Facts

  • Model: CBM 3032 (PET 2001-N 32)
  • Type: Personal computer
  • Manufacturer: Commodore
  • Released: 1979
  • RAM: 32 KB (Model 3008 had 8 KB and 3016 had 16 KB)
  • ROM: 20 KB
  • CPU: 6502 @ ~1 MHz
  • Text mode: 40 x 25 monochrome (PETSCII)
  • Graphics: none
  • Sound: none
  • I/O ports: 2 MOS 6520 PIA, MOS 6522 VIA, 2x Datassette (1 internal), 1x IEEE-488
  • OS: Basic 2.0 (similar to the later Commodore 64)
  • External storage: datasette tape, 5.25″ floppy, 8″ floppy, hard drive
  • Predecessor: PET 2001
  • Successor: CBM/PET 4000-series and 8000-series
  • Family: CBM 3000-series (PET 2001-N series)

Released 1979: This is a computer that really looks like a computer. In 1979, Commodore replaced the original PET 2001 with an improved model known as the 2001-N (the N was short for “New”). Encouraged by brisk US and Canada sales, Commodore introduced the PET-series computers to the European market. A Dutch company called Philips was producing a 96 KB RAM system called the “Programm-Entwicklungs-Terminal”, and had rights to the acronym “PET”. Commodore soon removed the “PET” name from their 2001-N series computers, and relabeled them in Europe as the “CBM 3000-series). All of the machines in this series feature a 9” green phosphorous screen and a full graphic keyboard (PETSCII character set was later used in Commodore 64). A fully programmable bi-directional parallel “user” port is used to control a myriad of home project hardware.

Origins and the early models
In the 1970s Commodore was one of many electronics companies selling calculators designed around Dallas-based Texas Instruments (TI) chips. However, in 1975 TI increased the price of these components to the point where the chip set cost more than an entire TI calculator, and the industry that had built up around it was frozen out of the market.

Commodore responded to this by searching for a chip set they could purchase outright. They quickly found MOS Technology, which was in the process of bringing its 6502 microprocessor design to market, and with which came Chuck Peddle’s KIM-1 design, a small computer kit based on the 6502. At Commodore, Peddle convinced Jack Tramiel that calculators were a dead-end. In September 1976 Peddle got a demonstration of Jobs and Wozniak’s Apple II prototype, when Jobs was offering to sell it to Commodore, but Commodore considered Jobs’s offer too expensive.

Tramiel demanded that Peddle, Bill Seiler, and John Feagans create a computer in time for the June 1977 Consumer Electronics Show, and gave them six months to do it. Tramiel’s son, Leonard, helped design the PETSCII graphic characters and acted as quality control.

The result was the first all-in-one home computer, the PET, the first model of which was the PET 2001. Its 6502 processor controlled the screen, keyboard, cassette tape recorders and any peripherals connected to one of the computer’s several expansion ports. The sheet metal case reflected Commodore’s background as a manufacturer of office equipment. The machine also included a built-in Datasette for data storage located on the front of the case, which left little room for the keyboard.

The PET 2001 was announced at the Winter CES in January 1977 and the first 100 units were shipped in October, mostly going to magazines and software developers, while the machine was not generally available to consumers until December.

CBM 3032 seen in my collection.
CBM 3032 as seen in my collection.

My CBM 3032, service and upgrades

I bought mine from Germany, it was fully working, luckily. It came with no storage media, but its got the same cassette/datasette port that came with the later VIC-20, C64 and others. I downloaded a BASIC language program for the CBM/PET using my modern PC and transferred it to my C64 which I already got a SD-card reader for. I saved the program on tape using my C64. Then I connected the “C2N” recorder to the CBM computer and loaded the program.

I made this image using the PETSCII characters.
I made this image using the PETSCII characters.

It would not run however, the PET/CBM start address for BASIC programs are different from the C64. The “RUN” command starts the BASIC program in memory from a certain address. The BASIC 2.0 on the CBM/PET also got a simple “Machine Code Monitor” where you can alter the memory and type in Assembler language. To enter it, you just type in SYS 1024 (an unused memory address).  Then I managed to move the BASIC program to the correct start address for the CBM/PET, and then save the program onto the tape once more. This time the program would run.

I bought a floppy/harddrive emulator called petSD+ (www.primrosebank.net). It uses SD-memory cards for storage, it makes it very easy to transfer software from a PC.  I had to buy a IEEE-488 cable for it and an adapter for connecting it to the “non-standard” pin-out IEEE connector on the computer. I also got a box to protect it, only had to cut out holes for the connectors and buttons.

petSD+ floppy disk and harddrive emulator and the piezo sound “fix”.

Next, due to its age, I brought the computer to a specialist (www.retroservice.no) that replaced all the capacitors for me, including the ones found in the controller board for the monitor. Electrolytic capacitors looses their attributes with age when the liquid electrolyte dries in. Eventually they explodes or just silently leak electrolyte onto the main board, and potentially makes shortcuts and causes all sorts of problems.

The CBM 3032 has no built in sound, but its very easy to make a small beeper/piezo connected to the user port “CB2”. Some games supports it and will give you sound. You only need the connector, a resistor and a very small speaker/amplifier, I power it from the cassette port.

CBM 3032

Remi Jakobsen


I'm collecting classic computers and video games, stretching from the 70's into the 90's. Restoration, history, usage ...


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