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Commodore CBM 8032

During 2012, I was visiting one of my clients. They were undergoing a change of ownership, and looking to tidy up some unused PC equipment.

Initially they pointed to an old DEC Pentium which was in pretty bad physical condition, so I said that a local e-waste provider would be the best option. They then mentioned that they had just found some other old computers in a storage area above some offices, so I had a look to see what was there.

I was expecting to see similar stuff, probably Pentium, Pentium II and Pentium III machines. I didn't expect anything much earlier or later - they tended to not upgrade that quickly (one critical role was still filled by a 10 year old Compaq Evo P4), but also didn't tend to keep anything that wasn't being used - or so I thought!

The first thing that caught my eye was a Commodore PET of some description. It turned out to be a Commodore CBM 8032, with a set of 8050 drives and a Commodore printer. Commodore was never a brand I seriously considered collecting, the VIC-20 was from a family house clearance and only of minor interest, and at that point I hadn't been offered the C64C.

Commodore PET 8032
What I found waiting in the storage area
Commodore PET 8032
At home, on the workbench

Further digging picked up more vintage hardware - an IBM PC 5150, Compaq LTE Lite 4/25s, an HP 85, another Apple IIe and an Amstrad CPC 6128. This last machine last one seemed a little out of place in what was a scientific facility, but I wasn't questioning that!

In 2015 I finally started un-earthing the hardware from this trip. Currently the CBM 8032 does not start - just gives a beep on powering up. Looking online, they tend to be a bit unrealible - both memory and ROM can play up in these things, and the integrated monitor makes things even more "fun." My plan at the moment is to build a composite video adapter, start investigating the system board to get it operational, then see if the monitor is operational. This is going to be a long-term job!

Commodore PET 8032
Under the hood
Commodore PET 8032
Detail of the system board
Commodore PET 8032
Detail of the system board

Specifications

The CBM 8032 is Commodore's business version of the PET. As the model number indicates, it has an 80 column display and 32k of memory in a case which incudes a business keyboard with numeric keypad, and a 12 inch integrated monitor. This also comes with an 8050 dual SSQD drive unit and Commodore-branded printer.


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