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Commodore 64 revival (warning, wall of pics)

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Reply 20 of 131, by 133MHz

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WolverineDK wrote:
133MHz wrote:

That joystick looks cool! I'm still looking for a decent controller, I might just modify an NES controller and call it a day!

I believe certain famiclone joypads could be a better option, when it comes to the joypads. Than modifying a NES controller. But that is just my opinion.

I have a pretty diverse collection of Famiclones and most of their controllers are terrible. The decent ones tend to be those that mimic the original Famicom hardware.

One thing I've noticed after playing some Giana Sisters is that pushing Up to jump feels very unnatural to me and hinders my gameplay. By modding a NES/Famicom controller I could assign one of the buttons to Fire and the other one to Up so it feels more like a standard platformer. 😀

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Reply 21 of 131, by WolverineDK

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133MHz wrote:
WolverineDK wrote:
133MHz wrote:

That joystick looks cool! I'm still looking for a decent controller, I might just modify an NES controller and call it a day!

I believe certain famiclone joypads could be a better option, when it comes to the joypads. Than modifying a NES controller. But that is just my opinion.

I have a pretty diverse collection of Famiclones and most of their controllers are terrible. The decent ones tend to be those that mimic the original Famicom hardware.

One thing I've noticed after playing some Giana Sisters is that pushing Up to jump feels very unnatural to me and hinders my gameplay. By modding a NES/Famicom controller I could assign one of the buttons to Fire and the other one to Up so it feels more like a standard platformer. 😀

Oh okay, I was just thinking in more of the "convenient" way. Since to me it does not feel unnatural to go "Up" when I jump in those old games, and on those old computers. But I was just thinking "why would you "ruin" an NES pad ?". But I get it now, no worries 😀 It is a matter of taste 😀 and jumping with "up" was also present in "old" games on the pc too. But perhaps it was only the games, that came out on Amiga and the DOS PC..

Reply 22 of 131, by RoyBatty

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1541U-2 is the way to go. It emulates a real drive, so it works with just about everything (custom loaders), plus it has cartridge and REU support/emulation.

SD2IEC is a cheap solution and only really works well with one filers, or things which only use kernel routines for disk loading.

Reply 23 of 131, by badmojo

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Yeah that's the conclusion I came to too, so I've ordered a 1541U II. It's double the price of the SD2IEC, and who knows when it'll show up - they're currently in production so it could take 3 months or more - but they really do sound like the way to go.

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Reply 24 of 131, by WolverineDK

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Am I the only one who remember a data-sette compatible tape recorder ? Which was NOT a Datasette at all ? Since I remember a tape recorder with the same dimensions as the tape recorder you can see in the film Police Academy 6. Where commandant Lassard can be heard (on the tape) "oh God please don't let me die " And so forth, when he bodges up a part of an investigation. And that particular tape recorder was compatible with the C64 Datasette.

Oh by the way, badmojo : Have you checked out this lovely part of reddit ?

http://www.reddit.com/r/c64/

Reply 25 of 131, by badmojo

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WolverineDK wrote:

Am I the only one who remember a data-sette compatible tape recorder ? Which was NOT a Datasette at all ? Since I remember a tape recorder with the same dimensions as the tape recorder you can see in the film Police Academy 6. Where commandant Lassard can be heard (on the tape) "oh God please don't let me die " And so forth, when he bodges up a part of an investigation. And that particular tape recorder was compatible with the C64 Datasette.

Oh by the way, badmojo : Have you checked out this lovely part of reddit ?

http://www.reddit.com/r/c64/

Thanks for the link, there's some interesting stuff there!

EDIT: Wow people are writing some pretty cool new games for the C64, and still releasing them on floppy!

http://www.psytronik.net/main/index.php?optio … re-64&Itemid=57

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 27 of 131, by WolverineDK

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RoyBatty wrote:

badmojo: good choice =]

reddit? for c64? nah, I still have #c-64 on ircnet, and csdb.dk

Nice 😀 So you understand Danish ? Bloody awesome ! 😁 Oh sorry I suddenly forgot , that the particular site is in English. Anyway sorry mate 😀

Reply 28 of 131, by badmojo

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Tumultuous times here in C64 land. My 1541Ultimate II showed up after ~4 months; an amazing piece of hardware created by a German hobbyist which does several things, but most significantly it emulates a Commodore floppy and tape drive to allow you to load programs off an SD or USB stick. Pics below.

