Reply-To: roussin noos.fr
Posting-Frequency: monthly (4th day)
comp.sys.amstrad.8bit Frequently Asked Questions v1.32 (10/16/2005)
The FAQ exists in english, french, german, spanish and dutch. The
spanish and german translations arent up to date. They are archived on :
- english text only :
The french translation was done by Pierre Guerrier and then by Pierre
Thevenet. Thanks to them.
This FAQ is posted each month on the 4th to comp.sys.amstrad.8bit,
comp.answers and news.answers
Lines preceded by '+' have been added since the last FAQ
Lines preceded by '*' have been modified since the last FAQ
Lines preceded by '-' will be removed in the next FAQ
This FAQ is written by :
- Emmanuel Roussin, sections A, D, E
- Mark Ray, h089 mth.uea.ac.uk, section B (Notepad)
* - Frank van Empel, http://www.fvempel.nl/, section C (PCW)
All mailto links have been removed, all emails addresses were
translated like this : firstname.lastname@example.org is now a b.com
If you have any ideas for the FAQ, send an email to the correct
person. About parts written by E.R., as english isn't my mother
tongue, this FAQ has certainly typing mistakes, grammar errors, etc...
I welcome the corrections.
This FAQ is freeware, you can use it freely for your personal use, but we
retain the copyright. For commercial use, you must ask our permission
Parts of this FAQ are taken from the documentation of CPCEMU, some are
from the main faq keeper (E.R.) and Mark Ray (Notepad part), other
parts are taken from articles of the newsgroup.
Table of Contents
Z - Amstrad : Alan Michael Sugar TRADing
A - Amstrad CPC
A0) Amstrad CPC(+), KC Compact and GX 4000 presentation
A1) Emulators and utilities
A2) Sources of emulators, ROMs, programs, buying hardware/software
A2.4) Using programs with emulators or real CPC
A2.5) Buying hardware/software
A3) Transfer between CPC and PC
A3.1) 3" drive on PC
A3.2.1) 3,5" or 5,25" drive on CPC
A3.2.2) 3,5" or 5,25" drive on CPC+
A3.3) parallel cable
A3.4) RS 232 / RS 422 (Macintosh)
A4) Maps, solutions, pokes
A4.1) Maps and Solutions
A5) Hardware problems
A5.1) Internal drive
A5.2) External drive
A6) How can I help the Amstrad world ?
A6.1) Updating the FAQ
A6.2) Commercial games becoming freeware
A6.3) Adding files to ftp.lip6.fr
A6.4) Updating ALL_CPC, ALL_HW, ALL_ROM, ALL_UTIL
A8) Useful addresses and information
A8.1) Snail mail addresses
A9.1) on paper
A9.2) on disk
A10) Additional hardware
A10.1) Hard disk
A10.2) Multiface II
A10.3.1) ROMCARD and RAMCARD
A10.3.2) Inicron ROM-RAM-BOX
A10.4) Sound Player 1 and 2
A10.6) Future OS
A10.7) Memory extensions
A10.7.1) 2 Mo RAM extension
A10.7.2) Inicron RAM-BOX
A10.8) Card Tridge
A10.9) CPC ISA
A10.10) Amstrad MP1 & MP2
A11) Upcoming CPC meetings
B - Amstrad Notepad (NC100/150/200)
B0) NC 100/150/200 presentation
B2) How can I buy one ?
B3) What peripherals can I use ?
B3.2) Extra Memory
B4) How do I connect it to a PC ?
B4.1) Which cable ?
B4.3) Converting Word Processor Files
B4.4) How do I connect it to a BBC micro
B5.1) Where can I find basic programs ?
B5.2) Can I use the Word Processor to enter listings ?
B5.3) Can I make a program auto-run ?
B6) Other Programs
B7) I've just crashed it
B8) I've just broken it
B9) Where to ask help
B10) Internet resources
C - PCW
C0) PCW presentation
C1) Emulators and utilities
C1.1.2) Joyce MAC
C2) Where can I find emulators and programs ?
C2.1) FTP sites
C2.3) Various sources
C3) Transferring between PCW and PC
C3.1) 3.5" drive to a PCW
C3.2) LocoLink for Windows
C3.3) RS 232
C3.4) 3" drive on PC
C3.5) Acoustic communication
C4) Shops supporting PCW
C5.3) Disc drive
C6) Additional hardware
C6.1) Memory up to 51k2kb
C6.2) Memory beyond 512kb
C6.3) Interfaces (various purposes)
C6.6) Electric Studio Light Pen
C6.7) Electric Studio Digitiser
C6.8) Robotics Hegatron Grafpad II
C6.9) Intergem interface
C6.10) Disc drives
C6.11) Hard disks
C6.12) Margin Maker
C6.13) Mice & other input devices
C6.14) Teqniche keyboard
C6.15) LocoLink & LocoLink for Windows
C6.16) D'K Tronics sound synthesiser
C6.17) ISA card
C6.18) Various DIY layouts
D) PcW 16
D0) PcW 16 presentation
D1.1) CP/M v2.2 and 3.1 for the PCW16
E - PDA600
E0) PDA600 presentation
F - CP/M
The vote for the creation of this newsgroup passed on 28th July 1994
with 148:36, it was effectively created on 4th august 1994. It was the
idea of Marco Vieth and David Long.
