Commodore VIC-20

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Commodore VIC-20
250px
Branding Commodore
Manufacturer Mitsumi (keyboard)
Keyswitches Various, including Mitsumi KSR Type
Keycaps Spherical double-shot
Interface Integrated

The Commodore VIC-20 was an 8-bit home computer, with a MOS 6502 CPU and 5 KB RAM.

The integrated keyboard is interchangeable with that in the successor Commodore 64, and some late VIC-20 and early C64 even have the exact same keyboards.

Like many other 8-bit computers of the time, there is no separate keyboard controller. The matrix is scanned by the main CPU using an I/O chip.

Keyboards

PET-derived Mitsumi hybrid: Microgramma

This appears to be the original and most common keyboard, using the guide shaft plate, sliders and keystem adapters from a PET keyboard (like that of the Commodore 8032-SK), but a revised keyboard matrix. The shift lock switch is likely to be Futaba lock the same as in the later keyboards. Black tape covers up the unused holes for switch positions not used.[1][2] The keycap profile is very angular with the same profile for each row and the very wide Microgramma Extended font.

VIC-1001: PET-derived Japanese

The VIC-20 was first introduced in Japan as the VIC-1001, sporting Japanese characters on the front of keycaps and in character ROM.[3] The keyboard uses the same switches and keycap style as the earlier PET, with squarish keycaps and the Latin font being the very wide and angular Microgramma Extended.

Mitsumi hybrid: Eurostile

The keycaps are rounder and have a contoured profile. The font is known as Eurostile, which is not as wide as the previous but still squarish. The switches are similar to the more common Mitsumi KSR Type with cruciform mount and spring between key and keycap, but the stem is shorter.[4]

Discrete rubber domes: Narrow font

Rounder font, similar to Helvetica Narrow. The keycaps are also rounder than the Eurostile variant. Found in a 1983 Revision D VIC-20, from below this has the same general design as the later keyboard (and that of the Commodore 64), but instead of using "hybrid" switches, it has sliders over discrete rubber domes that appear to be glued to the PCB. The shift lock switch is still Futaba lock.[5]

Mitsumi KSR Type: Narrow font

Rounder font, similar to Helvetica Narrow. The keycaps are rounder still than the Eurostile variant. This has an identical arrangement to early "bread bin" Commodore 64, with cruciform mount conductive foot Mitsumi hybrid switches, and a non-keyboard switch for shift lock.[6] The keyboard PCB model is KSR-A66YF.[7][8]

Most VIC-20 have orange function keys but some have grey function keys like most Commodore 64. Similarly some early Commodore 64 have orange function keys. Whether these variations were intentional or not is unclear.

Lookalikes

My Vic20

The My Vic20 is a variation of the Commodore 64x / MyC64 mini-ITX PC case with integrated keyboard, but styled in VIC-20 colours. The integrated keyboard, made by TG3 has a layout updated for a modern PC and has Cherry MX switches.

The VIC 20

The The VIC 20 is similar to the actual-size TheC64 "retro-console", styled as a VIC-20. Both have the same internal hardware and can emulate both a VIC-20 and a C64 but have different installed games. The keyboard has orange function keys and a Microgramma-like font similar to, but not exact to that of early VIC-20's and PETs. [9]

Replacements

See also Commodore 64#Replacement_keyboard.

VIC-2020

Dan Werner's VIC-2020 project is new rendition of the VIC-20 (in the year 2020), with PCB, keyboard PCB and 3D-printed case design.

The keyboard PCB fits Cherry MX switches, but is for standard Cherry MX keycap sizes, and will thus not fit in a real VIC-20 or C64 case. A template is available for getting keycaps with VIC-20 legends from Max Keyboard.

See also

  • Commodore 64 — Used an interchangeable, or even the same keyboard in some models. A replacement keyboard or keyboard-adaptor for the C64 will also work with the VIC-20 and vice versa.

External links

References

  1. The Future was 8bit — Silver VIC20
  2. Tynemouth Software — Commodore 4032 Editor ROM for Business keyboard
  3. Denial WIKI—[VIC-1001 http://sleepingelephant.com/denial/wiki/index.php?title=VIC-1001]. Last update at time of retrieval: 2015-06-07
  4. lemon64.com forum—Vic 20 later Eurostile keyboard restore :). Posted 2016-03-18.
  5. The Liberator — Commodore VIC-20 Disassembled
  6. Oldcomputr.com — Cleaning the keyboard of a VIC 20
  7. Eski Bilgisayarlarım — Commodore VC20
  8. Eski Bilgisayarlarım — Commodore VIC 20
  9. Chuck Hutchins on YouTube—The VIC 20. Released 2020-10-12.