Richvale Telecommunications: C64-Link

Compute! - Issue Number 21 - December 1983

This ad is from the December 1983 of Compute! magazine.

I had a Commodore 64 but it wasn't until a few years later. I do not remember this particular device and the ad doesn't make it terribly clear as to what exactly the use case is. The claim is that it gives you the following expanded capabilities to your Commodore 64 (and there was also a VIC-20 version):

  • The ability to transfer data from any type of device to another (IEEE, Serial, Parallel)
  • BASIC 4.0 which allows you to run more PET BASIC programs and gives you extended disk and I/O commands.
  • The ability to have several 64s on line together - sharing common IEEE devices such as disks or printers with Spooling Capability.
  • Built-in machine language monitor
  • A built-in terminal or modem program which allows the system to communicate through a modem to many bulletin board systems and other computer mainframes.
  • Compatibility with CP/M.

As far as I can tell, the C64-Link was a device that plugged into the cartridge port of the Commodore 64 and allowed you to connect multiple devices. The primary purpose would appear to have been to set up a sort of a LAN to allow multiple Commodore 64s to share devices such as disk drives and printers. There was also some built-in software including a terminal program and upgraded version of BASIC. I guess it could also serve as a standalone IEEE adapter to connect devices that used that interface.

Commodore competed in the education market for a while though they were never as successful as Apple. I think they did a bit better in Canada than the U.S. and I know that classrooms used similar setups. The idea being that students could load their software off of a shared disk drive and all print to the same printer...that sort of thing. I'm not sure how successful this particular device was but apparently there was a version 2 that improved compatibility with some software.

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