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VCC 1.4.3b and DW4 Installation Guide

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by Bill Pierce

Please do not edit this page. This is a work in progress and I would like to finish it before anything is added or deleted.
If you see something in need of correction or would like to contribute to the page, please contact me
This page was created in 1440 x 900 Widescreen resolution, and is best viewed that way.
Thank you, B.P

Installing VCC 1.4.3b & DriveWire4


Introducing Vcc 1.4.3beta with Becker Port Support for DriveWire4

When Joseph Forgione released the 1st version of the Vcc Coco 3 emulator, I was a little sceptical about it. Slowly, he updated the releases from 1.0.0 to 1.4.2. At that point the emulator had matured greatly and would run most Coco software, even OS-9. It was about that same time, the M.E.S.S. Coco 3 emulator started to get more features, but with each feature, introducing more bugs. Vcc 1.4.2 was easy to install, easy to run, and felt like using a real Coco 3. With some help from Robert Gault, Joseph added the RGBDOS system for controlling VHDs (virtual hard drives) just as you would real hard drives. The package was complete. With 4 virtual floppy disk dirves, a virtual hard drive usable in both RSDOS and OS-9, Vcc became the ultimate Coco 3 emulator. But sadly... Joseph seemed to disappear from the Coco community. There were no more updates, no more posts, and even his website eventually disappeared. As luck would have it, there were at least copies of the Vcc installation package in several of the Coco archive sites, so it was still available. It was still (IMHO) the best Coco 3 emulator around. But there were several things missing... like support to interface the outside world.... then came the Becker Port.

Originally, the Becker Port was interfaced in a Coco FPGA project by Gary Becker so the Coco emulation in the FPGA could access the DriveWire interface. All the port really consists of is 2 unused address lines that with proper coding, could access serial input from outside the emulation. But where did that leave Vcc?

Somewhere along the line, a couple of members of the Coco community located and contacted Joseph to inquire about the state of the Vcc source code. In his replies, he stated that he would like to move the Vcc sources to an Open Source project as his age and health would no longer allow him to work on the project. He want the Coco community to be able to carry on with his Vcc project. He sent them a copy of the source code to "play around" with until he finished preparing the sources for public release. He said he wanted to change the copyright statements and also remove the RSDOS ROMS to avoid possible copyright infringements. Much to our dismay, he hasn't been heard from since. Several people have tried to contact him with no response. So until he is contacted, there can be no official release of the sources or an Open Source project. Meanwhile, the holders of the sources had been playing with them. They discovered a way to implement the Becker Port so that Vcc could talk to the hosting PC through a patch to the TCP port. With a little modification to DriveWire, the Becker Port became Vcc's connection to the world. Eventually, the patched version of Vcc was released to the public as Vcc 1.4.3beta. Now with Vcc 1.4.3b and DriveWire4, you can load multiple VHD images, print to DW4's virtual printer, access the internet through TelNet, play Coco MIDI sequences through DW4's virtual MIDI interface and much more!! Vcc couldn't be much better.

With all these new capabilities in Vcc, comes some complexity. The setup to get Vcc going with the Becker Port and DW4 is not so complicated as it is confusing. With this tutorial, I hope eliminate some of that confusion. So let's get on with it!

Installing DriveWire4

I am not going to repeat the DriveWire4 installation here as there is already a tutorial for that installation. To install DW4, just click the link below and follow the instructions and get DW4 running. Once you have completed the DW4 installation, hit your back button on your browser to come back here and complete the Vcc 1.4.3b installation.

Installing Vcc 1.4.3beta

To install Vcc 1.4.3b, you must download the Vcc installation package from:

VCC 1.4.3beta Coco 3 Emulator w/Becker Port Support - The latest version of VCC usable with DriveWire4. (installation package)

Once you have downloaded the package, unzip it to a folder and you will fin the Vcc_setup.exe file. Run this file and follow the prompts and Vcc 1.4.3b will be set up on you Windows PC with a shortcut on your desktop. At the end of the installation, you will also be prompted read the "ReadMe-143beta.txt" file. I recomend you do so. Now there are a few things you need to know about this installation before you run the program.

First, using Windows Explorer" (not Internet Explorer), navigate to the directory in which Vcc was installed. You should find these files:

  • Vcc.exe - The actual Vcc emulator program
  • Welcome to Vcc.pdf - The Vcc User's Manual in PDF format
  • ReadMe-143beta.txt - A short explination for using the hdbdos roms and the Becker Port
  • Vcc.ini - The initialization defaults for Vcc
  • KeyMap.ini - The unfinished (and unusable) keymap file
  • fd502.dll - The FD-502 Disk Controller emulation library
  • harddisk.dll - The Glenside IDE Hard Drive Controller emulation library
  • mpi.dll - The Tandy Multipak Interface emulation library
  • orch90.dll - The Orchestra 90cc Program pak and interface library
  • SuperIDE.dll - The Cloud9 SuperIDE HardDrive and CF card reader interface library
  • hdbdw3bc3.rom - The HDBDOS rom patched for use with the Becker Port
  • hdbdw3bck.rom - An alternate HDBDOS rom with hi-speed turned off for Coco 2 game compatibility
  • unins000.exe - The windows uninstall program
  • unins000.dat - The stored data record for the uninstall program

Familarize yourslef with these filenames as some of them will be accessed later in the tutorial.

