Blog posts and video from Steven as he “COMBS” through the minutia to discover tech, retro-computing, physical computing, gadgets and sci-fi.

retroCombs Playlist

Commodore Plus/4 Series

Commodore Plus/4 Resource Page

This page is an ongoing resource for readers and watchers of my Commodore Plus/4 series. I encourage you to contribute to this project by commenting on YouTube videos or on individual blog posts.

retroCombs Plus/4

User’s Manual

In the Commodore Plus/4 YouTube series, I work through each chapter of the Plus/4 user’s manual. I’ve scanned each chapter and provide those below. I will post new chapters with each new video.

  1. Front Matter
  2. Chapter 1 - Unpacking and Setting Up
  3. Chapter 2 - Using the Keyboard and the Screen
  4. Chapter 3 - Using Software
  5. Chapter 4 - Getting Started

Key to Keys

Because the Commodore Plus/4 keyboard is so different from modern keyboards, I had to devise and modernize key nomenclature to identify keystroke combinations as shown in the table below:

Key Description Key Description
Caps Lock F1 Function 1
C= Commodore F2 Function 2
Control F3 Function 3
Escape F4 Function 4
Home F5 Function 5
Insert/Delete F6 Function 6
Return F7 Function 7
RS Run/Stop F8 Help

Below is a link to each blog post in the series. Each blog post contains the companion YouTube video and most include links to items or sites. This page captures a collection of all links mentioned.

  1. Commodore Plus/4 - Open the Box

    I share my first experience with a Commodore computer (it is not the Plus/4) and then open the box on my Commodore Plus/4 eBay purchase.

  2. Commodore Plus/4 - Chapter 1, Unpacking and Setting Up

    I open the Commodore Plus/4 manual for the first time and look at Chapter 1: Unpacking and Setting Up. Since the previous episode was an open the box, unpacking is already complete and this episode focuses on setting up the computer. Along the way I share a very cool tip.

  3. Commodore Plus/4 - Chapter 2, Using the Keyboard and the Screen

    I talk about the keyboard layout, using the keyboard, and then how keyboard combinations affect screen elements. This is really a “hands on” episode!

  4. Commodore Plus/4 - Chapter 3, Using Software

    I cover each auxiliary storage device in detail; however, I add a modern spin and instead of the original devices; I use a new 264 diagnostic cartridge, a Tapuino, and a Pi1541.

  5. Commodore Plus/4 - Chapter 4, Getting Started

    It seems like we’ve been getting started over and over, but I guess now we really are since the manual told us so! In this chapter I look at keyboard colors, reverse printing, correcting mistakes, the screen, and even windows. Yes, that’s right, I typed windows. See the blog post and video for more on that topic.

Supplemental Disk Image (Coming Soon)

As I progress through the user’s manual, I enter and execute the sample programs. The .d64 image below contains every program from each episode.

retroCombs User’s Manual Disk Image - Coming Soon

I use the following file name convention to make it easy to locate specific programs:

Sample Program Name: C1P2-5RETROCOMBS.PRG

  • C# - where # is the chapter number
  • P# - where # is the page number where the program is first referenced in the user’s manual
  • NAME - my self assigned name for the program

Supplemental Posts

The posts below are helpful for any Commodore 8-bit computer enthusiasts but are also closely associated to this series and supplement the posts found above:

  1. retroCombs: Pi1541 Assembly and First Use

    In this supplemental episode to my Commodore Plus/4 series, I share my experiences assembling the Pi1541 Hat for a Raspberry Pi Zero. In the episode, I solder a pin connector onto the Raspberry Pi Zero, solder and assemble a serial cable with two 6 pin DIN connectors, assemble the whole package, and start up the Pi1541 for a first use.

  2. retroCombs: The Tapuino Project - Build an Arduino powered Commodore Datasette clone

    As part of my Commodore Plus/4 series, chapter three, of the user’s manual, includes a sections on using a Datasette and a disk drive. In a previous post, I built the modern replacement for the disk drive (a Pi1541), now it’s time to create a Datasette replacement called, the Tapuino.

Plus/4 Resources

Below are links I’ve found to be most beneficial as I work through this series:

  1. Commodore4Ever - Source for Pi1451. Great customer service and feedback.
  2. The Future was 8-bit - Source for parts and used to provide resources for the Tapuino project. U.K. based so allow some time for delivery if in the U.S.
  3. RETRO Innovation - Source for parts used for both the Tapuino and Pi1541 projects.
  4. Plus/4 World - The most incredible source of Plus/4 information and software available. I don’t know how the team does it, but if you have a Commodore C16, Plus/4, or 264, this is the site you must visit.