Live Robot Hack Session
DJ Sures

Hacking decision... C64 or Fairchild Channel F?

19 people have subscribed to this event

I know... I know... DJ's hacking more game consoles again? Yup! I do love robots as much as you, but I also love distractions. And one of those distractions is playing retro games. The trouble is, the cartridges are expensive! Way more expensive than the respective game consoles. So I end up hacking the console with Raspberry Pi, Arduino and Retro Pi. This means a lot of programming, soldering, reverse engineering old schematics, etc..

Tonight's hack will be a fairchild channel F. Inside will be a raspberry pi running Retro Pie with a few Arduino Micro's emulating the physical hardware (i.e. joystick, keyboard, console buttons, etc).

You can get the source code here:


Upgrade to ARC Pro

Synthiam ARC Pro is a new tool that will help unleash your creativity with programming robots in just seconds!


I have never used a Fairchild Channel F so I am voting for Commodore 64 for the live hack.:D


One vote is enough! I'll take it :D


6 hours 40 min...I think that is a hack length new world record! I watched til about 12:30am PT on and off. Lots of dedication. Going to finish it today.


I did watch it all, but it was exhausting, I wish I could work like that.  get it done.


User-inserted image Haha thanks - I was in such a zone. Didn’t want to stop! Today I organized the cables. Installed retro pie. And configured the emulator.

it’s all working now! Except the emulator doesn’t quite do what I want, so I’m gonna take a look at the source code. I want the buttons on the console to control the emulator. Instead, the emulator has a menu for the buttons instead of using the real buttons. That’s because no one has done what I’ve done. Don’t blame them... who in their right mind dare tear apart such a piece of history?!


That's Looking real good!


Wooo it sure is!!! Tonight i had to dive into the emulator source code. The emulator is called FreeChaf and was written very very well, but required changes for my application. Because i'm running the emulator with real hardware interface (not a pc with SNES controller) there were a lot of small tweaks

I'll throw my fork of the repo on github with the changes when i get time. But for the time being, it's working really well! I've been playing these games and i have to say, this system is AMAZING! Okay, not in graphics... and not in sound... but what they were able to do with such low memory (2kb) is remarkable. The games are super creative and all multiplayer. Even the space invaders is multiplayer! So playing two player space invaders is gonna be a blast with others. The tank games are a lot of fun to. I think this is my favorite console yet


mind blowing,  how many games were made for the Fairchild and were they all emulated.  I remember when all my games were on floppies real floppies not floppy disks. I would go to Computer Fairs and Vendors would have racks of floppies filled with games and apps.  and then I got the  C64.  Ah the good old days.


There’s 25 cartridges, I believe is the count. The emulators will emulate the hardware, so all that’s needed is a copy of the rom from the cartridges. The emulators break the hardware down per chip that does either I/o, instructions or ram. Something like the Fairchild is a great emulator to learn how they’re written, because it’s not as complicated as an x86 emulator would be (for example)

I really enjoyed the distraction of building this system


User-inserted image

My collection of hacked consoles :D


Wow That is quite the collection,  My commodore 64 and the first computer I built from a kit and several other units that I was keeping were all lost in a fire. I am glad you are keeping these game consoles alive.


@DJ's collection brings a tear to my eye, happy tears! xD


I never experienced the Commodore 64 as my Neighbors were females and they got the commodore vic 20 instead, I was always there playing the games, and there were tons of games! I totally understand the nostalgia of re-living these old fashion games as they did not have todays advanced graphics so what they did was make the actual gameplay really hard to beat! I still remember getting into the million of points on astrosmash(Intellivision) Unbelievable speed at Spacehawk(Intellivision)  These games would never be beaten just get faster and faster! Space Spartans, Tron deadly disks,I defeated the dreaded red dudes and white dudes with electro spears ,Man kids today don't even understand how fast our reaction time grew with these old games! I am so glad to see people like DJ that still understand how cool they were.