[Coco] New CoCo'er, Some Q's and looking for hardware

admin at kd8cgo.com admin at kd8cgo.com
Wed Feb 24 15:09:00 EST 2016

Hello All,

I'm a proud owner of a never-used CoCo3 that I received from a friend in 
the mid 90's - I had never even heard of a CoCo up to that point.  I had 
some minor experience with a C64, and started out on a XT clone when I 
was a kid.  Never used the CoCo myself either, as I had no software for 
it.  I just plugged it into a TV to test it, ran a few "Hello, World!" 
programs I keyed in and that was it.  Anyway, I was going through the 
basement cleaning and stumbled across it this week.

I have no hardware or cartridges for it, so I assumed it was destined 
for the scrap heap along with a lot of my other old PC junk.  Did a 
quick search and found a *very* surprising level of interest and support 
for these here on the list archives and elsewhere.  I started tinkering 
with it, got Drivewire4 fired up on a old laptop with a serial port, and 
loaded the first program to ever grace this CoCo - HDB-DOS and then 
NitrOS9.  I can't read the screen when booted into NitrOS9, so that will 
have to wait, but I have been working through the Tandy Color Extended 
Basic book in HDB-DOS so I can save my .BAS files for later.

I'd like to do the Cloud-9 memory upgrade to 512K and get some proper 
cables to replace these cobbled together jumpers I made to load the .WAV 
file and the serial port cable. It seems like they do not have a order 
shopping cart though, just an email address, is that normal?  I thought 
they might be out of business or closed for now, given the lack of a 
normal purchasing order form.

I am also looking for some sort of VGA monitor adapter, I've found some 
references to a Roy Justus adapter, there is some PCB available on 
Amazon that says it will convert RGB, and also I found another 15Khz one 
on http://www.ambery.com/rgbcgatovgac.html that looks like it could be 
coaxed into working.  I also found some mention of a run of RGB2VGA 
boards that will hook up to something called a DE0 Nano in the archives 
here on pair.net, but I didn't find out much about that or the Roy 
Justus thing, or if you can even get them anywhere.  Advice here 

Basically I'd like to get this up and running and be able to do some 
BASIC programming, experiment with the NitrOS9 software, maybe load a 
few ROMs.  I'm trying to figure out how to convert a normal image file 
JPG/GIF/PNG/BMP into something I can use in a BASIC program on the 
system, but so far no luck solving that problem.  I might be able to use 
NitrOS9 if I could figure out how to change the screen colors - I can 
(barely) read the screen on WIDTH 80 if I use PALETTE 0,0:PALETTE 8,16 
in HDB-DOS or Color Basic.  Eventually it would be cool to connect the 
CoCo to the outside world, but I think I'll need NitrOS9 running with 
DW4 for that.  Sounds like BASIC09 might have some advantages over Color 
Basic, too...

Sorry for the long first post & TIA!

--John, kd8cgo

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