1541 – Why so complicated

May 14, 2014

1541YUNO

The Commodore 64 has a disk drive that is unique in many ways. Not only is the Commodore 1541 said to be the world’s slowest disk drive, but it’s also big, bulky, noisy and has a reputation of being unreliable. Also, it works in an unusual way. In many ways it’s the disk drive that has defined our experience with the C64.

In addition to the original model 1541 there were also the updated models 1541C and 1541-II from Commodore. The drives have different looks, differences in hardware and in ROM versions, but the basic functionality and features are principally identical.

Some later models in Commodore’s 8-bit serial disk drive range were improved in some ways, but those have less importance today. For a C64 as a retro system, the 1541 is the de facto standard. Still, in this time of emulators and hardware add-ons, compatibility with the original 1541 disk drive is regarded as a must.

And today, for someone who doesn’t want to resort to emulators only, the large and unconventional disk drive brings some practical challenges. So understanding the 1541 helps us to understand the options we have for replacing it! Read the rest of this entry »

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EasyFlash 3 hands-on

February 16, 2012

At the end of last year skoe released the EasyFlash 3 design. Just like the original EasyFlash, the design is open source, so basically anyone is able to start making those. It’s likely that these boards start surfacing from different sources. The first place selling assembled EasyFlash 3 cartridges I found was Retro-Donald’s Sinchai-Shop, and mine’s from there.

There are already at least two board designs. One like mine here, a short cartridge with buttons on both sides. The other design has longer board and the buttons are at the back in the usual way.

You North-American folks are probably pleased to know that RETRO Innovations is going to manufacture and sell them as well.

And yes – this is your JiffyDOS on a stick .. err.. cart solution!

Seriously, calling EasyFlash 3 just that is a vile devaluation (and I’ve seen it already happen). It’s much more than “just” a KERNAL on a cartridge. Read the rest of this entry »


New hardware for C64, part 1

March 27, 2009

My C64 hobby has lately been more active than in ages. I have even ordered some new hardware for the good old machine! And I really mean new; additional hardware that has been produced in the 2000s! This is not the first time for me though, I got myself the Retro Replay many years ago. This time I ordered 4 Player Interface and the RR-Net ethernet module from Protovision-Online.

rrnet-4pinterface

RR-Net and 4 Player Interface

This was the first time I order anything from Protovison-Online. Everything was simple and my order was posted in few days. The items were packed very well, but still there was a minor drawback. RR-Net comes with a 5,25″ floppy disk with Contiki operating system. Somehow the disk was bent against something and damaged. I simply emailed Protovision about this and they sent me a new disk! Excellent customer service, and my overall impression of Protovision-Online is nothing but positive.

And now a brief overview of the hardware I got. Read the rest of this entry »


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