Announcing the Vic Flash Plugin

From: Marko Mäkelä <>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2012 00:19:59 +0200
Message-ID: <20120128221959.GB3282@x60s>
I have mentioned this project every now and then. The Vic Flash Plugin 
<> is a 32k/4MB RAM/ROM cartridge 
for the Vic-20, big enough to hold "all" Vic-20 software.

The hardware was practically finished years ago, and the software was 
completed in 2010. There is a menu that allows you to choose a memory 
configuration (unexpanded, 3k expanded, 24k expanded) or to start any 
program or cartridge image. To save ROM space, all files are compressed 
with PuCrunch. The menu is hierarchical. You can create "hard links" to 
files and directories. The file system is "write-once", created by a C 
program that is controlled by a simple text file.

To prepare for the upcoming Jason Scott documentary film shooting in 
Helsinki, I got a uIEC/SD this week (thanks, Jim!). The "last mile" of 
the project was the loading of the 4MB flash image to the cartridge. I 
had planned to extend cbmlink or C2N232 for this purpose, but I never 
came around to that.

So, now I have a cartridge filled with all Vic-20 software. Instead of a 
Wii, my kids have a Vic to play with. :-)

What next? The Am29F032B flash chip could be hard to obtain nowadays, 
and it would admittedly be easier to manage the images directly in a 
FAT-formatted SD card, instead of rebuilding and reloading the whole 4MB 
flash contents as a 'blob'. While the image can be tested in VICE 
(starting with version 2.2.5), programming the flash takes about two 
megabytes per hour (!) using the standard Commodore protocol with 

I was thinking that it could be more practical to have a RAM/ROM 
cartridge with just enough ROM to hold a simple file manager and a 
JiffyDOS loader that can access a software collection on the sd2iec. If 
the JiffyDOS protocol can achieve several kilobytes per second, it would 
not be too slow to load most Vic-20 titles.

Would there be interest in another Vic-20 cartridge? Should it be 
equipped with a large built-in ROM? Or should it instead rely on sd2iec 
or uIEC/SD, or should it be equipped with a SD card slot and some DMA 
transfers for really fast loading?


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Received on 2012-01-28 23:00:04

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