Introduction to the 1541 Ultimate Project
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What is it?
The '1541 Ultimate' is a storage solution for your Commodore home computer, such as the C64, C128, C plus4, C16, etc. This piece of hardware implements a 'real' 1541 diskdrive for Commodore computers. There are two versions of this board; the 1541 Ultimate-I and the 1541 Ultimate-II. The 1541 Ultimate-I uses an SD-card or MMC-card to store the floppy disks, while the 1541 Ultimate-II uses MicroSD and USB pen-drives. Both the 1541 Ultimate-I and the 1541 Ultimate-II contain a replica of all the necessary hardware to be fully compatible with a real drive.
The '1541 Ultimate-I' can be used as a cartridge in the C64/C128, or as a stand-alone unit for use with other Commodore models with a serial bus. In cartridge mode, the user can view the SD-card content with just a simple push on one of the buttons, and 'mount' .d64 images into the floppy drive. In stand-alone mode, the user can use the buttons to navigate through the directories, or send IEC commands to a secondary device on the bus. This secondary device also allows saving and loading files to the FAT file system directly, but is not as compatible as the 1541 drive.
Currently, the stand-alone mode is not yet supported on the 1541 Ultimate-II, and can therefore only be used as cartridge on the C64/C128. This will be a matter of time; stand alone mode is planned for the 1541 Ultimate-II as well.
The '1541 Ultimate' once started as a personal hobby project, that has grown into a mature device that can be very useful for current Commodore users. It enables the user to copy real 5.25" floppy disks onto a flash storage device, and run them from there, without the C64 knowing that it is not a real drive it is talking to. Floppy disks are prone to aging, and many floppies are on the verge of getting unreadable. So in the context of the greater "Preservation Project" that is carried out by Commodore enthousiasts, the '1541 Ultimate' can do a lot of useful work.
In January 2009, Gideon's Logic Architectures was founded; a single-person company officially registered with the chamber of commerce in the Netherlands. This was necessary to correctly handle tax issues. Since this date, hundreds of 1541 Ultimates have been produced and shipped.
I would like to make the '1541 Ultimate' hardware available for all Commodore enthousiasts, especially because this piece of hardware is very powerful and can potentially do a lot more than 'just' implementing a replacement for the 1541 drive. I hope that people can understand that although this board has been made with a lot of care and enthusiasm, it is still a hobby project and not an official retail product. Being a one-person company means that it is sometimes hard to attend to all E-mails and questions at the forum.