The Commodore parallel cable is a companion cable for the Commodore serial cable and gives you an additional parallel connection between a Commodore 1541, 1570 or 1571 drive and a Commodore machine.
To be precise, there are two quasi-standard parallel cables for Commodore machines. The original Speed DOS parallel cable was designed for Commodore 1541 drives only. It has become a standard since then because this kind of parallel connection is supported by many other DOS accelerators and stand alone copy software. A conceptionally similar parallel cable is the one used by Burst Nibbler for 1570 and 1571 drives. To make things simple, both will be called a Commodore parallel cable.
You need the following hardware to make use of this cable:
A Commodore 64, 128 or VIC20 machine
A Commodore 1541, 1570 or 1571 drive
A Commodore serial cable between the drive and the machine
The cable is supported by the following Commodore software:
The DOS accelerators Dolphin DOS and Speed DOS
The disk copiers 15 Second Copy, Burst Nibbler and Maverick
This cable needs modifications in your Commodore drive. If you're not good at hardware hacking, please, don't try doing it yourself, ask for an expert's help.
This cable contains no GND connection because the serial cable already has one. Multiple GND connections may result in a "ground loop", when current is flowing between the two machines via the GND lines. This can cause not only unreliable behavior but also damage to your equipment. It may be possible to filter the GND lines so that they fulfill their primary purpose but not create a ground loop, however, such solutions may be relatively complicated and expensive.
There are several methods to build this cable.
Method 1. You want to connect the cable directly onto the periphery chip in the drive. You can find the details on how to build this cable at the construction page for 1541 drives and the construction page for 1570 and 1571 drives.
If you have successfully finished the parallel cable for your drive then you can also build the adaptor version of the XH1541 hybrid cable, the adaptor version of the XP1541 parallel cable or the XEP1541 adaptor, to use the parallel capabilities with a PC.
Method 2. You want to create a parallel port on your drive and then connect the cable to it. This is the more elegant method. You can find the details on how to build this cable at the construction page.
If you have successfully finished the parallel port on your drive then you can also build the XH1541 hybrid cable, the XP1541 parallel cable or the XEP1541 adaptor, to use the parallel capabilities with a PC.
The assembled cable for Method 2 looks like this: complete cable, user port plug at machine end, parallel plug at drive end, parallel port for drive.
These pictures should give you an overall idea on how the cable looks like and how it should be properly assembled. However, when building a cable yourself, you should not rely on the pictures only; see the construction guides instead.
If you created a parallel port on your Commodore drive then you can connect one end of the cable into it; otherwise the cable is, probably, just hanging out of the drive. Switch your Commodore machine off. Connect the user port plug onto the user port of your Commodore machine, being very careful not to do it upside down. Switch your Commodore machine back on.
Important! Do not plug or unplug cables while your equipment is switched on. Make sure that all components of your equipment are connected to the same, properly grounded power outlet. Put your equipment far away from monitors, TV sets and other devices with strong emission, otherwise cables may pick up interference and you may experience data loss or corruption. Never leave this cable connected alone, only if the serial cable is also connected, otherwise the lack of GND connection may severely damage your equipment.
The Commodore parallel cable is assumed to be public domain.
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