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Commodore is hard!


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#1 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:38 PM

Commodore is hard. My question is not.
How do I make it play games?

The thing comes on and drops me at the 'ready' prompt, I have one of these SD gizmos plugged into the drive port and it seems to be coming on fine. Easiest of easy questions--what has to happen now to make the thing play games/demos for me? What exactly does that load 8,1 (or whatever the syntax is) business mean/do?

Other less important questions:
  • Are there firmware updates for such an SD device and do I care? (I seem to remember there being one not from manufacturer)
  • For some reason I have a couple jiffydos chips (one for machine one for floppy drive). Does such an upgrade help my sd device too?
  • Does the other joystick button do anything?
  • Is it normal to have vertical bars in s-video? (I switched back to composite)
  • Any game/demo recommendations for an NTSC unit that can only play single-sided programs (sd unit)?

And please do not call my setup crap. It always seems to happen on forums, which is why I've never even used it despite my having purchased it all years ago. I just want to see some neat demos and games.

Edited by Reaperman, Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:53 PM.


#2 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:00 PM

Atari is soft! Sorry, couldn't resist Posted Image

Okay, first off - you may want to change your device to emulate device #8 as a lot of programs actually look for that designation when playing.

Insert an SD card into the root directory with a bunch of C64 programs on it. IE: *.d64, *.c64, *.prg, etc.

Have a look at this site:

http://www.c64-wiki.com/index.php/LOAD

BTW: your SD device looks cool, never saw that one before. I've got one of Jim Brains'. No need for anyone to rip on it. It is what it is: an inexpensive way of getting Commie files into your computer Posted Image

Re: your other questions:

I'm sure that JiffyDOS installed in the C64 WILL speed up your transfers. It does with the uIEC device I have. JiffyDOS is a must really. Load times on C64 SUCK! lol

What other joystick button? You have a two buttoned joystick? I bet not too many programs ever took advantage of a 2-buttoned controller. Hell, even the Amiga failed, by and large, in that department.

Vertical banding is not always normal, but there are so many issues with video output across various C64's, that it's almost a crap shoot getting a perfectly clear one. Seems all of the mid to late 80's computers and consoles exhibited those damn vertical lines. Composite might look smoother to the naked eye because of the way it's designed, but they're still there (just real faint). My Genesis model 2 is horrible when it comes to those pesky lines and so was an XE game system I had Posted Image

(thanks Carmel, guess that page I linked didn't talk about how to handle directories)

#3 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:14 PM

I have never used these 'SD gizmos' as you put it, however i am assuming/guessing you already preloaded it with heaps o' D64's etc

first of all when you are commodore basic (the default start up screen when you turn on your comm. 64) type in load"$",8,1 to get a directory of the d64 or whatever image you already selected for use

once the commodore responds with 'ready' (to indicate that the directory is loaded into memory) type in LIST and press return

you should now have a listing of the contents of that d64 (or whatever) image

using the comm. 64's editing features move the cursor up to the first main file that has the extension 'prg' tagged on the end

At the start of that line with the prg file type 'load' and then after the closing quotes type in ,8,1

so it might look like this (before editing)

lets say i have selected menace as my d64

132 "menace+" prg
36 "menace dox" prg
16 "00" prg
33 "01" prg
44 "02" prg
etc etc

just bring your cursor to the start of the first main prg file 'menace+' and replace the 132 with the word 'load' and after the close quotes type in ,8,1 and remove prg

so it should look like this

load "menace+",8,1

once the file has loaded just type 'run' (hopefully it should execute what you have loaded into mem)

Edited by carmel_andrews, Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:17 PM.


#4 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:38 PM

I'm still doing something really wrong.

load"$",8
load"*",8
load"$",8,1

all result in
?device not present

Device should be set to drive 8 according to the boards printed jumper instructions.
There are 2 IEC ports in my SD unit, I've tried in both but mostly the one labeled x1(does there need to be some kind of termination?)
brand new IEC cable from germany.

I've renamed long filenames, tried fat and fat32 formatting
when I run the commands there isn't so much as a blip on the 'busy' or 'dirty' lights (I get small blips when inserting a card)

I guess I'll try another card. You'd think there would be some lights as if it were trying to read though. I hope my machine doesn't have IEC problems.

