16 July 2019

Meet the Machine: The Commodore SX-64 Executive Computer

Holy crap. I got a Commodore SX-64!
Today's post isn't going to be particularly informative or productive. I managed to get my hand on what has been my holy grail for vintage computer collecting. I never actually thought I would own one of these. This is a computer I have only ever seen in person once before and it wasn't working. And now I have one in my possession that works perfectly.

Meet the Commodore SX-64. This is the first portable color computer EVER. It's a fully functional Commodore 64 that can be taken anywhere. And by anywhere I mean any place with an outlet and a table that can support this 24 pound beast.

These were first introduced in 1984 and sold for around $1000. They were discontinued in 1986, so there weren't nearly as many of them produced as the standard breadbin C64 or C64C. I'd like to find out how many there are out in the world.

I've seen these pop up on Ebay and other vintage electronics stores with very high price tags, plus ridiculous shipping costs. Not only are they pretty rare collector's items, but they're insanely heavy and require a lot of padding to be shipped safely. This is the kind of computer I only dreamed of owning, but I would stare at pictures of them longingly.

So when I saw someone on Facebook offering one with a bunch of accessories, I didn't hesitate to contact them and see if it was still available. I had just recently sold all of my beer brewing equipment on Craigslist so I had enough to buy it.

I was so excited that I had to put it in the trunk of my car so I wouldn't risk having my eyes fixated on it and ignore the world outside.
The cartridge slot and disk drive have been tested and work perfectly. The keyboard is also in good working condition. Most surprising is how clear the display is despite its tiny size. Overall the computer seems to be in excellent shape. The seller had clearly taken good care of it.
Of course, I'm going to be taking this apart to give it a deep cleaning. But for right now I'm too scared to take any chances with it. I need to do some reading and research to learn how to do this in the safest possible way. The handle/support bar needs adjustment so that it will stand up correctly, but other than that, I haven't seen any issues with this computer.
I'm still in a bit of shock that I actually have one of these now. This is an incredible piece of history and I am so honored that I'll be the one of the people to preserve it. I will be documenting the cleanup process in as much detail as I can as well as any other work that needs to be done to it. I'll also be discussing some of the accessories that came with it because I didn't even know some of these things existed.

Until then, thanks for reading!

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