This unmoderated newsgroup comp.sys.amstrad.8bit is open to
discussions about the Z80 Amstrad computers : CPC (464, 664, 6128,
464+, 6128+), GX4000, PCW (8256, 8512, 9256, 9512, 9512+, 10, 16),
NC100/150/200 and PDA600.
Appropriate topics include, but are not limited to :
- CPC, GX4000, PCW, NC, PDA hardware and software,
- specific Amstrad CP/M files, overlays...
- ads for selling/buying the relative hardware and software.
The only topic that is excluded :
discussion of Amstrad PC-compatible (1512, 1640, 2x86, 3x86 and
others Amstrad compatible I don't know) because these computers
are really compatible, so comp.sys.ibm.pc.* newsgroups must be
used, especially comp.sys.ibm.pc.classic
For questions about these PC see http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cliff.lawson
For easier reading and filtering, please use the following tags at
the start of your subject line :
- announce posts : [announce]
- unrelated topic : [i]
- for buying items : [want to buy]
- for selling items : [want so sell]
- for post in another language : [french], [german], etc..., but put
a short summary in english to not ignore people who dont understand
your language, also you will get much more help if more people can
read your post.
Z - Alan Michael Sugar TRADing
Alan Michael Sugar created his company, and called it using his name :
Alan Michael Sugar TRADing, that's Amstrad.
More on Amstrad company later.
A - Amstrad CPC
A0) Amstrad CPC(+), KC compact and GX 4000 presentation 06/30/2003
They use the Zilog Z80A processor which speed is 4.00MHz.
From SOFT968 "The system centres round the Z80A with a 4.00MHz clock"
Later it states that "Accesses to memory are synchronised with the
video logic, constrained to occur on microsecond boundaries. This
has the effect of stretching each Z80 machine cycle to be a multiple
of 4 time states (clock cycles) In practice,this alters the
instruction timing so that the effective clock rate is approximately
Amstrad made the following CPC systems :
- 1) CPC 464 (Arnold 1),
- 2) CPC 664 (Arnold 2),
- 3) CPC 6128 (Arnold 3), there was also a CPC6128 cost down (Arnold 4
which was identical in operation to the original 6128 but had a new
PCB and ASIC that reduced the board size and chip count to a mere
fraction of the original size. If you open up a 6128 and the board
fills the entire space you've got one of the originals. If you open
one up and the board only occupies about 1/4 to 1/3 of the available
space with a LOT of surrounding fresh air then you've got an Arnold 4.
- 4) CPC 464+ (Arnold 5),
- 5) CPC 6128+ (Arnold 6),
- 6) GX 4000, the Amstrad 8 bit console.
The CPC+ and GX 4000 have enhanced graphics and sound (DMA), colour
palette of 4096, hardware sprites, hardware scrolling, and used
128 Ko to 512 Ko carts.
Amstrad used CRTC (Cathodic Ray Tube Controller) from different
manufacturers, which worked the same in the main, but do have many
different characteristics. This is the reason why a demo designed
for CRTC type 1, may not display correctly (or even at all), on a
CRTC type 0 :
- CRTC 0 : chipset HD6845S,
- CRTC 1 : chipset UM6845R,
- CRTC 2 : chipset MC6845,
- CRTC 3 : CPC+ Asic,
- CRTC 4 : ?
The KC compact (KC mean KleinComputer = little computer) is a clone
of the Amstrad CPC. It was made by VEB Mikroelectronik in East Germany
(the old DDR) in 1989. It was made the year before the Berlin wall
came down, and ceased production soon after.
The KC compact is 95% compatible to the CPC. The functions of the
Gate-Array are simulated by TTL-Logic and a Zilog Z8536 CIO. The ROMs
are a patched English CPC6128 Operating system ROM (includes setup code
for the Z8536) and a unpatched Locomotive BASIC v1.1 rom.
The only incompatibility lies with the interrupt generation mechanism.
Any program that relies on exact interrupt generation behaviour may
fail to work.
In some respects, the KC compact is actually more powerful than the CPC,
because the interrupt frequency can be programmed, in theory the resolution
could be reprogrammed, and the colour palette changed (replacing the colour
rom). More details are available at
If you can read french and want to learn more about Amstrad CPC
history, you should order the excellent book "Ces ordinateurs sont
dangereux" by François Quentin (fquentin club-internet.fr)
for 25 Euros (postage included, send an international postal order
by going to your post office) to :
28140 Loigny la Bataille
A1) Emulators and utilities
There is a commercial spectrum emulator for the CPC, reviewed in
The best emulator for DOS is Caprice32. For win9x, the emulators are
quite good : Arnold, Winape32 and MTMW. All win9x emulators emulates
CPC+, NO$CPC is the only DOS emulator which emulates CPC+.
