DriveWire 3/4
Documentation FAQ
Efficient Storage for the CoCo!

If you always wanted to find a useful way to share space on your PC hard drive with your CoCo, then you will love DriveWire 3/4. DriveWire 3 turns your PC into a full file server for your CoCo under Disk BASIC or NitrOS-9. With 38,400 bits per second achievable on a CoCo 1, a fast 57,600 bits per second on a CoCo 2 and a blazing 115,200 bits per second on a CoCo 3, you will never use a floppy disk again.

The best part is that no additional hardware is needed. Simply plug one end of the DriveWire cable into the CoCo's built-in RS-232 port, and the other end into your PC serial port. Install the accompanying software and your personal computer's hard drive is your CoCo's to use!

Standard Features

  • Uses your PC hard drive as your CoCo's storage.
  • Fully transparent under NitrOS-9 and Disk BASIC! Looks just like a hard drive.
  • Super fast 115,200 bps on a CoCo 3, 57,600 bps on a CoCo 2, 38,400 bps on a CoCo 1.
  • Built-in error detection assists in error-free transfers.
  • Includes special version of HDB-DOS for DriveWire!
  • NitrOS-9 booter module included; combine with the NitrOS-9 ROM Kit for disk free booting!
  • Bit-banger routines compliments of Darren Atkinson.
  • DriveWire 3 is a free product, compliments of Cloud-9!

How To Use DriveWire

There are several different ways to start your CoCo using DriveWire. But before you do, make sure you have the following items on your checklist:

  1. A CoCo 1, CoCo 2 or CoCo 3
  2. A DriveWire cable connected from your CoCo to your Mac or PC.
  3. The appropriate DriveWire server loaded and running on your Mac or PC.
  4. The DriveWire 3 HDB-DOS and DW3DOS archive file below should be downloaded to your Mac or PC, along with the NitrOS-9 archive.
  5. A ROM Pak or disk controller containing either the HDB-DOS or DW3DOS ROM, OR a cassette cable. If you have a cassette cable, hook one end to your CoCo's Cassette port and the audio IN jack on the other end to the audio OUT jack of your Mac or PC.

When it comes to using DriveWire you have two different approaches: use HDB-DOS or use DW3DOS. The former is a full-fledged extension to Disk BASIC and can access RS-DOS disk images as well as boot into NitrOS-9 (by typing the DOS command). The latter simply pulls the sectors off of track 34 of the mounted disk image on the server and jumps to address $2602 (perfect for booting right into NitrOS-9 or any other operating system that supports this bootstrap method).

Option 1: Using CLOADM:EXEC

If you do not have HDB-DOS or DW3DOS burned into ROM, then the quickest way to get your CoCo running DriveWire is to use one of the supplied .WAV files. The pros to using this method are: minimal hardware requirements (just two cables connected from your Mac or PC to your CoCo), and the cartridge slot remains free to plug in a peripheral. The cons to using this method are: the cassette load must take place each time you power up your CoCo, which can take time.

To get started, you must choose which .WAV file to load:

  • If you want to run HDB-DOS, your CoCo 1 or 2 must have Extended BASIC and 64K of RAM; you will need to queue the hdbcc1.wav or hdbcc2.wav file in your favorite music player on your Mac or PC. CoCo 3 users should queue up the hdbcc3.wav file.
  • If you want to use DW3DOS to boot right into a NitrOS-9 disk image, then your CoCo 1 or 2 must have 64K and you will need to queue the dw3doscc1.wav or dw3doscc2.wav file in your favorite music player on your Mac or PC. CoCo 3 users should queue up the dw3doscc3.wav file.

Once the appropiate WAV file is queued up, hook up the cassette type CLOADM:EXEC on your CoCo and press ENTER, then play the queued .WAV file on your Mac or PC. You may have to adjust the volume levels on your Mac or PC to insure that the file loads properly. Once the file is loaded, you will see either the HDB-DOS welcome screen or the DW3DOS boot screen.

