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Getting Started with DriveWire

From CoCopedia - The Tandy/Radio Shack Color Computer Wiki
Revision as of 22:22, 30 September 2013 by FozzTexx (talk | contribs) (Update serial cable diagram)
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Forward

DriveWire is a server side application used in Windows, MacOS (or Linux for DriveWire 4) to provide a disk emulation server for the Tandy/TRS-80 Color Computer series of home computers manufactured during the '80s & '90s.

DriveWire allows the mounting of virtual disk images on a PC style computer, to provide floppy disk emulation. Real floppy disk hardware is becoming difficult to find these days, so applications like DriveWire provide CoCo users a much needed storage method for enjoying their Color Computers again. This Wiki page will attempt to provide the basic information needed to configure a DriveWire system for your CoCo.

Out of respect for software authors, this Wiki page will not host or directly link to any files - links will only take you to the webpages where these files already exist, and can be downloaded from.

Also, DriveWire 4 is a 100% drop in replacement for DriveWire 3. DriveWire 4 simply (or not so simply) adds far more capability to an already excellent application.

DriveWire 3

DriveWire 3 acted solely as a virtual disk server for a CoCo. Written by Boisy Pitre and sold thru Cloud9, DriveWire3 is a great tool for those needing just a virtual disk server. The DriveWire 3 PC server software can be downloaded Here.

DriveWire 3 Quick-Start Guide

Contents of the DRIVEWIRE.ZIP file.

DriveWire 3 Troubleshooting

DriveWire 4

DriveWire 4 is a Java version of DriveWire, written by Aaron Wolfe, and has similar functionality to DriveWire 3. However, Aaron has added many other features including: mounting of Internet based disk images; TCP, web server, MIDI control, and many more.

To use DriveWire 4, you'll need a recent version of Java - as DriveWire 4 is written in Java, it is OS agnostic; meaning it should run on anything that runs a Java VM, including a Raspberry Pi running Linux. You can get a JavaVM (here) for most any type of popular operating system.

You get get the most recent version or DriveWire 4 by visiting Aaron's website and following the links. As you'll soon see, DriveWire 4 supports several computing platforms including all versions of the CoCo.

The DriveWire Cable

Before you can use DriveWire 3 or 4, you will need to connect your CoCo to a computer being used as a DriveWire server. You will need a Coco Serial (bit-banger) to DB-9 serial cable. Again, Cloud9 sells these cables. Conversely, you may build your own based upon the following diagram:


CoCo-serial-cable.png


Also, if you have a more modern PC, it's most likely not to have the needed DB-9 serial port. As an alternative, you can puchase USB to Serial (DB-9) converters. These range in price from about $10 - $20 and can be purchased from most any electronics supply house. If they don't have it on the shelf, ask someone and they can most likely order it for you. You will still need the cable above as this is just an adapter to be able to connect it to PC's with no DB-9 serial port.




Once you have downloaded the DriveWire software and connected the CoCo to your PC with the correct cable, you'll need to boot the CoCo with an HDB-DOS ROM image. This can be done with a ROM Pak with an HDB-DOS EPROM from Cloud9 (or someone else); loading thru the cassette port (from either a real cassette player or as a .wav file from a PC), an EPROM placed in a floppy controller or even an HDB-DOS ROM loaded from a .BIN file. Again, all of the files can be downloaded from the Cloud9 DriveWire3 page.

MORE TO COME