. Wow! That’s amazing, you have some incredible skill! Thankyou for sharing!

    I owned an SX-64, they were very heavy…

  27. You Sir are amazing. That’s what I think again and again while seeing your projects.

    This one brings back so many memories and made me want to get my C128D from the vault.

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  29. Without wanting to be nerdy I have to make a few vital points here.

    As I am sure that you are aware the CBM 64 had no screen but plugged into something that used to be called a ‘Television”.

    The Commodore PET did have a screen – and your construction looks eirily like that.

    As I remember it the screen had at least two colours (green and white), and they stuck with it for a while as they were trying to put themselves forward as the choice for business computing.

    Commodore’s last attempt at a ‘business’ computer was the CBM 8032 released in 1982. Just as the IBM PC was anounced in the US.

    It didn’t do well.

    If anyone that wants to read the history of that try to find ‘The Microcomputer Handbook – A Buyers Guide’. Edited by Dick Olney. Copyright Computer Publications Ltd. Published 1982 by Century Publishing Co. Ltd. Just a collection of reviews of the computers available at that time, published in Personal Computer World, but kind of puts things into context.

  30. amazing dude. the look is just right. (i still use my c64 moniter as a small video moniter, very fond memories!)

  31. Totally cool!

    But what’s up with the “laptop” and “computer” links in the first two paragraphs?

  32. It’s obvious to me now. I’m in the wrong spacetime continuum.

    After seeing this, I’m sure it’s what it’s what we were supposed to be working on instead of DOS.

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  35. From now on i would say, God has a name: Benjamin J Heckdorn. Ben, this is absolutly awesome!!

  36. does it have two joystick ports?

    i want one badly, will you build one for me? how much would be?

    this thing is soo great and an awesome alternative to the old breadbox with tv

  37. Howdy!

    Kewler that most things I have seen before.

    In general i would need both a cart port (for the Action Replay) and the user port (for the parallel cable) but I only see one port, with a bit inconveniently is accessed from the front.

    Where do I order?

    /Pontus berg (AKA Bacchus/FairLight)

  38. Hello and greetings from René Kristensen Denmark.

    Damn super work.

    I have a request for you. I write articles for

    I think your work shot be known here in Denmark. So it vil be very nice, if i can use your pic’s for an article.

    Please let me know if it’s a go!

  39. That is the COOLEST THING EVAR!!! I want one! If I knew how to mod, I have a spare 64 in my bookcase waiting to be tinkered on. Good job on making this machine! Did I mention that this was really cool?!?!

  40. Hey Ben, you rule!!! this is the most innovative thing this year in computer world. PLease dont stop making these cool gadgets 🙂

  41. Ben–

    I have only 1 thing to say: WOW. You utterly outdid yourself on this one!

    I posted this over on the Forums and I gotta say, there are a bunch of Commodore heads DROOLING over this one.

    I think a how-to-create-your-own C64 Portable article/PDF/whatever is coming. This is just too cool to NOT share with the multitudes of Commodore heads who might want to make their own exactly like you’ve done!

    Maybe also try to showcase how to do it if you have an extra one of those Commodore 64 DTV joysticks laying around as well. See if you can get in touch with Jeri Ellsworth, the woman who created it, to see if you can do exactly that for this how-to-create-your-own C64 Portable. Or you could head over to to grab one of the few remaining ones.


  42. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!!
    I vould trade it for my Dell.

  43. I would buy one… very serious.
    An additional 1541 disk drive interface would be optimal.
    I still have disks that work and would like to dump my old programs without the fuss of a PC.

  44. OMG, with tears streaming down my cheek, this is amazing. love it.

    Why is it that this era of computing conjours up such emotions?

    That realy was the era when computers and computing had soul, love went into computers back then.

    R.I.P the golden age of computing.

  45. Very good job! my compliments
    I think a lot of C64 addicts would appreciate it if you’d make more of this prototype and sell it.

    and it won’t do you any bad financially!

    R. Lerrick

  46. the volume slider should be the same blue as the card and logo, or the same color and finish as the keyboard! but i say bluuuue

  47. dude, please make me one. How much do you want to build me one also?

    Kind REgards,

  48. Incredibly awesome work! I second MagerValp though; if you replace the 1541III with a 1541Ultimate, then you can do a magnitude of things more with this beauty…[dreaming away]

  49. NICE!

    i was heartbroken when i clicked on the first image for the supersize and got 404. 🙁

  50. Wow! Cool project dude! I loved the C-64, my programming career started on that bugger.

    This is a really impressive project! Inspiring to see it come together like that and work. My hardware projects stop when they work technically and are left with wires hangin’ all over the place, I really should learn from this! 😀

    Keep it up!

