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C > COMMODORE  > C16     


Commodore
C16

The Commodore 16 belongs to the Commodore 264 series (with the Commodore C116 and Plus/4). It was designed to replace the Commodore VIC 20, but it was not compatible with the VIC-20, nor with the C64.

It had the same characteristics as the Commodore Plus/4 : same graphic resolution, same sound system, same CPU and speed, just less memory.
It featured a version of the original 6502 CPU named 7501, and a new video chip named TED. With 16 colours, and 16 shades of colour, it had an amazing 128 colours available.
But it had no hardware sprites like the ones on the VIC II chip, so animated games and collision detection were very hard to do.

It featured a powerful basic language (contrary to the VIC-20 or the C64) which makes graphics and sounds easy to program.

The C16, like the Commodore Plus/4 was a commercial failure and had little success.

It seems that the first C16s had the two control ports labelled JOY 0 and JOY 1 instead of JOY 1 and JOY 2, just as a hint for collectors :-)

Note that as well as the C116, the C16 lacks a user port.
Final assembly was done in Mexico by a company named Sigma.



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The C16 was my very first computer. My dad bought it in 1985 with the tape recorder. I learned the BASIC from the original manual and then I started learning assembly.

The only thing that made me hangry was the absence of sprites. It was rather impossible to do a decent game without them.

Basic was very powerful is compared to the version of C64 and let to do some primitive structured programming using do/loop/while/until.

Colour were brighter than the C64 ones. Sound, instead, was poor: the TED wasn''t the SID (sic...).

I experienced 2 problems: the power supply decided to die and the TED started to go crazy...
For the first, I replaced with a unit from a ZX Spectrum... for the second, I started to experience problems with games because TED faulted in reading the joy ports. So I had to change the chip.

I kept that machine 2 years then I bought a PC XT.

          
Thursday 21st October 2010
Leonardo (Italy)

The C16 was my first computer which I bought in NZ for $500. This could potentially be upgraded to have more RAM than the C64 was capable of, but the world was already in love with the C64. and the C16 didn't have sprites. There were other joysticks available apart from the commodore one. I should know - I bought one. This was the right computer for me because of the very good BASIC programming language which I learned quite thoroughly and went on from there to assembly language programming on this machine. The C64 limited BASIC probably would have put me off programming. The PLus4 was a C16 in a different shape, with more RAM and 4 built in applications on ROM.

          
Saturday 8th March 2008
Chris Little (New-Zealand)

Hi everyone,

great site. I've just got a shoddy C-16 from Ebay ... pure rubbish. The 'commodore' emblem was cracked in two, and the thing is filthy. Apart from other problems, when I eventually managed to cure the gibberish that was coming up on the t.v. screen ( chips loose on the motherboard ) straight away I noticed that the power supply was buzzing when plugged in.

Before this again I had noticed that there was movement in the innards of the power unit: turning it sideways I could feel the heavy metal block thing moving inside the plastic casing. I took it apart and everything looked normal, although I did notice what looked like a legit. line of solder down each side of the metal block thing. Put it back together and plugged it in and left it for about 20 minutes.

It remained silent for about 17 of those minutes, then the steady buzzing, getting louder and louder. Plugged it out to find that it was quite warm. Has anyone any ideas / suggestions? I have no experience of these machines at all, though I've heard a lot of people say that C-64 PSU's tended to melt. Do C-16 PSU's normally make this noise, and indeed to they vibrate very slightly as mine does? I should mention that it didn't get any warmer than I would deem normal.

I did notice, on taking apart the PSU, that there's a large capacitor type thing behind the big metal block. This had a foam spacer stuck to the top of it, which I think makes contact with the cover, but the metal block didn't have one. Should it? Could this explain the buzzing?

Phew! Thanks for reading.

Regards,

Anthony.

          
Wednesday 21st June 2006
Anthony Halpin (Ireland)

 

NAME  C16
MANUFACTURER  Commodore
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  1984
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Commodore BASIC 3.5 - Built-in machine code monitor (12 commands)
KEYBOARD  66 keys with 4 function keys and 4 cursor keys
CPU  7501
SPEED  0.89 MHz or 1.76 MHz
CO-PROCESSOR  TED (video & sound)
RAM  16 KB (12 KB free for user)
ROM  32 KB
TEXT MODES  40 chars. x 25 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  320 x 200 / 320 x 160 (with 5 lines of text) / 160 x 200 / 160 x 160 (with 5 lines of text)
COLOrsc  121 (15 colours x 8 luminances + black)
SOUND  two channels; 4 octaves + white noise
SIZE / WEIGHT  40.7 (W) x 20.4 (D) x 7.7 (H) cm
I/O PORTS  Tape, Cardridge, Joystick (2), serial, Composite Video, TV
BUILT IN MEDIA  Cassette unit. Provision for 5.25
OS  ROM Based
PRICE  £129.99 (C16 starter pack)





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