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Commodore 1551 Disk Drive

Originally known as the SFS481, and designed specifically for the Commodore Plus 4, it is in appearance like a charcoal grey 1541. The drive plugs into the cartridge slot of the machine, using its own wired in interface.

Due to the plus 4 being a poor seller, especially in America, few of these were made, the computer could also take a 1541 or 1571 drive as the machines also had a serial port, and as they were far cheaper than this drive, it seriously impacted on its sales, and the drive was discontinued not long after introduction.

Although the Plus 4 was more commercially successful in Europe, most software was sold on tapes, so the drive did not sell much better there.

Because it used a parallel interface, it was enormously faster than the other Commodore drives, that used the serial socket, The 1551's data transfer speed is about 1 kB per second. It is about 3 faster than 1541. The drive itself is single sided 170kb, using 5 1/4-inch media, and used a Motorola 6510T processor as a disk controller, this chip is modified from the one found inside the C64, and is unique to this drive.

The 1551 will also work with a Commodore 16, though contemporary disk software was usually written for the Plus 4 to take advantage of the much larger memory. There is no serial socket on the drive, so it cannot be used on any of the other Commodore Micros, and because the cartridge port on the 264 machines is different to the C64 and Vic 20 it cannot use the port on those machines, an adaptor was planned but not released.

The drive is now sought after by collectors, as modern disk software is still produced for the machines, there are now a good number of C16 machines that have been modified to 64K.

It is possible to fit a 1541 or 1570 mechanism into a 1551 case if the drive is broken.

Our model is fully boxed with poly trays, and in fully working condition.

Kindly donated by Charles Bradbury.

Date : 1984

Manufacturer : Commodore

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH32124. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
 

Scan of Document: Commodore 1551 Disk Drive

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