• How long can a computer work?

    Best answer: I have 20 Commodore 64 computers that still work (a couple need some minor repairs that I need to get back to). How long they last depends on several factors. First is the power supply. The original C64 brick power supply usually was filled with potting compound which held in the heat, eventually frying the 5V... show more
    Best answer: I have 20 Commodore 64 computers that still work (a couple need some minor repairs that I need to get back to). How long they last depends on several factors. First is the power supply. The original C64 brick power supply usually was filled with potting compound which held in the heat, eventually frying the 5V voltage regulator and making it send 12 volts to the power rail, frying any or all of the chips on board. There is something called the "C64 Saver" which can be purchased or built yourself to protect the C64 from that overvoltage problem. Alternatively, using a different power supply that has built-in overvoltage protection will do the same thing. If a chip does get fried, there are a lot of service manuals and repair tutorials online for diagnosing and fixing it. (Note that while some chips are off-the-shelf components that are easy to find, original Commodore-specific chips are far more rare and difficult to find in working condition.)

    Second is the issue of heat. All the big chips on the board put out some heat, and some get quite hot. Many C64s had a cardboard and foil interference shield wrapping the top of the board. While that helped minimize stray signal interference from getting in or out, it also acted to trap the heat among the chips so they couldn't properly cool, and that will eventually lead to failure. If your C64 has that cardboard shield, take it out and throw it away. Then invest in some small aluminum heat sinks that you can stick onto the chips with either thermal paste or thermal adhesive tape (some heat sinks have peel and stick thermal adhesive backers already on them). If you have a newer C64 that has the solid metal shield over the board with tabs bending down to make contact with the chips, that's fine to leave in place because it acts as a heat sink to pull heat away from the chips.

    Third is the matter of static shock. If you build up a static charge, especially in the winter when everything is dry and your footwear shuffling across the carpet makes you build up static, then you sit down at the C64 and touch any of the ports or peripherals on it, you could send a significant static shock into the system that may not simply ground out. You could fry any of the chips on it, making it malfunction or quit working entirely.

    Fourth is making wrong connections. The SID (sound chip) is very susceptible to getting fried by stray voltages. If you connect the audio output plug to the wrong socket on the monitor, it could send voltage back in that reaches the SID and takes it out. It also has a little-known audio input pin that can be used for running external audio through its filters for creative music enhancement. That audio input must be at unamplified levels only; if it's amplified, that will take out the chip.

    Fifth is things like spills on the keyboard, which can screw up the keyboard contacts at best, or at worst get down to the circuit board and start shorting things out. If you ever spill any liquids on your C64, shut it off immediately and disconnect the power, and then take it completely apart for a thorough cleaning. There are tutorials on youtube and elsewhere for how to take apart and clean the keyboard (it's tedious).

    Last, and something you really can't prevent is simple degradation of the microchip transistors over time. Voltage running through them for years and decomposition of the materials will make them deteriorate at the molecular level until they reach a point that signals can't go where they're supposed to go and the thing starts to malfunction or quit entirely. Like I described above, chips can be replaced as this happens, but there will come a point when chips can no longer be found and it just can't be repaired any more.

    Beyond the C64 itself, the floppy drives can suffer the same issues of power surges and chips going bad. Plus the floppy disks themselves won't last forever as their magnetic surfaces degrade over time. Most of my floppies still work fine, but some brands are worse than others and have started to fail (there are two brands that the magnetic media loses its adhesion to the plastic film substrate and the disk drive head scrapes the stuff right off, destroying the disk and requiring a thorough alcohol cleaning of the drive head). Luckily, there is a great source of aftermarket devices in the continuing fan base of C64 computers (the "Commodore scene"), including things like SD card readers that emulate real floppy drives and use disk image files to emulate an entire floppy disk in one file. You can even use them to make disk images of your current real floppies so you always have backups that are usable if the floppies go bad. It also works for tape image files to emulate the datasette (tape drive), as well as cartridge image files to emulate cartridges. It's pretty cool what people continue to do with it.

    But your question has more to do with old computers overall, not just Commodore 64 computers. Really, the same advice goes for all of them: take good care of them, be aware of things that can cause damage like shocks and power surges, learn how to repair them, and see what aftermarket support there is for them. It does seem like older computers lasted longer than newer ones, but that probably varies from one brand to the next and one individual device to the next. A C64 or other old computer could potentially still work in a hundred years, provided there are still display devices that can accept the video signals. But just remember that nothing lasts forever when it comes to electronics.
    15 answers · 3 days ago
  • How do watch movies from my hard drive on my tv?