Edited by Reaperman, Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:39 PM.


#5 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:41 PM

You get no LED's lighting up at all? Look carefully in the docs, online or wherever, that your SD device came with. Mine requires a +5v jumper from the cassette port for power...

That's nice yours has a pass through, the uIEC doesn't. Not a huge deal though as 1541's all do.

#6 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:01 PM

I've got a power light steady on with the SD thingy. It takes 5-9v input, and I have 9v on it now.
I do have a magical open jumper named "RST" but I'm going to guess that's for reflashing it.
I did just try and old 1541 with the exact same result. "?device not present error" and no obvious attempt at disk access. (no light or spinning the floppy up)

I guess I should take my c64 apart to see if the previous owner installed any mods (I got it from a lemon64 user who tested it first), then I guess my only options are that IEC is just shot, or my pricey german cable is. (or I'm really thick and not doing my commands right)

Maybe I can just play on the A8 like I always end up doing--No! not this time.

edit: just opened up the c64, no obvious hacks.

Edited by Reaperman, Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:09 PM.


#7 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:24 PM

Any chance you have another cable to try? Or do you only have one serial cable (cable between 64 and 1541)?

#8 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:39 PM

Any chance you have another cable to try? Or do you only have one serial cable (cable between 64 and 1541)?

I just have the one ATM.
I suppose I'll have to order another one (I see them on ebay for about $10 shipped from europe)
Then a month from now when it arrives I'll probably have to buy a new c64. They're awfully scarce for some reason.

A shame, I was looking for some quick free fun today and hoped my commodore could provide it.

Edited by Reaperman, Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:41 PM.


#9 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:44 PM

IEC cables are scarce now? They shouldn't be. Millions of the things floating around. I'll check when I get home if I have an extra you can have. Doubtful that the cable is bad though. Do you have a DMM or continuity tester? If so, buzz the ends out to ensure no wires are broken. And a Lemon64 user should NOT have sent you a bad C64 after testing. Write him and see if he truly tested the IEC I/O portion of the machine out. And 9v on that sucker, huh? That seems awfully strange to me. Sure you didn't accidentally fry it? I know it says 5-9v on the website, but yeesh... 5v is all I'd throw at it.

If I don't have a cable, shirely someone here has extras - or boxes of extras. Shirley! Posted Image

#10 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:48 PM

Okay, well, it's real hard to tell what's going on from here of course, and I have no experience with that device that you have. But... seeing as how you have tried with the same result with a normal 1541, I would first try to diagnose the connection before even worrying about the SD device itself. You won't know if that is working right until you even know whether you have a good connection.

Assuming you have power to the 1541 (the light will turn on and the drive should spin just a little bit when you switch it on. Then even if it's a bad drive in most cases, when you try to load a disk, you will either get a flashing light on the drive, or it will spin up. I did have one bad 1541 that did neither, but that was just one... it's unlikely.

I'm not sure why you're ordering cables from Europe though. A regular old stock cable should be pretty easy to find. I'd be more than happy to send you one, but I sold all mine down to the bare essentials a couple years back. I'd be shocked if you can't find one, maybe even right on here if you post a wanted ad, cheaply.

So, at this point, other than continuing to mess with in the meantime, I'd try that first before spending any more money. It just seems really weird to me that neither the device nor the regular 1541 seem to recognize a serial command.

As for C64's being scarce, I don't think that's the case either. I do think they're not nearly as robust hardware-wise as something like say the A8's, because I've had more than my fair share of issues with my C64's lately, but none with my A8's... and I know the Commodore machines FAR better than I know the A8's. Chalk it up to them getting old I guess.

I need another good 64 myself, but have seen several for sale in just the past couple weeks, but have passed on them and haven't really been serious at all about looking though. They are out there though. Heck, check your local CraigsList, they show up around here quite often.

Not sure what else I can do right now, but don't give up, and good luck to you... it will be worth it once you get your setup working.

#11 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:53 PM

Yeah, what Frank said there too. It does seem weird that a serial cable like that doesn't work, but the reason I'm thinking of it as a possibility other than what I said already is that you're not using a stock one, but one someone made. Maybe they didn't make it right, or didn't solder something solidly, who knows. It's real weird that you don't even get the real 1541 to blip.

