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Commodore 64 Hardware Photos

(last updated 2014-09-13)
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JiffyDOS
RAMBOard
TurboMaster / Master Adapter
CARDBOARD/5 (CB/5)
Indus GT floppy drive
Excelerator Plus floppy drive
Enhancer 2000 floppy drive

This is where I keep photos and documentation for some of the more exotic Commodore 64 hardware in my collection; most of the images can be clicked on for a larger view. Some of it I bought back in the day; some (like the CARDBOARD/5 and third-party drives) are more recent acquisitions. I also have a separate page devoted to the stereo SID modification. If you have questions, you can email me (shadowm at lyonlabs dot org).

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JiffyDOS box

Prototype JiffyDOS shipping box, rejected as too expensive (courtesy Craig Ernster)

JiffyDOS

JiffyDOS is an alternate communication protocol for Commodore floppy drives that can speed up disk access by a factor of ten or more. One replacement ROM is installed in the Commodore 64 itself, while another ROM is installed in each disk drive. The CMD devices (FD series 3 1/2" floppies, HD series hard drives, and even the RAMLink) all had JiffyDOS built in, and most Commodore users consider it de rigueur.

The saga of JiffyDOS is a strange one. Once manufactured by the legendary Creative Micro Designs (CMD), its sale was later licensed to a company whose repeated failure to fulfill orders earned its dishonor in the Commodore community — and resulted in the product's availability by other means.

In May 2009, Jim Brain announced (by projecting the information onto a wall from a Commodore SX-64 at C=4 2009) that he had entered into an agreement with Mark Fellows (formerly of CMD) to become the second licensee of JiffyDOS (and possibly other of their products). In October 2009, JiffyDOS became available in an online store on Jim's site.

1541-II with JiffyDOS 1541-II JiffyDOS detail

Here we see two photos of JiffyDOS installed in a 1541-II 5 1/4" floppy disk drive. The beauty of JiffyDOS is that you can go back to the original ROMs with the flick of a switch (although it's rarely necessary because of the high degree of backward compatibility). The second picture shows this in detail: the wires lead to a toggle switch (shipped with the ROMs), which is normally installed by drilling a small hole in the back of the case.

Here is some more information on CMD:

  • I've got a primer that shows the syntax of some of the less often used JiffyDOS commands.

  • The JiffyDOS manual is available on Jim Brain's site.

  • an article (PDF format) on the timing details of the SuperCPU and SuperRAM, excerpted from Commodore World magazine, issue 19.

  • a Q-Link post from 1992 that gives some insight into CMD's attitude toward copyrights. Note where they say "I have stated before that JiffyDOS COULD be faster, but we have avoided implementing it as such to maintain good hardware and software compatibility".

  • the 2001 notice from CMD that they were exiting the Commodore business



RAMBOard 1541 RAM expansion

The RAMBOard was sold by Software Support International, and was used in conjunction with special software to achieve full-track GCR disk copies on a Commodore 5 1/4" floppy drive. It added 8K of RAM to the system board to make this possible. These photos are of a 1541-II with the drive mechanism removed for visibility.

RAMBOard #1 RAMBOard #2 RAMBOard #3

Here is a PDF of the instructions for this unit. They've been restored from scans of my originals by Wolfgang Moser ("Womo"), who has an excellent web page covering this piece in exhaustive detail (even including reverse-engineered schematics).

And here is a D64 image of the utility disk that came with.

In early 2008, I bought 1541-II RAMBOards from two different sellers who had them up for auction on eBay, sold as originals. However, that's almost certainly not the case; one of the sellers confirms that he got the board from someone known to fabricate "original" items. Of course, it begs the question "Why go to all the trouble of reproducing something like the RAMBOard for what must be an extremely limited market... and then have someone else sell them?" And what about the mysterious emails I received in January 2009, purportedly from someone very close to CLD (the original RAMBOard manufacturer), explaining in great detail why he thinks the boards are authentic? Was the copy so good that the sender mistook it for an original (after all, he may not have seen one in many years)? Was the sender an impostor (the mails arrived just before a fresh batch of the boards appeared on eBay)? And what about the story I heard that this mysterious person has appeared at some Commodore meetings in recent years with NOS items for sale? What does it all mean?

Here are some photos of the items (click for larger images):

Seller #1 Comments Seller #2
RAMBOard seller #1a

Both items were in plastic, but the docs are clearly not originals. In fact, they're both copies of the PDF Womo made from scans of my originals! Extraordinary. And Womo does have reverse-engineered schematics on his site...

RAMBOard seller #2a
RAMBOard seller #1b

Here you can see a closeup of the docs. My original has a hand-written note stapled to it.

RAMBOard seller #2b
RAMBOard seller #1c

Examining the RAM chip would seem to be one way to determine once for all whether the boards are authentic; I've seen references to the KM6264AL-10 with a date code as early as 1983... and also into the 21st century.

