You might be asking yourself, less stripes? No, not the colorful stripes on your breadbin badge. We’re talking about the stripes on the video image. The same stripes that we’ve all become accustomed to over the many years of playing Commodore 64 games, watching demos and carrying on with modems and BBS’s. These stripes, which are actually interference, come in a variety of flavors: horizontal, vertical, and checkerboard patterns. The intensity of the stripes also varies from machine to machine. Some say with that these stripes become even more apparent when using a C64 with a modern LCD monitor.
Whether you love them or hate them, there is a solution for easing or even completely eliminating the stripes all together. The user e5frog on lemon64.com came up with a design for a carrier PCB that would sit between the VIC-II and the motherboard. It’s purpose was to invert certain signals back into itself, each with an adjustable degree. These signals AEC, PHI0 and chroma are all thought to contribute to the stripes on the final output image of the C64. It’s a fascinating discussion that I urge you to read.
The board is available from a variety of places, built or bare and costs between $15-$30 shipped.
To test, I picked a C64 from my collection that exhibited the most stripes. It’s a PAL German C64 with a short board and a white keyboard. It’s basically a C64c inside a breadbin. For comparison, I wanted to make sure the pictures were taken the same. The camera was locked to a tripod, set to manual exposure, manual white balance and manual focus. For each picture, there’s an original shot of the unmodified C64 and one with the same C64 with a LumaFix64 installed. The C64 is connected to a Dell LCD widescreen display via a s-video lead. I used the three trimpots on the LumaFix64 PCB and dialed in each one according to the directions until the picture was as clean as possible. Below are the before and after pictures. Click each image to embiggen.
What do you think? Will you be purchasing a LumaFix64 for your C64? Or will you be sticking with your stripes for more authenticity? Let me know in the comments.