Oh yeah, the other real possibility here is that you don't really have your device number sorted out. Maybe the 1541 you have is modded to a different device # and your SD unit also isn't set to 8. Try same syntax with 9, 10, 11 to see if you get anything out of the real 1541 or the SD.

As for JiffyDOS, you need the ROM on both sides... 64 AND 1541 to get the benefits. On the SD devices, you put the ROM on the card, not sure how it works on yours or on the Brain device, but on a 1541-Ultimate-II, you put the ROM on the SD and the cart uses it.

#12 jamesk OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:57 PM

http://jbrain.net/ has cables 4.99+ shipping US.

I bought a few Male 6pin DIN at .65 each from Jameco and made my own with some spare Ethernet cable.

#13 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:01 PM

As for JiffyDOS, you need the ROM on both sides... 64 AND 1541 to get the benefits. On the SD devices, you put the ROM on the card, not sure how it works on yours or on the Brain device, but on a 1541-Ultimate-II, you put the ROM on the SD and the cart uses it.

On Jim Brains' uIEC, you do not need the second JiffyDOS at all. Just one for inside the 'puter. If there is no socket on Reapers board, then I would assume his works just like mine. Super speedy with that chip installed!!

#14 zylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:13 PM

In case there was an error in your setup directions, try substituting 9 for 8 in the loading commands.

#15 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:13 PM

As for JiffyDOS, you need the ROM on both sides... 64 AND 1541 to get the benefits. On the SD devices, you put the ROM on the card, not sure how it works on yours or on the Brain device, but on a 1541-Ultimate-II, you put the ROM on the SD and the cart uses it.

On Jim Brains' uIEC, you do not need the second JiffyDOS at all. Just one for inside the 'puter. If there is no socket on Reapers board, then I would assume his works just like mine. Super speedy with that chip installed!!


Then that's something special about the Brain device. On a real 64/1541 setup, you need it at both ends to get full benefits (speed). Same thing with 1541-Ultimate. I wouldn't assume anything about this device in question, as a physical socket is not necessary on the Ultimate (for example), just a ROM on the SD card itself. Jim Brain even sells (or did sell?) the digital ROM files themselves for just this reason. Maybe he built it into the uIEC though, I've never even seen one of those devices in person, so I'm certainly not saying you're wrong about that. Jim Brain had the rights to sell JiffyDOS for awhile (or just sold it anyway, whichever), so it's entirely plausible the capability was built right into the uIEC.

At any rate, this is WAAAAY past the OP's needs right now LOL... once he figures out his main issue, this won't be a problem at all to look into.

#16 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:21 PM

hmmm, seems like there is something wrong with the bottom pin of my cable. I'd better look that one up.

edit: seems to be an 'atn' whatever that is. Oh and the outer ring doesn't seem to be connected either, but the pinouts don't list it as something that should.

edit2: yep, triple checked, it is not going through. don't think I'll be going back to 'doc's hardware' for more cables.

Edited by Reaperman, Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:26 PM.


#17 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:25 PM

hmmm, seems like there is something wrong with the bottom pin of my cable. I'd better look that one up.

edit: seems to be an 'atn' whatever that is. Oh and the outer ring doesn't seem to be connected either, but the pinouts don't list it as something that should.


Yes, if there is something wrong with your ATN (attention) pin, that would explain why you can't even get a blip out of the 1541. I'd say what you're doing is worth pursuing until you can determine that that's NOT the problem. Without that ATN connection working, you cannot send any signals through the serial cable.

EDIT: Just saw your edit. If that's true, forget a modern-built cable. Post up a wanted in the wanted section and maybe someone has an old one lying around. I don't think I've ever had an original Commodore serial cable that didn't work, they're pretty bulletproof.

#18 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:33 PM

Hopefully a new cable will solve your problems with this new widget you just got for your comm. 64

#19 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:50 PM

PM me your address. I have some of those cables sitting in a box being useless, I can just mail you one, I dont need money for it.

Anyway if you have the 1541 hooked up directly to the commodore, and powering the computer up doesn't make the 1541 do anything, then I'd say hunt for a new breadbin. Somethings obviously busted.

if that works, try the passthru on the cart you have. If the pass-thru works and the 1541 gets activity, fiddle around with the settings to get the card slot to work

However, if the passthru doesnt work ... Id say the cart is busted. I never used that one so I can't comment on any specifics to the unit. I had an MMC64. It might need additional power, but that would be kind of retarded. Or it might have goony jumper settings.



