Re: C64 cluster

From: Marko Mäkelä (
Date: 2007-11-07 08:58:53

On Tue, Nov 06, 2007 at 03:47:52PM -0600, Jim Brain wrote:
> If I was going to inolve a uController, I think I would run the protocol 
> over the controller, letting it act like a MAC, and then interface the 
> uController to the 64 via some IO.  The uController can deal with the 
> tokens, retries, and such, and the 64 just needs to dump and grab data.
> But, I think using a uController for this project is also less "pure", as 
> that's almost like hooking up a PC to the 64.  That's why I suggested the 
> cart idea with a small flash ROM with the netboot code and a bit of TTL to 
> handle the network.
> So, I guess it depends on how one defines "pure"

Indeed.  If you chose a C2N232-like microcontroller solution, you could
save on the connectors and let the C64 talk to the microcontroller via
the cassette port.  The microcontrollers would be hooked together by
some type of serial bus, such as I2C or SPI.  That would even allow a
hybrid cluster, allowing any Commodore with a cassette port to participate.
(But then you would have to somehow select which loader to load.)

However, here is a pure and cheap solution for you, involving only a
memory chip: Christopher Phillips (are you here?), who gave me the final
spark to implement the C2N232, mentioned to me that he implemented a
multi-computer scrolltext where the computers were connected via
joystick ports.  At least the DE9S connectors are cheap.  You could use
one joystick port for input and the other for output, and build a ring
network.  The software would be loaded from a cartridge (only a circuit
board is needed).  What do you think?  I'd use a Flash ROM for the
cartridge.  To allow the chip to be written, I'm afraid you will have to
throw in some address decoding logic, because the -ROML and -ROMH signals
will not be driven during writes, as far as I remember.


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