The Epyx Fast Load cartridge does more than just boost disk read/write speed. it also adds a hefty toolbox to the standard Commodore 64 with tools and additional commands.
Below is a brief overview of the commands, their functionality and how to use them.
Most Epyx Fast Load commands are analogous to Commodore's DOS Wedge commands, but are only a subset of the Commodore command set.
The Epyx Fastload cartridge also includes a number of disk utilities, including (disk) copying programs, a disk editor, and some simple file utilities.
If you want to use the Epyx Fast Load cartridge with a Pi1541, you have to adjust the configuration of the Pi1541!
Epyx Fast Load wedge commands
The Epyx Fast Load Cartridge contains a DOS Wedge, which contains the most important commands of the Commodore DOS Wedge, as supplied on the disk that came with the 1541 disk drive.
Storing these commands in the cartridge is a lot more user-friendly because you no longer have to search and load the toolset when you want to use it, but always have it available when you switch it on.
Epyx Fast Load @ or > commands
The @ command sends a command to the disk drive, it prevents you from having to send the entire syntax OPEN 15,18,15: PRINT#15, “command”: CLOSE 15 .
(Certainly for the more experienced users this is a huge time saver)
These commands are cryptic but very powerful . Using just the @ (or > ) character with no parameters reads the error channel of the disk drive, which you use for example when the LED of your disk drive is blinking.
You can also use the @ (or>) sign with the following Commodore DOS commands for the following things:
Epyx Fast Load £ commands
Pressing the £ (English Pound) key followed by a return displays a utilities menu.
The Fast Load Cartridge's built-in utilities are anything but flashy, but they work and are convenient.
! – De machine language monitor
The Fast Load cartridge also includes a machine language monitor, for example for debugging programs written in Assembler.
The most important command is % , to close it in case you accidentally started it by a ! to push.
The Ultimate key shortcuts for the Epyx Fastload Cartridge :
Here’s my favorite use of Epyx Fast Load commands. After you list a directory with @$ or $, you can cursor up to the file you want to load, hit / in front of it, then hit return to load it. This is very convenient compared to an unmodified C-64.
The first and best thing Epyx Fast Load implements is the C= Run/Stop keyboard shortcut. You may know hitting Shift and Run/Stop loads the first program from tape. With Fast Load, the C= Run/Stop combination issues the LOAD”*”,8,1 command that loads most games from disk.
It’s not really a command, per se, but once you know this shortcut is there, you’ll probably use it a lot.
A small portion of a benchmark, to show the speed gain between a standard drive (or SD-IEC device) versus the same device but approximated using an Epyx Fastload cartridge.
The original benchmark also contains a number of other accelerators, which are not included in the overview here for clarity.
If you are interested in the full benchmark, you can find it here.