Project: 1541 <-> PC data transfer cable
Target : 1541, 1570/71
Time : 25 min.
Cost : <10 US$
Use : Transfer data between PC and C-64, for example data you
downloaded from internet on a PC disk, or save your old
C-64 software to PC harddisk or save it for use with an
Additionally, you can build an XP1541 cable to triple
Links: X1541 - The Idiot's Guide
Cable which connects to the PC's parallel port (SPP mode only!) and
to the serial bus jack of a 1541.
You can't solder?
Here you can buy an X1541 cable / adapter:
The cable described here was originally designed for the program
'x1541', which allowed transfers between PC and C-64 via the
parallel port. 'x1541' is rather old and does not work on modern
PCs anymore, but its cable survived and defined a standard for
nearly every transfer program, for example Star Commander,
Trans64, X1541 and probably other transfer programs on PC.
To increase transfer speed, you can additionally build an
An important Note: NEVER connect the floppy drive to your PC and a C64 and have
both switched on simultaneously! I highly recommend that you use a separate floppy
drive exclusively for data transfers with the PC.
- 1 ~1-2 m five-core cable, shielded, if possible (2 m work for me)
- 1 DB-25 connector (male) with plug cover (the one which is on the PC side of
your printer cable)
- 1 6-pin DIN connector (male) (the one which is on the cable between C64 and 1541)
- Read Joe Forster's 'The X1541 Interfaces' first! Not all parallel ports are compatible with the
- Disassemble the DIN connector.
- Strip the wires at one end of the cable and solder one wire
to each pin of the DIN connector, except for pin 1, which
is not needed.
- Put the plug sleeve on the other end of the cable and move
it to the plug so that it is ready for assembly.
- Now strip the wires at the other end of the cable and solder
them to pins 1,14,16,17 and 18-25 of the subminiature
connector as follows:
(Click here for ASCII version)
The interconnection between pin 2 and pin 15 of the 25-pin
plug is not needed by all programs, at least not by Star
Commander, but since the original program 'X1541' uses it for
autodetection, you should add it, now that you are at it :)
- Connect the cable to your 1541 and to your PC.
- Turn on the drive and the PC.
- Configure your favorite transfer program to use the right
parallel port (LPT1, LPT2 or LPT3). Note that it MUST be
in SPP mode if you have an ECP/EPP capable printer
port; it won't work in ECP/EPP mode! For
you would execute scsetup.exe. You should also configure them to use
the slowest (most secure) transfer speed first, if possible.
- Insert a formatted disk into the 1541 and try to access it
using one of the transfer programs, e.g. for Star Commander
hit [Alt]-[F1] and then 8 (or 9 if your drive's device
address is 9), the Star Commander should now display the
If the program cannot access the drive, adjust the delay
value (at least there is one in Star Commander); see the
program's documentation (or press F1 while in the appropriate
dialog box in Star Commander).
- Disconnect the cable (WITH THE FLOPPY SWITCHED OFF!) and assemble
the DIN and the DB-25 connector.
- The printer port MUST be in SPP mode, if it is capable of ECP/EPP
mode. You can setup its mode either in the BIOS setup program if
it is an onboard printer port, or in the setup program of your
I/O card containing the port. For older cards, setting jumpers
might be necessary. Some older printer ports (like the one on my
Hercules graphics card) don't work with the X1541 cable at all.
- Soldered wires to wrong pins on one or both of the connectors.
The figure above depicts the plugs from the SOLDER side and
the jacks from the PLUG side, respectively.
- Some programs, for example Star Commander, need a delay value, which
has to be adjusted for the computer's speed. Please check the accompanying
documentation which will tell you in which range you have to adjust it.
- Some programs are said to not work with the reset line connected.
Try unsoldering this line. And tell me if that helped.
- Cable is too long -> shorten cable (1m should work fine).
Updated: June 29th, 1999
Created: February 4th, 1997
Status : Verified on September 23rd, 1997
Site copyright © 1997 by Marc-Jano Knopp
This document is part of MJK's Commodore 64 & LCD Page
Brought back to life by Peter Schepers, Dec 10, 2005 because I really liked this site!