DIY video cable for the Commodore 64

DIY commodore 64 video cable

MY CRT died, so I decided to connect my Commodore 64 to a monitor. I have a convertor that I used for a PS2 that was okay, not great, but did the job. It can get S-Video and Composite video. So I decided to build my own cable using S-Video and plug my C64 into an old VGA monitor.

As a reference I used Ilkka Sjöstedt post.

These are the components and tools you need to make this cable:

This is the Commodore 64 video port:

Video Commodore 64

The C64 Video port is an 8-pin DIN connector, but be careful with the shape. The correct type shape is called “horse shoe”. If you live in Europe, I got mine at Reichelt .

Video Commodore 64

Video Commodore 64

Also you will need a 330 ohm resistor for the chrominance output. This is not 100% necessary and sometimes this value might change depending on the video converter. Take this value as an indication, maybe you should change it. I’m currently experimenting with other values to reduce some flickering I was getting with my current converter. More about this on a later post.

Video Commodore 64

If you measure the resistor using the multimeter, it’s normal to get an approximate value. Resistors have a level of tolerance usually measured in %, the gold color in the picture indicates a 5% tolerance. It means that the value might oscillate +/-5%.

Video Commodore 64

Cut the S-Video cable and the use the wire stripping tool to expose the wires.

Video Commodore 64

Now you have to check which cable corresponds to each pin in the S-Video socket. To do this you need to set your multimeter in continuity test mode. Check the instructions of yours. The symbol used to represent that mode is universal. Look at the picture:

Video Commodore 64

Draw a little diagram and write down the colours that match each pin. Keep in mind that you have to flip the position of the pins if you look at the male connector. Otherwise you will mix up chrominance and luminance inputs.

Video Commodore 64

Video Commodore 64

Now let’s start soldering the 8-pin socket. As mentioned in Ilkka Sjöstedt post we can wire pin 5 and 2, to avoid background noise in the audio output. To do that I just cut a little piece of wire connecting the two pins. I will later solder the cable into that wire:

The final step is to solder the cables. Don’t forget to insert the DIN case before you start connecting the wires!

Video Commodore 64

Video Commodore 64

Video Commodore 64

Video Commodore 64

That’s all, close it and give it a try. Be very careful about the wiring and pins, avoid making any mistakes because you could damage your beloved C64. Check also Ilkka Sjöstedt post as well, and many other sites about how to build this cable, in case you don’t feel confident enough to do it. I’m not responsible if by following these instructions you end up ruining your C64 or something else, read my disclaimer :)

You can also find these cables available online here and here.

A short video of the final result. As you can see there’s a lot of flickering. Most probably it’s the converter. I’ll publish another post about some experiments I’m trying in order to change this behaviour. What some people suggested so far is to get a decent, and more expensive converter or a TV with S-Video input or buy a Commodore monitor. Before that I want to have fun experimenting and learning with this.