    I heard a lot of people online talk about how they did away with all their dvds and watch movies only off their hard drive but how do they do it? I tried watching movies off of my hardrive and some movies skip a lot . They are vob files and I'm trying to watch them on my 50 inch Samsung plasma it's and... show more
    I heard a lot of people online talk about how they did away with all their dvds and watch movies only off their hard drive but how do they do it? I tried watching movies off of my hardrive and some movies skip a lot . They are vob files and I'm trying to watch them on my 50 inch Samsung plasma it's and older HD tv. I asked around and a lot of people told me an external hard drive was never meant for watching movies on a TV because the TV can't decode the data fast enough. So how do other people do it?
    7 answers · 1 week ago
  • How can i get over the fear of using my external hard drive in case it crashes on me?

    Best answer: Buy another (bigger) drive and backup more. You always need more than just ONE backup. I myself am extreme. I have besides the data on my computer 4 external backup locations, and I also backup on Blu Ray disks, in WinRAR volumes of 22GB with 2GB of Mulitpar recovery files. Over the years optical media has proven... show more
    Best answer: Buy another (bigger) drive and backup more. You always need more than just ONE backup. I myself am extreme. I have besides the data on my computer 4 external backup locations, and I also backup on Blu Ray disks, in WinRAR volumes of 22GB with 2GB of Mulitpar recovery files. Over the years optical media has proven it self. I still have burned cd-roms, burned in 1996 or 1997 which are still working fine. Hehe, back in those days you had to wait 30 minutes to burn a cd-rom.
    7 answers · 5 days ago
  • Can a computer die without warning?

    Everything's fine for years, then it suddenly dies and takes all of your files with it?
    Everything's fine for years, then it suddenly dies and takes all of your files with it?
    24 answers · 1 week ago
  • HOW TO FIND MY COMPUTER?

    10 answers · 2 weeks ago
  • How do I stop my internal hard drive from being read only?

    A couple months ago I got my computer repaired because of viruses affecting the hard drive. When I got it back, the 1.8tb hard drive I had used previously was locked on read only mode with all of my previous files, and another much smaller drive had been added. Is there any way for me to recover my big hard drive?... show more
    A couple months ago I got my computer repaired because of viruses affecting the hard drive. When I got it back, the 1.8tb hard drive I had used previously was locked on read only mode with all of my previous files, and another much smaller drive had been added. Is there any way for me to recover my big hard drive? I need the space and some of the old files are quite important to me. Thanks.
    6 answers · 2 weeks ago
  • My child is 12 and using Instagram , facetime, and snap chat. How do I keep her safe?

    My 12 year old uses these social media and i cant see the videos especially on snap chat but there is alot of them and videos in private messages to people I don't know and videos are deleted so I cant see. How do I monitor this and keep my child safe?
    My 12 year old uses these social media and i cant see the videos especially on snap chat but there is alot of them and videos in private messages to people I don't know and videos are deleted so I cant see. How do I monitor this and keep my child safe?
    5 answers · 2 weeks ago
  • Why is it no longer possible to listen to radio stations online?

    one of my hobbies used to be listening to radio stations globally online, i am in the uk and i used to search google for oldies music radio stations playing 60's, 70's and 80's music in the united states, europe, australia, canada etc...and i used to get lots of websites and links to radio stations in... show more
    one of my hobbies used to be listening to radio stations globally online, i am in the uk and i used to search google for oldies music radio stations playing 60's, 70's and 80's music in the united states, europe, australia, canada etc...and i used to get lots of websites and links to radio stations in those countries, where i could visit and chose the option to ''listen live'' to their broadcasts. one radio station i remember was radio harmonie in austria, playing oldies music. but now when i search for oldies music radio stations, it seems like all the websites and links to listen or to find the radio station websites have vanished? why is this? is this internet restriction by the big internet giants? why can i not find the old radio stations playing oldies i used to find?
    7 answers · 2 weeks ago
  • How to clean up history on computer?

    9 answers · 2 weeks ago
  • Computer sounds going through microphone.?

    I have the HyperX Cloud Revolver, and whenever I play youtube or games the sound bleeds into discord. I ve tried multiple things like turning down in game volume, turning up my microphone sensitivity threshold. I tried unplugging the microphone (its detachable) so no audio could go through, but my game audio still... show more
    I have the HyperX Cloud Revolver, and whenever I play youtube or games the sound bleeds into discord. I ve tried multiple things like turning down in game volume, turning up my microphone sensitivity threshold. I tried unplugging the microphone (its detachable) so no audio could go through, but my game audio still went through with no microphone?? I don t have Stereo Mix enabled so that s not it, I do have Razer surround sound installed for my headphones, that might be doing something. Please help.
    2 answers · 2 weeks ago
  • How do i install the crack for shadow of the tomb raider?

    I installed the game but it keeps taking me to steam. I read you have to install some crack. I dont know where is it and how do i install it?
    I installed the game but it keeps taking me to steam. I read you have to install some crack. I dont know where is it and how do i install it?
    3 answers · 3 weeks ago