Versions of the VIC-20

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Bobbi
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Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Bobbi » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:48 am

I know there have been attempts to catalog all the different versions of the VIC-20 here on Denial in the past, but I wasn't able to find anything that summarized it all. I was hoping to use the knowledge of all the folks here to determine all the variants of the VIC and the rough numbers of each.

This is a first draft of information I have been able to draw together.

Chronology (from http://www.commodore.ca/products/vic20/ ... vic-20.htm):
1980 June - VIC-1001 (Japan)
1981 Jan/Feb - First VIC-20s to retail
1982 Fall/Winter - C64 announced, sales total 750k
1983 Jan - Sales total 1M
1985 Jan - Last VIC-20 shipped
Total production, 2.5M
Peak production 9000/day

This means that from launch to the end of 1982 one million VICs were made (first two years of production) then following that another 1.5 million in the next two years.

Types of mainboard - lots of revs but primarily:
- VIC-1001, with completely different layout
- Original VIC20 (with two prong power)
- Cost-Reduced VIC20 (with round DIN power)

Revisions:
- Rev 1 - VIC-1001
- Revs 2-5 - ??????
- Rev 6 - NTSC
- Rev 7 - PAL

Types of keyboard:
- Kanji PET from VIC-1001
- PET-style
- C-64 style (with two different types of font on the keys)
- C-64 style with grey function keys

Other notable changes during production:
- Case badge:
- Early euro models have paper colour VIC20 badge
- Early German/Austrian models have paper colour VC20 badge
- Early US models have gold/black badge
- Late models have spectrum badge worldwide (same as later C-64s).
- Late German/Austrian models still say VC20 but on spectrum badge.

Countries of Manufacture:
- Japan - plain serial number with no letter prefix, start with 5 ?
- USA - V0 prefix for early machines, P later on.
- Canada - C, CC prefixes.
- West Germany (3 plants) - WGA, WGB, WGC serials indicate the plant
- United Kingdom - UK serial number prefix.

I assume that US, Canada produced only NTSC, while UK and West Germany produced PAL only. Japan I believe produced both variants.

The change in the prefix from V0-P (US) or C->CC (Canada) does not seem to signify anything.

Types of VIC:
J) VIC-1001 - has PET style keyboard with kanji, VIC-1001 mainboard (NTSC)

N1) NTSC VIC20, PET keyboard, VIC-1001 style board (2 prong, different layout)
N2) NTSC VIC20, PET keyboard, regular board (2 prong)
N3) NTSC VIC20, C64-style keyboard, regular board (2 prong)
N4) NTSC VIC20, C64-style keyboard, old badge, CR board (round DIN)
N5) NTSC VIC20, C64-style keyboard, new badge, CR board (round DIN)
N4g) NTSC VIC20, C64-style keyboard grey f-keys, new badge, CR board (round DIN)

P1) PAL VIC20, PET keyboard, VIC-1001 style board (2 prong, different layout)
P2) PAL VIC20, PET keyboard, regular board (2 prong)
P3) PAL VIC20, C64-style keyboard, regular board (2 prong)
P4) PAL VIC20, C64-style keyboard, old badge, CR board (round DIN)
P5) PAL VIC20, C64-style keyboard, new badge, CR board (round DIN)
P5g) PAL VIC20, C64-style keyboard grey f-keys, new badge, CR board (round DIN)

I am not 100% sure that P4 existed. I have an N4-type machine, so that exists for sure - it has an adaptor plate to fit the CR board in the old-style case. How about the N5g/P5g variants with grey f-keys - do they exist in both NTSC and PAL?

My plan is to first tie up some of the loose ends above and then try to correlate machine types against Jogi's list of machines (and any others I find.) I would like to be able to to work out the approximate dates of transition of the various types and also the numbers of each.

Jogi's list is at http://nemetzpower.de/Denial/Jogi.pdf

I tried to make a start, focusing on the PET-style keyboard machines.

J) 101519, 104419 (Japan)
N1/N2) 505599, 515986, 520314, 532337 (all Japan)
N1/N2) V0016318, V0081396, V0086373 (all US)
P1/P2) WG0000427, WG0000505, WG0000908, WGA0005832, WGA0007142,
WGA0007180, WGA0008594, WGA0009945, WGA0010763, WGA0012011,
WGA0012088, WGB0008008, WGB0012906, WGB0013269, WGB0014395,
WGB0085453 (seems an outlier), WGC0000543, WGC0000691, WGC0001056,
WGC0040947, WGC0041038, WGC0059533

So we know production of the early PSK machines occurred in Japan (with two different mainboard variants?), in the US and in West Germany at least. Japan made at least 32k PSK machines (excluding VIC-1001), US at least 86k and West Germany seems to have at least 12k+14k+60k=86k (weird coincidence!)

So I think we can conclude that of the 2.5M VIC-20s made, at least 204K of them have the PET-style keyboard. This is most likely an underestimate since it is based on the highest serial number reported, and doubtless there are higher! Anyhow rough guess is approx 10% of VICs, which is higher than I would have guessed.

Another interesting exercise is to work out how many are two prong and how many are CR. I should do some work so I will leave that for another day! Does anyone know the date of the first CR machine offhand?

