Micro Commodore 64 Design and BMC64 Emulator on C64 Case

Making Of / 07 September 2019

BMC 64 is a Commodore 64 emulator created by Randy Rossi. It runs on Raspberry Pi devices and bypass the OS and boots very fast. 

I used this emulator as two ways:

1. in a real C64 case to use it like an old C64 

2. Using the emulator's lite version on tiny Raspberry Pi Zero device and design a case for it

1. Using the emulator in a spare C64 case

First, I embeded one of BMC64 installed Raspberry Pi 3A+ into an empty Commodore 64 Case. It uses real C64 keyboard as an input and also you can connect real C64 joysticks by GPIO pins and a CRT monitor by analog video and audio outputs (HDMI also supported).

I quickly designed some port adapters for the empty C64 case and 3d printed them.

This is video port for the analog video and audio jacks and also the HDMI output. I soldered a 3.5mm jack for the analog outputs and an HDMI cable for the HDMI output.

Next, I made a temporary placement for Raspberry Pi 3A+.

Then,  I placed joystick ports that I made by prototyping board which connected to the GPIO pins, and finally a powerbank board to make this chargable.

I used an Arduino Pro Micro clone to make the C64 keyboard accessible through USB ports of the Raspberry Pi. So emulator will recognize keyboard as input (please see links section at the end of the blog post).  

I used an old Cell Phone battery to make this device chargeble by the spare charge circuit that I keep from a malfunctioned powerbank. And printed an holder for the circuit.

Finally added joystick ports and an On/Off switch. Then I stabilized (!) whole system with paper tape (!) and closed the case.

It works even cordless!!!

Joystick ports also powers up my Firepad 64's light and autofire function! (Firepad 64 is an arrow key based joystick replacement that I made before, check the links).

After a while I made a DC input for powering the device.

Works like a charm!

2. Making a Micro C64

BMC64 emulator also has a lite version which is designed for tiny Raspberry Pi Zero devices.  It also supports real joystick connection, HDMI connection and keyboard support.

I made a 70mm x 38mm case design for this device to have it a C64 look.

3d printed it and placed the device into by adding a LED light that turns on when powered.

BMC64 Lite is complete by connecting an HDMI cable, a wireless receiver for keyboard and a USB cable for powering the Raspberry Pi Zero up.

It's very tiny for me to paint in detail but I give it a try to combine some of my colors to match a real C64 colors at the end.

I made the keyboard part demountable to use the GPIO pins beneath to connect read joysticks to the device.

Here is the real joystick connection:

And finally it can be connected to a TV by using the USB port of the TV as a power source to run the emulator.

Very portable solution :)

Thanks for reading this photo-dominant blog post.

Those are the links that may be useful:

BMC64 Homepage: https://accentual.com/bmc64/ 

BMC64 Lite Homepage: https://accentual.com/bmc64-lite/

BMC64 Github: https://github.com/randyrossi/bmc64 

Arduino Project for Keyboard Connection: https://github.com/mcgurk/Arduino-USB-HID-RetroJoystickAdapter/tree/master/C64_keyboard 

My facebook post about the C64 case integration: https://www.facebook.com/groups/commodoresixtyfour/permalink/10156140173577172/ 

3D model files for BMC64 Zero Case: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3848621