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Commodore PET
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The Commodore PET (Model : CBM 8096)


CBM 8096 with 8250 Disk Drives

The original : PET Model 2001


There were quite a few models in the Commodore PET (later called the CBM) range, going as far back as 1977, beginning with the PET 2001 with it's built-in tape player and chiclet keyboard, which is why the PET sits at the top of the table at the left. My CBM model 8096 was first released in 1981, so, in chronological order that model should probably sit somewhere between the ZX81 and BBC micro.

The PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) 2001, released in 1977, was Commodore's first foray into the personal computer market. Commodore had been looking to source a microprocessor that they could own outright and targeted the MOS Technology 6502 released in 1975 and by November 1976, had purchased the MOS Technology company.

Whereas earlier models had targeted the home computer and education markets, the PET 4000/8000 range was aimed more towards business/professional use. Not being Z80 based, the PET was not natively capable of taking advantage of the large range of business software available for systems running the CP/M Operating System. To bridge this gap, Madison Computer developed the Z-RAM Board which included a Z80 CPU and enabled the PET to run CP/M (more details on the PET Options page).



  PET 2001 (the original PET) CBM 8096 (my model)
Processor MOS Technology 6502 MOS Technology 6502
Clock Speed 1 MHz 1 MHz
ROM 18 KB 20 KB
RAM - fitted 4KB / 8KB
32KB Main board (16 x HM4716AP - 4N)
64KB RAM board (32 x ITT4116 - 3N)
RAM - maximum 32KB 96KB
Video Discrete TTL video circuit Motorola/MOS 6845 CRTC
Display Built-in 9" monitor, 40 x 25 characters Built-in 12" monitor, 80 x 25 characters

Software switchable to 40 x 25 characters



Monochrome, blue display (early models)

Monochrome, green display (later models)

Monochrome, green display

Character Set / "Graphics"


The graphics characters enabled the PET to display block "graphics" that could produce reasonable effects for use in games etc.


(These images reflect the character set used for early PET models, later models differ)

128 ASCII and 128 Graphics Characters
Finnish company Aivosto develop Visual BASIC tools for software developers, their website hosts a page describing various character sets that includes a really good document which illustrates the PETSCII character sets used in PET, VIC and C64 computers.


The original "chicklet" keyboard, the keys also indicate the PETSCII block graphics characters.



The full size "professional" keyboard of the CBM 8096 - the graphics symbols are no longer present on the key caps.

Sound None - single piezo "beeper" 1 Channel piezo speaker, 3 octave sound
I/O Capability

Expansion ports :

      extra memory

      second cassette tape recorder interface

      a parallel port (for disk drives and printers)

      IEEE-488 port (for modems disks, etc.)

Expansion ports :

      extra memory

      second cassette tape recorder interface

      a parallel port (for disk drives and printers)

      IEEE-488 port (for modems, disks, etc.)

Data Storage Built in data cassette - Commodore Datasette Various eternal disk drive options, including my 8250 shown in the photo below

More details on the PET Options page

Built in languages Commodore (Microsoft) BASIC 1.0 Commodore BASIC 4.0

8096 machines were shipped with a copy of LOS96 (Loadable Operating System for 96K), this was a disk program that was a replacement for the BASIC 4.0 ROM and ran an enhanced version of BASIC, which supported the 96K RAM


Looking slightly less pristine than the photo at the top of the page, the photograph from the ebay listing for my machine.

Detailed pictures can be seen on the PET photos page


The pages on my site are focused on the CBM 8096, there is a wealth of information available on the internet which describes the other, many and varied, Commodore PET/CBM computer models.

Strictly speaking, when discussing the later models, we should really use the term "CBM", rather than "PET" and probably "PET/CBM" when discussing generic features. However, unless specifically noted otherwise, and regardless of the label on the front of it, you will find that I frequently refer to my CBM 8096 as a "PET".

Check out the sites below for more information :- A comprehensive source for manuals, photos, ROM images. Includes a User Forum and history
Wikipedia Commodore PET Entry on Wikipedia
Wikipedia (de) The German Wikipedia site has an article on the CBM 8032 (not available in English)
Old Computers Website dedicated to, yes, old computers

PET Emulators

VICE The Versatile Commodore Emulator

According to the VICE webpage, "The current version emulates the C64, the C64DTV, the C128, the VIC20, almost all PET models, the PLUS4 and the CBM-II (aka C610)." An online (Java) PET 2001 emulator, enhanced by Norbert Landsteiner



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