RAMBOard seller #2c
RAMBOard seller #1d

One of the boards was on a plastic foam protector.

 
RAMBOard seller #1e

Here are shots of the undersides of the boards.

RAMBOard seller #2d


(click for larger views)

TurboMaster/MasterAdapter detail #1 TurboMaster/MasterAdapter detail #2 MasterAdapter detail #1 MasterAdapter detail #2 MasterAdapter detail #3

TurboMaster / Master Adapter

The TurboMaster (made by Schnedler Systems) provides a 65C02 processor to let the machine run at 4 MHz. (The ROM1 / ROM2 switch selects one of two patched ROMs: the "standard" ROM or a modified JiffyDOS 5.0 ROM.) It and the REU beneath it are plugged into the Master Adapter, a device meant to allow the two to coexist when running GEOS. Although plagued by problems that resulted in spectacular operating system crashes (I still have many of the Q-Link forum messages), the device was eventually made to work due to the programming skills of Paul Bosacki, who insisted that the driver's source code be included in the distribution. Thank you, Paul, wherever you are; I've whiled away many a pleasant hour studying that code!

Here's a PDF scan of the TurboMaster manual, and here's a D64 image of the utility disk that shipped with (02/18/1992 version, Master Adapter GEOS REU patches included). This is a GEOS-formatted disk, but has standard C= files on as well.

Turbo Master/Master Adapter


CARDBOARD/5 (CB/5) cartridge port expander

I saw one of these sticking out of Leif Bloomquist's machine at SWRAP 2004, and I knew I had to have one; the design is straight out of first-generation Star Trek! I found the advertising blurb on the 'net, but I don't remember where. DLH has scanned the docs. The diagram with the switch settings is on page 8.

The CSM Program Protection Manual (vol. II) also explains how to use the CB/5 and its toggle switches to make cartridge dumps (starting on page 161).

CardBoard/5


Five Slot Expansion Interface for the C-64

The CARDBOARD/5 (CB/5) is an enclosed five slot, fully switch selectable, expansion interface for the Commodore 64. The quality product allows the user to switch select any cartridge slot or combination of cartridge slots. There are twenty-two color coded light emitting diodes to give the status indication. Each slot has for LEDs and two toggle switches for indication and control. The two amber LEDs indicate the status (or or off) that the cartridge in that slot is requesting on the EXROM and GAMEROM lines. If the user wishes to honor this request, then one of the toggle switches must be turned on. This will light the green LED showing that the request is being honored. The two master status amber LEDs at the rear of the board will show the cumulative status on all slots selected. The second toggle switch at each slot enables power to the cartridge and the fourth (red) LED indicates power on condition. This allows the user supply power to a cartridge without allowing to auto-start or otherwise affect other operations. Additionally, there are two master toggle switches that allow the user to manually override any situation and set the lines as desired. The CARDBOARD/5 is fully fused and a reset button is provided.

Some of the feature of the CARDBOARD/5 are:

  • high quality glass/epoxy circuit board
  • gold plated contacts
  • logic lines are switched by solid state IC switches
  • full LED status indication
  • convenient toggle switches
  • full support under the board to prevent flexing
  • full plastic enclosure to ensure safety
  • fused to protect your computer
  • convenient reset button
CardBoard/5 open


Indus GT floppy drive

The Indus GT was made for Atari, Apple, and Commodore computers. Their over-the-top advertising proclaimed "What you get if you cross a Commodore 64 with a Ferrari... Most of all, you get luxury. From the sleek lines of its soundproofed chassis to the responsive AccuTouch™ controls at the Indus CommandPost™. From the LED display that keeps you in control of your Commodore to the air-piston operated dust cover that protects your disks and drive..." Flashy ad copy aside, the drive (which was advertised as 400% faster than Commodore's) is both beautiful and functional. Some of its more interesting features include:

  • front panel LED display can show track number, error code, or device number; device number can be "soft-wired" from panel
  • the drive spins up as soon as you insert a diskette (to insure more accurate positioning when the handle is locked)
  • there is an internal "ROM drive" with utility commands on it that can be addressed as drive 1:
It truly is a Ferrari among floppy drives. Here are a PDF scan of the manual (33MB) and a D64 image of its utility disk.

Indus GT #1
Front view showing LED display.
Indus GT #2
With the "built-in smoked plexiglass dust cover" closed.
Indus GT #3
Rear view. The auxiliary ports were not implemented.


Excelerator Plus floppy drive

Excelerator Plus The Excelerator Plus is a very compatible drive in a small form factor, although it's surprisingly heavy. This one has been kitted out with JiffyDOS (there's a toggle switch on the back). Joe Palumbo (JPPBM) still sells these.


Enhancer 2000 floppy drive

Enhancer 2000 The Enhancer 2000 is a nice drive, but not entirely compatible (fast loaders tend to fail).

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