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Posted Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:47 am

Hi all, I have been pretty focused on my Amiga set up for a while and thought I should start looking at getting my 64 up and running as well.

I have not really been looking at what the 8bit offerings are, so I thought would ask you peeps for some advice. I have a PAL machine and reside in England. This is what I want to do:

  • Load apps and games from SD card is fine
  • I have a second 6581 SID chip that would be good to install in this machine to allow for both types of SID sounds
  • Would like to hook my C64 to MIDI or CV to allow for music creation
  • Fast loading of some type for sure
  • Gonna do some graphics creation
  • Coding
  • This will hook up to a Phillips 8833 MKII, but potenially also hooking up to a VGA monitor will be needed
What should I be looking at?

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Posted Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:52 am

Hey there!

At first, I would recommend to get a new power supply for your C64, because the old ones tend to fail and thus fry the mainboard. There are several options available, like this one.

If you like to continue using the original PSU, you may want to think about some protection, like this neat device, or a simpler one like this one.

For working with SD-Cards, I recommend Gideons 1541 Ultimate II+ cartridge, because this emulates a 1541 floppy drive 1:1 and works better than any SD2IEC I had so far.

Hope this helps! :)

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Posted Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:46 am

I totally forgot about the power supply. Thanks, yeah definitely will need to protect it there. The Ultimate-II+ looks fab, but so does the price. I am not sure I need all that functionality. I have read up on the SD2IEC, but there is some compatibiliy issues it seems. I also saw there is the pi1541. That looks promising.

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Zippy Zapp

Posted Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:35 am


If you are primarily into single load games or .D81 game images then an SD2IEC type device will be fine. There are also quite a few multi-load games that work with SD2IEC. But yeah, the U2+ is pretty awesome.

You can also get cartridge conversions on an EasyFlash 3 device too. I also recommend the BackBit, which is a device that competes with not only SD2IEC but also EasyFlash 3 and other multi-purpose products.

As for your stereo SID. I would check to see which version of the SID your C64C came with. Most came with the newer 8580 SIDs which are not voltage compatible with the 6581. If yours is an 8580, make sure you get a stereo SID board that is compatible with either model.

For fast load I prefer to use Action Replay 5. But also Warpspeed and Epyx Fastload too. You can install all of those on the EasyFlash 3

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Posted Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:09 am

Might as well consider a TurboChamaeleon.

Reason: It offers VGA.
... and otherwise is an impressive piece of hardware, too... ... ml#filter=*

Check out the actual _turbo_ functionality!

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:13 pm

Everything above is a good option for SD storage.

I'll add another vote for the Ultimate1541, mainly for two reasons.

1) It is easily the most compatible option out of all of the floppy drive emulators.
2) It is in active development, with new (unexpected) features still being rolled out on a continual basis. For example, the most recent update was late May, 2020.

The User Interface takes a bit of getting used to IMO at the beginning, but eventually feels second nature. € 115 excl tax isn't a cheap device, no doubt (+ tax/shipping). But I'll go so far as to say I think this is one the absolute best peripherals for the C64 ever made. You could spend months just trying to understand and exploit all of the features.

Turbo Chameleon is much more expensive, but you do get a lot of additional features there, too. For me personally, I mainly use it for the accelerator, which isn't very often. Development on the TC seems to be in perpetual beta status but what it offers today seems pretty solid. I think there is one guy out there with a Patreon devoted to building more features for it if anyone has specific demands. The TC is way more than just a C64 image loader, though. It's pretty much a Mist in cartridge form, and can even run different cores. It's crazy.

SD2IEC is hands down the least expensive option out of everything and a nice place to get started. But I've personally avoided it (rightly or wrongly) due to the compatibility issues I've read about. I don't think they are major at all, though. I have a couple friends who use the SD2IEC as a primary drive, and when they run into issues they whoop out an original 1541 with actual disks as a fallback.

Expect almost all software that runs in VICE without exact floppy emulation to work (at least in D64 mode)
I'd read the various feature sets and see which ones you think realistically appeal to you most. There's a lot to go through. (And don't forget the Backbit, too. It costs more than the SD2IEC, but is less than the other options mentioned.)

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Posted Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:38 pm

What @intric8 said.

Check your money and go for the option youre willing to invest into. You can hardly go wrong in a literal sense. Each of the devices has its place.

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Posted Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:55 am

Thanks everyone. The research begins. Oh, should a recap be a 'must do'?

I will post a couple of pics of the machine when I unbox it. Always good to see another C64 come to light.

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Zippy Zapp

Posted Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:11 am

fxgogo wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:55 am
Oh, should a recap be a 'must do'?
The only Commodore computers that usually need capacitor replacement are the Amiga's with SMD caps. A600, A1200, A4000. The 8-bit line usually does not need to be recapped. I have tested caps in old 64s before and they were always in spec. The caps used in the 64 and other Commodore 8-bits/earlier Amiga's are far better quality then the SMDs used in later Amiga's.

Of course if you see evidence of leakage that's one thing but chances are they will be fine.

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Posted Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:33 pm

I just saw an eBay listing for the Final Cartridge III+. I seem to remember this being talked about on some podcast. Any good?

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