View Full Version : Big Blue Reader (C-64 Version)

December 4th, 2009, 07:13 PM
Hello all.
I am a newbie. My name is Bob from WA state (Kent to be exact).

The other day, I came across a whole cabinet of old floppies that have lots of Commodore 64 images and documents.

G.E.O.S (both images and docs)
Postcard Creator

Would so love to convert these to Windows.

So, my question is this...
Does anyone have information on where to get Big Blue Reader
for my C-64?

Thanks in advance for the info.

December 5th, 2009, 03:39 AM
I've got a brand new copy right here!

..but it's commercial software, I don't think it's been widely distributed.

There's a clone called Little Red Reader that did the same thing and was free, maybe that one would show up in a search.

December 5th, 2009, 05:57 AM
Honestly I think it is much easier and cheaper to get an X-series cable (XE1541, XM1541, XA1541 etc), if your PC has a parallel port. Since you imply your PC has a 5.25" floppy drive, it should have a fairly decent parallel port as well.

The Big Blue and Little Red readers will read and write to a MFM formatted floppy disk. I think you even need internal modifications on your 1541 to use it, while a 1571 would work out of the box.

December 21st, 2009, 09:17 PM

I would like to know if there is a way to possibly get a copy of either Big Blue Reader or the Little version.

If possible, could you please give me more information on the X-series cable (XE1541, XM1541, XA1541 etc). On the parrell port, are you talking about where the 6 pin cables go to on the back of the 1541 disk drive?

Also, please tell me of the entire process in order to convert pictures and documents to my Windows? I am so new to this whole thing with getting my stuff converted, that I do not know if the x-series cable goes directly from my Commodore to my IBM Compatible; nor if the data in Commodore goes from the x-series cable into the BBR....gets converted to IBM format....and then goes into my IBM compatible. :confused:

So tell me, exactly how much are we talking if I were to purchase BBR or the Little version, and the XE1541?

Thank you for your help in this.

December 21st, 2009, 09:58 PM
Here is what you need:
-XA1541 Cable (google it, you can buy them premade, less than $20)
-1541, VIC-1541, 1541C, or 1541-II disk drive (all are functionally the same)

-Connect the cable to the 1541 variant, and to the parallel port of a PC, turn 1541 on.
-Download the following software (my preference): OpenCBM, Cbmxfer (google).
-Extract OpenCBM, and cbmxfer.
-Copy the files from cbmxfer to the exe folder of OpenCBM.
-Double-click "instcbm.exe"
-Run cbmxfer
-Copy your files, or image the disk, etc.

Big Blue Reader and Little Red Reader are probably harder to do than the method outlined above. They are (if I understand correctly) for reading MS-DOS formatted floppies in a C64, while the method outlined above lets you read C64 floppies on your PC.

December 21st, 2009, 11:25 PM
Read more about the different X-cables: http://sta.c64.org/xcables.html

As Raven writes, you can find some of those on e.g. eBay for moderate amounts of money. You will need a 25-pin parallel port on your PC in which you connect one end of the cable. The other end goes directly into the 1541. Then you run the software, e.g. OpenCBM (http://sourceforge.net/projects/opencbm/). You may encounter some problems, but hopefully we can help you along.

It seems you need a C128 and a 1571 to use Little Red Reader. The Big Blue Reader may work on a C64 but still requires a 1571 or an internally modified 1541 in which you replace the floppy drive controller IIRC. Quite a lot of work obviously, in particular as you would end up with 5.25" floppy disks in IBM PC format, which anyway require you to have a 5.25" floppy drive in my PC. Given these shortcomings, I think you will find the X-cables solution a few degrees easier to use.