Commodore 64 SDrive Reviews

After the Commodore 64 WinVICE emulator became popular with desktop computers, a plan was in motion to create devices that allowed the ability to save copies of programs in D64 (disk image) format to a personal Commodore 64 computer. Many of these utilized the ability to save the information on an SD card.

There were several devices that were created to accomplish this.

SD2IEC SD drive

The SD2IEC allows you to save disk images to and SD card. It is contained in a case that is about cartridge size and can take any SD card to load in D64 images. It also contains a built in menu. It is not completely compatible with the Commodore 64 1541 disk drive. However, it does work with just about every fast loader cartridge. A file browser is built into the device. This will show you the contents of directories and allow you to run files and games with the menu.

1541 Ultimate II Plus

This is a cartridge for the Commodore 64. There are 4 cartridge activity lights that manage a virtual 1541 floppy drive, tracking errors, checks for a cartridge inserted, and the other lights control activity with the cartridge internal operations. It contains 3 USB ports on the side (2 USB type A and one micro USB). They can be used for external plug in USB components. An Ethernet port is included with the newer models that is likely used with Telenet software for the Commodore 64.

The flip side contains the virtual 1541 IEC port that plugs into a 1541 floppy drive. Another USB port exists that can be used with USB devices. Yet it’s primary purpose is used with the cartridge adapter, which is used to record files. Next to this are audio input/output ports, which is probably used for SID playback.

On the top is a freezer button that loads a menu that allows disk writing to memory, contains a built in machine language monitor, and so on. The middle button controls the menu for the device. The reset button is controlled on the right, which allows the Commodore 64 to enter reset mode.

The unit menus allow you to configure memory, perform a normal reset, access utilities, and install a fastload device. The main menu (via clicking the middle button on the top of the unit), brings up the option screen for the Ultimate II Plus. The disk drive can be accessed to load the contents within. It can be navigated with the cursor keys. The function keys move up and down through the menu, provide help options, configuration (such as setting the time), and contains an action menu.

Zoomfloppy SD Drive

Another Commodore 64 SDrive was called the Zoomfloppy. It was created in 2010 by Nate Lawson a company known as RETRO Innovations. It uses a software called CBMXfer that is used to manage the disk image files. The left area contains the files found on your desktop computer and the right window shows the files contained on the user’s Commodore 64 disk drive that are accessible to be transfered. In the center are arrow images that allow you to transfer files back and forth from each device.

Commodore 64 1564 SDrive

Here is yet another excellent SD drive for the Commodore 64. I have my own unit purchased through eBay from a Hungary manufacturer. This device allows you to load disk images into memory and save them also. It is controlled by plugging it into an IEC port and the other end into the SDrive 1564. It contains an LED panel that allows you to see the activity of the drive. It is contained inside a sturdy plastic case.

Loading images into memory

To load a disk image into memory, ensure that the unit is connected to your Commodore 64 personal computer before powering it on. It also contains an on/off switch on the rear. There is also an IEC plug in area, a slot for the power supply, and a section where you can set the appropriate dip switch. It saves data on a standard SD card. I haven’t yet found any incompatibility with this unit. After the Commodore 64 start up screen appears, you can enter the command LOAD “$”, 10 (device chosen for mine) to load a disk image into memory. The drive will thump, the led light will appear, and you will see the LED display the file that is being loaded into memory.