Universal Commodore 64 cartridge speeds up demo production

As a life long lover of his venerable Commodore 64, [Frank] was looking for a way to speed up the development time when writing C64 demos. His solution is a universal C64 cartridge that will connect to a PC over a USB port.

The board is powered by a CLPD and a microcontroller loaded with code from [Frank]‘s previous C64 USB controller adapter. A 16 Mbit flash chip is able to store 31 classic games like Pitfall, Dig Dug, and Lode Runner.

On his Google+ announcement, [Frank] says this is a very early prototype. He plans on reducing the board size to fit inside a standard C64 cartridge, and the firmware for the micro and CLPD aren’t finished yet. That being said, [Frank] does have a board that does what he wants it to do: extremely rapid C64 development.

Check out [Frank]‘s demo after the break of him compiling and re-uploading a simple demo to his cherished computer in just a few seconds. That’s a lot faster than it would take with a 1541 Ultimate or other SD card reader.

All for the want of a 6551

Comments

  1. ac says:

    128k ram for the cartridge data? Lame, isn’t even enough for some C64 cartridges from the 90s (e.g. Terminator 2).

  2. dext3r says:

    I both loved and hated that Bruce Lee game!

  3. JB says:

    Brings back memories….

  4. CG says:

    I wonder how this compares with EasyFlash for the C64

  5. bepp says:

    Cool! What is the editor you are using?

  6. polossatik says:

    lovely,
    any ballpark figure for the cost if you would/could make it available as a kit (maybe with added a bit more ram, as this is not a bad idea indeed)?

  7. Frank Buss says:

    I’ve summed the cost of the parts for the current prototype: 31 EUR for the electronic parts and 2 EUR for the PCB (10 cm x 10 cm from ITead Studio). The final product will use some other components, e.g. less level converters with more converters per chip, and I’ve found already a bigger SRAM, 1 MByte for the same price as the current 128 kByte, but maybe then I have to use a bigger CPLD, so I guess the price would be the same. Add 5 EUR for a nice case, so should be less than 40 EUR for a kit, if you want to solder 100 pin TQFT parts yourself (not difficult with some practice and a magnifier or stereo microscope).

    I don’t know, if I want to sell a kit, there are some strange and expensive WEEE regulations in Germany, but it is all open source hardware, including open source software, so you could order the PCB from your favorite PCB manufacturer and all parts from Digikey and solder it yourself. Currently a programmer is needed for the CPLD, but I plan to include this JTAG programmer into the microcontroller, which can be programmed just by USB with no programmer, so no external programmer will be needed at all.

    Maybe a collective ordering and selling it as a kit would make it easier and cheaper, if there is some demand and if someone wants to organize this. I’ll write updates about it on my Google+ account.

  8. frankbuss says:

    I’ve posted a new article with updated informations about the cartridge:

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/117017735090421436012/posts/1v4kyCViasV

    Estimated price will be the same, I hope less than 40 EUR for parts and the PCB, if you buy it as a kit, but much more memory and possibilities.

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