New C64 hardware rolls out

New hardware just keeps on coming for the C64. Now, a new device called Alien Flash Cartridge and the long-awaited Chameleon cartridge are available.

The Alien Flash Cartridge was revealed at Lemon 64 Forums only two weeks ago. It is 16 megabyte Flash memory cartridge that has EasyFlash support and Action Replay compatibility. It also features USB connection that can be used for flashing the cartridge and also to download programs directly to C64 memory. Basically the cartridge has 16 one megabyte memory banks and each of them act like EasyFlash cartridge – except those can be flashed over USB connection. This alone is awesome, plus add the Action Replay mode and the ability to push single load programs to C64’s memory over the USB connection. Certainly a very interesting piece of kit!

If this sounds like must thing to have better act fast. These cartridges can be preordered now and the preordering is open only until 6th March! The developer Stingray sells the cartridges over at his website Multimeter Calibrations Australia. Check the link to Lemon discussion for more info. Find also the few demonstrative YouTube videos.

If I didn’t have EasyFlash and several Action Replay compatible devices already I would be placing order right now!

The Chameleon, in turn, has been in development for a long time. It started out as a “VGA box for C64” but bloated out to become something much greater.

Since the C64 does not provide any higher spec video signal than S-video, the starting point idea for Chameleon was to replicate the VIC-II video chip using a powerful FPGA core and have it generate the VGA video signal to have high quality picture for today’s monitors and televisions. Since there’s some serious processing power available, why not use it also for something else? Well, they did.

The feature list of Chameleon is overwhelming. To name a few, the Chameleon features SD card slot, 16 Mb REU, 1541 drive emulation and freezer cartridge emulation. Yep, it’s probably meant to give some competition against the 1541 Ultimate.

But the features do not end there. There is also PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors, RR-net connector, 6510 turbo mode and SID emulation on the list! The Chameleon has it all. In fact, it does not even need the C64 to operate. It is basically a complete implementation of C64 and disk drive in FPGA core, so it can be operated standalone. And now it is finally shipping.

The hardware is final, but the software is still in Beta stage. Many of the above mentioned things are not yet working properly or at all. There is a lot of info at developers’ site and Lemon 64 Forums, and Vesalia sells it. Go for it.

I will be watching closely what becomes of it – for now.


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