• Pinacolada's Projects

  • by Pinacolada

Wherein I enlighten you, dear reader, on the status of my many eclectic hopes and dreams for Commodore projects.


PSCUG meeting, 4/19/2015

Monitors work this time, disks are imaged, and games are played.

Sunday, April 19th: I packed almost everything on my packing list. I forgot the home-built sound digitizer (here's an updated version) and my camera, but brought my C128-D, 1541 and 1581 drives, speakers, assorted cartridges, audio/video, power and serial cables, and my 1351 mouse. I also brought some of David's 5.25" and 3.5" disks to archive.

Rick brought two monitors (mine died last month after moving it), his 1541 Ultimate cartridge (hereafter referred to as 1541U), his ZoomFloppy, and his "flat" 128 to test out. We set up all that stuff, admired our handiwork, and everything powered up! No "magic smoke" was harmed.

The 128D's design makes it a bit tough to plug in the serial cable which goes from the 1541U to the serial port on the back of the computer, since the cable plugs end up being so close to each other, they try to cross over each other a little bit, at a 90 degree angle. It can be done, though. Using Rick's 1541U and an 8GB USB memory stick which plugs into it, I archived a good stack of Dave's 5.25" disks, making good use of a built in utility called UltiCopy. It takes about 20 seconds to make a so-called .d64 image (file) of the physical disk in drive 8 -- in this case, the internal 1571 drive in the 128D.

I also archived some more UPCHUG (University Place Commodore Home Users' Group) user group disks. These will go on commodoreserver.com's public disks area, under the User Groups area. There are still boxes and boxes of disks to go through, though.

We discovered that Rick's C128 did not want to boot into or be switched into via the GO64 command, C64 mode. The screen would turn blue, but the familiar startup message *** COMMODORE 64 64K RAM SYSTEM *** etc would not display. Remembering that plugging in a cartridge sometimes sidesteps issues like that, we tried both of my EasyFlash cartridges in the cartridge port: it did let the C64 side work fairly well. With one EasyFlash cartridge, LodeRunner completely failed to run, and Choplifter had some issues running. The EasyFlash version of Prince of Persia ran fine, though. Not sure which chips that indicates are failing, Kernal or BASIC ROM maybe?

We discovered that a setting on the 1541 Ultimate ("Injection Load Mimics Bus ID" as near as I can remember) got changed from 9 to 8, and so when you tried to load something from the 1541U it would try to run it off device 8 (which by this time had no disk in it, after I'd finished the archiving). Took a little poking around to find the cause and solution to that.

We discovered with my 1581 (a 3.5" disk drive), the power supply cord had broken away from the strain relief and had exposed wires - and a subsequent electrical taping job wasn't all that effective in fixing the problem, either. So Rick suggested I not use it, and later on he could help me fix that. So the 1581 disk archiving will be tabled for now. I should experiment some more with 1581copy on a real Pentium-type DOS desktop machine I have. I know I've gotten it to work in the past, but the last time I tried it it was having some trouble recognizing that I'd put a Commodore 1581 disk in. Need to research why. Rick thought I should investigate OmniFlop, which is a similar program apparently. I will look at that. Troubles with getting disk images off that box would be another post entirely. But a brief recap: Still have the issue where the built-in 3.5" drive and a USB 3.5" drive on a laptop don't play nice with each other (won't consistently read disks formatted with the other drive). I've tried installing Microsoft LAN Manager software to try transferring files via network. The network card is seen, but the process of getting a DHCP address hangs the machine. Weird.

I used the DigiMaster v1.1 software on my C128D (in 64 mode) with a mouse, running it off the 1541U. Worked pretty well. The editor itself is mouse-driven, so I plugged in a mouse and was able to load and play a few demo sound samples (a train whistle and an orchestra hit, although there are more) without issue. The playback quality was remarkably clear, even though it didn't blank the screen (a trick typically used to give more processor time to the playback: some players sound staticy when the screen isn't blanked). You can do things like reverse the sound sample in memory - a train whistle sounds pretty much the same forwards or backwards! There was another demo program included which makes typewriter key sounds when you type in the BASIC environment, and a carriage return bell (which sounds staticy, maybe for some reason outlined above) when you hit Return. Neat little package. Next month I'll try to remember to bring the digitizer!

We played some Choplifter on my C128 using the EasyFlash. I used David's modified NES controller, and it worked well. Rick had a big joystick that worked well also. That was pretty fun. Then I introduced Rick to BombMania. :)

I think that's about everything. A small group meeting but at least we didn't have to cancel, and some useful and fun things got accomplished! Thanks for being the wheels, Rick!

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