Perifractic and Sean Harrington has released a new kit mod for the Commodore 64 (C64) that will allow users to switch between PAL and NTSC modes. Calling it the VIC-II², this kit combines the best of both signal worlds by using the PAL 6569 and the NTSC 6567 VIC-2 (Video Interface Chip) chips. The kit is only compatible on the “Breadbin” style C64’s at the moment and the team hopes to eventually get this kit working for the C64C in the future. Potential modders will need to acquire both a PAL and NTSC C64 so that they are able to use the VIC-2 chips as well as the PAL and NTSC timing crystals needed to maintain the chips sync process.
The kit comes with one other nice addon called the LumaFix64. This chip is a Texas Instruments 7414 which helps to eliminate much of the noise and the vertical “jail bars” seen in the video signal’s output. This project mod is mounted onto a daughter board, which in turn is inserted on top of the VIC-II’s designated OEM factory chip position. A locking mechanism was designed on the PCB to prevent accidental switching between modes standards while the device was powered. So users have to power off the C64 before switching to the other standard. Without this safety design feature, the C64 would likely fry or brick.
Perifractic shows in his video step by step the processor the team went through to design, prototype, walk through, and ultimately assemble the finished kit that is now available for order. While there are some slight differences from the kit shown in the video to the kits available for purchase. Perifractic states that the final kits for order will be more streamlined then the one he put together during the video walk through.
Here are the notes from the order section via ebay:
- Not compatible with slimline “C64C” cases – this only fits “breadbin” original C64 style cases (due to the lower C64C keyboard)
- The VIC-II² has only been tested on breadbin motherboards with “ASSY 250407” or “250425” or “250466” printed on the lower edge – please check you have one of these before ordering as we cannot support returns
- Your monitor must support both PAL & NTSC or you will see a black & white image, or no image at all, in one of the modes – please check its specs carefully before ordering (if yours doesn’t most “upscaler” devices will resolve this, such as the XRGB Mini – see PDF link below)
- VIC-II chips not included – you’ll need a 6567 (NTSC) & 6569 (PAL) chip only & any “R”evision will work
- This does not support C64C 8xxx series VIC-II chips which have 4 more pins than the 6xxx
- This is not a ready-made product but a kit, and requires soldering experience – you can enquire at the forum below if you need the kit built for you
- You will receive 2 VIC-II² PCBs in your kit, one red one blue (not yellow as pictured) which will cover all 3 ASSY numbers above
- The kit includes 25 individual tested components, carefully packaged in an anti-static bag and bubble mailer
- The kit includes the LumaFix64 components, and 4 self-adhesive mini heat sinks (not pictured) to protect your VIC chips
- Parts may differ slightly from those pictured
- Please allow 28 days for delivery
- This beta tested hobbyist kit is sold ‘not-for-profit’ therefore thank you for understanding that – due to the extra cost it would add – it is offered without warranty or support…
- However you can post technical support requests at the official forum thread where the community and/or the developers can respond:
- Installation guide: (copy as paste links into browser) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kmEpEqAXiAqL4K_vFQSTYxYZdxyA3ZmUkNNI0kuMmtI
- Installation video: Follow along at https://youtu.be/XONgqVT8pd0?t=943
- We do not recommend drilling holes in vintage computers to mount the switch