Dumping the HAL M-128 cartridge

HAL Sociedad Anonima was one of many Argentine Commodore 64 y 128 cartridge manufacturers during the ’80s.

The HAL M-128 is a dual mode cartridge: 128 and 64, selectables by means of a switch. It also includes a reset button.

Both modes share almost the same functions:

  • Disk turbo (600% faster)
  • Head Rattle disabler
  • Printed screen dumps.
  • 10 seconds disk format.
  • Numer base conversor: decimal, hexa and binary.
  • 4KB extra under BASIC.
  • etc.

I dont own a C128 therefore I’ll talk about the 64 mode.

This is the startup screen with the cartridge plugged and set to 64 mode:

There’s a help screen by typing <-M (Left arrow M):

Now a brief explanation of the way cartridges work on the Commodore 64.

Continue reading Dumping the HAL M-128 cartridge

Flashback: Tu Micro Commodore Semanal

In Flashback I present selected posts recycled from the first iteration of SolidState blog.


Tu Micro Commodore Semanal was a Spanish magazine devoted to Commodore computers, the weekly edition ran for 18 issues and then switched to monthly format.


Number 1


  • Review: Booga-Boo
  • Review: Ganimedian Rescue
  • Hardware: The Commodore 128

Download (62.9MB)


Number 2


  • Review: Baloncesto
  • Type-in: Memorizaje
  • Hardware: Koala Pad Touch Tablet
  • The Commodore 16’s colours

Download (63.9MB)


Number 3


  • Review: Frankie goes to Hollywood
  • Type-in: Tiro
  • Sprites management in the 128
  • Hardware: Star SG-10

Download (60.7MB)


Number 4


  • Review: Theatre Europe
  • Using Sprites in the 128
  • Type-in: Ensamblador
  • Hardware: The 1702 video monitor

Download (67.4MB)


Number 5


  • Review: Ghostbusters
  • Type-in: Fronton
  • Hardware: The Commodore 1541 disk drive
  • Graphic creation in the C128

Download (65.3MB)


Number 6


  • Review: Solo Flight
  • Type-in: Peso Ideal
  • Hardware: The GP-700-VC color printer
  • Graphics in the Commodore 128

Download (62.8MB)


Number 7


  • Review: Archon
  • Type-in: Copión 64
  • Hardware: Joysticks
  • ¡Música Maestro!

Download (62.5MB)


Number 8


  • Review: Impossible Mission
  • Type-in: Spritemon
  • Review: Winter Games

Download (57.7MB)

Continue reading Flashback: Tu Micro Commodore Semanal

I’m back!

Welcome back to my personal blog, SolidState is now running on WordPress, this brings new  and improved features in comparison with the hacked Plugged out blog engine I was using ’till now.

I think the one of the most important is the automatic language selection: no more separated index pages for English and Spanish.

Another important change is that this blog is now hosted on the same server used by Retrocomputacion.com and thus will have a 99.9% up-time.

I’ll be rewriting some of the most important content from the old blog so it doesn’t get lost.

Scanning of old computer magazines will resume shortly 😉

And that’s it, thanks for reading!

Flashback: MOS6572 VIC-II Timings

In Flashback I present selected posts recycled from the first iteration of SolidState blog.


Argentina was the only place in the world where Commodore allowed it’s computers to be license built and co-branded with the local manufacturer, that manufacturer being Drean.

Commodore models assembled by Drean were the Commodore 16, the C64 and the C64C. They also sold the C128 but it was only a rebadged NTSC C128.

The other thing unique about the Drean Commodore computers was the use PAL-N as video standard.

The PAL-N standard uses almost the same audio carrier that the NTSC standard, this prevented the use of the PAL-B versions of the TED and VIC-II chips.

Therefore, Commodore manufactured special PAL-N versions of both TED and VIC-II chips, this article is about the later.



The PAL-N version of the VIC-II is denominated MOS6572 and to this day there’s only two revisions known of:

  • R0 – Ceramic package
  • R1 – Plastic package

As all the C64 clocks are derived from the same single crystal and generated mostly by the VIC-II, the different audio carrier frequency called not only for a new video chip, but also a new crystal.

As we will find later, the crystal used on the Drean C64 is of 14.328224 MHz.


Continue reading Flashback: MOS6572 VIC-II Timings