[Coco] torn on getting a coco...

Gene Heskett gene.heskett at verizon.net
Sat Dec 13 21:14:34 EST 2008

On Saturday 13 December 2008, Michael Robinson wrote:
>1- CoCo3 Refurb 128k Grade A $ 50
>1- 512k Memory Upgrade $ 40
>1- Install and test 512k upgrade $10
>sub $100
>s/h $ 20 UPS Ground lower 48
>Total $120 USD
>Quote good until 12/19/2008 or out of stock whichever is sooner.
>Send payment to mark at cloud9tech.com at www.paypal.com
>I am looking into ordering a grade A COCO 3 and I may want the memory
>So the memory at $40 and a coco 3 at $50 plus shipping, what would that
>be total?
>It's not the $2k that my coco cost without a 512k upgrade, but it
>is still a lot.  Plus, this is without a joystick, something
>cloud9 doesn't sell.  Couldn't I get my nephew a Pentium 4 and
>install Linux to it for this kind of money?  All he has is a
>tape drive and my mult pak interface that works with his coco
>2.  It is legal to reverse engineer unsupported hardware, why
>doesn't cloud 9 do that?  I don't like the part about buying
>a used computer, but I can see why that is.  Radio shack doesn't
>make coco's anymore sadly enough.
>It started out as maybe $50 for a coco and that possibly being okay...
>Well, I figured it should get a memory upgrade.
>Here are the downsides I see to getting my nephew a Coco 3:
>1) No C programming.

Actually, the MicroWare C compiler is a good starter kit for C.  Not very far 
from K&R C, lacking voids and some bit twiddling ops that can be programmed 
around, it works fairly well for up to about 10-12k src files, above that you 
need to swap the c.prep it has out for cprep19, available at RTSI.  There are 
some other goodies too, like ansifront-0.12, which takes other machines code 
that uses a lot of void declarations, and converts it to syntax this compiler 
understands.  There are a couple of optimizers too, c.opt2 and CnoY(for 
coco3's only).  By the time you get it all in a row, you can compile the 
newest version of rzsz on a coco3 and it will run on any coco with os9.
I did rzsz-3.24 and rzsz-3.36 that way.  Some of the code I did on the coco3, 
I also compiled on an amiga, and now have available here on linux, like cntx, 
the c syntax checker, and actually checking a couple of things here that I 
never got around to doing on the coco version.

>2) He doesn't seem to have any Coco 3 games let alone 512k coco3 games.
>3) No joystick and no way to get one.
>4) I have Diecom Product's Gantlet II, but it doesn't work with
>   drivewire and it definitely won't run off a tape drive.
>5) I could see about an SVD disk drive, but they are limited and
>   they cost $110.  This virtual disk drive may not support Gauntlet II.
>6) I don't have any functional disk drives.

A good cleaning of the heads and slider rails they move on with a spot or two 
of lubrication on the sliders will restore most of them to operation.  Except 
a TEC maybe.  I have only managed to wear our the heads on 2 drives in all 
the years I ran floppies, & that was on a pair of full height Tandon 100-4's, 
720k drives I ran at 84 tracks for 765k capacity.  And I probably got 2500 
motor on hours out of them before the heads faded into the sunset of old age.  
That is good head life BTW.

Heads can be difficult to reach, I soak a Sherwood Medical Q-Tip (see your 
local druggist as they are usually a pharmacy item), the one on the 6" wooden 
stick, in paint thinner alcohol, and gently scrub the faces of the heads.  
Toss the stick, never put a dirty one back into the can to re-wet it.  Use a 
new one each time, they are <$20 a 1000.  You'll need the drive out of the 
box to ease access to the heads, through the front, the drive spindle is in 
the way as they are directly behind it, 2" deeper in the works.

Cheers, Gene
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
 soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
-Ed Howdershelt (Author)
Preserve wildlife -- pickle a squirrel today!

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