The 1541 was the main disk drive of the Commodore lineup of computers. Measuring about 2 feet in length, this baby took 5-1/4" Disks and read 'em like a sloth riding a comatose snail.

That's when computers were made from the heart.

The Commodore 1541 disk drive was also famous for getting so hot you could fry eggs on it. It also had interesting features like a complete 6502 computer subsystem, that could be programmed to do all kinds of weird stuff and deep magick, like play music by knocking the head against Track 0 (see Disk Drive Breakdown), copy diskettes without computer intervention, and compute pi while you play Barbarian.

"When programming late, coffee and kebab keep nicely warm on top of 1541." (a tip from MikroBITTI 5/1989).

1541 was a really really cool disk drive, but same cannot be said in the literal sense. In Finland, it was known as "toaster". The internal power source was main source of that heat. The newer 1541-II model was for l8mrz, because it kept a lot less noise and it had an external power source. Real Hackers used the good ol' 1541.

But on the good side, 1541 was a really really smart disk drive. It had a 6502 CPU of its own, and even 2 kilobytes of RAM! So, Commodore 64 could multitask, at least with disk operations.

Personally, I haven't seen or heard the music stuff and other deep magic mentioned, but I do remember one program from C=-lehti: 1541's red LED (the "busy" LED) was not simply an on/off thing, it had 256 states. The program in the magazine blinked the led once very slowly. Übercool.

The Commodore 1541 and 1541-II Floppy Disk drives can also be used with current PC's with minor modifications to the serial cable and a well-hacked-up enabler utility. An excellent way to make use of your 1541 based files is Star Commander. It provides an excellent image system.

The drive was amazingly easy to re-align, should the repetitive knocks against the head-stop caused by copy-protected software skew its alignment. Also, the bit-for-bit stand-alone copy was a favorite feature of mine, as I could start two drives on a nibble copy, disconnect them, connect another drive to keep working on something else, and they could continue copying (I can't remember how this was achieved, though.)

Sidenote: the vent slits on the top of the case of some 1541's were placed just right so that slightly dragging your hand over them (perpendicular to the direction of the slits) produced a really cool, eerie screeching sound. The pitch could be controlled by the amount of pressure from your hand and was also changed depending on the amount of heat that was dissipating through the case at the time.
The Commodore 1541 floppy Disk Drive (Single-sided Double-density 5 1/4" disk) was the essential component of any proud Commodore owner. Predecessor to the 1571 (Double-sided double-density 5 1/4" drive) and the 1581 (Double-sided double-density 3 1/2" drive).

What made these drives unique in the home computing world of the 1980's was the fact that since Commodore's line of home computers did not have a native Disk Operating System on board due to memory limits, the DOS was installed on the firmware of the drives.

Connected to the Commodore via a 6-pin DIN serial connector, one had to type commands to load off the drive like so:


LOAD = LOAD to memory; "JUMPMAN" = name of program to LOAD; ,8 = the first disk-drive on the serial chain (,9 being the second disk-drive); ,1 = LOAD as Machine Language

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.