  51. Amazing piece of work. Never thought of anything even remotely similar to this project and has a genuine look and it actually play games. Excellent!!

  52. Bastante comun lo tuyo. Hemos hecho cosas mejores.


    Gente de sudamerica

  53. That’s Beautiful and I want one!!

    I’ve got units to convert.
    How much do you want to make me one?

  54. Incredible. Still it would be nice to see an actual game or some pretty graphics on it. Oh, and please explain the second LCD further, that would be great.

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  56. Yesss! That’s beautiful!
    When I was a child, I was playing and writing with a C64. Or at least my parents assure this, because I somehow >hehe< broke it in the end.
    The next one was an Atari ST. But don’t worry, it’s still alive.

    Seriously, your design work is very great to being made just for fun. This could be really an eBay treasure.
    And the SD acting as a floppy or a cassette was a great idea.

    My best congratulations, mr. Benjamin. Now get a nice rest. You deserve it.

    Hasta luego. (*)

  57. Wow !!!

    What a wonderful think you create 🙂
    I had also C64 in late 80’s, i will like to purchase a C64 Laptop…
    I think Commodore Company need to raise again, and give us all Commodore fans a possibility to buy new C64 or other Commodore computers (like Amiga 500/1200 etc…).
    Thanks for let us now about what you did with C64 🙂


  58. Man, that’s simply beautiful. Even down to the original power switch design, it brings strong emotions and memories from the good old 80’s just seeing those pictures.

    Kudos from Amsterdam

  59. Holy cr*p, very nice piece of work! Looks fantastic!! Wish I had one. Where can I order? 😛
    I still have a Commodore SX64, since 1984, which is a portable with a built in colour screen. Only little bit different in design than your laptop 😉

    Rob (The Hague, Netherlands)

  60. Please tell me you are going to use this as a prototype!!! Would love to find it on the shelves of my local electronics shop. I am in love with it. Kudos, my friend 🙂

  61. So fantastic!!! Such a nice idea and perfect engineering mind. I remembered the C64 and Amiga computers. How they were wonderful, sound playing, games and programming. Those experience are gone. Thank you anyway.

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  63. OMG! I WANT THIS, as previous posters say: I’ll give you almost anything for this baby… i think i would even sell almost all of my fuck’n synthesizers to have it… and those are a _few_…

    2000 eur? 4000? name your price man!

    Johan, sweden

  64. was kostet der Commodore 64 Original Hardware Laptop in Euro € genau ???

    LG Roger aus Duisburg

  65. Awesome that you got this completed. Looks great. I talked with you about it at MAGfest… glad to hear you got it done. I still think someone should do a DTV (the little C64 joystick things) laptop mod.

    Now that you have this out of the way, you’ll have lots of time to work on the beer can crusher, right?

  66. Pulling the technical bit off is cool enough, but doing it with such attention to detail and finish… Simply amazing.

  67. WOW! stunning job! The awesome geek factor is off the scale! I could only wish I was that cool.

  68. hey guy, great job! today I model myself on you as the greatest C64-hacker of all times.

  69. Very, very cool. Excellent design and workmanship. The only thing that would have made it cooler is if you had put in a touchpad and made it emulate a KoalaPad (every die-hard C64 owner had one).

  70. Ben,

    I understand it’d cost a lot of money to make one of these because it’s time… But how much would it be for just the case itself? I’d not mind modding it but the case is something I just can’t begin to make. The best I have ever modded is the NES to DVD. It’s pretty, but your cases are supreme.


  71. OH DEAR, I read about this C64 laptop computer on german news portal “Spiegel Online” (,1518,618372,00.html) – that´s great!
    I still sometimes use my own old C64 (manufactured in 1984) but I think I´ve to ebay one (you used the C-model because of smaller motherboard to try this at home 😉

    Go on like this – really really good work!

    All the best,

  72. bboooaaaahhh…. now you have to produce thousands of this. the things you have started, you have also to finish. great job!

