Zeus LT Interface Board
The Hackability of an Arduino With the Retro Swagger of a C64
Some people are excited about single-board computers (SBCs) that fit inside USB ports or whatever. Which is cool and all, but some of us prefer the sturdy beige majesty of a Commodore 64. Powered by eight bits of warm nostalgia and decorated with shiny keycaps that go all the way down, your beloved C64 is now good for more than just binging on Jumpman Junior (assuming you can find the floppies).
Remember that port on the back of your Commodore 64? The one you never used? Well we think it’s about time you plugged something into that port. Specifically, we recommend a Zion adapter connected to one or more Zeus LT expansion boards. Together, these two boards open up a world of possibilities:
- Give your Commodore 64 dominion over your home automation system by connecting it to lights, cameras, sensors, automatic locks, motors, and just about any 220 V appliance. It is highly unlikely to leverage targeted marketing strategies to monetize whatever data it might gather in the process…
- Design, test, and debug Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions while using a keyboard that doesn’t suck.
- Develop innovative retro-gaming hardware and software that brings motion control, sensor networks, computer vision, and other “real world” input and output to the glorious world of 8-bit entertainment.
- Learn or teach basic electronics—and BASIC programming—using a familiar, trusted platform that you can understand fully but that can (still) handle whatever computation might be required.
- Look good doing it.
The Zeus LT adds external I/O support to your Commodre 64. It includes:
- A single 15-pin D-sub connector for interfacing with the Zion adapter board
- 8 inputs for sensors
- 4 outputs controlled by relays
- 4 outputs controlled by TRIACs
- 4 signaling LEDs connected to the relay outputs
- A single power-on LED
- A beeper attached to the first relay output. (Don’t worry, you can disable it.)
Zeus LT Output Specifications
|Output ID Range||01, 02, 03, 04||05, 06, 07, 08|
|Type of Output||Relay||TRIAC|
|Operating Voltage||0-250 V AC, 0-100 V DC||220 V AC|
|Max Continuous Current||8 A||1.5-5 A|
|Max Power by Load Type||2000 W, 2000 VA||1000 W, 200 VA|
Zeus LT in Action
The video below shows an automatic lighting control system powered by a Commodore 64, a Zeus LT, and a Zion F:
Zion Adapter Board
NOTE: The Zeus LT interface is connected to the Commodore 64 exclusively via the ZION board!
Zion is a simple but essential interface between your Commodore 64 and your Zeus LT. It comes in two versions and includes the following:
|Zion LT||Zion F|
|Exposed male edge connector for C64 expansion port||✓||✓|
|15-pin D-sub connectors for Zeus LT boards||1||4|
|Female pass-through cartridge slot (for when Zeus LT is not in use)||✓|
They Call it BASIC for a Reason
Even if it doesn’t bring back fond memories of your first, halting steps across the plush living room carpet of computer programming, BASIC is nonetheless intuitive and easy to pick up. Meanwhile, consider the LED sequence shown in the video above. That was driven by the following six lines of code: