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THE SHAREWARE PLUS COMMODORE 64 & 128 BLOG sent me two 1541 Trackdisplay kits, one kit for Track and one for Sector. Normally I don’t modify original cases, but it was already cut up at a few places by the previous owner so I thought it’d be ok to cut up a hole in the front.


An overlay sticker is included in the package to cover up the hole which gives a really nice finish. Mine looks currently a bit rough since I added a piece of plastic in front of the display to dim the display and I need to finish up the installation with a 4-digit 7-segment display bezel, or make a custom sticker later on.

The kit is available for 1541/1541C/1541-II/1571/1581/C128D/C128DCR and requires some DIY. Everything is through-hole soldering and the manual covers the assembly in detail, you will not have any surprises or trouble assembling everything together. Soldering the The 7-segment display LED cables requires some patience though :).

This display supports displaying the current track AND/OR sector(or any memory location) which is an advantage compared to other solutions when studying loaders for example (nothing beats code reversing!). The display(s) will show “00” on intialization as the memorylocations are not yet populated, but its not a problem.

 

From the Manual:
The Track Display is memory based, ie. the memory cells relevant for the respective drive types are monitored for change in real time. During write access to the memory cells, the hexadecimal data value of the memory cells is decoded and output via the 7-segment displays connected to the display drivers CD4511. The address selection and the decoding of one and / or several addresses are handled by an EPROM which has been programmed as a gate array. Theoretically, this design allows arbitrary memory cells to be represented by the SRAM of the floppy: track, sector, buffer pointer, status register – simply everything that is stored in the floppy RAM. Also, cascading several boards by stacking is possible, e.g. Track + Sector. For the sector display only a differently programmed EPROM is required.

 

You will get a nice package with all needed components and a manual.

 


Populated PCB, 7-segment display connectors(IC sockets) are located on the rightmost part of the PCB. I installed a passthrough-socket for the RAM since the boards will be stacked. I also always install IC sockets as a routine. The sockets, however, added some height to the installation and caused me a bit of a problem later on.
 
The decimal points(DP) will be used to display which ROM is active and to show when drive is exchanging data with the computer. Wires and resistors for accessing the DP are present on the PCB.
 


Both ends of a 7-Segment-display cable. Shrinking tubes used on the wires to isolate and stabilize. The display and the socket are not 1 to 1 pin compatible so you need to cross a few wires (documented in the manual).

 


Some drives have large ceramic capacitors which can be replaced with smaller ones or, if space allows, bend them down a bit. They can be moved to the bottom side of the drive PCB in worst case.
 

Another approach is to add empty socket(s) to lift the PCB above the capacitors (picture is for illustrative purpose only).

 

 

 

Track AND sector trackdisplay PCB in place, stacking them became too high to fit under the lid, possibly because I added IC-sockets.

 

The kit allows for some DIY and there is lots of space in a 1541 drive. I connected the PCBs together with a ribbon cable and wedged the memory IC below the first board.

 

Installed a DolphinDOS under the Track/Sector display just out of curiosity. When resetting a DolphinDOS drive the display defaults to “77” or shows a “blank” display, probably to do with how memory is initialized. DolphinDOS mode runs too fast for the sectors to be readable on the display, not a big surprise though :).

 

Inside the lid, cables and glue.

 

 

First part is fast formatting a disk, and second is loading a game where it switches to a fastloader after a while. The video does not quite do justice for the 7-segment LED display as it is more distinct in reality and no ghosting can be seen on the led segments.

 

Track-Master is a device which displays current track (and halftrack) position of the R/W Head.

I have no documentation nor a manual for this device and very little information is available, therefor I will try to summarize a bit from the adverts found from around 1985-86.

There are three versions mentioned in the adverts, Track-Master(external), Track-Master plus(external with audio alert) and Track-Master GT (internal version of the plus).

1541,1571 and SX-64 are supported and “soon” available for Amiga and non-commodore drives.

* Digital display showing track, half and fat tracks 1-40.
* Control switch settings displayed on the LED.
* Audible alert when writing to the disk or when track sync marks are not normal.
* Control swithes allow you to:
   Set drive unit to 8 or 9.
   Write protect disks electrically.
   Bypass write protect (use both sides of a disk without notching).

Track-Master uses the stepper movement to display current track/halftrack and works with all sort of loaders. It has no way of knowing the exact position of the R/W head and resets to track 18 when drive is reset. This is a close assumption as the drive always start reading track 18 for a file or directory in normal load operation, which is perfectly fine. If you move the R/W head manually a few tracks it will assume the head was never moved and show wrong track number until next reset. Sometimes it starts off with track 19 when it should be 18, a reset of the drive fixes this problem.

 

 


Control Switches (assumed operation by testing):
8/9 : Device number. A LED dot is lit when device 9 is selected.
W/T : Audible alert when (W)riting to disk or when (T)rack sync is not normal.
N/P : (N)ormal / Write (P)rotection. Extra LED segment lit when active.
N/B : (N)ormal / (B)ypass write protect tab. LED display blinking when in bypass mode.

 


All ICs and transistors have their markings grinded off to prevent duplication of the board.

 

 

 


Signed by the previous owner, “Mitch ESI. Rush Rules!” 🙂

 


Drive PCB wiring.


