The Commodore 1702 was a popular monitor designed for and marketed with the Commodore 64 in the early 1980s. While this is just my opinion, I think it was the best monitor Commodore ever sold.
The Commodore 1702 was a composite monitor that handled both standard composite and what we now call S-Video. Its gray-beige color matched the original breadbin-style Commodore 64 and 1541 disk drive.
Commodore 1702 overview
The 1702 is a 13-inch monitor with composite inputs on the front and separated composite inputs on the back. A sliding switch on the back of the monitor determined which input was active. Using the separated composite input provided a clearer signal. The 1702 has a flip-down panel on the front that covers the knobs for adjustments and the volume. This panel was fragile and is often missing today. If your 1702 still has its panel, secure it with a piece of tape while transporting it to protect the panel from damage. Some hobbyists have 3D printed replacements, though painting one to match the original RAL 1019 color is tricky. You can order RAL 1019 spray cans from some specialty suppliers. If you want something from your local hardware store, Krylon Fusion Satin Khaki looks fairly close.
The 1702 works with any computer with a composite input, including the 64, VIC-20, Plus/4, 16, 128, and Amiga 1200, and other Amigas using an Amiga 520 adapter.
You can use a 1702 with two computers by plugging one into the front inputs and one into the back inputs, and toggle between the two with the switch. I had a really hard time tracking down information on its dot pitch, but it had a .64mm dot pitch.
The 1702’s OEM
JVC manufactured the 1702 for Commodore, and there is a very similar looking JVC-branded monitor that turns up from time to time. I found the 1702 more reliable than later Commodore monitors, which were prone to develop problems with their flyback transformer or solder joints after a few years of use.
The classic setup that most people remember is a breadbin-style Commodore 64, one or two 1541 drives, and a 1702. Large retailers frequently bundled the three during the early to mid 1980s. If your 1702 is missing cables, Commodore composite cables are still available. Cables with RCA plugs are standard composite. Cables with three plugs are separated composite.
Commodore released a black monitor it dubbed the 1802 to match the Plus/4 and 16, though functionally there was no advantage. In 1986 when Commodore changed the 64 and its peripherals to a lighter color, it replaced the 1702 with a light beige 1802 model.
The 1702 was fairly expensive, at around $249 retail when it was new, so it wasn’t uncommon for households to use a TV for a monitor instead, even though the 1702 provided a much better picture. Many 1702s survive today because the monitor was so versatile and rugged.
Commodore 1702 vs 1701
The 1702 looks just like its predecessor, the 1701, and functionally they are identical. The difference between the two monitors is simple. The 1702 has a switching power supply and the 1701 has a traditional power supply. This means the 1702 is lighter and more efficient when it comes to power usage. Otherwise you won’t notice the difference between the two.
Using the 1701 or 1702 with the Commodore 128
Although Commodore didn’t document this, you could use a 1701 or 1702 with the Commodore 128’s 80-column display. The trick was to use or make a monochrome cable that connected pin 7 to the center pin of an RCA connector and pin 1 to the shield. It didn’t display color, and the .64mm dot pitch wasn’t ideal for a 640×200 display, but it was usable.
The popular computer magazines of the time published instructions on making the cable soon after the 128’s release. And it wasn’t long before Commodore dealers started carrying the cable.
It was common for 128 owners to plug the 80-column output into the front of the monitor and connect the 40-column output to the back, then use the switch on the back of the monitor to toggle between the 40- and 80-column outputs.
Using the 1701 or 1702 with other computers and game consoles
The 1701 and 1702 work well with game consoles with a composite output. Although the screen is small, it was very clear for its time. It works exactly as well with consoles at it does with a C-64. The 1701 and 1702 monitors also work well with any other computer with a composite output. In the 80s I don’t know how many Apple and Atari owners were willing to buy something with a Commodore logo on it and plug their computers into it, but it’s a good choice today. Here’s some advice on using Atari and other non-Commodore computers with a 1702, including getting separated composite from some of them.
I used a 1702 for years as a video editing monitor. Later I used it as a television by plugging it into a DTV converter box.
Selling a Commodore 1702 today
If you have a Commodore 1702 and want to sell it, your best bet is to try to sell locally, as CRTs are difficult and expensive to ship. If you don’t pack it properly, it probably won’t survive in the mail. Originally when these were sold, they were packed in boxes with about two inches of foam on all sides to protect it. You can expect to get $100 for a working 1702, or even a little more if it’s in exceptionally nice condition. If you still have the original box and any of the original paperwork somehow, include it. A collector will probably be willing to pay a premium for that.
If you don’t have a Commodore to plug into it for testing, plug a DVD player or anything else with a composite output into it to test and demonstrate the unit. If you sell it as untested, everyone will assume it’s broken, because the majority of “untested” vintage computer equipment doesn’t work these days.
A broken 1702 isn’t worthless, as a skilled hobbyist can repair one. Just be up front and honest if it doesn’t work, and don’t open it yourself to look around if you don’t know what you’re doing. Expect $25-$50 for a broken unit.
Great article, I am refurbishing a 1702 moniror and the RAL-1019 color is exaclty the information I was looking for to repaint it. By any means, do you happen to know the RAL color code for the brown bezel close to the CRT.. it is a dark brown color, however it would be great to hace the exact color code for that so I can faithfully refurbish the monitor.
Hi Fedro, unfortunately I don’t have an exact match for the bezel. My color matching app on my phone is saying RAL 7016, but I think that color is too gray. Granted I’m not looking at it on calibrated, color-matched screens, but I don’t see any brown on it at all. RAL 7013 looks closer to my eye, but probably not dark enough. I’m not sure how much this helps but it might get you in the neighborhood, color-wise.
Don’t spraypaint the case!! You’re never going to get an exact match and you’ll destroy the original plastic.
Well I got RAL spray cans and after priming and restoring the case I painted it with no issues. This was paint specifically designed for plastics. The case is looking great. I am still to get to reassemble the monitor but the case is looking very good.