Making Cartridges for the Commodore C16, C116, and Plus/4

As I mentioned a while ago, I had the opportunity to repair a bunch of broken boards for Commodore C16 and Plus/4 computers. This led to a couple of new projects, the ROMulator and the PLA264. To help with the actual repairs, I built myself a Diag264 test harness.

All I wanted was a housing for my Diag264 cartridge, but it took me a few detours.

So, I also needed a cartridge to hold the diagnostic ROM. The Diag264 page suggests either modifying an original cartridge or using the OpenC16Cart. Destroying an original cartridge didn’t feel right, so I went with the latter option.

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C128 Diagnostic Cartridge #325093-01 Replicated

The refurbishment and repair of the C16 and Plus/4 motherboards is largely complete. Next up is a small stack of C128 boards. Recently I received a C128 diagnostic cartridge with harness as a donation, which was also only slightly tattered.

The C-128 Diagnostic Test cartridge that was donated

It was a “C-128 Diagnostic Rev 1.4” with harness “ASSY NO. 325093-01”, which I had never heard of before. Information on this cartridge seems sparse, but I found it mentioned on Jani’s page on diagnostic carts and in an older forum thread (German).

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Bank Switching Cartridges

Cartridges for the C64 provide either 8K or 16K of ROM that will replace parts of the memory visible to the CPU when plugged into the expansion port. Either 8K or 16K, that is all the Commodore can see directly on a cartridge. Then there is an auto-start mechanism implemented in the Kernal that can be triggered to execute code contained in that ROM when the machine is powered on or reset. Jani features an excellent article about how to create such simple cartridges on his site which I have linked to before.

A simple ROM cartridge: the OpenC64Cart.

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