November 29, 2013
Here’s what I made as a 30 year birthday present for a friend of mine. Maniac Mansion cartridge for the Commodore 64!
Of course a cartridge like this never existed back in the day, as the original Manic Mansion released for the C64 was disk only game. It’s only thanks to the crackers, patchers and hardware developers of recent years who we can thank for the possibility to have this much acclaimed and loved game in a C64 cartridge format today.
You’ve probably guessed already that it’s an EasyFlash cartridge in a ‘custom’ Maniac Mansion themed cartridge case. And on the EasyFlash, there is written the excellent EasyFlash-patched Maniac Mansion Mercury by Onslaught. Read the rest of this entry »
September 22, 2013
My retro enthusiasm is not limited to C64, or Commodore alone – not at all.
Recently I put together an old PC. In fact, everything started when I grew interested in MIDI music. Or to be more precise, how different consumer sound cards render the music. I found it fascinating how MIDI compositions can sound very different using different sound cards and sound patches. Especially when it comes to previously familiar game musics. Many have felt the same, and there are various sites on the net where you can listen and compare game musics recorded from different sound cards.
Inspirited from all that I bought myself a NEC XR385 from eBay. Basically it’s an OEM Yamaha DB60XG MIDI daughter card. These seemed to be regularly available from a Chinese seller, and didn’t cost that much. Bought mine in early spring, but it ended up taking almost four months until I actually got my card, but that’s another story. By now the supply from the Chinese seller seems to have been depleted, sadly.
The NEC XR385 MIDI daughter card
When I finally got the card, I had to put together a setup around it. The card cannot be used alone as such, as it is designed to be plugged into a special wavetable a.k.a. Wave Blaster interface found in many 90s and later sound cards. Another option to use the card would be to convert it to an external MIDI sound module. Read the rest of this entry »
June 17, 2013
Already good while ago I bought this MMC2IEC kit from Retro-Donald together with other junk. Basically it is just one hardware design variant that runs the popular and widely used sd2iec firmware. Just like the uIEC, SD2IEC, C64SD and many other devices. If you randomly come by an SD card drive for 8-bit Commodores, it’s probably some sort of SD2IEC/MMC2IEC variant.
This particular variant of the hardware goes by name Peter Sieg Platine, Peter Sieg plate. It’s Lars P. hardware configuration – which is important information when flashing or updating the AVR firmware. The kit came with ATMega 1284 AVR – a 128k chip that is likely to fit also the upcoming updates of sd2iec firmware in future.
Anyhow, this one was not a complete ready to use device, but a DIY kit that consists of nothing but the board, the SD card slot and an optional preprogrammed AVR chip. The kit with programmed AVR didn’t cost very much, and the remaining electric components were only few euros from a local electrics shop.
Even though this kit is no longer available from Retro-Donald’s Sinchai shop, I’ll go ahead and run down what I did with mine and how I built it. After all, this device is so simple, that it would be fairly easy to build one without any kit. If you have the possibility to make the PCB and program the AVR, plus solder all the parts together, you can basically make this very device from scratch.
The PCB design and layout files are also available in different formats here and on the author’s page. Read the rest of this entry »
April 13, 2013
It’s been already quite a while since I last wrote anything about 1541 Ultimate. In the meantime I’ve gotten myself also the new model, the 1541 Ultimate-II. It’s a good time to recap the project and device status at the moment, especially since the latest firmware update brought some nice new features.
So what’s different from the previous model?
Let’s start with the physical differences.
Obviously the appearance has changed a lot. The most apparent change is that this new model comes in a case, and is more compact. Now it actually looks like a cartridge, and it doesn’t have those silly legs the previous model was standing on. And yes, having the case on it is a definite plus.
The smaller size comes with a downside though. The SD card slot is replaced by a microSD card one. Regular size SD cards are much nicer to handle I think. But it’s not only that! Since the first few production batches the microSD card slot part had to be changed due to sourcing issues. Mine is with the new slot, and I must admit, the new microSD slot is a bitch. With this new card slot, the microSD card goes deeper inside the cartridge. You need to have something thin to insert or eject the card. You just can’t do it with the tip of your finger. Read the rest of this entry »
January 29, 2013
Just check out these awesome self-made cards I got for my 30th anniversary! Big shout-outs to my dear study- and workmates! I was totally blown away :)
November 17, 2012
I made another C64 S-Video cable for a fellow Commodorist. Instead of using SCART, this time I made the cable as an actual S-Video lead, which admittedly is more universal than the SCART connector. Also this way it doesn’t take that much effort to make the cable.
This time I present you step-by-step instructions on how to make the thing. For more theoretical approach and details about the wirings and components, check the other post where I made the SCART cable.
I think the best and easiest way to make a cable like this is to use an ordinary S-Video and audio leads. And that’s what we’re going to do here.
Here’s what we need. An S-Video lead, an ordinary audio cable with RCA male connectors, an 8-pin DIN plug for the C64 Video port (check the other post for connector type details) and a 330 ohm resistor. Additionally you might need some heat shrinking tube, and of course, a soldering iron plus some solder, and tools for wire stripping and cutting. Not to forget a continuity tester or multimeter. Read the rest of this entry »
August 10, 2012
Just like last year, I ended up going to Assembly just to see one of the performing artists there. This time the artist was no other than Mr. Jeroen Tel.
Yes, he was there, he came on the main stage on Friday night, pulled off a nice gig, and I was very happy to see and experience it. Read the rest of this entry »