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How to Hook up a Commodore 64

The Commodore 64 is one of the first computers that children in the 80s were vying for, and in the 90s, it was remodeled into a gaming console. It provided them with countless hours of entertainment. If you have one in the closet, you may wonder how to hook up a Commodore 64.

Today’s technology is pretty different from the 80s. Modern TVs use different connectors and cables, so hooking up the Commodore 64 to one can be a bit of a head-scratcher. However, I will present several methods you can try to hook up the Commodore 64. 

How to Hook up a Commodore 64

How to Hook Up a Commodore 64

If you want to hook up a Commodore 64 to a modern TV, there are several ways to try it out.

  • You can hook up the Commodore 64 to a TV via a composite
  • You can use a converter
  • You can use an Atari switch box 
  • You can make your cable

Hooking Up the Commodore 64

Via a composite 

On one end of the Commodore is the proper DIN plug with eight pins; on the other are RCA plugs. The composite video and audio plugs on most relatively new TVs can be plugged in directly if your cable has two plugs. 

Even the color codes ought to match. When a video cable contains three plugs, you have a separated composite, which was an early form of S-Video.

It would be best if you plugged the red and yellow RCA plugs from the Commodore cable into a Y-adapter, with a male connector on one end and two female jacks on the other. 

Then, the adapter should be plugged into the video plug on your TV if it has an S-Video connector.

Use a converter

You can also easily hook up the Commodore 64 to a modern TV via an S-Video cable. However, if your TV does not support S-Video, you can buy a cheap S-Video-to-VGA or S-Video-to-HDMI converter box from an online retail store like Amazon.

Atari switch box

Instead of typical television transmission, the RCA connection emits a modulated RF signal. Originally, the two-wire TV antenna connector popular in the 1980s was supposed to be linked to that port through a switchboard. 

Atari also used the same switch box, and if you are interested in 80s technology, chances are you have one lying around the home that you can use for the Commodore 64. 

First, connect the switchboard to the TV’s antenna port, then run an RCA cable from the switch box’s RCA connector at the top to the Commodore 64’s RCA connector on the back. Then, raise the sliding switch on the box to enable video from the Commodore 64.

Read more: How to Use a Commodore 64

Hooking Up the Commodore 64

Make your cable 

You can create your cable with components from an electronics store if you are skilled with a soldering iron. You will need two male RCA jacks, two speaker wire lengths, and a five-pin DIN plug. Although not quite necessary, a shielded cable like RGU-58 would be preferable.

Connect a wire from each speaker cable length to pin two of the DIN connector using solder. The other end of each wire should then be soldered to the exterior post of each RCA connector. 

After that, name the wire pair “video” and attach the other wire of the cable to pin four and the RCA plug. Lastly, connect the last wire to pin three and the other RCA plug, labeling that wire pair “audio,” and then complete the circuit.

Can You Connect a Commodore 64 to the Internet?

Yes, you can connect a Commodore 64 to the Internet. There are several ways to do it. 

  • Web browser Hyperlink 2.5e is compatible with the Commodore 64 and the Commodore 128. Both the usual HTML 1.0 colors and forms, as well as JPG, GIF, and TIFF pictures, will be shown by the browser.
  • Lantronix UDS-10. You will need a device connecting to the Commodore serial port to enable the Commodore to go online. This component will translate serial communications from Ethernet. This device has complete TCP/IP compatibility and uses a remote computer’s Web browser to manage it. It has a more recent version that goes by the name of UDS1100. This supports up to 100 Mbps transfer rates.
  • Utilizing the Contiki operating system is another method of connecting a Commodore 64 to the Internet. The Commodore 64 and other devices can use the Internet and other contemporary capabilities thanks to the Contiki operating system.

The Commodore 64 Graphics

The Commodore 64 has a 320 x 200 pixels resolution and uses an 8 x 8 character block grid in a 40 x 25 grid. The Commodore 64 offers several official graphics modes providing for combinations of character graphics, bitmap graphics, and sprites in single and multicolor.

The Commodore 64’s graphics processor is referred to as the VIC-II. It has eight hardware sprites per scanline and 16 distinct colors. It supports two bitmap graphics modes, 112 sprites per screen, and scrolling. 

This chip’s default text mode has 40 columns, just like most Commodore models. The VIC-II has a bright blue border and text on a dark blue background, thanks to the KERNAL ROM. 

The Commodore 64 employs double-width text instead of the PET and VIC-20 variants. The majority of screenshots display the screen’s borders. The bitmapped screen on the Commodore 64 allows for the individual drawing of each pixel.

Also read: How to Start Commodore 64 Game


If you were one of the lucky few kids during the 80s and 90s that had a Commodore 64 in their home, you should check and see if you still have it stored somewhere. You can hook it up to your TV and go on a trip down memory lane. 

Or if it was before your time, but you like tinkering with old-school technology, you can use the info above to learn how to hook up a Commodore 64. As you can see, there are several methods that you can utilize, and I hope they will help you!