Commodore 1541 Disk Drive PC mod – Part 1

Following on from my first post https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/commodore-1541-disk-drive-project/ my ITX PC motherboard arrived yesterday therefore I spent this afternoon getting my little project started.

Commodore 64/Vic 1541 Floppy Disk Drive – c1982

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Taking a screwdriver to the inside of the 1541 floppy drive I removed the screws attaching the circuit board, drive unit and motor. Just a few screws held the circuit board in place giving easy access to the other components.

I’ve removed all of the cable apart from the power switch,  activity and power LED’s thinking it would be quite nice to use these original parts with the ITX board.

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I love these old floppy drive units, all chunky  with cogs and drive belts all over the place. It’s a shame it’s not a working model or I’d be using it with my Commodore 64!

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Now that all the components had been removed I was left with an empty shell case. My first thoughts was that there probably wouldn’t be enough room for my MATX PSU unit.

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I’ll worry about actual fitting the new PC parts later on but for now, I had 25 years of dirt and grime to clean. As you can see from the picture below, the case was in need of a good scrub. My weapon of choice? – Dettol Mould & Mildrew remover. Although designed to clean Mildew from wall tile grout it does wonders on plastics  with little effort.

Before….

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..and after. Almost like new!

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Putting the case to one side to dry, I unwrapped the small package containing my new ITX motherboard.

Here’s the basic specs –

VIA EPIA MII Fanless ITX motherboard

VIA 600 mhz C3 /Eden Processor

Lan 10/100

x2 IDE ports

1x DDR266 Dimm Slot

x1 PCI slot

Onboard Lan, VGA, LAN, x 3 Audio jacks, USB 2.0, FireWire, Serial and LPT ports, TV Out, x2 PS/2 ports.

This model also contains an onboard card bus socket which supports PCMCIA wireless cards and a Compact Flash Card slot. I’m not sure if this is just for storage or supports using a CF card as a boot device – hope so!

Although the specifications are quite low it’s more than enough to run as a NAS drive or SFF PC for my 8/16-bit emulators.

With the pen placed on the right, you can see how  small these  ITX motherboards are – 17cm x 17cm.

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The usual auxillary ports on offer, note the Cardbus/CF slot above the audio ports.

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The board fitted perfectly into the 1541 case leaving just a little room either side. Luckily three of the four original case standoff lined up perfectly with the motherboard so mounting problem solved (thanks for the Velcro tip AndyT –  I’ll be using that on the HDD) You can see here that I’ve fitted a rather chunky 3.5″ hard disk but this is just for testing,  I’ll be replacing this with a 2.5″ laptop drive shortly.

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It’s highly likely there won’t be enough room for the power supply so I’ll probably opt for a PICO/External PSU later on.

I’ve raided my PC parts box/spare PC’s  and found an unused stick of Ram (512mb), PC case Power switch/HDD LED from an old Dell, thin IDE cable and a DVD Drive from an old e-Machine.

I just wanted to test the motherboard worked first so everything was fitted together without worrying about cables being a bit messy. With the last cable connected I pressed the magic button and waited.

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The PSU Fan fired up and for a fraction of a second I though something was amiss (the board is THAT quiet) until the POST screen was displayed on my monitor. I hit the DEL key and was greeted by the familiar BIOS configuration menu – phew!

Having a dig around the menus, lots of board options to play with!

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We have disk activity !

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Popping in a Ubuntu boot disk to ensure everything was functions o.k. Linux driver support must be very good for this model, not a single device missing.

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Hmm, wasn’t it a 512 mb stick of ram I installed?

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I installed Windows XP,  left it running for about 5 hours and as you can see from the BIOS screen again, things are still very cool.

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My next job is to work on the case to ensure a proper fit of the components and cut holes in the back for the PC cables. I’ll cover this in Part 2

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4 responses to “Commodore 1541 Disk Drive PC mod – Part 1

  1. I have a commodore 1541, when i try to access a floppy using load “name”,8 I keep on getting error coming up. the green + red light come on. are there any other commands I can put in to overcome this problem,
    many thanks C.C.Stone

  2. Hi Carol,

    Let’s assume that the drive and floppy disk are working o.k, if you type –

    Load “$” ,8

    This will list the contents of the disk. That way you can be sure that you are typing the correct file name that you are trying to load.

    Kind regards

    StiGGy

  3. HI, SigGGy NO LUCK, I WAS GIVEN THE COMPUTER, MONITER, DISC DRIVE AND PRINTER SOME 5/6 YEARS AGO, THE PERSON WHO GAVE IT TO ME TOLD ME HOW TO GET INTO THE DISC DRIVE AND I HAVE FORGOTTEN WHAT THE INFORMATION WAS, IT WORKED O.K. THE OWNER USED THE SYSTEM FOR HIS SHOP LEGERS.I HAVE,NT USED IT FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS NOW.
    IS THERE ANY WAY OF GETTING INTO THE COMPUTER AND FINIDNG OUT WHAT THE PASS WORD IS ,OR. REMOVING THE PASS WORK SO IT WILL WORK WITHOUT IT.
    MANY THANKS,
    CAROL

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