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Commodore 64 and 1541 Floppy Disk Drive

 

Name

Commodore 64

Manufacturer

Commodore Computer Inc.

Original Price

($5 at a Thrift Store)

Mass storage options

Yes, hard disks are available; you can buy Lt. Kernals
(20MB SCSI), ICT DataChiefs (similar), CBM 9060/9090 (IEEE), and the CMD
line of hard disks which are still available from www.cmdrkey.com/. There
are also plans on the Web for building an IDE interface but the URL has
escaped my memory for the moment.

Removable storage options

Removable storage options. 3.5" drives also available; Commodore made their own 1581 (DD only), and there are CMD FD series drives.

Ports

2 joystick, power, cartridge, monitor, disk drive, cassette, printer

CPU

CPU. 6510 @ 1.02MHz (NTSC), 0.98MHz (PAL). Later models used the 8500, which is functionally identical. All of these are basically NMOS 6502s. Did you know that Commodore owned MOS Technology, that created the 6502? The CPU can be upgraded to a 20MHz 65816 with an upgrade cartridge called the CMD SuperCPU. See the cmdrkey.com website.

Memory

64k RAMVarious RAM expansions exist, up to several megabytes in size.

Video Display

320 x 200 with 16 colours.

Video memory

Well, not as such, it's all one big pool of memory.

Sound

3 voice sound, full ADSR synthesis with four independent waveforms. Also possible to coax 4-bit digital sound through the volume register (6-bit if you're clever with pulse waveforms but this has a nasty carrier tone).

Operating Systems

Operating Systems. Runs BASIC 2.0 standard. Can run CP/M 2.2 with the grotty nasty Z80 cartridge Commodore sold. Also runs GEOS, a popular graphical shell, and there are various mini-Unices out there for it (the best is LUnix, another URL I forgot).

Condition

The CPU works fine. I didn't test it with the disk drive, because I don't have any 5.25 floppies to spare, yet.

Software I have for this machine

If you have a PeeCee, you can connect a X1541-series cable between the 1541 and the PC, and use the PC and StarCommander software to turn .d64 emulator-format disk images (do NOT call them ROMs :-) or copy program files you've downloaded from various websites and so on into real Commodore disks. .d64s are widely available. No, the PC's 5.25" drive cannot read/write Commodore disks; the formats are too different, since the PC FDC expects MFM encoding and Commodore disks are 100% GCR. See http://sta.c64.org/ for StarCommander and the plans for an X1541-series cable (or you can buy one from him); if you're looking for software, try ftp.videocam.net.au

A site visitor provided most of the information on this page and this link is his website: http://ww.armory.com/%7Espectre/cwi/

Notes

This is one machine that I wanted badly as a kid. Their popularity has made them a legend.

I'm hoping to get some software for this machine, as well as test the disk drive. I am hoping to find some info on the web on how to operate it. I don't have any info on how to operate the drive, even something as simple as formating a disk.


Photo Gallery

Commodore 64 computer - this keyboard is very similiar, if not identical, to the Vic 20.

Commodore 64 side and rear ports -- the joysticks and power were plugged into the side.

The rear of the 1541 Floppy disk drive and C64 console.

Front view of the C 1541 floppy disk drive (5.25 size disks).

Rear view of the 1541 floppy disk drive. The round spots at the top are the ports to plug the cable into that runs to the computer.


Links