Dedicated hacker adds USB capabilities to his Commodore 64

usb_basic_commodore_64

To say that Commodore 64 aficionados are a dedicated group would be quite the understatement. There are still quite a few individuals that spend all sorts of time building and programming for the C64 in order to make using them enjoyable, and to keep up to date with current technologies.

[Luigi] is one of these people. He wanted a way to easily transfer files between his PC and his C64 that was fast but cheap. To [Luigi], this meant USB file transfers, which would take quite a bit of work to implement. He started out by rolling his own BASIC interpreter which could eventually be extended to support USB. Using his BASIC-Plus interpreter, he was able to implement a USB Kernel, which could transfer files at 1.2 KB/s via a USB to serial adapter. Wanting faster file transfers, he built a USB to parallel adapter, which resulted in a nearly 8-fold increase in speed.

So, if you have been dying to have USB capabilities on your C64, look no further, [Luigi] has just what you need!

Continue reading to see a quick video of USB-64 in action.

[Thanks, Matt]

Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Cool stuff I love C64 hacks.. I wish i would have started on a c64 instead of the 8086.

  2. HHH says:

    I never had one of these because they were extinct before I was born. All I know is that this guy is awesome! Thumbs up (Y)

  3. Paul Potter says:

    Always great to see more C64 stuff. I must dig my machines out and get some new hardware for them.

  4. Buzzles says:

    Interestingly enough, my C64 is somewhat of a family heirloom, so hacks like these give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

    My father bought it in the early 80’s for work but it didn’t mesh with his paper based job, so handed it down to my older brothers (who are 18 and 15 years older than myself), in turn they passed it down to me.

    It was my first computer.

    Which means despite being born in the late 80’s (when things like the Amiga came out, so 3.5″ Floppy was the medium of choice growing up alongside SNES’s and Megadrives), I’d experienced tape drives and learnt the value of patience at quite an early age.

    Probably explains why I did Comp Sci at University.

    The C64 in question still works like a charm btw. Even though I’ve since picked up the C64C version as it’s more compact (Amiga case design) and use that when I feel the retro urge.

  5. drew says:

    was a Spectrum guy myself but credit were it’s due, thats is a great hack

  6. I’m always doing something to my 64’s or 128’s. I also run a Commodore Website : http://www.n2dvm.com Be sure to check out my BLOG as well. Link to it from the main page.

  7. luigidifraia says:

    Thanks guys. I hope to come out with my next C64 hack late next week ;)

  8. svofski says:

    This is hardcore.

  9. Ryan Mercer says:

    That’s awesome!

  10. Vampyredh says:

    God do I miss the days of Load “*”,8,1

    Only the quotes were done with shift+2 if I remember correctly.

  11. Vampyredh, It’s never to late to get back into the Commodore.

    I was out of the scene for 10+ yrs. Now I’m back Hard and heavy and having a blast at it.

  12. Mattster says:

    I felt so bad after I sent this tip in yesterday, I emailed Luigi and warned him he might get swamped with traffic. I love the C64 and have a C64 30 in 1 Joystick and the Radio Shack Hummer game that Jeri Ellsworth designed and enjoy the games.
    My pet project is a SID chip copy . Many good imitators but only one true SID. I wish I was better at reverse engineering silicon.

  13. blue carbuncle says:

    Great stuff!!! Amazing to see what folks are still accomplishing with these machines :)

    VERY nice work, Luigi!

  14. Mellie says:

    The U1541 II has USB transfer for quite some time now, too – among many other things. Go check it out…

  15. A_Z says:

    Wasn’t network/TCP-IP capability added to the C64 a while back?

    Surely FTP would be a better way to do things?

  16. BLuRry says:

    Hats off to the C64 community! But, like the floppy drive, the Apple // community is still ahead of you. :-P

    CFFA3000:

    http://dreher.net/?s=projects/CFforAppleII&c=projects/CFforAppleII/main.php

    ][ Infinitum!

  17. Dario says:

    i want one of this but for a ISA/PCI 486 pc. Getting a 5 1/2 floppy drive to work now a day is a hell of a work and most of the times the disk itself is damaged so even worst.

  18. Is it just me, or is that a Commodore 128 in the video? Looks more like a 128 than a 64, but you don’t see it for more than a second…

  19. luigidifraia says:

    @Mellie, A_Z: the USB-64 devices and software were put together in a couple of weeks with a really cheap budget, during my free time. They were never meant to compete with/replace the expensive hardware out there…
    For the whole story check this: http://www.luigidifraia.com/c64/usb-64/index.html

  20. Ed Minchau says:

    This makes me want to dig out the old Vic-20 and make it run a CNC or something.

  21. Olivier says:

    Great !
    Looks like he also installed Windows on his C64.

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