Commodore 64 or 128 - How to Get it Running!

Below are some useful commands and instructions that will soon have you up and running again on your beloved Spectrum!

Connecting it up

Connecting up a C64 or C128 is easy. The diagram below shows you the connections required:-

Connecting your Spectrum


Connecting to a television

If you have an old-fashioned (analogue) television like in the picture above, simply connect the RF (UHF) lead from your Spectrum directly into the back of your television.

a typical RF lead, also known as UHF
An RF to SCART adapter
A typical RF lead like that supplied with your computer. The left plug in the left picture goes into the television, and the right plug goes into the back of the C64 or C128. If you don't have one of these they are available in all good electrical retailers or buy one from an online auction site, such as Ebay.
A typical RF (or component video) to SCART adapter


Some more modern LCD televisions do still have an RF input on the back , but large LCDs and plasmas do not. If you are unfortunate to own one of these newer televisions (!), it may still have other analog video inputs such as RGB component video or SCART sockets - these can take an analog signal like your RF output from the computer is sending, but will need an adapter to convert the RF signal to either SCART or component video (RGB).


If you have an original Commodore monitor, such as the Commodore 1701, connect your C64 or C128 to it as follows:

Connecting your Spectrum


Connecting your Commodore C2N Cassette Recorder

The Commodore 64 and 128 store programs on tape (audio cassette). Later models also allowed the use of 5.25" floppy disks with the use of the 1541 or similar floppy disk drive. Many earlier games and other programs for the Commodore were sold on tape. From the C2N cassette recorder (assuming you still have it), connect it to the back of the computer - there is a small 12-pin edge connector on the back for this - this is used to play programs on tape "into" and record programs "from" the Commodore.


Connecting up the Power

Your Commodore takes power off the 240V AC mains via it's own power supply which converts it down to 9V DC and 5V AC.

Original Commodore 64 power supply

Plug the power supply into the mains, and then plug the other end (round 7-pin DIN plug) into the back of the Commodore.


Power On !

Now you're ready to power up. The Commodore has an on/off switch on the right hand side of the unit. Once you've switched on the Commodore, and got it tuned in, you will see a screen like one of the ones below:

Commodore 64 startup screen
Commodore 128 startup screen



Tape Loading

Insert the cassette you want to load into the cassette recorder.

Don't worry if the buttons on the cassette recorder don't all function when you push them down - they are controlled by the computer, so for instance, pressing PLAY will not start the cassette motor until you have typed in LOAD and hit enter!

Type in LOAD and hit enter (or hold down SHIFT and hit the RUN/STOP key - this is a shortcut for 'LOAD') - you will see a message asking you to "Press PLAY on tape". Press play and follow any other on-screen instructions - you should see 'LOADING' followed possibly by other things being shown on the screen, and after about 4 minutes, your program should have loaded.

Tape loading screen

It may not be uncommon to see the screen above during load ! Don't worry, it IS still loading !

If it seems to struggle, try forwarding the cassette to the end and play the other side. Most commercially bought tapes contained identical content on both sides of the tape.


Saving to Tape

If you've written a program in BASIC that you want to save to tape, just type:

SAVE "frogger"

Then hit record (or possibly record and play together) on the cassette recorder. You should see the screen start to save your program. When it's done, you'll see a "READY" message again.


Other Useful Commands

To do this: Type this:
reset the Commodore (when in BASIC) NEW
to load a program from tape LOAD
to run a program RUN
to list the contents of your program LIST
change the colour you write text in  
change the colour of the border  
change the colour of the middle bit of the screen  
assigning a value to a variable LET a=10
assigning a string to a variable LET a$="Hello world"


Floppy Disk Commands

If you have a floppy disk drive connected to the Commodore, the following commands will be very useful to you.


To do this: Type this:
to get a listing of what is on this side of the floppy disk

LOAD "$",8 <enter>

LIST <enter>

to then load one of the listed programs

(1) Move the cursor up to the line of the program you want to run.

(2) Overwrite the start of the line with the word "LOAD"

(3) move to the end of the line, and overwrite the end bit with ",8,1"

(4) Hit enter


The above is just a short way of typing "LOAD "<myprogram>",8,1

to load automatically from the disk LOAD "*",8,1
to save the current program to disk SAVE "frogger",8,1

Please note that the above commands assume you have just one floppy drive attached, denoted by the number 8 (which is floppy device 0). If you have a second floppy drive, replace the '8' with a '9' (which is floppy device 1).


Please get in touch if you have any helpful instructions that you wish to share, and we'll add them to the list.