[Coco] 2GB MicroSD Drive Pak Question
operator at coco3.com
Sat Nov 21 15:36:52 EST 2009
At 08:44 PM 11/20/2009, you wrote:
>Just wondering if the new 2GB MicroSD Drive Pak will let you mount
>disk images directly or will we need to somehow un-compress and
>transfer the disk image contents to the SD card.
>If disk images are supported what formats will be supported and also
>will virtual hard disk images be mountable as well?
>Looks like a great product! I saw a similar SD card for the Apple II
>series of computers but it did not support mounting disk images, you
>had do un-compress the images and copy the contents to the SD Card.
I'm assuming that the Apple SD gadget isn't a floppy drive/disk
emulator? If it was, then mounting of images would be the main
feature. I stand by my word that software is the key to making or
breaking a hardware idea or product. A bare flash pak or MicroSD
card pak without good support software might as well be a drink
coaster. CoCoNet centralizes multiple disk drive systems so you can
transfer between real disks, MicroSD disks, and PC or web hosted
disks. To Disk BASIC, they're all the same disks.
The Drive Pak uses the CoCoNet ROM, meaning you get bitbanger and
RS-232 Pak drives (using the CoCoNet server on your PC), MicroSD
disks, and real disks. I'm adding one RAM disk this weekend,
bringing the total to 5 base types of drives/disks, 4 of which are emulated.
The answer to your question about virtual hard disk images is
Yes. Without getting into a lot of nitty gritty detail about how it
works, you'll get a partition manager already on the pak in the main
DOS partition. Using it you can add more from a menu which lists
items such as 30mb OS-9 mass drive, 15mb OS-9 mass drive, or larger
or smaller drives of various types (although the type is currently
From DOS you get as many 256-disk partitions as your card will hold,
or as many OS-9 mass drives as it can hold, or any mix or any size
partitions. You're in control. If you want partitions for other use
than virtual disks, just create them, mount them from DOS using the
DRIVE#="" command and use the special DSKI$/DSKO$ instructions to
access the raw 256-byte sectors. You can have a ~1gb partition if
you like and use it for data logging, music playback, or whatever
idea you come up with.
Ok.... The CoCo starts up with the CoCoNet ROM and if the Drive Pak
is present, it mounts your preferred partition of 256 floppies and
looks for *.BAS or an OS-9 track on Disk #0. To change the default
auto partition you simply issue the command DRIVE#="DOSFD0" or
DRIVE#="ALLGAMES" or DRIVE#="GRAPHICS", etc. That's a whopping 768
virtual disks right there if you wanted. Anyway, the next time you
boot, disk #0 will be mounted in the partition you last changed
to. The commands are pretty easy to use because they fit closely
with the existing Disk BASIC command set.
One thing some might gripe about is my use of DRIVE 0,ON or
OFF. "ON" turns on the Real 1793 controller for that drive. OFF
turns off the real drive and switches to whatever virtual drive you
had mounted there last. A bit flag is used to keep up with this
info. DriveWire annoyingly uses OFF to enable the 1793 FDC. Again,
start y'er gripin' but I think my approach makes more sense since the
1793 is still considered the primary drive system.
CoCoNet starts up with each of the 4 types of drives mounted,
smart-sorted based on availablility, where Drive 0 is always a type
that is available... if all fails, including a 1793 FDC,
RS-232/Wireless Pak, Drive Pak, then the bitbanger port is sorted to
the Drive 0 position, and *.BAS or OS-9 is searched for on startup,
I've tested CoCoNet in the Wireless Pak, Drive Pak, and just an EPROM
Pak, and the CoCo always boots up and looks for what it needs to get
you launched off into anything you need without touching a key.
When you type "DRIVE" alone, you get a listing of the 4 drives and
their types. When you type DIR, you also see the drive # and type
that is mounted there. This helps prevent any confusion or mistakes.
~ Roger Taylor
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