HOW TO TRANSFER SOFTWARE FROM WINDOWS TO COMMODORE PET/CBM

 

What this guide is intended for:

Connect a Commodore C2N datassette to a PC in order to save on tape the PET software you can get from the web and use it later with your REAL Commodore PET/CBM. It should apply to all the PET gamma, like PET 2001, 30xx, 40xx 80xx, etc.; I suppose it will work fine for VIC-20 too (and C=64, if you will use the right option in the software, but I didn’t test it yet, so I can’t confirm).

What you need:

-          A computer with a parallel (LPT) port, an USB port and Windows (9x, XP, maybe Vista or Seven but I haven’t checked it yet)

-          A Commodore PET/CBM (optional, just to use the software you saved on tape!)

-          A datassette C2N (i.e. the model 1530) or compatible.

-          A little PCB, dual face (copper on both faces).

-          A five wires cable

-          An USB cable.

-          An LPT connector complete with housing.

-          An iron solder

-          Some soldering skills

-          Some software.

Note: if you are running on a very old PC and you haven’t an USB port, you can take the +5V from the gameport. Just google the gameport pinout.

 

You can download this package with all the software you need or get the latest release (if any) from the developer’s sites (see later).

Here you can find a collection of PET games I made for you: pet_games.zip  - It includes more than 350 games in PRG format for both 40 and 80 columns. I also included a TAP file I made using this instructions. It surely works (I successfully passed it to tape); you can use it to make some tests in case of something’s wrong.

 

Build the cable

 

(Disclaimer: you’re supposed to be able to make your own cable simply looking at the schematics below. I’m going to give you some advises, but it isn’t a dummy “how-to” tutorial).

cable LPT - C2N

 

First of all, you have to build the cable. This is quite simple, but you need to make a little board that will act as connector for the datassette. This little board will be equal to the Commodore PET connector on the datassette port.

 

Take (buy in an electronic store) a little piece of bachelite, fiberglass or phenolite board for PCB. Then cut a little strip that will fit exactly the datassette connector. With a saw make the cut that will fit the connector plastic guide.

 

Using a marker, carefully mark on the pcb where the datassette connector foils touch the copper. Now you have two options: use the ferric chloride to corrode the copper (in this case you need to paint the traces with the marker: the ferric chloride will “eat” the copper not covered by ink) or simply cut the copper with a knife in order to get some separate traces  (you can make two parallel cuts, very close one to another, and then remove the thin copper strips with the knife or a sharp screwdriver). Of course the ferric chloride is the right way, but maybe you haven’t it and don’t want to buy it for this PCB only. Use your imagination! You find the ferric chloride in almost every electronic store. It’s safe and easy to use, google it to know more about it.

 

Since a picture is better that thousand words, this is more or less the result you should achieve:

 

You will solder wires here:

     V   V    V    V    V    V

tape

 

Now take your iron solder and build the cable using the above schematics. You need to cut the USB cable (keeping the PC-side connector), keeping red and black wires and cutting the others; it will be the source power for the datassette motor. You can use whatever USB spare cable you have at home.

 

 

Create the TAP files

(you can skip this paragraph if you already have the programs in TAP format)

 

Get the latest version of WAVPRG (google it or download the complete package from the above link) and install it as usual. Open the install folder and run WAVPRG.EXE. Choose the second option, “Convert a PRG, P00 or t64 file to a sound or TAP or WAV” and click OK.

 

On the next window set all the parameters as showed and click OK.

 

From the next window choose the program / game you want to export to tape for your PET:

 

NOTE: you have here -and here only- the chance to assign the program name that will be stored on tape. This is little tricky: you need to write the name into the “C64 name” text box at the end of this window, but it doesn’t accept anything. This is because it has a fixed size and it’s already fit with spaces. The easiest thing you can do is to select the whole folder as above shown (i.e. right click -> “select all”) and then write the program name. USE CAPITAL LETTERS!!!

 

The “kingarthur.prg” game will be now displayed in the usual Commodore way:

 

FOUND KING ARTHUR

LOADING

 

You don’t need to be worried about the length name, since “C64 name” box won’t accept more characters than allowed in the CBM syntax.

 

Now click the “Open” button and you will be redirected to the “Save” window:

Just digit the TAP file name. Leave the TAP version as “Version 1”.

We’ve done on the Windows side. Time to swap to Ms-Dos!

 

 

Saving on tape

 

You need a *pure* MS-DOS environment. Next phase will not work with Ms-Dos shell or DosBox. The easiest way is to make an Ms-Dos bootable pendrive. If you don’t know how to do, just google “Dos bootable pendrive” or “boot dos from usb” or similar, there’s plenty of tutorials about it.

I use another system: I got an old P3 computer with Win98se and I reserved it just for “Commodore connections” (I mean tape import/export, 1541 emulators, StarCommander, etc.). Win98se can be easily booted in Ms-Dos pure mode, that’s fine for this purpose. The LPT port is set as ECP. This way I have everything ready, always: programs, instructions, everything I need, easy to use, all documented.

 

You need to put on your pendrive the pTap.exe software, plus the TAP file(s) you want to export, of course!

Connect the Commodore datassette C2N to your cable, and the cable to LPT and USB port. Put a cassette into the datassette. Leave the datassette on idle (STOP) mode. Now run this command (I’m supposing you copied the file.tap into the same folder of ptap.exe, or ptap.exe is under path):

ptap.exe -vicpal < file.tap>

it should appear:

Press <RECORD> and <PLAY> on tape.

Of course press RECORD and PLAY! The monitor borders should start flashing with many colors like the old, familiar C=64 turbo modes. In the end you will have a program on tape that can be loaded by your beloved Commodore PET. I checked it on my Commodore 8032-SK loading two C-90 cassettes full of games without a single error!

 

NOTE: pTap can’t stop the datassette unit, so it will continue to record an empty tape even when pTap has finished to export the TAP file. If you plan to export many TAP files, you can make a .BAT batch file with a BEEP command between two pTap command; this way you’re advised you need to stop and start again the recording session (pTap will not start if the datassette is working). To add a beep in your Ms-Dos .BAT file, simply type ECHO, then keep pressed the “Alt” key and press once the “7” key on your numeric keypad. It will appear ECHO ^G  (where ^G is the ASCII 7 character).  Don’t type simply ECHO ^G, it won’t work, you need to make it by “Alt” + “7”.