Pi1541 Pennysaver Edition

Some people just want a SD card solution for their Commodore 64/128/VIC20 the cheapest way possible. So I came up with the “Pennnysaver Edition”. It has the bare minimum you would need to load your games and programs from a SD card, but with the possibillity for upgrades later. It can be used with your Commodore 64 or 128, VIC20, C16 or even the Plus/4. It will run on Raspberry Pi 1, Zero, Pi2 and Pi3. If you want to overclock those older Pi models, Use the config.txt to set the values. The sign # is used to make the Pi ignore the text. Remove it to enable the settings.

Note: currently the Pi’s HDMI screen is not suppported on the Pi Zero, 1 or 2.
Note: currently the USB keyboard and drives are not suppported on the Pi Zero, 1 or 2.
Note: currently the emulated drive sounds are not suppported on the Pi Zero, 1 or 2.
These will be supported later, and the hardware is already set up for it when it is supported.

Picture of the product.

The simplest working Pennysaver PCB only needs 3 parts to work..

This is the version Im listing on Ebay for my cheapest option. It has most of the important stuff, and the rest can easily be added by the customer if they want.

 

So what is this Pi1541? The Pi1541 is a real time, cycle exact 1541 emulator by Steve White. It basically connects to a Raspberry Pi 1, Zero, 2 or 3 to emulate a Commodore 1541 floppy drive. Why do we need this when there is the SD2IEC? Its because a lot of games and demos utilize the chips inside the 1541 floppy drive, so without them, the program or game will not work. Here, the Pi is emulating those chips, so that the games will work. No more games that wont load due to incompatibility. The Pi1541 has room for all the buttons, LEDs, connectors and stuff that ports the Pi to your old computer, includind OLED screen. It can be used with your Commodore 64 or 128, VIC20, C16 or even the Plus/4. All you have to do is to copy the files over to the root of the Pi memory card, and copy your games and program into the same SD-card and insert it into the Raspberry Pi. You should check out the authors website for the latest version of the software. Link is below.

There are several ways to use this, but I decided to use it the same way I used to use the SD2IEC. I just start the File Browser and use the C64 keyboard to select my game. When everything is connected and turned on, I just use it as if it was a normal 1541 floppy. The latest news it that now, it also can emulate the Commodore 1581 floppy drive, it supports more file versions and it now also supports USB thumbdrives too!

Pros:
– You will never face the potential compatibillity problems assosiated with the much discussed 7406 chip, since its not needed.
– Its extremely cheap to make and easy to solder with a minimum of parts.
– The PCB is ready for all the extras that I made for the full version, including reset switch, 5x menu switches, output for OLED screen, speaker that can be disabled with a jumper, power LED, activity LED, output so you can solder your own cable for the Commodore serial port, and it even fits my 3D printed case!!

Cons:
– You will not be able to use other devices at the same time on the same serial port as the Pi1541 Pennysaver, since I removed the 7406 chip and its assosiated parts. I recommend the full version if you plan to do so.

Underside of the product.

SD CARD SETUP

1. Format an SD card to Fat32.

2. Download the Raspberry Pi Firmware from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

3. Copy the files bootcode.bin, fixup.dat and start.elf (found in firmware-master\boot)) into the root folder of your SD card.

4. Copy over a file that contains a 1541 ROM image into the root folder of the SD card. The ROM must be called dos1541 or d1541.rom or d1541II or Jiffy.bin.

5. (OPTIONAL) Copy over a file that contains a CBM font ROM (eg vice-3.1\C64\chargen) into the root folder of the SD card. The ROM must be called chargen

6. Copy your disk images and folders into the 1541 folder now found on the SD card.

Or, simply download the below pre made setup and extract it to a SD card. You can start with that to be up and running right away.

This is the root contents on my SD card when using a Pi3. Use it as it is, or edit if you want.

This is the root contents on my SD card when using a Pi2. Use it as it is, or edit if you want.

This is the root contents on my SD card when using a Pi Zero. Use it as it is, or edit if you want.

This is the root contents on my SD card when using a Pi 1. Use it as it is, or edit if you want.

 

The only difference between this setup and the one from my full version, is this setting in the options.txt file found in the root folder of the SD card: “splitIECLines = 1” must be changed to:
// splitIECLines = 1

 

This project with PCB and parts can be purchased on ebay:  https://www.ebay.com/usr/kirsti_73
or from Sellmyretro.com

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