For the past several months, my beloved C128 was out of commission, due to problems with some of the keys on the keyboard. Fortunately, I still had my C64s (specifically my C64C in this case) to fall back on, but I was determined to get my C128 operational once again.
After our move to the homestead, back in 2014, my Commodore equipment remained in storage for a couple of years, as we built our new home. Once I got the chance to set-up my Commodore systems again, I discovered that my C128 had a broken F7 key. So, for a while there, I had to muddle through with the handicap, as I did not have the proper tools to fix the damaged keyboard (specifically, a soldering iron). But then, as the months went on, two more keys started to “act up”.
First, the period key began to stick, followed by the F3 key. But, it wasn't long until it all came to a complete halt, when the period key would not spring back up at all. The only way I could get it to return to the up position was to pry it up. And then, not too long after that, the F7 key (well actually all that was left was part of the plunger) also suffered a complete failure. I had no choice but to put the C128 aside, until I had a chance and the tools to fix the problems. This happened over the winter, and then seeding season started. So, I never got around to trying to get my C128 operational again… until now.
Last week, I finally purchased myself a soldering iron so I could get those three locking keys (Caps Lock, 40/80 Column, and Shift Lock) disconnected, which would then allow me to get at those malfunctioning keys on the keyboard. And today, as I've been waiting for the call that will start harvest seasons for me, I decided to take some time and fix those keys.
I'm not all that experienced at soldering, so I'm not very good at it or enjoy having to do it. But, I took my time and I was able to get the keys de-soldered and re-soldered without too much difficulty. The time consuming part was getting those sticky keys working again. I have no idea why they were sticking so badly. In fact, after trying a few different cleaning agents, I could not get the period key to stop sticking. The tiny plunger would just not move freely within the socket. The only way I could get the key to work properly was to completely switch out the keyboard's circuit board. Thankfully I had a spare “parts” C128 waiting in the wings for just an occasion.
With the keys all fixed up, I gave the interior of the case a cleaning and did a quick inspection of the motherboard . Everything looked okay, so I reassembled the computer and powered it up. Boy, is it great to have my C128 back in operation. Don't get me wrong, I like my C64C, but there's something up with that machine, which some of my games do not like. For example: the game Popeye hangs up when ever Bluto attacks from above. Also, Gyruss crashes after level 2, during the approach to Neptune. It's a mystery to me as to why these games do not like my C64C . They work just fine on the C128 and my other C64s & .
Have you ever heard of this? Oh well, we're all back to normal now and I'm so glad to be using my favorite PC in all its glory, once again.
Composed with Archetype on my C128