PCB #251830
Blue     Capacitor C16 + (5V)
Green    Capacitor C16 - (GND)
Black    UA1 Pin 5 (WPS - Write Protect Sensor)
White    UC1 Pin 10 (Step)
Gray     UC1 Pin 12 (Step)
Brown    UC1 Pin 37 (Sync)
Purple   UC1 Pin 36 (Mode;Read/Write)
Red      UC2 Pin 19 (Mode;Read/Write). Note:Lift up pin 19 from the socket.
Orange   Device number pad, cut jumper and solder wire.
Yellow   Capacitor C46 + (Reset)
UC1      Add 10K pull-up resistor between Pin 1 (VCC) and Pin 36.

 


First part is fast formatting a disk, and second is loading a game where it switches to a fastloader after a while. The video does not quite do justice for the 7-segment LED display as it is more distinct in reality.

 
Advertisements
Compute Gazette Issue 24 (1985 Jun) Page 128
Compute Gazette Issue 35 (1986 May) Page 122
Compute Gazette Issue 39 (1986 Sep) Page 124

 

    A friend of mine, Hedning/Genesis Project, sent me pictures of a 1541-clone that neither of us recognized and we asked around if anyone knew the name of the drive. Moloch contacted us with pictures and said it known in the US by the name “Commander II”. It might been stripped of the labels when imported to Euro-Land and sold as a different product. The Commander II was reviewed in Ahoy issue 16, 1985 (pages. 28-38).

     

    Update 2016-07-24: Hedning was generous and gave me one of his drives, thanks a lot! I added a few more pictures of the drive.

     
    Update: Thanks to Moloch we now have a name for this previously unknown clone. It was sold in the US by the name “Commander II”.

     


     

    The LEDs might been replaced with green/red since some traces were broken. I also removed a home-made deviceswitch due to its bad construction.

     

    The +5V is connected to the large area on this side of the PCB.

     

    The mech is a Chinon F-051.

     

     

    +5V/+12V PSU.

     


     

    Pictures by Hedning

     

     

     


    Serialports are located on the side of the drive.

     


    “Diskett” was a local Commodore computer shop/service center located in Malmö, southern sweden.
    The second drive, with serial 841633, does not have this sticker.

     

     

     

    1541clone_hp64_7

     


     

    Pictures by Moloch

     

     

     

     

FD-148 is a third party floppydrive for the Commodore 64.

 

 


 

 


Remove the screws marked with red and lift the cover.
 


You need to loosen 4 screws to remove the shielding and additional 3 screws to release the PCB.
 


Detach the white connectors and lift the main PCB. There is a ribbon cable beneath the PCB which also needs to be detached. The back plate can now be removed.
 


Remove the 3 screws marked in the picture. There are spacers below that PCB which you need to take care of.
 


Spacers marked with red.
Two voltage regulators(7805/7812) are fastened to the black heatsink to the right.

 


Flip the drive around and remove the 4 screws.
The drive mech is now loose, lift the plastic casing.
 


 


 


 


 

I had a broken 1571 on which I located the problem to the powersupply.

The PSU is relatively easy to refurbish with new caps and so forth, but I wanted to try out a switching powersupply i had.

The new powersupply is a MeanWell PT-65A and is rated 5VDC/7A and 12VDC/3,2A. It also has a -5VDC/0.7A output which was not used. This specific model was on a €4 sale at a electronics distributor and the current ratings were good, hence the selection.

 

WARNING! LETHAL VOLTAGES ARE PRESENT ON THE POWERSUPPLY.

 

 


1571 with original powersupply.

 

 


Mounting plate.

 


Testmount.

 


A very tight fit, I had to make a cut on the left side.
The PCB is mounted on spacers and the cables were crimped.

 

Finished assembly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RapiDOS professional is a floppy speeder based on the Professional DOS by Klaus Roreger. More information on Professional DOS can be found at : http://www.d81.de/ProfessionalDOS/ and http://ar.c64.org/wiki/Category:Professional_DOS

RapiDOS was sold in the US by Chip Level Designs with kernel code written by Lawrence Hiller (aka Mr.Nike). Mitch/ESI gave ideas and feedback to the code resulting in RapiDOS having lots of “hacker enhancements” over Professional DOS, for example the built in monitor. It also functions on PAL (50Hz) Machines.

On this page you will find pictures of the RapiDOS hardware. The ROMs are also available for download.

Thanks to Mitch / ESI for information and for the hardware/ROMs !

 
Update: Added a .pdf with all reviews and advertisements regarding RapiDOS from Ahoy/Info/Gazette Magazines. Thanks to Stone Oakvalley for the information 🙂

Interesting to note is that Compute Gazette Issue 51 (1987-09) has an advertisement saying RapiDOS is “soon coming” and in Issue 54(1987-12) it is available. Later on C128 and CP/M is mentioned to be supported.

 


 

1541 with RapiDOS professional
Drive controller board and the CIA board installed. The wire lead is used for switching the RapiDOS on and off through the User-port board.

 


RapiDOS Professional User-port Board.
Switch to the left turns on/off the RapiDOS in both the C64 and the 1541.


C64 ROM Adaptor board

[No picture available]
The C64 ROM Adaptor board has a wire lead connected to the User-port board.

 


More pictures of RapiDOS Professional.

 

 

 

Parallell cable for Oceanic (OC-118) / Excelerator Plus drive.

You need to connect the following pins (identical to 1541). This drive works with Zoomfloppy.

 

There are four screws that hold the bottom plate, turn the drive upside down and remove the screws. Now you have access to the PCB.

 

Locate the correct chip by the pictures below (i soldered the wires directly to the legs).

Parallell cable for Oceanic (OC-118) / Excelerator Plus

 

Parallell cable for Oceanic (OC-118) / Excelerator Plus closeup