This page covers my efforts to build a BMC64 system.
This is what this page is about:
At the beginning of 2020, I tried BMC64 for the first time and was surprized. It was what I expected of THE C64, I bought just a few weeks before. So after trying it with a generic Raspberry Pi 3B+, I had lying around, I decided I wanted to build a dedicated machine like THE C64. I still had one of the Kickstarter C64C cases without any board inside, so I could use that. Since I don't need any ethernet of USB ports, I could replace the Raspberry Pi 3B+ with a Raspberry Pi 3A+ model, saving around 10 Euros.
There is a PCB available, that allows you to connect joysticks with a DB9 connector and provides a power switch. So I ordered a small number at china. The rest that needed to be done was to assemble the unit after doing some 3D printing.
The finished product:
I really like how the heavily yellowed keys fit the blue color of the case than retrobrighted ones. The label is 3D printed with the color of the filament changed during printed. The amount of work is annoying, but the result is quite nice. There also is a patched C16 kernal available at pagetable.com, that allows the same keyboard mapping as the C64. After some patches to BMC64's plus4 and plus4emu they now also work with this setup.
A look from the backside:
The tape port now contains the HDMI power and the original power input of the Raspberry Pi 3A. The latter is not used, since there's a dedicated barrel connector and a power switch on the side. Also note the micro SD card reader in the user port area. This makes updating the system or adding new data very easy.
The control port side:
This is almost as expected. The switch works like on the C64. The power connector is for a 5V supply, not 12V like on the C64 Reloaded or Ultimate 64. Also the control ports are for joystick only, since the only the digital pins are connected. So, no paddles, no analogue mouse.
For getting the micro SD card to the outside, an expansion cable has been used. The keyboard mounts are the Ultimate64 Keyboard Mounting Brackets done by crashmeplease on Thingiverse. The power connector panel and the Raspberry Pi 3A mount are designs modified by me. See "Links" section for download. The ribbon cable is an old 40-wire IDE cable.
The connection board:
This has been built by using the original design by Randy Rossi. I would have changed some details, like using the 40 pins connector for power instead of the separate USB power cable. I made a small patch to the board as can be seen here. Technically, the power supply was connected to the two 5V pins (2 and 4) and two of the GND connectors (6 and 14). More details about the pinout can be found at pinout.xyz.
The little brother, the BMC64 lite:
Yes, the LED works, and no the 3D printed keyboard does not. This is most probably the smallest working C64 clone. The design was done by blockmind on Thingiverse. I just switched the filament at the right position to get the black keys. You need to connect a USB keyboard to get it working, just like on THE C64 MINI. The SID emulation is not 100%, but still very good. In total, it's still a fun system to play with.
It looks even smaller now than besides the Euro coin, doesn't it?
For me recommending one or the other, it boils down to two things: Do you want an easy games launcher? If yes, then THE C64 will be more to your liking.
Do you want to have better emulation? Do you like to build stuff? Do you have a broken C64 lying around somewhere? Do you want to have more control like a freeze button on the cartridge? Do you want to have a chance on implementing a feature missing? If you answer any of these questions with yes, then BMC64 will be more fun for you.
(Note: freeze button has become available for THE C64 with a firmware upgrade.)