Using a Commodore 1541 drive with a PC via USB

drlegendre . drlegendre at
Tue May 24 23:45:47 CDT 2016

The USB-to-1541 interface is really no different than the parport-to-1541
interfaces, other than they use different hardware-level drivers to talk to
the C= 1541.

All of the later CBM floppy drives are (as mentioned) "intelligent
peripherals". They are nothing short of computerized appliances, controlled
via the CBM IEC serial buss. Your average C= 1541 has the equivalent
compute power of a VIC-20.. but dedicated to floppy drive control and

It may, in fact, be possible - with custom ROMs - to use the 1541 for other
formats. But it's telling that no one, so far as I know, has ever managed
to create software to 'tween the various 5-1/4" floppy formats, using the
1541 transport & hardware.

On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 8:43 PM, Cameron Kaiser <spectre at>

> > A fellow has made up a nice adapter to read and write Commodore disks on
> > a PC via USB using a 1541 drive.
> >
> > The thing that jumped out at me is that this is a 5 1/4" drive that
> > reads and writes via USB.  Anyone want to comment on whether the
> > floppies it accesses would be useful other than on the C64?
> > Could one do say 360K floppies via this hardware for other than the
> > Commodore?  At least part of the work is done to do more than just
> > archival like Catweasel, et. al. do, in that it can also write.
> The X*1541 cables (this would be an xum1541) still talk to the drives at a
> relatively high level, since the 1541/71/81 family are all intelligent
> peripherals. So:
> For the 1541, which is strictly Commodore GCR, no.
> For the 1571, which can do a variety of MFM formats, maybe, but I'm not
> aware that OpenCBM supports that. On the other hand, since it's MFM, you
> could easily just use something else.
> --
> ------------------------------------ personal:
> --
>   Cameron Kaiser * Floodgap Systems * *
> ckaiser at
> -- Diamonds are forever.
> ------------------------------------------------------

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