Also:

Load "*" ,8,1

The "*" is your standard wild card BS. the ,8 is the device, and the ,1 is to tell it to load a machine language program.

omitting the ,1 means BASIC program.

So...

Load "$" ,8
followed by
LIST

will result in the disk directory being puked out. Dont use Load "$" ,8,1 followed by LIST. It wont work right.


Also as for games, try Parallax and Temple of Apshai trilogy

#20 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:56 PM

See how easy it was to find a C= serial cable?! LOL... yes, try a stock C= cable and if that doesn't blip the real 1541, then look for a new 64. Definitely try that cable first because I doubt it would have any communication with the drive without an ATN line present.

#21 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:27 PM

Then that's something special about the Brain device. On a real 64/1541 setup, you need it at both ends to get full benefits (speed). Same thing with 1541-Ultimate. I wouldn't assume anything about this device in question, as a physical socket is not necessary on the Ultimate (for example), just a ROM on the SD card itself. Jim Brain even sells (or did sell?) the digital ROM files themselves for just this reason.

I did_not_know_that! Aware of needing it at both ends on a real setup of course (DOH!), but yeah... am down to the bare essentials cable wise myself. Arkhan to the rescue though! Sorry you got duped on a bum cable, but that's better than having to fuss with a new C64. Maybe something got pulled apart in transit if it were shipped in a Bubbleope®? OR does it really look like shoddy work? If so, no excuse then.

#22 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:02 PM

well I took the train straight to the ghetto on this one, after prying the cable apart I noticed that the ends were still slightly usable and I made myself a new cable. It's real ugly. After (naturally) getting it backward the first time, everything seems to sort of be working fine. Granted only 1 of my 3 c64 demos ran, but since I'm lacking fastloader support that's probably normal. The one that did run was called Red Hot Chili Peppers. (mine didn't run that well, the right edge of the screen looked like it needed to be on the left, and every couple seconds or so it would jump. The other programs just dropped me back at the ready prompt...OS commands didn't seem to work right at that point.

*If* I recall, I have to update my sd thing's firmware for jiffydos to work, but that's trouble for later

time for more programs.
If I can find them in .prg format I think it saves me a step with that 'curious' OS.

Thanks so much for putting up with me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Oh and getting back to earlier questions. The 2 button joystick I was talking about was the competition pro commodore users are always on about. By the reaction, I'm guessing the other button is for right/left support which is good, because I'd rather use a better controller anyway.

And the cable actually looked really nice, no idea why it didn't work.

#23 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:11 PM

Good work!!!! I knew it was most likely the cable at that point!

Some more basic advice from experience for where you're at now.

At first, try just messing with some games rather than demos, just to get used to things. The reason I say this is that a lot of the demos tend to be finicky, and also a lot of them are made for PAL. So, unless you happen to know for sure that the demo you're trying is in fact NTSC, you may have issues due to that. Stick with NTSC games at first just to avoid that whole mess until you're more comfortable. Also, when you get into messing with any fast load solution, the demos also tend to be pickier than games, since a lot of newer demos use their own fastload routines that are sometimes incompatible with other fastload solutions (though JiffyDOS tends to be the most compatible of any of the solutions by far).

Don't be afraid of the .d64 files. Just mount a .d64 file (however you do it on your device), then just use the LOAD "$",8 for directory, the LOAD "programname",8,1 or LOAD "programname",8 as appropriate, and most stuff should work. Most commercial/wholedisk games just try LOAD "*",8,1 first, as that will usually work.

Good luck, and any other ?'s, there's plenty of people around here who can help.

#24 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:54 PM

This is one reason why the C64 kinda pissed me off alot though...

getting stuff to work sometimes, is a real punch in the sack.


Parallax and Temple of Apshai Trilogy, GO GO GO!

#25 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:11 AM

Once you get used to it, it's pretty easy. It just takes awhile to become familiar with what everything is and how different programs are to be loaded or what they will do if you do the wrong thing and stuff like that. It can be overwhelming for a new user, but then, the A8 was to me as I was learning it (it still is) due to unfamiliarity. Hang in there, it's not so bad.




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