Tips for Protecting your Commodore Computer
Equipment, Increasing its Life Expectancy and Keeping our Warranty
to you from being Voided
By Reid Swenson, M.S.
Computer Bargain Store/OldSoftware.com
(Copyright 1984 to 2019)
If carefully followed the steps listed here should greatly increase
the chances of your Commodore computer hardware performing well
for many years and you will keep your warranty from us from being
voided during the warranty period. If you do void your warranty
we can probably still help you if you have problems but will not
do so without requiring you to pay extra.
Keep in mind that we have replacement
parts, chips, cables
and components as well as a diagnostic
chart, and connecting
diagrams (that show you how to connect your Commodore equipment)
which you may want to order if your equipment is malfunctioning.
We also still do some repairs on Commodore hardware. See our Commodore listings or email
us if you need help. Keep in mind that our time is valuable
and we can only offer limited technical assistance when ordering.
If you require in depth assistance and haven't ordered from us
already and aren't planning to order anything from us presently
we may need to charge you for our time.
This is not a comprehensive list of everything you
could or should do to protect your equipment. We are only offering
this advice (based on over 30 years of experience) to assist Commodore
owners. We cannot accept responsibility for any issues or problems
resulting from your use or misuse of this information. We are
providing this as a free public service. You may print this copyrighted
information, link to it or provide it to others using other methods
as long as you do not modify it in any way without our written
permission or sell this information seperately. You also may not
delete our copyright notice, logos, graphics, company name or
author's name from this article without written permission.
1. We took great care and time to test and pack your
shipment before shipping unless you purchased an item which was
being sold AS IS or Untested. If the package which you received
from us was damaged as a result of shipping or handling or appears
to be incomplete or was opened before it arrived to you it is
important that you notify us immediately so that we can determine
if we need to file a claim with the carrier.
2. If your equipment arrived in a cold month or on
a cold day please let the equipment warm up to room temperature
for an hour or so before attempting to use it. When equipment
has been exposed to cold temperatures and is then brought into
a warm home or office it is possible for moisture from the air
to condense on cold parts inside the equipment and cause electronics
to be damaged if power is introduced before the internal moisture
3. If you purchased your Commodore from us and it came
with a power supply you must use the power supply that came with
it. If you use your own power supply and your power supply blows
out the Commodore computer we sold you our warranty to you is
4. Static electricity can quickly and easily damage
Commodore computers. Try to avoid using this equipment in areas
where carpet produces static "shocks" whenever you touch
something. If you must use your Commodore computer in such an
area spray Static Guard (Alberto-Culver Company) found in the
laundry and detergent section of most stores on surrounding carpet
about twice a week (especially after vacuuming) OR use a humidifier
or some other technique to keep the room and/or carpet from getting
too dry. It is extreme dryness (primarily during the winter months
when furnaces are burning all of the moisture out of the air)
that causes static electricity usually.
The most susceptible area is the joystick ports. If
you touch the joystick port pins by accident when turning the
computer off or on you will probably discharge static electricity
into the computer. This will almost certainly cause your keyboard
and/or joystick ports to malfunction.
Also, don't touch your monitor or television screen
with your hand while it is on or you will get static electricity
on you. If you do get static on you please touch something that
is grounded before touching the computer in order to discharge
5. Don't connect or disconnect cables, cartridges or
accessories to the Commodore computers while the power is on.
Older computers like these weren't designed to allow this. Damage
6. Make sure you connect the cables properly. If you
are using a monitor and reverse the audio and video connectors
by mistake you may blow out the sound chip in your computer.
7. If the computer starts making a buzzing sound, getting
a wavy screen or abnormal lines on the screen, flickering abnormally,
cutting out, displaying weird symbols or graphics on the screen
or exhibiting any other abnormal symptom when first turned on
(or after it has been on for a while) your power supply may be
failing and the computer could get blown out if you keep using
the same power supply. If you buy a power supply from us without
a computer we will only guarantee the power supply. We are not
liable for damage to your computer if we sell you a used power
supply which subsequently damages the computer so watch your computer
closely for the first hour or so if using a replacement power
supply from us. If the computer starts acting funny immediately
turn it off before damage to the computer can occur.
8. Avoid setting the Commodore computers on your lap
or on a carpet, couch or soft chair when turned on. These computers
have ventilation ports on the bottom and need to have air circulating
under them to reduce heat build-up. Always set the Commodore computers
on a hard flat surface if possible.
9. If your Commodore computer has gone out don't try
to use the same power supply on another Commodore computer. Weak
or flakey Commodore power supplies might work ok for a while but
when they have been on long enough they will blow out chips in
10. Use a spike voltage protective surge suppressing
power strip to plug your equipment in to. Make sure that the outlet
is properly grounded if possible because most surge suppressing
power strips don't protect properly if left ungrounded.
11. Turn off the power strip going to your equipment
when not using it. Even when the computer is turned off the power
supply will stay warm if plugged into a live outlet. Prolonged
heat build-up in the power supplies greatly decreases their life
expectancy and ultimately result in the computer getting blown
out as the power supply begins to fail.
12. Try to keep a little bit of air circulating near
your equipment or use a small fan (if practical) to help move
air to dissipate heat. Don't have the fan blowing dust into the
computer or floppy drive though. If placing a muffin fan on top
of the drive's ventilation ports it is best to have the fan drawing
the hot air out rather than to blow dusty air in.
13. Don't eat food or drink beverages around your computer
if possible. Sticky food, crumbs and spills can cause problems.
14. Handle disks properly by not bending them, touching
the disk surface, getting them dusty or exposing them to moisture
or magnetic fields.
15. The Commodore 1571 drive (designed for the Commodore
128 and 128D computers) has a bottom and top read/write head.
The top head has a tension spring pressing down on the top of
it. We've noticed that when there is no disk inserted and latched
in the drive there is constant upward pressure on this spring
which tends to distend it after a while so that it will eventually
lose its tension and cause the head not to read properly. Therefore,
we recommend that you leave a blank disk inserted and the latch
latched down to lock the disk in place when not using the drive
for prolonged periods. This will prevent poor tracking due to
gradual loss of spring tension.
16. Don't stack books, papers or other items on top
of or right near your computer equipment.
17. Avoid unnecessary moving of equipment and disconnecting
of cables. The more you move things around and change them the
more likely you are to damage something, connect it improperly
or zap it with static electricity.
18. Don't let little children use the computer without
proper training and/or supervision.
19. Don't tamper with the inside of the computer unless
you know what you are doing and realize that you are voiding the
20. Unplug your Commodore equipment during severe weather,
thunderstorms and when the power is experiencing fluctuations.
21. Try to locate your Commodore equipment in an area
with minimal dust and pet hair. Consider getting a dust cover
to place over the keyboard when not using it. If you need to wipe
your computer off we recommend that you don't use any cleaner
containing ammonia. We have heard that ammonia will cause many
white plastics to turn a yellowish color. We haven't been able
to verify this but we have had several of the white colored keyboards
come it here that look like the plastic has been yellowed by some
chemical unrelated to sun exposure or cigarette smoke so we think
this may be the explanation.
22. If keys don't work you have either a bad chip,
a bad joystick plugged in (which can make keys malfunction), or
the keyboard must be cleaned. Don't try putting oil or other lubricants
down into the keyboard mechanism or you will make things worse!
23. Finally, use common sense and treat your Commodore
equipment with the respect it deserves.
Most of all, HAVE FUN!
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