Commodore and Raspberry Pi, a perfect match

RPI_thumbLast month the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced that the one millionth Pi had been manufactured.
One million, that is still a long way to go before it can dethrone the Commodore 64 as the best selling computer of all time, but it’s moving in the right direction and, just like its 30 year older ancestor, it shares the similar philosophy: “computers for the masses, not the classes”.
Aimed at schools to teach the basics of computing and electronics, it has also found a strong user base in the retro community, where the little credit-card sized computer of only $35 provides a great basis for some nifty retro projects.

It will come as no surprise, that many of these retro projects revolve around the Commodore 64, effectively bridging the 30 year gap between these two all-in-one computers.
I’ve tried to compile a small overview of some of the current types of projects that use these two systems in one way or another.  If you’ve heard of other C64-Pi projects, then let me know, I’d love to learn more about them.

Using the Raspberry Pi as a Commodore disk drive
Chris Osborn has been doing some great work on transforming the Pi as a 1541 drive.
It connects to the Commodore over the IEC serial bus and is connected directly to the GPIO.  He wrote a Linux Kernel Module which handles the GPIO interrupts and timing and takes care of the protocol.
It’s a great project, so check it out on his site, Google+ or Twitter feed.

RPI_1(c) Chris Osborn

Using the Raspberry Pi as a USB gamepad interface
Chris didn’t just do the 1541 drive project.  He also utilized the Pi as a joystick interface so he could use a USB gamepad to play his favorite games instead of the old school joysticks.
Another great demonstration of the capabilities of the little Pi and more info on his site right here.

RPI_2(c) Chris Osborn

Using the Raspberry Pi to service a native Commodore OS
Scott Hunter currently has a project called Commodore Pi, which aims at porting the comeback64 emulator to a bare metal build for the Raspberry Pi. It’s still work in progress, but it’s getting there.
A video showing the current state can be found here.
Scott’s hoping to complete this as a fully functional bare metal emulation of the C64, with an instant on (just like the trusty breadbox) and is looking for anyone able to help bring this project to fruition, so check out his site and get in touch with him.

RPI_3(c) Scott Hunter

The Raspberry Pi as the ultimate retro emulator
Why stop with just one system to emulate, Carles Oriol must have thought when he created the RPI Chameleon. With his project, the Raspberry Pi lets you run emulators for a whole batch of ancient hardware, including the IBM Personal Computer, Atari 2600, Apple II, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Oric-1 and much more.
It can even run MAME, the arcade emulator, and you can add additional emulators to its menu too by simply downloading a torrent of the required image directly from the Chameleon website.

RPI_4(c) Carles Oriol

A Raspberry Pi in a C64 case
Why not apply a finishing touch to the abovementioned projects by putting the Pi into a C64 case? Impossible? Think again, as StiGGy has put together a great “how-to” on how to get that little wonder inside that old wonder’s case.
And whilst you’re on his site, make sure to check out his other great articles, I can highly recommend them!

RPI_5(c) StiGGy

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4 Responses to Commodore and Raspberry Pi, a perfect match

  1. Great post. I love the concept of the Raspberry Pi (although I’m not talented enough to do anything with it), and it’s neat to see how it’s being applied to the old C64.

  2. Great blog post — I love what people are doing with the Pi, especially (but not just limited to) Commodore-related projects.

    Did you happen to see my 1541 Pi case my friend made for me?

  3. Pingback: Retro in 2013 | MOS 6502

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