Raspberry Pi Pico becomes a cartridge for the Commodore 64

Raspberry Pi Pico becomes a cartridge for the Commodore 64

Surely many of you will have taken your first steps into the world of computing thanks to the Commodore 64, a popular Commodore home computer that in the 1980s entered millions of homes around the world (including Italian ones). Probably, in addition to playing, some will have tried to write simple programs in Basic, perhaps with the help of one of the various magazines on the newsstands. The same happened to Kevin Vance, a programmer from Pennsylvania, who decided to go back to basics with a project that uses a Raspberry Pi Pico inside a C64 cartridge.

Launched in January last year , Raspberry Pi Pico is a microcontroller, priced at just $ 4, based on the RP2040 processor (dual-core ARM Cortex-M0 + with 264KB of internal RAM and support for up to 16MB of off-chip flash memory). Vance started working on his project in 2020 when, after dusting off his old friend Commodore 64, he tried to write puns, soon realizing that it would take a lot of floppy disks to hold the entire English vocabulary and he thought about using the cartridge slot for its purposes.

Initially, he made a spell checker with a custom PCB and a Cypress PSOC 5LP as a coprocessor, but, once he discovered the existence of the Raspberry Pi Pico, decided to use the latter since he already had enough flash memory and a built-in voltage regulator (and it costs less than the PSOC 5).

I've taken another crack at putting a raspberry pi pico into a C64 cartridge, and it's exceeded my expectations pic.twitter.com/uBggBJqSo0

- Kevin Vance (@kvance) March 10, 2022

Recently, we also told you about another interesting project that uses retro components, in this case an Intel 8086 (to be precise a clone of it), to run MS-DOS. For more details, we advise you to read our previous dedicated article.