It’s very easy to use; I was just getting the hang of it and cycling through some classic games – Wasteland, Neuromancer, Bruce Lee, etc – when my C64 died on me, the dreaded black screen. As explained above, this machine had been in storage for the past 15 years, so the fact that it worked at all was a pleasant surprise. But apparently all this excitement was too much for it. I’m hoping it’s as simple as a dead PSU, but when the PSU dies on these things they often take the whole computer with them. I’ll have my work cut out for me if it’s something on the motherboard, none of my chips are socketed.

Knowing that the C64 can be fragile, I’d stashed away a C128DCR in the shed. This in theory is nearly 100% compatible with the C64, but on closer inspection it has issues:

- The image quality is not as good. It’s clearer, but that highlights stuff that the warm and fussy C64 hides. The colours are not as nice, and the image is slightly distorted in some games.
- The sound chip (SID) chip in this thing was “fixed”, so hacks used in some C64 games don’t work, so some sounds are nearly completely muted.
- The internal 1571 drive is always on and can’t easily be renumbered, and this causes issues with the 1541Ultimate II. A lot of games expect the floppy drive to be device 8, which is already taken by the internal drive.

So my Commodore adventures are over for now. I have a new PSU on the way, but for now I’m back in vintage PC land where nothing ever breaks and the sun is always shining.

IMG_4534_zpse04f7af7.jpg

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Last edited by badmojo on 2013-10-22, 21:29. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 29 of 131, by jwt27

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Standard transformer-type PSUs rarely fail. Have you checked if it works without the cartridge? Mine will only power up if I have the Power Cartridge inserted about halfway in.

The tape read errors may be caused by the tape head angle (azimuth) being out of alignment. That happened to mine only a few days after I got it.

WANTED - Manuals/drivers for:

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Reply 30 of 131, by sliderider

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jwt27 wrote:

Standard transformer-type PSUs rarely fail. Have you checked if it works without the cartridge? Mine will only power up if I have the Power Cartridge inserted about halfway in.

The tape read errors may be caused by the tape head angle (azimuth) being out of alignment. That happened to mine only a few days after I got it.

What I hate are the brick type PSU's that have a fuse contained inside. When the fuse goes, there's nothing you can do about it because the whole thing is encased in resin. You have no choice but to find a new power supply rather than replace the 5 cent fuse that blew. 😠

Reply 31 of 131, by badmojo

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"PSU fail" in the C64 context often means that it's sending in too many volts on the 5V line. So I don't mean dead, I mean it's turned killer 😵

Tape head angle? I'm talking about the tape extender on the 1541UII, not the datasette.

Fuse inside the PSU you say? I didn't think of that; my PSU isn't filled with resin, it can be disassembled. I'll have to check it out!

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Reply 32 of 131, by PhaytalError

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Commodore 64 is my absolute all time favorite computer, and the Amiga line of computers as well!

That said... here are just some awesome Demos from the Demo Scene that came out this year (2013) for the Commodore 64. 😀

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0bhxT06aaQ - Revolved (Triad) (2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nntoT-5BWqM - Demolicious - (Onlaught) (2013) ** Not 100% safe for work though the majority of this demo is**

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P77q90n19dI - Too Old to Ror and Rol (Datastorm) (2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaIPGAGTExg - Time Machine (Booze Design) (2013)

😎

BTW the new Hires-CI-FLI mode in the Demolicious demo is effing AMAZING. 😲

Also don't want to forget this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aejYEU7CVrM - BluREU (Crest) (2010) --- It's AMAZING what the C64 can do when it's coupled with the original Commodore 64 REU (Ram Expansion Unit).

Last edited by PhaytalError on 2013-10-21, 23:56. Edited 2 times in total.

DOS Gaming System: MS-DOS, AMD K6-III+ 400/ATZ@600Mhz, ASUS P5A v1.04 Motherboard, 32 MB RAM, 17" CRT monitor, Diamond Stealth 64 3000 4mb PCI, SB16 [CT1770], Roland MT-32 & Roland SC-55, 40GB Hard Drive, 3.5" Floppy Drive.

