[Coco] CoCoUSB

Steve Stroh steve.stroh at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 10:03:56 EDT 2018

Thinking about this a bit more, I think a more viable solution would be
“CoCo’s Little Helper” with is a Raspberry Pi ZeroW with a bit of hardware
added and lots of software. You’d also need a USB port expander.

Connect the CoCo’s serial port and joysticks to it (the extra hardware
would be a D/A converter). There would also need to be a way to connect to
the keyboard input like the current PS/2 keyboard adapters.

Then, you have Support for USB keyboard, mouse, joysticks, etc. You’d also
have DriveWire, and there’s a full Linux stack including a TCP/IP stack,
and of course Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can put 64GB micro SD cards on the
ZeroW - probably more capacity than software that has ever existed for the
CoCo :-) Maybe even build this into a cartridge?

I know there’s a philosophical issue here about accessories for the CoCo vs
dedicating a PC to  a CoCo, but the RPi 0W, at $10, seems like more of an
accessory than the full computer that it really is.

On Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 09:58 Allen Huffman <alsplace at pobox.com> wrote:

> Is there any interest in a CoCoUSB interface?
> Modern Windows users are used plugging in almost anything and having it
> work, but if you ever use anything not mainstream (Chinese Arduino clones,
> BASIC Stamp programmers, etc.), you have to go search for drivers disks. I
> have had to go get all kinds of weird drivers to use various Made in China
> things, for instance.
> If you use Linux or Mac, you already know there are tons of USB devices
> you just cannot use — no drivers exist. Only common basic things work
> (serial ports, etc.).
> Once you step into micros (even the Raspberry Pi), you know there are tons
> of USB things you simply cannot use. Or, if you can use them, you have to
> install special software to use them.
> On the CoCo, there are now incredibly low-cost chips that handle all the
> USB stuff and spit it out in a format that the CoCo could handle, or plug
> in to the upcoming Ed Snider MPI UART connections.
> Instead of loading drivers, firmware can be loaded on the part to make it
> handle keyboards, or mice, or joysticks, or USB thumb drives, etc.
> While it “could” be possible to plug in and have it detect and dynamically
> load firmware for the device, this would be much more expensive, and it
> might take 10 minutes to do this. Instead, the drivers would be pre-loaded
> (remember CONFIG.SYS in MS-DOS?) to define what the port handles.
> It would be easy to add support to iItrOS-9, but RS-DOS would require
> patching (and as we know, any time you patch BASIC, you break things, since
> many programs go out and read hardware directly rather than using ROM
> calls). Think of it like the hard drive BASICs — you can make simple basic
> disk I/O work, but much assembly stuff wouldn’t work with it.
> However, dedicated “USB joystick to CoC joystick port” and “USB keyboard
> to CoCo keyboard connector” boards could be done to embed inside the CoCo,
> which would be 100% compatible.
> Asking for a friend.
>                 — A
> --
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Steve Stroh (personal / general): stevestroh at gmail.com

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