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Old 14 January 2021, 22:43   #1
Cubemon
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Rare old C64 disk drive controller and drive

I'm in the process of downsizing aka. getting rid of old crap, and I ran into this pair of devices I got from a friend back in the 90s.



And here is the back:



I used this as my primary C64 disk drive for a while in the early 2000s, until I figured out how to use an old laptop as a drive with a X1541 cable and 64HDD.

The J3 connector is for power, SERIAL is for connecting to the C64 and BUS would be for daisy-chaining other devices, I guess. The J1 and J2 connectors are for the disk drive(s).

It wasn't 100% 1541 compatible, but ran enough of the copied games I had on disks (also inherited from friends, when they got rid of their c64 stuff).

I don't know anything about either of the devices. The drive doesn't have any markings besides those on the back, but the drive mechanism says Chinon.

Taihaho apparently made C64 accessories. Googling finds mentions of a Taihaho modem interface, a casette unit and a disk notcher. Not a single mention of a "lynker disk drive controller interface" (besides my own), so I figured this was worth documenting before I get rid of it.

Sadly the disk drive died when I tried it out tonight. It turned on normally and started searching when I gave it a LOAD"$",8, but never found anything. When I went through the switches thinking they had oxidized or were in the wrong position, the Commodore/Apple -switch came apart, and even after putting it back together, the drive is dead.

I don't know how common these kind of separate disk drive controllers were for the C64, since I've only seen the usual 1541 variants, and the clones tend to be single packaged as well.

Is the controller worth keeping (as in giving it to someone who appreciates or uses it) or should I just give it a respectful veteran's burial?
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Old 15 January 2021, 22:43   #2
gdunlapsd
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I've never heard of that - looks very unique and rare - please don't bin it!
Maybe post it to the Lemon 64 site, or contact a knowledgable Youtuber like 8-bit-show-and-tell, Perifractic, Jan Beta, or 8-bit guy.
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Old 16 January 2021, 03:12   #3
LoadWB
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I am sitting here jaw agape. I like interfaces what convert between interface types. I would love to see what is inside that thing and know how it works.
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Old 16 January 2021, 21:22   #4
Cubemon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdunlapsd View Post
I've never heard of that - looks very unique and rare - please don't bin it!
Maybe post it to the Lemon 64 site, or contact a knowledgable Youtuber like 8-bit-show-and-tell, Perifractic, Jan Beta, or 8-bit guy.
I was going to make this post on Lemon64, but either my account has been deactivated or I can't remember the password. So for a lazy man it was an easy decision to post here, knowing there's some overlap between the audiences.

It's good to know there's at least someone who's interested!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoadWB
I am sitting here jaw agape. I like interfaces what convert between interface types. I would love to see what is inside that thing and know how it works.
I'd be more than happy to open that thing up and take some pics and perhaps scan the circuit board. It's actually pretty amazing I haven't ever taken it apart in all these years. Almost every other device has had the honor!
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Old 16 January 2021, 21:54   #5
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Here are the pics, I used Imgur to make things a bit easier...

https://imgur.com/a/D0epFJK

I suppose there's no way to embed an Imgur album or something?

Oh well, I guess I can attach them as well.
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Old 16 January 2021, 23:28   #6
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Pretty cool. How does the inside of the drive look? It seems maybe the unit converts between Commodore IEC serial and an Apple-a-like floppy drive interface. Are you really wanting to get rid of this? Where are you and what would you want for it?
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Old 17 January 2021, 13:15   #7
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I've attached a picture of the drive. There's a text on the metal parts that says CHINON.

I'm in northern Europe and the postage fees are a bit crazy. From what I can tell, the smallest size package to the US costs 45 EUR (about 55 USD). Also these days post offices are few and far between, so I would have to go out of my way to visit one.

But I'll think about it, it would be absolutely wonderful if this rare piece of computing history could find its way somewhere it would be appreciated.
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Old 17 January 2021, 21:26   #8
Macca
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As others have said please don't bin it.

I collect C64 stuff and I'd love any retro stuff I could get my hands on (I'm still looking for a C128 as well but that's another story) but I'm in the UK so postage to there is probably not cheap.


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Old 19 January 2021, 01:26   #9
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It would be shame for this to get tossed out. This is a very unique piece of equipment. Someone put some serious thought into the design and, given your story, it worked out quite well. If someone closer to you cannot take it, please drop me a PM and see if we can work something out.
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Old 21 January 2021, 14:20   #10
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Sweet Jesus this is a rare piece of kit. DO NOT BIN IT. "It belongs in a museum!".

Either donate it to a museum, or pass if off to a youtuber that can use it for views to try to repair/explore it with the agreement that it will then go to a museum afterwards. Someone like JanBeta or Adrian's Digital Basement. (Probably JanBeta since ADB, while making very good videos, makes more mistakes in repairs)
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Old 21 January 2021, 17:18   #11
Cubemon
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Ok, ok, don't worry everybody, I'm not going to bin it! I've held on to it for like 25 years, what's another 10 years more...

I'm still mulling over my options. Sending it anywhere requires careful packaging and there's still a risk the 30-something year old plastic breaks.

There's unfortunately my financial situation, where using 50 EUR for a thing like this won't (probably) bankrupt me, but it's a decent chunk off my monthly income at the moment.

But I do promise to get this thing out there somewhere, somehow! It would be great if it ended up on a Youtuber's channel, so that more people could become aware of this thing existing.

I'm glad I atleast posted this thing here, so that there's already somekind of a record. I'm not exactly sure what or how much more people would want to know about this rare combo, but I guess that's where the retro video/blog/wiki enthusiasts come along!
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Old 21 January 2021, 18:34   #12
Dragster
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Glad you are not going to bin it! I've never seen that before so it's probably rare. Hope you can give it to a YouTube for them to check/fix/review it.

Cheers,
D.
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Old 22 January 2021, 07:07   #13
AmigaHope
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I wish there were 8-bit commodore resources as good as Amiga Hardware Database/Big Book of Amiga Hardware.
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