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Last update: 2019-08-31

Sirius 64 and Victor 1541 - Modding a Commodore 64 and 1541 in the Style of a Sirius 1


Usually, when I am fixing old computers, I am trying to restore or preserve their original appearance. However, sometimes this is hardly possible. It was quite common at the time to drill holes into the case for reset switches or kernel switches and the like. Also sometimes retrobrighting fails or the case is just to stained and retrobrighting does not really help.

In this case I wanted to create an homage to the Sirius 1 aka Victor 9000. When I was a teenager I supplemented my pocket money by working in a small company that automated industrial production facilities, high rack warehouses etc. For that we were using industrial controllers and other fancy equipment.
So far I had only experience with (then popular) home computers like my Commodore VIC 20 (VC 20 in Germany), Apple II etc. In that company I saw my first PC (compatible). Also, I got a chance to work at the Sirius 1. This had an impressive high resolution screen, even though monochrome, no colors. It could even play audio samples. Screen brightness and audio loudness could be controlled from the keyboard. It would take another decade or so until the advent of multimedia keys on Windows PC keyboards.
Anyways, in this build I tried to recreate the look of a Sirius 1.

The Result

The First Attempt

The Second Attempt

I decided to change the keyboard. I used a light keyboard that was a retrobright fail. The function keys were spotted and just did not look right. So I thought, I could cover that with color.

The Starting Point

Yellowed Cases

The case of the Commodore 64C and even more so the case of the Commodore 1541 were quite yellowed. I was not sure I could successfully retrobright them to the original state. Also there were small scratches in the C64's case. It must have been a smokers possession once, given its smell. So I decided they make great modding candidates.

Fixing the Electronics

Sometimes the computer functioned, sometimes it did not. I had a feeling somehow that this was cause by defective memory. Bingo! One leg was broken off. It had a slack joint. A good portion of tin-solder did the trick.

Mixing Colors

I am owning one Sirius 1 including keyboard and monitor. I am also possessing a Victor 9000 with keyboard and monitor. So I used them as a reference for mixing the colors.

Making the Logos/Labels

I made the labels to resemble the original company logo. I printed it on high gloss photo paper with high resolution. The photo was then glued on self-adhesive paper (for making stickers). I laminated the whole thing with self-adhesive, transparent foil to protect the print.

Painting the Keys

I really liked the look of the keyboard I have chosen in the first place. Nevertheless, I wanted to try something else. I had a light keyboard that was a retrobrighting fail. Especially the function keys were spotty. The rest was really OK. So I thought that I might be able to give this computer a stylish keyboard by coloring it.

Don't the keys look just like candy?

Copyright Statement

FCA Workbench Copyright (C) 2020 Holger Zahnleiter


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