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  74. I don’t know if any of you remember this, but Commodore actually made a “portable” C64. It was called the SX-64 (single disk drive built in) or DX-64 (two disk drives built in). It had a 5″ screen. I don’t remember how much it weighed, but it was, I think, lighter than a Compaq or Kaypro CP-M machine from the same period. I almost bought one. I ended up getting a regular C64 and a Sharp PC 1500 (similar to the Radio Shack Pocket Computer PC-2). BTW, the Commodore 64 is the only computer I’ve ever owned than I don’t still have. 🙂

  75. Ben, I’m no boffin but I totally love what you have done with your Commodore 64 laptop! The look is so very ’80s.

    To Ed B. above, I do remember the SX-64.

  76. Um, just when/ where is the auction to be held?

    Some of us would love to bid on it….(did i miss this info? can’t ctrl-F it anywhere)

    I would also sell my left adrenal gland for one, and you could even use my (failed) c64C project/PSone screen
    parts to build it!


  77. Te quedo de mil maravillas, felicitaciones… Yo quiero una !!!!!!!!

  78. Ben thank you for the best mod I’ve ever seen in my life. My first computer was a Commodore Vic-20 and then later a C64 so this brings back tons of memories for me when life was a lot simpler, and better too. Thank you for not using the datasette lol!
    If you ever think of parting with it I want first dibs!

    Great job bro!!!

  79. I would like to suggest that you mod up an original NES controller for use on the old systems that require a 9-pin DSUB connector. It is a lot easier to use and eliminates the carpal tunnel nightmare on the joystick controllers. There are only a couple of games (like flight simulators or games that require superfast action with the joystick like Track & Field) that require a joystick. The Genesis controller used the DSUB but it is not as responsive as the NES controller.

    Also if you want to check out a couple of great games for the C64 that far surpassed the experience on other platforms, try Broderbund’s Spelunker and Raid on Bungeling Bay titles.

  80. a lot of music producers r looking for c64 because of retro sounds….i bet they pay anything for this c64 laptop for live acts…great job!

  81. I have to say this is fantastic. really brought a smile to my face. I’d buy one, at least for novelties sake and run some old games on it. Yeah, one can use an emulator but this is very cool.

  82. Quite a work of technological art. Well done!

    While wondering where you got a baseband video capable laptop display (or how you hacked the VICII to put out *VGA?) it occured to me that tens of millions of portable televisions will enter landfills within the next couple of years, thanks to the FCC’s digital TV ‘plan’ (which was conceived in the 1200Baud pre-internet BBS era). Could we resurrect a fraction of these TVs from forced obsolescence by refitting them into a portable C64 device? Such a project could keep millions of pocket TVs out of landfills and give Nintendo and OLPC a run for their money ($250, $100? hah! I’ll bet you could hack a classroom/gaming portable computer for $50. I’ve run a VIC-20 on 4 AA nicads, this was back in the 1980s when NiCads only put out 500maH on a good day with a tailwind.

  83. OMG! this is so cool.

    I found a pic on google images of this laptop, and i was immediately in awe and wondering “did i miss something – is there a laptop version ?”
    This project is greatly done, it really looks line it could’ve been made by CBM itself. I’m pretty sure, if this were commercially available, some old skool C64 nerds like me would be tempted to purchase one.

  84. Rates right up there with building little crappy things out of matchsticks and glue. Your time could be spent more productive picking up trash off the sides of the road.

  85. Ben, truly astounding work. If I had half your talent, my wife would have left me several years ago. Or maybe never have had the chance to even meet me, because I would still be in my garage. It would be unrealistic for you to produce these, but maybe if you put a “how to” together in a pdf…I am sure you could sell that and, speaking for myself, I would pay a handsome price for that. But then again, it is obvious that you do this for the love of the challenge rather than money. In any case, leave it to someone deserving in your will!

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  87. Truly amazing! I think this is probably the best piece of computer hardware I have EVER seen. An utterly fantastic bit of work. WOW, WOW, WOW and WOW!

  88. Felicidades por tu proyecto, espero hagas uno igual pero con Amiga…. siempre me gusto todo lo de commodore.

    Desde Oaxaca, México.
    Sergio Delgado

  89. …………very good idea. Its fine maschine, old C=64 in the notebook design. Greets from Poland. 6510 be live 🙂 ps.Sorry – my english language is very bad, i lern this

  90. This commodore 64 looks like a money briefcase. I am glad I was not in the era of commodore computer user. I gotta throw my hat down for the King of Modders himself Ben Heck.

  91. Wow Ben. This is truly incredible. I first heard about your projects in an old Popular Science, then in a newer PopSci, and visited your site for the first time in *ages*.

