Coleco Adam

Geoff Oltmans oltmansg at
Tue Nov 18 17:03:20 CST 2014

On Nov 17, 2014, at 8:40 PM, Zane Healy wrote:

> After searching since the late-90's, in the last month I've finally had some real luck on the Coleco front.  First I got a ColecoVision, and then this last Saturday I was able to get a Coleco Adam quite reasonably.
> In doing some research I've learned that I should be able to replace the printer with an Arcade power-supply that supplies +12V, +5V, and -5V.  I also see that I can get a IDE/CF adapter that lets me use a CF card as a drive.  
> Now for my questions, what software is available for the Adam that can make use of a CF card 'disk drive'?  Also, I gather that the system will erase any magnetic media when turned on or off?  What is it that actually does this, is it the power supply, cassette drive, or something else? 

Welcome! I've been involved in the ADAM scene for quite some time. It really is a cool little computer that is oft overlooked. You are correct that a generic PC or arcade style power supply can be used just fine with the ADAM. The printer cable also carries the ADAMNet data (the same bus that is shared by the keyboard, tape drive controller, and disk drives if you have them), but it is totally optional.

There is pretty good support for the IDE interface. The one you are referring to (the Microfox) is a workalike of another vendor's product, the Micro Innovation IDE interface. It works akin to the XT-IDE interface that's on the PCs now, in that it will adapt an AT drive to an 8-bit data port. As such, there's a good bit of software that can be had... either with patched original ADAM software, as is the case with the native EOS/OS7 operating system (ADAM's OS or Coleco Vision), and also a special build of TDOS, which is a CP/M 2.2 replacement. TDOS will run any CP/M compatible software you care to throw at it.

As for the magnetic media thing, reports made it sound like I could sit a DDP or floppy disk anywhere near the system and whammo... instant erasure. I have used a minimum amount of precaution making sure that a tape isn't in the drive while turning the system off and on, and haven't had a problem.

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