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Boray
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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Boray » Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:04 am

I think 3 million Vic-20's were made. I'm not sure where I got that, but it was when I compiled information on different computers.
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Bobbi
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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Bobbi » Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:07 am

Commodore.ca seems to say 2.5M, so that is the number I went with.

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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby mrr19121970 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:21 am

Bobbi wrote:Types of keyboard:
- Kanji PET from VIC-1001
- PET-style
- C-64 style (with two different types of font on the keys)
- C-64 style with grey function keys


Microgramma
Helvetia (narrow)
Eurostile

are the fonts used

Bobbi wrote:So I think we can conclude that of the 2.5M VIC-20s made, at least 204K of them have the PET-style keyboard


I am not sure about this. <WGA15000 (made in Germany for Germany) and <WGB17000 (made in Germany for UK) and WGC??? (made in Germany for rest of the world) have microgramma font keyboards.

I don't know if the number is sequential over all 3 productions. I suspect WGA and WGB are sequential from 0000 and WGC is sequential from x0000

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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Bobbi » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:53 pm

So that would suggest fewer with PET-style keyboard then.

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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby mrr19121970 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:00 pm

Bobbi wrote:So that would suggest fewer with PET-style keyboard then.



Yes. I think so.

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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby eslapion » Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:15 pm

Bobbi wrote:N1) NTSC VIC20, PET keyboard, VIC-1001 style board (2 prong, different layout)
N2) NTSC VIC20, PET keyboard, regular board (2 prong)

Back in 2006 I had one of each so I can safely say N1 was actually the same mainboard as the VIC-1001. The machine was stamped "Made in Japan".

A German buyer purchased it from me and had me send it to Michael Tomczyk for autographing. I took pictures of it.

My own present PSK VIC is N2 and the board is stamped "Made in USA".

N3 had an "intermediate" keyboard with weird "plungers" under the keys. The font used is different from C64 style.

Will try to post photos.
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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Bobbi » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:11 pm

I have an N2 type machine on its way to me - hopefully should have it by the weekend.

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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby eslapion » Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:07 pm

3keyboards.jpg
3 types of keyboards found on the VIC-20

Top one is the same as C64 found on VIC-20cr (round DIN power connector), middle one is referred to as "plunger" keyboard - this is the keyboard on machines N3 and it is different from a C64 keyboard - and the bottom one is the venerable old PET style keyboard with hidden holes and electric tape.

The 2 top ones are in C64 cases but if you look at the function keys colors, they are all really VIC-20 keyboards.

The machines you call N4 and N5 were referred to as VIC-20cr by Commodore engineers.

Machines N1 and N2 used a transformer in a black steel case for power source. N3 used a smaller transformer in a sealed plastic case.

N4 and N5 used a mish mash of black PSUs with round connectors. Some of them were rated for 9Vac 2VA and 5Vdc 7.5VA, some were the same as breadbin C64 PSUs. Using a VIC-20 PSU rated for 9Vac 2VA would usually destroy the DRAM chips of a C64.

AFAIK, these are detailed in the VIC-20 Wiki.
See: http://sleepingelephant.com/denial/wiki ... wer_supply

I am not familiar with European PSUs.
Last edited by eslapion on Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:30 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby eslapion » Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:18 pm

This is Michael Tomczyk handling the VIC-20 I had sold:
MikeTomczyk.jpg

Look at the date handwritten on the machine

One month later it was at my place, I took a photo of it, stacked on top of my oldest C64:
MT-PSK.jpg

The circuit board inside was identical to the one you would find in a VIC-1001, all chips were dated 1981. The sticker on the bottom said "Made in Japan".

Added edit: Even if the machine was actually sold to a German buyer, it is an NTSC model.
Last edited by eslapion on Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Bobbi » Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:56 pm

Two prong PAL VICs (P3s) in Europe had a black metal cube transformer - my first VIC was one of these.

Later PAL machines had the beige plastic wedge style PSU. My friend had one of these back in 1983 :)

Commodore being Commodore, I don't expect the "plunger" type keyboard was introduced or retired at exactly the same time as other changes, so there may be even more variants than those I identified ...

Great pics of the "P1" with Michael Tomczyk!

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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Bobbi » Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:59 pm

Incidentally I think my childhood VIC was a "P3" - was two prong for sure and I know it was not a PET keyboard because I remember being confused at why the keyboard in the picture on the box was different! A little mystery solved 35 years later! However I am pretty sure that "P3" had the C64 keyboard font, not the "plunger" type.

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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby eslapion » Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:01 pm

Bobbi wrote:Great pics of the "P1" with Michael Tomczyk!

I believe the machines you identify as P1 are PAL.

The machine dedicated by MT is NTSC so this makes it an N1.
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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Mayhem » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:41 am

Bobbi wrote:Two prong PAL VICs (P3s) in Europe had a black metal cube transformer - my first VIC was one of these.

My PAL Vic-20 is like this also. It was also made in Japan. I think it's a bit of an anomaly in proceedings heh.
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Re: Versions of the VIC-20

Postby Bobbi » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:58 am

I need to find one of the older transformers for my PAL keys VIC. I have the later black cube 2-prong transformer which is more common. It bought the machine without the transformer (was cheap) and found a transformer elsewhere. I guess it's not really the historically correct one for the machine though (perhaps - although I wouldn't be surprised if Commodore shipped both combinations!)

One thing I would like to know is which factories produced which variants. For example N1 / P1 machines are all Japanese I believe.


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