Converting .d64 images onto floppy disks

21:08 by akylas. Filed under: Hardware,Software

The first thing I did was hook up my XA1541 cable to my Windows XP machine. If you’re looking for instructions on what to do to actually get the images onto floppies, do the following steps prior to hooking up the drive the first time:

  1. You first have to download opencbm. Download and unzip that in a folder.
  2. There’s an executable that installs the drivers to recognize the 1541 drives when they are connected to the PC. Install those.
  3. Unless you like working via the CLI, you’re going to want to download cbmxfer.
  4. Unzip those files into the same directory that contains the opencbm executabkes.
  5. Shut down your computer.
  6. Hook up the 1541 drive using the Xx1541 series cable to the LPT port on the machine of your machine. Turn on the 1541 drive and then turn on your computer.
  7. Once your machine is back up and running, open cbmxfer. Configure it as appropriate.
  8. Click the ‘Status’ button. If you get the drive information in the field in the lower right hand corner, you’re good to go.
  9. This is now the relatively tricky part. The first two and a half hours I used this application, the 5.25″ floppies I used either were not formatted correctly, or my drive(s) simply did not like them. I would get occasionally write errors, and many instances of 74,DRIVE NOT READY,00,00. If you get that, and you know your drive works fine, it’s probably your disks. Before I copy a .d64 over, I always format the disk. If it fails formatting, I don’t use it. Format it, then image it. Works great after that.

    I’ve loaded up GEOS 2.0, and geoLink now. They’re working great with my 64NIC+ !



Commodore 64

19:18 by akylas. Filed under: Hardware

Decided to pull out my Commodore 64 yesterday and hook it up. I don’t have much equipment compared to some of the hobbyists out there, but I have accumulated a decent portion of the “bare essentials” to do anything significant.

Commodore 64 with monitor, mouse, joystick, two 1541 floppy drives, and a 1200 baud modem

All of this is original equipment, and none of it has been modified (yet) to run faster. Most of it (including some equipment not seen in the photograph) was acquired through one eBay auction and a small portion was acquired through a personal sale of the owner of a local retro-gaming shop, all for around $75.

I recently received a 64NIC+, although I’m unable to use it at the moment since I don’t have any software on disk that supports RR-net compatible Ethernet cards. I’m currently with no means to burn .d64 images onto Commodore floppies, although, I did purchase a XA1541 cable, which isn’t expected to arrive for at least a couple more weeks. This cable will allow me to hook up one of the 1541 floppy drives to an older computer, and use software such as cbm4win to burn .d64 images.

There’s a ton of software and games out there on the Internet for the Commodore, but nearly all of it are .d64 images, which for the average person, is difficult convert to a usable form on the Commodore. There’s actually a few methods of going from the .d64 image to being able to use it on the Commodore 64. Some of the methods I have discovered:

  • Using an Xx1541 series cable to connect your 1541 floppy drive (probably not limited to 1541s) to an older computer that has an LPT port.
  • Picking up a modern-day Commodore cartridge or expansion port unit that inputs SD cards and “mounts” it as a drive on the Commodore.
  • Burning an EPROM for use on other cartridges, (e.g. 64NIC+).
  • Connecting the Commodore to a PC so the Commodore can use disks on the PC.
  • Picking up a CMD HD and either connecting that to a PC, and or modifying it to use a SSD or modern HD.

Unfortunately all of these require the purchasing of various parts, some very hard to find and most of them relatively expensive ($50+). By far the cheapest route, with the least number of features, is picking up an Xx1541 series cable. You could also make one of the cables if you have a steady hand.

While I’m waiting for my cable to arrive, I have been digging through my bin of software to become familiar again with all the pieces that I have–mostly to enjoy them again, and so I don’t go out and buy something I already own. I’ve also been browsing through a few of the books that I have in the bin in order to understand the many intricacies of the Commodore that I never knew about, or have forgotten.

Once I receive the XA1541 cable, there’s quite a few things that I’m really excited to try out. These include:

I’ll be chronicling each of these in a separate post as I go through them.