SX-64 Short Expansion Board

SX-64 Expansion Boards, original and new, front and back views.
SX-64 Expansion Boards, new (top) and original (bottom), front (left) and back (right) views.

If you were following along with my previous post about converting an SX-64 to a DX-64 by adding a second floppy drive, you’ll know that the process isn’t without it’s problems. There are some irreversible changes that need to be made to the case to accommodate all the extra equipment.

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Converting a Commodore SX-64 to a DX-64 Dual Drive

Commodore DX-64 (converted from SX-64) Many floppy. Very retro. Such storage. Wow. #doge #c64
Commodore DX-64 (converted from SX-64)
Many floppy. Very retro. Such storage. Wow. #doge #c64

The SX-64 was Commodore’s portable version of the best selling C64 computer that wrapped the C64, a 5″ color display and a 1541 floppy drive into one case that loosely resembled a Kaypro. They were also called luggables because, well, they are quite heavy. Despite folks calling them rare, they litter eBay very frequently and command a premium price.

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DIY Foam Packaging

It’s time to de-clutter once and again and that means time to visit eBay. First item I’m parting with is a nice Commodore 128 and 1571 disk drive. I have the original box for the CPU but that’s about it for the packaging. I don’t have the original foam sides that held the computer in place (see picture below).

Instead, my computer looks more like this.

I need a good way to keep the computer from getting damaged inside the original box before that box goes in another box– follow me? That got me thinking about the expanding foam in a bag system I’ve seen before. It’s foam that expands inside a plastic bag– place it inside the box and close the lid and it fills the voids and holds everything in place. I wondered if a can of “Good Stuff” expanding foam insulation would work. I picked up a can (large gap filler) for a $5er.

I have these nice cardboard corners as starting points– but they’re a little big. My plan was to fill the corners with foam, put a bag over it and put the computer inside it and let the foam do it’s magic. The results so far look promising.

Some things I’ve noticed–

  • It expands slowly, so don’t rush, you’ve got hours before it cures.
  • Make sure to put at least two pieces of plastic between the foam and your object to keep it safe.
  • Don’t over do it– remember, it will expand.
  • Wear gloves!
  • Some areas seem to be taking a long time to cure. The bottle says water speeds the process.

Finally: Max Headroom on DVD

A box set of the short lived ABC tv series Max Headroom will finally be been released on DVD on August 10, 2010. It was a show that was ahead of it’s time and it’s a shame it was canceled so soon. I remember being mesmerized by the “graphics” of the Max Headroom character and the near-future post-apocalyptic themes. I’m really looking forward to Netflix getting this one in.

Preorder Max Head via Amazon.

Wingscapes Plantcam Time Lapse Camera

With all the new construction at work, I’ve been asked to equip more web cameras for time lapse shots of the progress. At the end, we will stitch the pictures together into a fast time lapse movie of the building. Not wanting to go with IP cameras again since it will require all of the complicated mounting, running power and ethernet to the sites (usually on the roof!) and the external computer required to capture the images and save them, I looked for an alternative.

Enter, the Wingscapes Plantcam which promises to alleviate all of those problems. This is a time lapse digital camera in a rugged outdoor ready housing. It has an SD card slot to store the images and a selectable interval from every 30 seconds to once per day so it’s very flexible. It also includes a tape measure to measure the distance to close subjects (as close as 11 inches!) for focusing. For aiming, there’s a built in viewfinder and a laser so you know exactly where the camera is pointing. The box includes a articulating arm mount, bungee cords and a strap for nearly all mounting situations. It even includes batteries! The camera quality is quite good (4 megapixels) for a camera this cheap (about $69 from with free shipping!). It’s meant for capturing plant growth but there’s nothing preventing you from using this for just anything you need to compress time.

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