Option 2: Using a ROM Pak or Other Cartridge

Having HDB-DOS or DW3DOS in a ROM Pak or other cartridge (such as a disk controller or RS-232 Pak) is the fastest way to bring your CoCo up to speed with DriveWire. Your CoCo 1 or CoCo 2 can have as little as 16K of RAM. The only down side is that it does require additional hardware and takes up the cartridge slot. Also, if you don't have a ROM already burned you will need to pick from one of the HDB-DOS or DW3DOS images in the archive and burn that image into ROM.

To run, simply insert the ROM Pak or cartridge containing the HDB-DOS or DW3DOS ROM into the CoCo and power it up.

Server compatibility CoCoNet DriveWie 3 DriveWire 4
Compatible with Windows Yes Yes Yes
Compatible with Mac OS X No Yes Yes
Compatible with Linux No Yes Yes
Capabilities provided to CoCo CoCoNet DriveWie 3 DriveWire 4
Basic disk drive support Yes Yes Yes
TCP/IP networking No No NitrOS-9 now, BASIC soon
Run web server on CoCo No No NitrOS-9 now, BASIC soon
Telnet into CoCo Yes No NitrOS-9 now, BASIC soon
Virtual modems/telnet out of CoCo Yes No NitrOS-9 now, BASIC soon
Basic text printing No Yes Yes
Virtual dot matrix printing No No Yes
Real time clock No Yes Yes
MIDI playback on local PC No No NitrOS-9 only
MIDI passthrough to external synths No No NitrOS-9 only
Sever features CoCoNet DriveWie 3 DriveWire 4
Bitbanger connections Yes Yes Yes
6551 connections Yes Very limited Very limited
Bluetooth connections Yes, with adapter or via wireless pak Yes, with adapter Yes, with adapter
TCP/IP connections No No Yes
Multiple CoCo support No Yes Yes
GUI interface No Yes Yes
Remote GUI support No No Yes
Supports .DSK files Yes Yes Yes
Supports .DMK files No No Yes
Supports multi DSK images, load offsets, range limits and other advanced file options No No Yes
Supports loading all drives together in one operation as a set No No Yes
Load disks over HTTP Yes No Yes
Load disks over FTP Yes No Yes
Load disks over SSh, CIFS, WebDAV, etc No? No Yes
Write changes back to network disks No? No Yes
Controllable from CoCo side BASIC only No NitrOS-9 now, BASIC soon
Supports copying individual fiels directly from server to CoCo drive BASIC only No NitrOS-9 now, BASIC soon
Supports copying individual files directly from Internet to CoCo drive BASIC only No NitrOS-9 now, BASIC soon
Performance CoCoNet DriveWie 3 DriveWire 4
Time to copy one disk to another (115k)* 82 seconds 36 seconds 35.2 seconds
Time to copy one disk to another (230k) NA NA 20.6 seconds
Time to load Donkey Kong (115k) 30.4 seconds 29.9 seconds 28.7 seconds
Time to load Donkey Kong (230k) NA NA 22.3 seconds

* For reference: floppy disk time for BACKUP 0 TO 1 is 88 seconds; for loading Donkey Kong is 47 seconds

Free Downloads
DriveWire4 Project (Download here)
DriveWire HDB-DOS and DW3DOS ROM Images, cassette files and track files (Download here)
NitrOS-9 DriveWire Images for CoCo 1, CoCo 2 and CoCo 3 (Download here)
DriveWire3 MacServer for Mac OS X (requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher) (Download here)
DriveWire3 WinServer for Windows (requires Windows 98 or higher) (Download here)
Related Products
Product
Cost
DriveWire3/4 Serial Cable (4 pin DIN to DB-9) $14 + s/h
DriveWire 3/4 HDB-DOS ROM Pak (specify CoCo 1, 2 or 3) $25 + s/h  !SOLD OUT!
DriveWire 3/4 HDB-DOS EPROM Only (specify CoCo 1, 2 or 3) $15 + s/h

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