July 21, 2013 | In: Hardware by rEdrUm

C64TPC, a drive virtualiser for your C64

No more disks !!

They demagnetize anyway …
C64TPC on top of Commodore 64C
When it comes to mixing new and old hardware, I’m as crazy as a kid on Christmas morning.

These brillant developpers/electronics engineer know how to bring us the convenience of our modern easy and fast file handling to our beloved old machineries.

The C64TPC is no exception thanks to Ahmet Eymür, a turkish developper whose love for the C64 pushed him to create this neat little device.

A noble purpose

The goal of the C64TPC is very simple. Emulate up to four (4) 1541 drives for your real C64, using the serial port of your C=. On the other side, still using the serial port, your windows PC drives the little box with the help of a very simple to use software.

This will enable to feed your .d64 files to C64 in order to quench your Commodore thirst !

The tiny box

Let’s take a look at this little device.

C64TPC Front

On the front, three leds used as indicators of the operations/errors.

C64TPC Back

On the back, the C64 serial cable, the PC serial port and of course the power supply jack.

C64TPC PSUC64TPC Standard 9-pin null modem serial cable

You will also of course need a multipurpose PSU (that can output 500 mA @ 9v) and a standard null modem serial cable.

C64TPC I/O

Plugged in !

Up and ready

Now that we’ve plugged it in, let see what the software looks like.
The soft (C64TPC 1.1), is presented in a formal and classic but efficient way.

c64tpc_soft_01

On the left the standard I/O managing system to find your images files.
On the top right, a preview of the content of the selected disk image, C64 style !
This is a very nice and useful feature when you are searching for a specific file to launch on a multi program disk.
Next to this, an also important spot: your pc COM port selection used for the connection to the C64TPC.
On the bottom right, the 4 virtual drives configuration and status.
Finally, on the bottom, the log window with loading bar status, a huge deal.

Let’s play!

For the purpose of this demo, I will use a classic game, Double Dragon.

c64tpc_soft_02

You can add up to four virtual drives, acting as the ID 8,9,10 and 11 on the C64, by clicking on each of their connect button.
After having highlighted the disk image I want to use, I just have to push on the mount disk icon and there we go…

C64TPC Ready

A LOAD”*”,8,1 later the single green lit led tells us that the game is ready to load. RUN.

C64TPC Double Dragon running !

The loading is faster than on the traditional “real” disk drive, as the C64TPC contains an equivalent to a fastload cartridge.
Real fastload or similar, won’t run alongside the C64TPC because of this.

Ok, is it good then !?

Of course, not every disk image will work. I encountered some errors while loading. Hopefully the software on the pc side gives you details on what’s happening.
The most common error I had through my tests was “Unsupported Command”. After a little research, it came to my attention that some games required special physical commands on the 1541 that the C64TPC is unable to emulate.

I also tried to use a usb-to-serial converter with another pc that didn’t come with a serial port and despite all my efforts, didn’t work…

These little problems are insignificant compared to the positive side of what you get! Roaming through disk images is a real pleasure and very easy to accomplish.

So, where can I get one !?

That’s the problem, you can’t. I was lucky to get one while Ahmet was still producing them but the production as stopped in between.

So eBay remains the best option to find a used one.

But there is hope! I got in touch with Ahmet and he confirmed to me that all the C64TPC source code will be very soon … open source !
Let’s hope some fierce soldering iron/coders will take on the good job further !

Files:

Manual: C64TPC User Manual (.pdf, 324 Kb)
Software: C64TPC v1.1 (.zip , 7.3 Mb)

Original Video from Ahmet’s Youtube channel:

5 Responses to C64TPC, a drive virtualiser for your C64

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Brad Eleeson

August 20th, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Would love to get some schematics, and board gerber files, for this box to be able to reproduce. How does one get a hold of Ahmet or to be able to get these documents?

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rEdrUm

August 20th, 2013 at 9:43 pm

As I said in the article, I’m in contact with Ahmet and he will soon release all the code and schematics.
Rest assured, that as soon as it will be avalaible, I will add the links here !

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Michael

August 29th, 2013 at 11:36 pm

I shouldn’t worry that the TPC is discontinued. I’ve been happily using it a few years now but can see why it would be. I’ve found it can hang with many disk images and it can’t even fastload. But you get what you pay for and £30 in 2009 bought you a good thing in what it did have. And for not much extra you can now buy more reliable devices like the SD2IEC.

On a Commodore board I’m at we had a nice little discussion about things like this and you’ll be surprised what’s available now. The TPC’s barely entry level.

Topic: http://www.remix64.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9936#p94132

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Ahmet Zeki Eymür

October 17th, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Thanks a lot my pal for this wonderful article!

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Le code source du C64TPC disponible pour tous ! | retrogamer.ca

August 25th, 2014 at 5:17 pm

[…] de fichier pour les images de disquettes. Si vous voulez en savoir plus, vous pouvez lire un test complet du C64TPC que j’ai réalisé pour mycommodore64.com (en […]

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