The other direction, that is connecting a C64 to PC and simulating a floppy drive on the PC, is also possible in principle with some of the cables and appropriate software (see 64HDD and 1541EMU). But because of the timing difficulties (the PC must react within microseconds) this is somewhat delicate and not possible using modern non-realtime multitasking operating systems.
The cables are alternatives to modern replacements for disk drives like the 1541 Ultimate or the SD2IEC, which are much more comfortable for day-to-day work on the C64, but also more expensive and more elaborate in construction compared to the more simple cable adapaters.
These adapters, which need to be connected to the parallel (printer, LPT) port of the PC, need a genuine parallel port as seen on older PCs. Using e.g. a USB-LPT-adapter instead is not possible. Even PCI cards with USB ports rarely work, at least under Windows (details here and here ).
The first cable of the series. It needs to be connected to the parallel port of a PC. It's quite old and only works with fairly old PCs (about up to when the Pentium CPU was standard). The parallel port should, BIOS permitting, be switched to SPP or PS/2. EPP/ECP doesn't work with this adapter. Old, not recommended.
In contrast to the X1541, the XE1541 is also compatible to most of the newer parallel ports. No more than one device should be connected when using this cable, adding additional devices will lead to problems with high probability. Old, not recommended.
The XM1541 is similar to the XE1541 in principle, but allows using interrupts on the PC instead of polling. No more than one device should be connected when using this cable, adding additional devices will lead to problems with high probability. Not as widely compatible as a XA1541, but still recommended.
The XA1541 uses transistors instead of diodes as in the XM1541, and should work with all parallel ports. Recommended.
The XA1541F is a variant of the XA1541 but otherwise compatible. It uses cost-efficient and widely avaiabled FETs (BS170) in place of the difficult to get bipolar transistors of the XA1541. Especially recommended.
XU1541 / USB2IEC
- Homepage for the XU1541
The XS1541 connect to a serial port or USB to the PC, and supports both the IEEE-488 and the serial bus of the C64 on the Commodore side. Also supported are the 1571/1581 burst mode and the parallel Speed-DOS adapter. In contrast to the other cables of the X1541 series, there's no need for special software to communicate with the floppy. Instead, the Microcontroller of the adapter deals with the bus communication, while on the PC side a terminal-program as used for modems is sufficient. Via the terminal program, commands for the XS1541 can be entered and files can be downloaded.
Parallel cables must be used additionally to a serial cable.
The XH1541 serves as an addition to the X1541 cable and allows higher transfer speeds.
The XP1541 serves as an addition to the X/XE/XM/XA1541 cables.
XUM1541 / ZoomFloppy
The XUM1541 adapter (Homepage) is an extended variant of the XU1541 adapters (s.a.) that also supports parallel cables. RETRO Innovations offers this piece of hardware under the name ZoomFloppy. There's also a teensy based variant you can build yourself.
Software for the cables
- OpenCBM - controls a floppy, Windows and Linux, command line, XM1541/XA1541/XA1541F/XU1541
- Star Commander - controls a floppy, DOS (resp. Windows DOS-Box), more comfortable GUI, alle simple cables
- PRG Mover - Windows XP frontend for various data transfer programs, especially OpenCBM.
- GUI4CBM4WIN Frontend for the command line tools of OpenCBM
- CBMXFer Worthwhile successor of the GUI4CBM4WIN.