View Full Version : VIC20 and 1541

May 13th, 2006, 02:05 PM
Having set up my VIC20 today, I also found the Commodore 1541 disk drive that a friend gave me about 10 years ago after his Commodore 64 broke. I only have the drive, and no leads.

My question is, what kind of cable do I need to connect this drive to my VIC? Also, what kind of disks does it take (5.25" I know!). Finally, would I need any "set up" utility disks to, well, set everything up! I know my BBC requires a setup disk to format disks and such. It would be great to get this drive working on the VIC!

Thanks in advance~

May 13th, 2006, 03:38 PM
You need a 6-pin DIN cable, straight wired with the same connector in both ends. There seems to have been some video editing hardware using similar cables, so with some luck and a multimeter to ensure wiring, you might find a suitable cable there if you don't go out buying a genuine IEC cable. Some BBC computers also used a straight 6-pin DIN cable for video, and although I haven't tested if the one I have would work as an IEC cable, I think it should. Of course you can always make your own from a couple of connectors, a bit of wire and a soldering iron.

The 1541 takes 5.25" DD, 48 tpi. Single or double sided. In order to use the back side, you would need to flip the disk and cut out a small hole in the side. Sometimes it is not recommended to flip a disk upside down though, as it will reverse the rotation direction and any dust particles collected in the filter may come loose and scratch the surface. I never encountered such problems though.

The 1541 is an "intelligent" device with its own CPU and DOS. You don't need any setup disks to format disks or perform anything else:

OPEN 1,8,15: REM open a channel to device 8 (1541), subchannel 15
PRINT#1,"N0:TEST,TT": REM format drive 0 (default) to TEST, ID "TT"

By the way, tonight I used a IEEE-488 interface on my VIC-20 and successfully wired up a CBM-9060, 5 MB hard disk. It was just temporary, but cool to do.