Reply 33 of 131, by jwt27

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badmojo wrote:

"PSU fail" in the C64 context often means that it's sending in too many volts on the 5V line. So I don't mean dead, I mean it's turned killer 😵

Well that's easy to check. Just measure the 5V rail and see if it's 5V or not 😀
Looking at the inside of the PSU, I think it's a good idea to insulate those transformer wires. The coating is easily damaged and if that happens, it will either go up in smoke or trip the fuse. Most transformers have a thermal fuse embedded inside, which is not easy to replace.

badmojo wrote:

Tape head angle? I'm talking about the tape extender on the 1541UII, not the datasette.

I was referring to this:

badmojo wrote:

Yes the novelty of loading things from tape is wearing off already, and the game tape I've been playing - The Way of the Exploding Fist - has already started to require a few rewinds per load. It was working perfectly a couple of weeks ago, maybe I left it sitting too close to the CRT.

But I see you posted that over two months ago. And I can imagine you don't want to mess with cassettes ever again now that you got the 1541U 😀

WANTED - Manuals/drivers for:

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Reply 34 of 131, by badmojo

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@PhaytalError – those demos are amazing, and I love that there’s still such an active community around this machine, what a great piece of hardware.

With some encouragement from the friendly folks over at Lemon64 I decided to give the C128 another go. I tried a different AV cable and that sorted out most of the issues I had with the image quality, the problem with the “fixed” SID chip doesn’t impact many of the games I want to play, and there exists a mod to fix the issue of the internal 1571 drive hogging device # 8, details here:

http://alanger.net/comm/misc/big_page.html

In summary the idea is to cut the relevant trace on the motherboard to disable the internal drive, and then add a switch to turn it back on if required. I gave it a go last night and it was surprisingly straight forward; the C128 was very easy to work with, very modular and plenty of room to move. This is the internal drive which I removed temporarily to improve access to the relevant traces on the motherboard:

IMG_4573_zps9e7a5c30.jpg

Here is the chip in question, and the relevant traces. The traces are not too fine, and there are some nice big solder pads to attach things to:

IMG_4576_zps6a960e42.jpg

Ingredients for the switch:

IMG_4585_zps41be7a70.jpg

The assembled switch:

IMG_4587_zps86abfff0.jpg

The trace has been cut and the switch attached to the relevant pads on the motherboard:

IMG_4594_zpsa715d97b.jpg

The switch mounted on the side of the machine, the instructions suggest mounting it in the plastic front of the case but I didn’t want to see it:

IMG_4595_zps90a4d028.jpg

Success! The drive is now easily switched off, allowing the 1541UII to emulate device 8, and allowing for a single drive to be present which is important for some fast loaders. And with the flick of a switch the internal drive – which will come in handy - is enabled again:

IMG_4599_zps185e9c71.jpg

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Reply 35 of 131, by Dominus

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I can not imagine using a real C64 again, BUT I look at the 1541UII and am feeling some kind of nerd jealousy/must have 😀

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Reply 36 of 131, by badmojo

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Dominus wrote:

I can not imagine using a real C64 again, BUT I look at the 1541UII and am feeling some kind of nerd jealousy/must have 😀

It's a great toy, but by the sounds of it emulators for the C64 are pretty hard to beat if simply playing games is your goal and / or don't have room for masses of hardware.

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Reply 37 of 131, by Dominus

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yeah, emulators is what I'm using when the C64 play urge hits me 😀
Still, looking at the 1541UII makes me dream 😀
I still have my old C64 drive somewhere, along with an adapter to hook it up to a PC LPT, but don't have a PC that has an LPT 😀

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
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Reply 38 of 131, by badmojo

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Another small enhancement for my C64 this time - heatsinks! Some of the chips get quite warm, and this is one of the reasons that they fail; the constant heating / cooling. I'd previously removed the crappy cardboard RF shield which allows the air to flow again but I decided that some small heatsinks wouldn't hurt either, so I ordered some cheap graphics card RAM heat sinks from Singapore and popped them on. Simply putting the back of your finger on each chip after 10 mins run time tells you which need them.

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Reply 39 of 131, by RoyBatty

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Glad you got things working.

C128DCR has 8580 sid, which sounds quite a bit different than 6581, but it also has MORE features. However the filters sound a lot different. There is a digi fix for it too which you can find my googling a bit.

You might want to back up Al Anger's web stuff if you want it available, Al has terminal cancer and won't be with us for much longer 🙁