    You’ve actually inspired me to make a Commodore 64 DTV laptop with a similar design. Tell me: what would be a good, cheap, LCD panel display with analog cababilities? Of course, my case would be made out of wood or something, and a lot less complex (maybe build it into an old portable dvd player?).

  92. Very, very nice. Missing a few things to be perfect, but better than anything before and probably after, too. What’s it missing? No 9VAC in the PS, so the clock won’t work. No user port, so no serial support (modems for BBS’s). The cassette port we can do without, so that’s not a big deal. Someone already mentioned the JiffyDOS compatible SD card interface. There’s also the possibility of a WiFi adapter from Digi that can be used as a wireless telnet modem. And of course, if it could all be battery powered…

    Ok, all that sounds negative, and it shouldn’t be taken that way. This is an incredible project, so don’t let any of the above be taken the wrong way. Absolutely amazing.

  93. Wow does this bring back old memories. I had a few of these and the 128. Man I miss those days. Things were so simple then, lol

  94. Hey very cool. How do we get our hands on one of those? I would so buy one of those if it were retail available

  95. Q: “How did we ever use these joysticks”
    A: We didn’t hold them in our hands while playing. JoySTICKS were designed to be used with the base down on a flat surface (some even came with suction pads on the bottom to hold it in place). JoyPADS are to be held in hands while playing. The only time you saw people holding joysticks in hands while playing games were in advertisements – where they also had no cables plugged into the machine, no power LED on, etc 🙂

  96. Awesome, just awesome. Thanks for bringing back all those great early 80’s memories. C=64 was pivotal in my formative years as a software engineer! You would have really turned heads back then if you had this laptop …

  97. This is awesome! It looks so great that I would consider selling my grandma just to have one. LOL

  98. Ben thank you for the best sharing .My first computer was a Commodore Vic-20 and then later a C64 so this brings back tons of memories for me when life was a lot simpler, and better too.
    Thank you for not using the database.

    Good job cheer!!!

  99. Will you be making any more c64 laptops to sell, and if so what would you charge? I’m very interested, as I’m sure many, many other Commodore fans out there would be.

  100. I would willingly part with my hard earned cash to buy one of these and I don’t even care about the performance or useability, the look and retro feel is enough for me and as an original C64 owner, I just wish I had kept mine now!

  101. Before laptop/notebook computers were technically feasible, similar ideas had been proposed, most notably Alan Kay’s Dynabook concept, developed at Xerox PARC in the early 1970s. What was probably the first portable computer was the Xerox NoteTaker, again developed at Xerox PARC, in 1976. However, only ten prototypes were built.

  102. Hola eres un genio…tengo un libro de las consolas portatiles que lo pulicastes tu soy un fan tuyo un saludo……………………………………………………………………………………………….yo tanbien hago cosas sabes……………………….tengo un poblema como se hace commodore sea mas rapido y como hago un lector de tarjetas que no sea muy compio de hacer un saludo……………………………………………………….

  103. As an old brand manager of Commodore, I am surprised to see this new product, looks great!

  104. EPIC AWESOME HACK! I have a question though. How did you get the LCD screen from the laptop computer to recognize the the video input from the commodore mother board? I thought those screens are designed to accept input JUST from the oringinal mother board in said computer.

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  106. Hi there

    really nice one !!
    do you have one for sale ?!
    let me know asap ..regards from switzerland




    And thank you for the really good time seeing this 🙂

  108. WANT!! You are my new hero.. Conquering “Forbidden Forest” is on my bucket list.

  109. How is this possible? Whilst I accept it looks good (really good actually) does it really work or are have the pictures been photoshopped?

  110. I love this!! But c’mon, it doesn’t really exist does it? You must have used a bit of photo editing software to achieve this but even so, well done because it looks so good.

  111. I love it.. no… I want that thing more than I ever wanted anythin. It’s such a great job. When I see this, I’m getting sad Commodore died and there will never be an industrial production of that thing. It would be so cool. Damn, I realise how damn old I am….

    Sorry if my english is not perfect, I am from Germany..

  112. Great Job. I still have my original laptop from the 80’s as a memory of what use to be. Definately not as compact but got the job done back then

  113. As a huge Commodore 64 fan I have to say you did a superb job and made a wonderful tribute project to this awesome computer. Some things missing from this page are descriptions of how you interfaced the video to the LCD screen, where the screen came from, how you manufactured the labels and extra buttons, and how you got the 9VAC power input (which as far as I know is required by the motherboard for system timing). Also, is there any way to attach a battery to make it truly portable?

