FAQ - IDE64 ATA / ATAPI interface cartridge

1. Basic information

2. Hardware

3. Software

1.0 Why IDE harddrive?

The idea of connecting a harddrive to Commodore 64 was born in 1994. We wanted to create a low-priced solution using a modern technology. The other known systems used either SCSI harddrives, which were (and still are) more expensive than the IDE ones, or MFM harddrives, which were slow and obsolete and moreover needed special controller to connect. IDE drives, which we decided to use, are fast, easy to programm and rather cheap.

1.1 About project beginnings

First experiments began in 1994. The controller was built using standard TTL chips, but we were thinking about using GALs. Then we discovered the ispLSI chips and the design shrinked down to mere two chips (except of the EPROM, RAM and realtime clock). The hardware was developed by Tomas Pribyl together with Jan Vorlicek. The software part was created by Josef Soucek, Tomas Pribyl and currently improved by Kajtar Zsolt.

1.2 To which types of Commodore computers can the IDE64 be connected?

At the moment, the IDE64 can be connected to Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 in C64 mode.

1.3 And what about the transfer rate?

The transfer rate of the IDE harddrive is about 150 times the rate of the floppy drive 1541. For example, loading a 25 Kb long file from floppy takes about 65 sec, from the harddrive it is shorter than a half second. The read transfer can reach up to 70 Kb/s (with IRQ and screen on), writing is little bit faster. The presented results are with modern fast IDE harddrive

1.4 Which programs work with the IDE64?

From the IDE harddrive, you can load any program which access the floppy or tape by standard way (using kernal call). And it is not hard to patch incompatible programs (custom loader, serial specific code) to work with the cartridge, there are countless examples on the IDE64 warez site.

1.5 Where can I get programs for my IDE64?

From the IDE64 warez site (http://singularcrew.hu/ide64warez/) or from our download page.

1.6 Will GEOS/Wheels, Lunix, JOS work with IDE64?

• GEOS - IDE64 driver is available. Not sure about Wheels.
• Lunix - IDE64 driver is available.
• JOS/Wings - contains full IDE64 support. Currently only for the old filesystem.

2.0 What does the IDE64 interface look like, what does it contain?

The IDE64 V4.1 interface is a cartridge of size 116 x 73 mm. It's plugged into the expansion port. It is built of 128 KiB ROM, 28 KiB RAM, a realtime clockchip backed by battery, ispLSI PLD, Short BUS for external peripheral devices, a reset button, 4 LED diodes showing harddisk activity and cartridge state. The devices are connected to the cartridge via standard IDE cable, and there's a socket for on newer cartridges for CompactFlash.

2.1 Which IDE devices can be connected to the IDE64?

Any harddisk up to 128 GiB. If you connect a larger drive, only first 128 GiB of the drive capacity can be used. Two drives can be connected to this controller.
IDE64 card fully supports ATAPI CD-ROM and DVD drives. The ISO9660 filesystem with Joilet extension is of course supported.
Compact Flash storage card can be plugged directly into IDE64 V3.4 and higher, for older versions an adapter is required.
LS-120 and ZiP floppy drives are also fully supported, it can read FAT formatted disk too.

2.2 Which devices can share the expansion port with IDE64?

Only devices, which do not use I/O adresses used by the IDE controller and do not change signals /EXROM and /GAME. Addresses used by the controller:

$de20-$de37 – registers of the controller
$de5f – register of the real-time clock
$de60-$deff – adresses used by the software

Current version of the IDE64 controller does not contain pass-through expansion slot, use SHORTBUS for connecting external devices. It's not possible to use Action Replay, Final, and game cartridges together with IDE64.

2.3 Will this IDE64 controller work in the US (on NTSC)?

Yes, it works.

2.4 Will IDE64 controller work on the C=128?

Running IDE64 on the C=128 is not supported. It should work, but only in C64 mode. We are not planing to port IDE64 to C128.

2.5 Will IDE64 controller work with my SuperCPU?

Yes, there's a version of the IDEDOS specially designed for SuperCPU. If you take an 'non SuperCPU IDE64', the only thing you have to do to get it working with SuperCPU is to reprogram the PEROM with the 'SCPU firmware'.

3.0 What is the format of the filesystem on our IDE harddrive?

The IDEDOS created for the IDE64 interface, is similar to DOS for the 1541 floppy drive. Except this, you can create subdirectories without number or capacity restrictions (only capacity of the harddrive is the limit).

3.1 How many files are allowed in one directory?

Maximum number of files in a directory is 1024. (Manager can only display 510 files)

3.2 What is the largest file which can be stored on the IDE harddrive?

The largest file is limited to 4 GiB.

3.3 Are there any BASIC extensions?

Basic was extended by these new commands:
CD – changes working directory
CDCLOSE – closes cdrom's tray
CDOPEN – opens cdrom's tray
CHANGE – change device number
DATE – print date and time from a device
DEF – define function key
DIR – dir C64 format
HDINIT - initializes devices connected to the cartridge
INIT – clears memory and performs a reset
KILL – turns off the cartridge
LL – dir in 'UNIX' format
LOAD – extended syntax
MAN – starts manager
MKDIR – create directory
RM – delete a file
RMDIR – removes directory
SAVE – extended syntax
SYS – extended syntax
VERIFY – extended syntax

3.4 What about DOS wedge?

The DOS wedge of IDEDOS supports the following commands:
@ – display errors
@# – change drive
@$ – directory
/ – load program
% – load machine language program
´ – verify program
– load and run program
– save program
£ – load machine language program and execute
. – enter directory
# – shell

3.5 Function keys?

Yes, there are, you can also redefine them to your needs. There's also support for the extra keys of C128 (eg. numeric keypad, arrows, etc.)

3.6 Is there a machine code monitor?

There's also a nice machine code monitor included for debugging programs. For detailed information read the IDE64 user's guide.

3.7 How do I copy files?

Filemanager is the utility contained in ROM, you can copy files, make directories etc. - it is 'very' similar to the Norton Commander. For detailed information read the IDE64 user's guide.

3.8 Is it possible to upgrade IDEDOS in my IDE64?

Yes. You can download newer IDEDOSs from this page, and upgrade your IDEDOS using the imagefile and "Perom programmer" which is also available on this site. It's easy to do, and does not require any special knowledge.

3.9 I've found some nice bugs, and have some ideas to make IDE64 better. What should I do?

Please contact us and tell about it.

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