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.