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14 October 2023

Install the MEGA≡65 Emulator on the Clockwork uConsole

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.

In this post and companion video, I share how to install the XEMU MEGA≡65 emulator, xmega65, on the Clockwork uConsole to create an amazing on-the-go handheld MEGA≡65. We can use this hardware and emulator until the release of the official MEGA≡65 handheld, the MEGAphone.

After playing with my handheld MEGA≡65 for awhile, I’m under the opinion that the MEGA≡65 developers should add the uConsole to their list of supported hardware, create a bare metal version of the XEMU emulator, and call it day. This will get a handheld MEGA≡65 in the hands of more fans immediately!

You can follow every step in the process using the uConsole keyboard; however, I prefer to create an SSH connection to the uConsole and use iTerm on Mac OS to connect and administer the uConsole remotely. I should also mention that these steps work with any Raspberry Pi 3 or greater.

Table of Contents

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Companion YouTube Video

Title: Create an Amazing Handheld MEGA65 with the Clockwork uConsole and XEMU

Video Errata

None as of 2023-10-14.

Disclosure Statement: When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations may include, but are not limited to Amazon and the eBay Partner Network.

  1. MEGA≡65 Files Host
  2. Clockwork uConsole
  3. Patch the Original Commodore 65 ROM for the MEGA65, Xemu, Dev Kit, or Nexys4
  4. 10 Reasons The Clockwork uConsole CM4 Might Be My Favorite Cyberdeck! - YouTube

uConsole Preparation

Before you install the emulator, you must have first completed these general steps:

  1. Assemble the uConsole.
  2. Insert the included Raspbian OS SD card.
  3. Boot the uConsole.
  4. Use sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade to update Raspian OS.

Download XEMU Emulator

The next step is to download the emulator:

  1. Visit the Xemu Download Page. While first instinct is to download the - Ubuntu Linux DEB package, this will unfortunately not work. We have some work to do.
  2. Click the Visit Project button in the upper-right corner or visit the Xemu Project Page directly.
  3. Scroll down to ### [Install software for compilation](https://github.com/lgblgblgb/xemu#install-software-for-compilation). We will use these instructions to compile a version of xmega65, the MEGA≡65 emulator, for Raspbian OS. This download also includes other Commodore emulators you can play with later.
  4. Raspbian needs software to build the emulator. Use the command sudo apt install git build-essential libsdl2-dev libgtk-3-dev libreadline-dev to upgrade and install required tools. You can also copy and past this code.
  5. Make sure you are in your home directory with the command cd ~.
  6. Copy the GitHub repository to your home location with the command git clone https://github.com/lgblgblgb/xemu.git.

Build XEMU on the uConsole

We cannot use a .deb package and must compile the emulator software directly on the uConsole using the steps below:

  1. Use the command ls and you will see a new folder with the name xemu.
  2. Enter the directory using the command, cd xemu.
  3. Build the software using the command make. This process will take several minutes. The process relies on the Raspbian Pi CM4’s speed. You may see some errors; however, ignore those. This will build all the emulators. If you only want to build the MEGA≡65 emulator, use these commands instead:

    cd targets
    ls -l
    cd mega65
    cd ../..

Run the MEGA≡65 emulator

It’s now time to start the emulator.

NOTE: If connected to the uConsole via SSH, disconnect and move back to the uConsole.

  1. The emulators are in the directory build/bin. Use the command build/bin/xmega65.native to load the xmega65 emulator.
  2. Follow the prompts to configure the emulator. Don’t worry about the errors. These are normal. Select Yes for every option.

After you’ve moved through a bunch of dialog boxes, you will finally be at the “Your emulated MEGA65 seems to work screen.” with an animated background.

Install the MEGA≡65 ROM

Use the instructions below to install the MEGA≡65 ROM into the emulator.

NOTE: I’m an owner of a Dev Kit and a MEGA≡65 and have legal access to the ROM. You don’t have to purchase a MEGA≡65 to get the ROM. You can purchase the C64Forever package, which includes an original Commodore 65 ROM, and then use tools found on the MEGA≡65 FileHost to patch that ROM to the latest version. You can find instructions here.

  1. Download the latest stable ROM using the uConsole.
  2. Start the MEGA≡65 emulator.
  3. Right-click in the Emulator window and select Disks/SD card/Update files on SD image. A file selector dialog box will appear.
  4. Select the ROM file downloaded earlier. A confirmation dialog box will appear.
  5. clock the OK button to restart the emulator with the new ROM.

Use the emulator with your favorite .d81 disk images or develop your own programs in BASIC 65.

Download my Script

In the video, I mention a script and resources I’ve created to add a XEMU xmega65 emulator item to the Raspbian OS menu. You can find more information using the link below:

Raspbian XEMU MEGA≡65 Menu Item Script

Join the Fun

Would you like to see more of the MEGA≡65 emulator running on the uConsole? Post a comment below.

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