The Commodore Years - Hardware - 1541 Disk Drive
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DA5 092088
Commodore 1541 Disk Drive serial number DA5 092088 made in West Germany.
Commodore had produced a 5.25 inch disk drive for the VIC 20, the VIC 1540. This however did not work with the 64 because of timing problems, so the 1541 was introduced with a revised ROM. Both the 1540 and 1541 were unusual in having their own onboard operating system and memory. The disk drive connects to the serial port making data transmission slow. Up to four can be daisy-chained together and a printer can be added provided it is at the end of the chain. Each drive needs to have its own device number, from 08 to 11, the default being 08. This can be changed by software or, as in the case of my K 0014427, the hardware can be permanently changed. The 1541 is heavy due to having a built-in power supply and becomes very warm in operation.
DA5 092088 rear view
Rear View

The disk drive connects to the serial port. Up to four can be daisy-chained together and a printer can be added provided it is at the end of the chain.

My 1541s
501808 5023962 DA5 087538
Serial 501808 (Japan) Serial 5023962 (Japan) Serial DA5 087538 (W.Germany)
VIC-1541 Awaiting repair Awaiting repair
DA5 092088 DA 119799 K 0001563
Serial DA5 092088 (West Germany) Serial DA5 119799 (W.Germany) Serial K 0001563 (Japan)
  K 0014427   5018320  
  Serial K 0014427 (Japan)   Serial AA5018320 (Japan)  
  Converted to drive 09   Cream to match the 64C  
  One of my original pair from 1983   and with a lever lock  
The 1541's user manual is complicated and confusing and there are errors in the instructions. This is not helped by the fact that both the VIC and the 64 use Basic 2.0 which has no drive commands. The drive itself has problems too. The worst of these is the "save@" option. This should allow a file or program to be altered and then resaved to disk. However, if the new version is longer than the original it is cut short. The solution is to rename the old version, then save the new version and only delete the original once the resave has been checked.
Another, potentially expensive, problem is that the drive head forgets where it is. To rectify this it moves as far to the side as it can, banging against the side to make sure it can go no further. This is the rat-a-tat-tat sound you get when you format a disk. Eventually this can cause the head to go out of alignment making reading and writing disks impossible. Many software houses used this "error" to protect disks from being copied, even the Easyscript disk supplied with the 1541. It was concern about this that caused me to write my own word processor.
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