The 1541 parallel port

for Commodore 1541 drives

Important notes

  • Because you will solder a cable onto some pins of the VIA#1 chip inside the drive, you will have to first make sure that these pins are not used for any other purpose. What you need to do depends on the version of the drive you have:
    • In original Commodore 1541 drives, nothing is defined to any of the bits of Port A. You can solder the cable without any problem.
    • In 1541C drives, bit 0 of Port A is used for the detection of the head being over track 1. After stripping this connection off of the chip, you will have to replace the DOS ROM with that of the 1541 or the 1541-II. Otherwise you'll get strange results when the drive is seeking: the DOS tries to rely on the detector line which doesn't exist anymore.
    • In 1541-II drives, bit 0 of Port A is grounded, strip this connection off of the chip.


You need the following parts to build this port:

  • One solderable 15-pin female port (PC game port)
  • An unshielded 10-wire cable of about 10-20 centimeters

Step 1. Solder one end of the cable right onto the VIA#1 periphery chip inside the drive.

Step 2. Cut a hole on the case of the drive, glue or screw the game port into it and solder the other end of the short cable onto the port. You should have the following connections:

VIA#1 Game port
  2, PA0   1
  3, PA1   2
  4, PA2   3
  5, PA3   4
  6, PA4   5
  7, PA5   6
  8, PA6   7
  9, PA7   8
 18, CB1   9
 39, CA2  10

Circuit diagram:

[Parallel port for 1541 drives]

You can find the description of all parts used on the diagrams at the legend page.

Source: The Joe Forster-STA homepage