    As many other people have said, if you were selling these I’d gladly buy one!

    Skyfox (yes, my name originates from my C64 game Skyfox II 🙂

  114. At first, I really thought it was just an ordinary typewriter.. Can’t imagine how slow that was when it was first introduced.. :p

  115. […] Verfügung gestellt. Mehr Informationen und Screenshots dazu findet man im Blog des Modders auf der entsprechenden Seite. Zudem hat der Modder auch ein Buch geschrieben in dem Bastler die sich selbst an so ein Projekt […] travel

  116. When I first saw it from a side video still picture in youtube I thought it was some how a real C64 laptop. I was wondering how the hell did I ever not hear about that….could the commodore developers been so ahead of their time…did they come back into business…. Obviously you created something special here. Hats off. How/where did you get the basic laptop plastic covering? Did you order something from a company where you can send in shape/size specs? Do you have your own plastic shop in the back yard?

  117. What are the virtues of putting they keyboard near the LCD (like in a typical laptop)? I was wondering how it would go with the keyboard toward the front, more like the C64.

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  119. Sorry for the second post, I meant to mention that I hope once you’re rested up you tackle a Commodore Amiga next. I’d love to see your portable laptop vision of the machine that truly ushered in the era of modern multimedia computing. 8^D

  120. Hello,
    Sorry for my poor English but i’m French 😉

    How much did this project cost to make including your labor?

    I really would like to get one, it’s Fantastic !!!!

    Thank you for your response.

    By, Thiery

  121. Hello, GREAT JOB! The C-64 was the second CBM machine I had after the VIC-20. I have TONS of Commodore software (most copied) with some still “protected” and LOTS not protected and ‘Cracked’, or ‘Broken” (protection removed). Some of my faves were “Raid Over Moscow” and “Ultimate Wizard”, and “DINO EGGS”! Still have my SX-64 in the closet, but seeing YOURS…WOW!!! You might try getting hold of an old cartridge called, “FAST LOAD”…cuts the loading time of 99.9% of all software…worked GREAT with 1541/1571…maybe it might work with your new ‘laptop 64p’ and eliminate the ‘load’screen and ‘pop’ right on. Another help…install the SID chip in a socket cause the sound registers on the chip do NOT hold up and might have to replace every great once in awhile. The original SID chip (C-64) was NOT used in the newer C64-C and lacked the complete sound registers that the original C-64 chip had. You can test this out using the game ‘BEACH HEAD’. With the original chip you had a REALLY full deep sound from the speakers of the bombs exploding and shells and bombs sounded SO FREAKIN’ REAL! With the new ‘SID’ chip in the C64-C the sound regiswters were changed and lacked ALL of the frequencies…hence lost sounds in lots of games and in music, and sound effects. ALL IN ALL…you did one HELUVA job creating something very unique and nice for yourself and your family to enjoy. Thanks for the visit to your site… BIG PAW

  122. Hi Ben,
    Have followed your work for awhile.u are awesome. If you were to build another one(c64p) How much would you charge? Also i could probably supply most of the internals. Thanks and keep up the great work.

  123. WANT!

    Appl followers can keep their glowing logos. This is more about an amazing computing experience than logo worship. Wish this was sold.

  124. Many (and i mean many!!) of us would pay a whole lot of money for a machine like this. So if you should want to make more we will absolutely make it worth it 😉

  125. I love this commodore so much 🙂 later i have an amiga 500.. and than äh 2.86 PC with 25 mhz.. this was is slow but buitiful time 🙂

  126. Good job, buddy! I liked your design!
    Why don’t you produce more of this commodore 64 laptop??
    I am sure A LOT OF PEOPLE would like to buy one! me, too!

  127. Wow, what a blast from the past! I spent many happy days many years ago with my C64. For the sake of nostalgia i’d buy one again now!! Congratulations on the article, great write up Ben.

  128. Good work. But think. The best part on Commodore, Spectrum, Amstrad, Electron and all the ’80s PCs, is the onboard programming language. Mix 2012 technology and the already known ’80s Basic Programming Language and you will have the best computer. Russians did it. They use ZX Spectrum. I am from Greece. I love machine code. PCs use a simulated machine code. They named Assembly. It is not Assembly. And it is far away from machine code. This part is the best on ’80s PCs. My project will be soon ready. I will send you info when I done. You will understand why I made it. Keep going my friend. Your brain still work. Bravo.

  129. It just looks so good! I definitely agree about old keyboards being the best. Can’t beat the sound they make.

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