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bluejay

Way to transfer files from a PC to Commodore Computers?

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Is there any software that can bootstrap some kind of serial transfer client program into, say, a Commodore 64 via a null modem cable between a PC serial port to the Commodore IEC port? Pi1541s and SD2IECs are somewhat expensive as much as it is convenient, and I was wondering if there was software for the PC that could emulate a Commodore floppy drive and/or send files into it. Thanks!

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You could use something like Novaterm on the C64 and a terminal program with file transfer capabilities on the PC.

 

There used to be a CBM serial server which used a cable like the XM1541 (parallel port with DMA,) but it requires or required DOS or Windows 9x for direct access to the parallel port hardware.  I have not seen that around for a very long time.

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http://www.64hdd.com/index_en.html

 

I used to use the free DOS version with a XE1541 yes its parallel but worked pretty good

No idea if any of the software there is still supported but with a X1541 cable and a parallel to USB might work looking to try that setup my self sometime

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

You could use something like Novaterm on the C64 and a terminal program with file transfer capabilities on the PC.

 

There used to be a CBM serial server which used a cable like the XM1541 (parallel port with DMA,) but it requires or required DOS or Windows 9x for direct access to the parallel port hardware.  I have not seen that around for a very long time.

Is there a download link for this program? Will it run on really old dos machines? I'm wondering if it'll run on my compaq portable ii(pc at clone with 640k ram)

Edited by bluejay

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64HDD may be one option. I don't know if the free registration still is working.

 

Another option is to solder up a cable to use cbmlink which is more in line with the Novaterm suggestion from OLD_CS1. You'd still need an old PC with a parallel port, no matter if you go with the XE1541/64HDD solution of the cbmlink/PC64 solution.

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I didnt get email yet but I got reg code for v0.7a8

is -abc  used on the command line

been the same code for ever for free version

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I've found something called cbmxfer, and it won't run on the compaq. apparently you need 32bit windows based pc to run it.

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64hdd does work, except it says "himem is not installed; no drive maps supported". So apparently I need extended memory?

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Advice, just get a SD2IEC. The can be found fairly inexpensive out in the wild and it’s about as simple as you can get. Best purchase I’ve made for my Commodore. 

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9 hours ago, bluejay said:

64hdd does work, except it says "himem is not installed; no drive maps supported". So apparently I need extended memory?

It sounds like you need to configure your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS. Exactly which model is this Compaq and how much memory does it have? I mean a decent 386/486/P1 would certainly have extended memory, but perhaps you're using really old iron? How do you even transfer stuff to the PC, through shuffling floppy disks, some Laplink parallel interface, perhaps even an Ethernet interface or XTIDE + CF?

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5 hours ago, mdivancic said:

Advice, just get a SD2IEC. The can be found fairly inexpensive out in the wild and it’s about as simple as you can get. Best purchase I’ve made for my Commodore. 

I have to agree here.  Star Commander and X1541 cables are a fool's errand in 2020.  It's a lot of messing about and there are a lot of variables that can go wrong.

 

Having said that, I helped a guy on another forum who wasn't in the hobby get the old games he wrote from back in the day online by sending him an X1541 cable I had lying around.  It wasn't cost-effective for him to purchase any new hardware but my cable gave him what he needed to make use of what he already had lying around to get his games online for other people to play.  It was ok for a one-off job but there are far better solutions for people who intend to make regular use of a Commodore 8-Bit and they're all more than worth the money.

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14 hours ago, mdivancic said:

Advice, just get a SD2IEC. The can be found fairly inexpensive out in the wild and it’s about as simple as you can get. Best purchase I’ve made for my Commodore. 

But apparently sd2iecs aren't compatible with certain games/programs that makes use of real 1541 hardware. But I'll consider it. Thanks for the advice!

 

10 hours ago, carlsson said:

It sounds like you need to configure your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS. Exactly which model is this Compaq and how much memory does it have? I mean a decent 386/486/P1 would certainly have extended memory, but perhaps you're using really old iron? How do you even transfer stuff to the PC, through shuffling floppy disks, some Laplink parallel interface, perhaps even an Ethernet interface or XTIDE + CF?

It's a 286 with 640k ram. I used a cf2ide pretending to be a hard drive.

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It is true that D64 images of original games and scene demos won't work with SD2IEC or uIEC/SD. The majority of games you'll find are so-called single filed versions or otherwise patched, so I don't really think it is a compatibility issue. For that matter the 64HDD won't fully emulate a 1541 neither, so you'll have the exact same limitations.

 

Too bad that the only accessible PC with a parallel port is a 286. I don't know if it even is fast enough for 64HDD even if you get the memory configuration setup.

 

Which other peripherals do you got? A disk drive, a tape recorder, anything?

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43 minutes ago, carlsson said:

It is true that D64 images of original games and scene demos won't work with SD2IEC or uIEC/SD. The majority of games you'll find are so-called single filed versions or otherwise patched, so I don't really think it is a compatibility issue. For that matter the 64HDD won't fully emulate a 1541 neither, so you'll have the exact same limitations.

 

Too bad that the only accessible PC with a parallel port is a 286. I don't know if it even is fast enough for 64HDD even if you get the memory configuration setup.

 

Which other peripherals do you got? A disk drive, a tape recorder, anything?

for the commodore I have a 1571 and a C2N. I also have a printer but I don't think that's gonna help me. Also 64hdd was more appealing to me because it was cheaper than a sd2iec(well now it's not because I'm gonna have to buy a whole new computer to run it) but now I guess I'll have to save up for a pi1541 and a raspberry pi. I'd rather have something that's actually compatible with everything even if it costs a few dozen extra bucks.