Changing the defaults

First I recommend you read the Vcc manual thoroughly as well as the "ReadMe" text file as it contains important info in regards to using HDBDOS & DW4 with Vcc that is not covered in the manual. You must keep in mind that the Vcc manual was written before the Becker Port enhabcement was introduced and does not cover it's operation, hence the writing of this tutorial.

Once you are familar with some of Vcc's features, you'll want to get up and running. Just double click the Vcc icon on your desktop and you will see the Vcc Coco 3 emulator default screen. You will start in "Disk Extended Color Basic 2.1" just as if you had turned on your real Coco 3 with a Radio Shack disk controller installed... But with a differnece. If you click the "Cartridge" menu item at the top of the emulator, you will see that not only do you have a disk controller, but a Multipak Interface, four disk drives, and a hard drive!!


At the default settings, you have a fully functional Coco 3 super system right at your finger tips (literally). What I would've given to have had such a system in the 80s. But this is only the tip of the iceberg... there's a lot more than just meets the eye. Try this, clcik the "Cartridge" menu and in the pulldown menu,


select the "FD-502 Config" item.

FD-502 Config 2.jpg

In the top left box, check the "RGB Dos" button and click the "OK" button.

FD-502 Config 1.jpg

Hit "F9" two times to cold start Vcc and you should now be in RGBDOS for Vcc


Here you will find that you can change the rom you're using, overclock the drives for faster read/write speeds, slect "Persistant disk images" to save your disk selections for the next run, and there's even a function to use the PC's real floppy drive as a Coco drive. I personally have never been able to get this functions to work, but I have heard others say that it does work with the proper PC and drives.

Though ultimately, we're going to move away from RGBDOS and into the DriveWire compatible "HDBDOS" which is basically RGBDOS on steroids, I figured this was a good place to set some things in the configuration so that you will be more familar with menus when we get to the good "stuff".

The "Cartridge" menu we were just accessing is where you go to "insert" your rom carts, disks and hard drives. For now were' going to leave that menu and move to the "Configuration" menu.

Configuration Menu

The "config" menu is where you can set all aspects of your Coco 3 emulation. Are you used to using an RGB monitor or a TV? You can emulate either one. Want to load from virtual cassette images? That can be done as well. There are lots of options here and we'll touch on a few of them as we prepare to set Vcc up to be ready for the Becker Port and DriveWire4/


Here you will find the Config panel. This is where most of the Vcc defaults are set,


This first tab, "Audio", is where you select your PC's soundcard so Vcc can emulate the sounds of the Coco on your PC speakers. Vcc will even play it's Orchestra 90 pak in full stereo sound!


The next tab is the "CPU" panel. Here you can select your memory size from 128k stock. off the shelf Coco 3 to a monster 8 meg Super Coco. Currently, NitrOS-9 only supports up to 2 meg, but with driver modifications, 8 meg should be do-able. You can select either a standard 6809 CPU or the Hitachi 6309 which runs at double speed with suedo 16 & 32 bit instruction set. You can also overclock the Coco CPU speed and get amazing speed. I use this function when I'm compiling C code as that can be a slow process at regular Coco speeds.


The "Display" tab is (of course) where you set your Coco's diplay. You can set Vcc to emulate RGB on a Cm-8 monitor or Composite video like the color TV display... only much clearer. You will probably want to make sure "Allow Screen Resize" is checked or you will not be able to resize the Vcc window. I use a full maximized display on a wide-screen LCD monitor, but sometimes you want to "square" up the display so that games and graphics do not look stretched. Here you can also select "Throttle Speed" which when selected, makes the Coco's clock remain constant even when the PCU is overclocked. Unchecked, everything runs FULL speed of the overclock setting in the CPU panel.


On the "Keyboard" tab, there is only one options setting. You can select the "Basic" keyboard layout in which the keys on your PC keyboard emulates the layout of the actual Coco keyboard or you can select the "OS-9" keyboard which is basically your PC keyboard's layout.


In the "Joysticks" tab you can select to use your PC's mouse or the arrow/mapped keys as the Coco's joystick/mouse. There are disabled options for real PC joysticks but Joseph never finished that option so it's unavailable.


The "Misc" tab contains selections for auto starting the program pak emulation. In other words, if you select "AutoStart Cart", when you select a slot in the emulated MPI (Cartridge menu), it will automatically start that cart. Deselecting this ooption and selecting a cart slot is like taping the the cart select pin on the cart so it the Coco will not boot the rom. I used to do thi on the Orchestra 90 pak to be able to use the stereo 8 bit sound for my programs.


The "Tape" tab is where you insert a virtual cassette image to load and save cassette tape programs just like on a real tape deck. There is an option to use the "wav" format also, but a word of warning, I have found that even loading a "wav" file mangles the original wav file. I would only use files in the "cas" format. You were warned.


Finally we come to the "BitBanger" tab. Originally in Vcc 1.4.2, the bitbanger (or serial port) feature was non-functional. This tab is what is now used to set the Becker Port parameters. In the default installation, the port is disabled but the IP and Port settings are set for you. To enable the Becker Port you just click.... "Enable Becker Interface". It's that easy. Just for clarification, the IP setting should be "" and the Port setting should be "65504" as shown in the picture above.

After clicking "Enable...", you are almost ready to use the port to drivewire but there's a couple of more things you need to know.

NOTE: After setting the values of any items in the Config menu, you must click "Apply" for them to to change to those settings.
Clicking apply makes the changes "instant" before you leave the menu panel.