The XA1541 active cable is a serial cable that connects Commodore
machines or drives to the PC parallel port. It's a substitute for the X1541
cable, XE1541 extended cable and XM1541
multitask cable and has been designed to work in all modes of all
parallel ports on all PC motherboards. It's compatible with all parallel
ports and with all Commodore machines and drives and clones that have the
usual serial bus port.
You need the following hardware to make use of this cable:
- A PC with a parallel port
- A Commodore 64, 128 or VIC20 machine or a Commodore 1541, 1570, 1571
or 1581 drive, or any other Commodore machine or drive or clone that
has the usual serial bus port
The following PC softwares support this cable:
- Don't let the name "XA1541" fool you. This cable works
with all kinds of Commodore drives that have the usual serial bus
port, not only the Commodore 1541 drive. Also, you can use it to
connect a Commodore machine to the PC.
- If your Commodore 1541, 1570 or 1571 drive is already fitted with a Commodore
parallel cable then you might be better off with the XAP1541
adaptor which makes use of the parallel cable and triples the
- This cable should be working with those motherboards and laptops, as
well, that are incompatible with the XE1541
extended cable and the XM1541 multitask
cable. However, because those two cables do work with most present
PC's, it is suggested that you build this cable only if you know that
your motherboard doesn't support those cables or you want to prepare
for the future when, possibly, more incompatible motherboards will
appear on the market.
- Currently, the following motherboard revisions are known to not
support this cable:
Please, note that these motherboard revisions don't support any
of the X1541-series cables: apparently,
they don't follow the parallel port specifications correctly. If you
have access to any of these motherboard revisions, please, do some
tests and send your results to me. New items will be added to this
list as proven negative feedback is left by users.
- Gigabyte GA-5AX, revision 3.0
- This cable uses BSV52 transistors which are very small SMD
components; this makes the construction quite troublesome. If you want
to take the risk, you may use 2N3904 transistors instead but, be
warned, there's no guarantee that a cable with that transistor would
work on any PC!
You can find the details on how to build this cable at the construction
If you want to put the complete circuitry onto a small board and hide
it inside the case of the parallel plug then you can find the details on
how to build the cable, with this board, at the construction
Connect the serial plug into the serial port of your Commodore drive.
Connect the parallel plug into the parallel port of your PC.
Make sure to 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.
The XA1541 active cable is © by Michael Klein and Nicolas Welte,
2000. If you produce and sell cables or adaptors that are compatible with
this cable then you must give credits to the copyright owners. If your
adaptors are built onto printed circuit boards then you must also make the
complete layout available in a format and resolution that is suitable for
high quality reproduction.
Source: The Joe Forster-STA