[Coco] CoCo3 questions / Cloud 9 Super IDE interface
jcewy at swbell.net
Wed Dec 6 22:47:45 EST 2006
Mark Marlette wrote:
> Boisy is on vacation so I'll attempt this.
> The new Drivewire will allow you to boot from the PC.
> The EPROM is a patch version of RSDOS 1.1.
> CoCo Proto is sitting ready to go to the board house. I also have
> cartridge cases. Over three hundred.
> At 12/6/2006 09:02 PM, you wrote:
>> Steve.Lancaster at Moorestephens.com wrote:
>> > Hello all
>> Hey there,
>> > I am a UK based Dragon 32 owner. I have found out more and more
>> about the
>> > CoCos (partially Dragon compatible) and am looking to get a CoCo 3
>> (a 512k
>> > model from Cloud 9 appears to be a good starting point).
>> > ...
>> > As regards the CoCo itself:
>> > 1) Is a floppy drive necessary for a CoCo? - I ask because 5.25
>> inch disks
>> > are hard to source and although I have a 5.25 floppy drive (that I
>> use on
>> > a BBC Master computer) I'm not sure if it is CoCo compatible.
>> Most people categorize 3.5" drives as floppies, even though the housing
>> for the floppy disk inside is rigid. I use 1.44M drives with 720K disks
>> on CoCos. I suppose one could also use 1.44M floppy disks as well, but
>> the result will be even more wasted space. OS-9 can format floppy disks
>> to 720K using unmodified CoCo disk controllers. Stock RS-DOS (Disk
>> Extended Color BASIC) can format a floppy to ~176K at 35 tracks on a
>> single side. Patches are available on the Internet to allow BASIC to
>> use the second side of a floppy as drive 2 or 4, resulting in a single
>> disk having two separate ~176K file systems. Some patches and alternate
>> DOSes allow the user to format more than 35 tracks as well. So you
>> really aren't limited to the 5.25" disks or drives.
>> > ...
>> > Going back to the Super IDE does anybody know if it is possible to
>> > transfer .dsk images to the CF card by drag and drop (on a PC with
>> a card
>> > reader) or does the transfer have to be done using a CoCo emulator
>> or a
>> > utility like Omniflop.
>> I don't think the former would work. The CoCo would have to be able to
>> read an MS-DOS FAT filesystem as a first prerequisite. There is an
>> MS-DOS file manager available for NitrOS-9, and I believe there are
>> utilities for reading/writing DOS floppy disks under RS-DOS, but I doubt
>> these latter would work with a hard drive / CF card, as the drive
>> geometry and capacity is likely hard coded for 360K floppies. Assuming
>> you could read the FAT filesystem, you would next need to be able to
>> mount the disk image, or at least copy the contents to a local file
>> system or disk. I guess there are some utilities for reading disk
>> images on the CoCo, but I doubt they would be as seamless as one
>> would want.
>> If you have a PC running MS-Windows, you could use Cloud-9's DriveWire.
>> This isn't quite the same of course, but it does get data from the PC to
>> the CoCo quickly, and allows you to access the contents of disk images
>> directly over the wire. Then you could just copy the files to your CF
>> card for quicker local storage.
>> In fact, it looks as if you could get away without using a floppy
>> entirely using DriveWire, with one caveat. You need a floppy to load
>> the DriveWire software onto the CoCo, at least initially. However,
>> DriveWire does include ROM images that could allow you to keep the CoCo
>> DriveWire software in an EPROM so that you don't need to load it from
>> floppy. Since Cloud-9 has an EPROM burning service, I'm sure they would
>> be able to send it to you in that form, so you wouldn't need to have a
>> CoCo floppy drive or controller at all.
>> I don't (yet) have DriveWire, but the documentation on Cloud-9's web
>> site says you can put the EPROM in the CoCo's BASIC ROM socket, or in a
>> disk controller's ROM socket. It's not entirely clear to me whether the
>> DriveWire ROM replaces or augments (Disk) BASIC -- ie, is it a patched
>> version of BASIC, or does it need to coexist somehow with your existing
>> BASIC ROMs? If you have an old game cartridge you don't play (or which
>> you can convert to a disk file) you might be able to remove the ROM and
>> use that as a housing for your DriveWire EPROM. You'd either need to
>> find a 24-pin EPROM, which isn't so common anymore, or hack together a
>> socket converter (which you can probably find instructions for on the
>> Web or in mail list archives) to use a 28-pin EPROM in the cartridge PC
>> board, which is intended for a 24-pin chip. Or you might be able to
>> find a project board from (the UK equivalent of) Radio Shack that could
>> be cut down to make your own cartridge board. A little scrap ribbon
>> cable, a 28-pin socket, and a .1uf capacitor should do the trick. Heck,
>> maybe Cloud-9 even has cartridge boards to sell?
>> > Obviously I don't want to buy something and then find I don't have the
>> > knowledge or skills to use it.
>> > Any general advice or comments will be greatly appreciated.
>> > Best wishes
>> > Steve
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