C64 WiFi Modem

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Flack
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C64 WiFi Modem

Post by Flack »

Last night I felt like a kid again for the first time in a long time.

On of my podcast's sponsors (Retro Rewind) recently mailed me a "goodie package" that contained several items they sell, one of which was a wireless modem for the Commodore 64. Last night I got an opportunity to dig it out and play with it.

The Commodore 64 BBS scene is thriving. There are dozens (hundreds?) of Commodore-centric BBSes online today, connected to the internet. Like any telnet BBS you can connect to them using the most basic of applications (Putty), but to experience the Commodore's colorful PETSCII graphics, you'll need a terminal program written with the Commodore in mind. You can do this on your PC, but something about the experience seems... unauthentic.

Some C64 emulators support TCP/IP, and the C64 Ultimate comes with an ethernet port build-in, but getting a vintage C64 connected to the internet is a bit trickier, and most of the solutions available are expensive and wired. Desk real estate is at a premium these days, so my C64 has been relegated to the other side of the room, which doesn't make running a network cable to it particularly convenient.

The C64 WiFi modem is kind of an all in one solution. The modem plugs in to an original Commodore computer, and... that's it. From there, you'll need a terminal program that's been modified to connect to IP addresses rather than phone numbers, but there are several free ones to choose from. While in the terminal I had to enter a few new Hayes-esque commands to configure my modem to connect to my wireless router, set a new default baud rate, and save the configuration. There's something oddly exciting about getting an IP address from DHCP on your computer from 1983.

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A few minutes after that I was connected to one of my favorite BBSes in Canada (no long distance charges these days!), downloading a couple of games. The 1541 Ultimate allows me to save games to a USB stick so that I can move them to my PC, or I could just as easily save them to a floppy disk. I don't know how practical all of this is in 2021 (actually I do), but it sure is fun. I spent a lot of the 80s and 90s hanging out on BBSes, and doing so again from a real C64 provided a rush of nostalgia and excitement.

(I won't post the link because it feels spammy, but if anyone has an interest in picking one of these modems up, I have a 10% off code.)
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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AArdvark
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Re: C64 WiFi Modem

Post by AArdvark »

Man that looks cool. It's times like this that make me regret tossing my C64.

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: C64 WiFi Modem

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Please don't ever feel you are being spammy. We like your stuff. I'd love a link.

One thing that always bugged me was this culture Reddit has - they were shameless in getting people to host their communities on Reddit and then all the little shitmods put up "rules" where you if you then tried to ever link back to the communities that existed before Reddit did, well, that's a bannable offense. Slimebags, all. ALL.

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the dark and gritty...Ice Cream Jonsey!

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Flack
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Re: C64 WiFi Modem

Post by Flack »

The link is RetroRewind.ca/spritecastle

If you use that link (with my podcast name on the end), you automatically get a 10% discount.

Working on this project reminded me of how complicated some of this stuff is. I've decided to build a wiki for using the C64. I looked around and found a few, but some were too detailed and some weren't detailed enough. I'm building some categories and articles for those categories. Also I should have went to bed 3 hours ago.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Flack
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Re: C64 WiFi Modem

Post by Flack »

ICJ, I spent a little time this week figuring out how to get the modem working on the C64 core on the MiSTer.

STEP ONE

On the first screen of the core:
- open Hardware
--- change User Port to UART

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STEP TWO

On the second screen of the core:
- click on UART Mode
--- change mode to MODEM
--- confirm link is TCP and baud is 2400
--- hit SAVE

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From there, you'll need a term program that supprots telnet on the C64. I'm using CCGMS 2021.
Link: https://csdb.dk/release/?id=198392

Load that term, hit F7, and make sure the modem type is set to "user port 300-2400" and the baud rate is set to 2400.

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From there you can either put numbers in the phone book or just dial them manually from the terminal screen. Type "atdt" followed by the web address, a colon, and the port. No spaces in any of it. PS: Yes there is a typo in the name there. I had to do it twice but only got a screenshot the first time.

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This looks garbled because I didn't switch it over to ASCII mode first, but once you do that everything should look fine (but in 40 columns of course).

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"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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AArdvark
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Re: C64 WiFi Modem

Post by AArdvark »

Wow, CCGMS still plugging away. I used that program constantly back in the day.

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