My Commodore 64 Just Got Way More Awesome

Because I set up a Pi1541. It was a pretty easy endeavor as retro computing projects go. What’s a Pi1541? It’s a Raspberry Pi computer that emulates a Commodore 1541 drive and allows you to load up any disk images you want to your original C64.

My C64 surrounded by other retro stuff including robots.

C64 emulators are really cool. I love that I can boot up all of my old games on my PC, Mac, or even my Linux system. However, sometimes I get a hankering to get the original Commodore experience on the old hardware–there’s no way to replicate that genuine feeling on a good old CRT even with the best emulator. The only problem is that although I have a working C64 system complete with working 1541, I worry that those near forty year old moving parts in the drive will fizzle out. No problem, Pi1541 to the rescue.

Pi1541 Hat on a Raspberry Pi 3.

You don’t need a lot of technical know-how to make one of these things work. Although I could have assembled the cable myself–it needs a special cable to connect the C64 to the RazPi–I opted to save time and buy a ready made Pi Hat on eBay. The one thing you do need to be able to do is set up the SD card, all of the instructions are available on the Pi1541 site–I have links to everything below. It’s as easy as copying a few files to the root drive of a FAT 32 formatted SD card. The most important setup step is getting the right configuration for your hardware in the options.txt file. If you buy a Pi Hat for this, you need to make sure that you set up that file with the same options that your hardware supports, same goes for making your own cable.

If you want to do this and you need help, feel free to contact me and I’ll try to give you a hand.

I made a TikTok video that shows off how it works when it’s done. I loaded up Rags to Riches as my demo. Follow and like!

@genxplorer I set up a PI 1541 this weekend, it’s awesome. #commodore64 #1541 #vintage #computer #vintagecomputer #computergames #c64 #retro #retrocomputer #raspberrypi #80s ♬ original sound – Xplorer

Links so you can do this project too:

The project page, if you like this thing, leave a donation to Mr. White:

https://cbm-pi1541.firebaseapp.com/

You will need a couple of files from VICE if you don’t already have it installed:

https://vice-emu.sourceforge.io/

This is where I get all the disk images I need:

http://www.gamebase64.com/

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