Edited by bluejay

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Indeed. Even me who have been a regular Commodore user since 1984 haven't still justified an Ultimate-II+. I can definitely see its benefits and understand its pricing, but for anyone casually dipping their toes, that is a lot of money.

 

If 64HDD doesn't work, you can of course connect the 1571 with the X*1541 cable and use e.g. Star Commander to transfer disk images to real floppy disks.

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30 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Indeed. Even me who have been a regular Commodore user since 1984 haven't still justified an Ultimate-II+. I can definitely see its benefits and understand its pricing, but for anyone casually dipping their toes, that is a lot of money.

 

If 64HDD doesn't work, you can of course connect the 1571 with the X*1541 cable and use e.g. Star Commander to transfer disk images to real floppy disks.

I'll look for some spare disks I might have lying around and if I do I think that's what I'm going to do. Because if I had 130 euros to spend I'd spend it on a pi1541 with a raspberry pi and a 90s laptop of some sort.

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I've never used Pi1541 but surprisingly I've read about some incompatibilities with fast loaders. It might be a bug in emulation that since then has been fixed.

 

Good luck with the spare disks. Also check the requirements of the cbmlink solution I linked to above, whether it plays better on a 286 than the 64HDD does due to memory use. Of course you also have XU1541, XUM1541, ZoomFloppy etc that use USB but these are meant for transferring disk images. To my knowledge there is no PC host software that makes it behave like a virtual floppy drive. Perhaps the demand never was that great, with the shift to memory card based solutions at the same time parallel ports were phased out.

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1 minute ago, carlsson said:

I've never used Pi1541 but surprisingly I've read about some incompatibilities with fast loaders. It might be a bug in emulation that since then has been fixed.

 

Good luck with the spare disks. Also check the requirements of the cbmlink solution I linked to above, whether it plays better on a 286 than the 64HDD does due to memory use. Of course you also have XU1541, XUM1541, ZoomFloppy etc that use USB but these are meant for transferring disk images. To my knowledge there is no PC host software that makes it behave like a virtual floppy drive. Perhaps the demand never was that great, with the shift to memory card based solutions at the same time parallel ports were phased out.

I don't mind it being incompatible with fast loaders if it's compatible with all the software; i'm willing to wait a few more minutes. Alright, I'll check to see if cbmlink works ok on the system when i wake up tomorrow:)

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To clarify the difference between floppy disk emulation in SD2IEC, Pi1541 and Ultimate-II+:

 

The 1541 etc is an "intelligent" device consisting of its own 6502 CPU, 6522 VIA, ROM and a little RAM. Normally the computer sends commands to load or save files, fetch directory or manipulate individual tracks and sectors of the disk. However it can also send commands to store data or own code into the drive's RAM, and then a command to execute that code within the drive. This is how software based fast loaders work, both those on cartridge and commercial/demo scene based ones. The custom loader routine bypasses the default one in the ROM and sends data faster to the computer, which has a matching loader routine to receive it.

 

The SD2IEC simulates the logic disk structure of a disk - files, directory, tracks, sectors. However it does not have the capacity to emulate the actual chips inside a 1541, which means any attempt to reprogram the drive on the fly will fail. The SD2IEC firmware though recognizes a handful of the most common fast loaders like Epyx Fast Load, The Final Cartridge 3, Dreamload etc and can answer those appropriately. Any other or modified fast loader which the firmware doesn't recognize won't work.

 

The Pi1541 is supposed to fully emulate a floppy drive, including the CPU and RAM so you can send any commands to it and reprogram on the fly. However the question here is how well it works in practise, or if those who had issues mainly suffered from PEBCAK (look it up if you don't know the acronym).

 

The Ultimate-II+ is the top of the line and fully emulates the drive. On top of that it emulates RAM expansion, has a synthesized second SID option and a lot of other goodies. Simply you get much more than just a memory card based storage device, which can compensate for its price.

Edited by carlsson
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1 hour ago, carlsson said:

If 64HDD doesn't work, you can of course connect the 1571 with the X*1541 cable and use e.g. Star Commander to transfer disk images to real floppy disks.

If you decide to go this route, get one of the many XU1541 cables available.  The included CBM tools can work from command line or GUI, and they work great.  This also allows you to stay within a modern Windows environment, no DOS or 9x required.

 

I have an XU1541 on my desk connected to a stack of 1571, 1541-II, and 1581.  Quite handy, though I am not using them as much as I used to.  Works great with my Indus GT, as well.

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Yeah. I figured that Bluejay already owned or had the option to cheaply solder up a X1541 or XE/XM1541 cable, so we're working on a minimal or zero budget for purchases. If he's saving up for buying something more, I'm not sure that XU(M)1541 is the next step instead of a SD2IEC or further saving to get a RPi 3 + Pi1541. There of course exists other solutions too, less commonly discussed and I'm not sure the other solutions add anything feature wise within the same price range, or just are alternatives with slightly different connectivity.

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Indeed.  Just putting this out there: I have an XM-1541 cable (XE-1541 modified to "multitask") here I am not using and probably will never use again.

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33 minutes ago, carlsson said:

 However the question here is how well it works in practise, or if those who had issues mainly suffered from PEBCAK (look it up if you don't know the acronym).

 

I've had a lot of those problems with the Amiga - finally managed to figure out how to get software from the internet over to a real Amiga this summer after many years of on-off trying and it even took a while with the C64 and the SD2IEC for the penny to drop with the FB software.

 

These things are easy once you know how but you can spend a long time wandering around in circles before you start asking the right questions and looking for the right things.

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