On Amiga, Emu-CPC should be the best emulator.
A1.1.1) CPCEMU (PC) 06/25/98
CPCEMU by Marco Vieth, last version is 1.5b1, get
A1.1.2) Caprice32 (PC) and CPE (for PC and Amiga) and 04/28/2003
CPE, first written by Bernd Schmidt and then by Ulrich Doewich
(report bugs, suggestions to caprice32 cybercube.com) since v5.1
Get ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emulator/cpe52.zip, or if you have a
386, get ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emulator/cpe51.zip
For sources : ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emulator/cpesrc52.zip
CPE is now replaced by Caprice32, a 32bit emulator for dos (v1.11 or
2b2) or win9x, get it at :
Amiga CPE (68000, 1 Mo), last version is February 95, get
A1.1.3) A-CPC (PC) (06/01/97)
The Amstrad CPC emulator (v0.55beta) by Herman Dullink on PC, get
Current beta version is v0.56
A1.1.4) PC-CPC (PC) 11/07/2004
A PC version of AMI-CPC by Ludovic Deplanque (see A1.1.7), go
A1.1.5) NO$CPC (PC) 02/04/2001
A german emulator by Martin Korth, go to http://www.work.de/nocash
A1.1.6) Richard Wilson's emulators 12/23/99
Richard Wilson (author of ParaDOS) wrote no less than 3 emulators, get
them at http://winape.emuunlim.com :
- RWCPC for msdos : ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emulator/rwcpc.zip
- CPC emulator for windows 3.1, with debugger and assembler :
- WinApe 32, the CPC(+) emulator for win9x, comes with a built-in
compatible Maxam assembler
A1.1.7) AMI-CPC (Amiga) 07/11/2004
A french CPC emulator for Amiga, by Ludovic Deplanque, sources included.
A1.1.8) A-CPC (Amiga)
A CPC emulator for Amiga by Kevin Thacker. Get
It's an evaluation version of the real shareware. Don't forget the web
page of Kevin (see A2.2).
A1.1.9) Emu-CPC (Amiga) 04/15/99
Another french CPC emulator on AMIGA by Stephane Tavenard, get EmuCPC
v0.7 at ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emulator/emucpc07.lzx
A1.1.10) !CPC (Acorn) 07/18/99
!CPC is a CPC emulator for Acorn RISC OS machines (Archimedes/RISC PC)
by Mark RISON. Get ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emulator/cpc0728.zip
Get the sources on Lip6 : ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emulator/cpcs0728.zip
A1.1.11) !CPCemu (Acorn)
This emulator for Acorn RISC OS machines is written by Andreas
Stroiczek, aka Face Hugger. Get v1.10 at
or on ftp://ftp.uni-kl.de/pub/acorn/long/emulator
A1.1.12) CPC++ (Unix and MAC) 03/02/2002
This emulator for SunOS, Linux and MAC is written by Brice Rive.
Go at http://bricerive.free.fr/cpc
A1.1.13) SIMCPC (PC)
Presumably the first CPC emulator written, for PC XT/AT by GHE,
Aachen. It is only black and white, with additional ROMs.
A1.1.14) Multi-Machine, or MTM (win9x) 01/11/2000
Get MTM v1.30b by Paul Hodgson at ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emulator/mtmw130b.zip
MTM is a win9x multi-machine emulator. It emulates Amstrad CPC(+),
Sinclair ZX80/81 and Spectrum, Jupiter Ace and Elan Enterprise.
It can read .WAV or .CDT (digitalized Amstrad tapes).
A1.1.15) Arnold (win9x, MACos, Unix/Linux), Arnold Jr (Java) 11/08/2004
A CPC(+) emulator by Kevin Thacker for win9x, get binaries and
sources at http://arnold.emuunlim.com
Get the MACos conversion by Richard Bannister at http://www.bannister.org/software/emu.htm
Andreas Micklei is working on the Linux version, get patches at
Arnold Junior is a different emulator, the emulation is very simple.
It uses the z80 emulation from Jasper (Spectrum emulator at
The source to Arnold Jnr is available from
A1.1.16) Zsim (PC) 05/06/2003
Zsim v2.42 by Jurgen G. Weber, it simulates a CP/M Z80 machine. It
DOES NOT simulate CP/M. It includes a PD CP/M compatible operating
system and a program to format CP/M disks, so you can run CP/M
programs. It can read DATA and SYSTEM disks directly.
A1.1.17) Yage (PC) 07/15/99
Yage v0.91 by Antoine Pitrou, a CPC emulator which handles demos like
'The demo' and 'divine megademo'. Get
A1.1.18) CPCE (msdos/win9x) 05/06/2003
A spanish Amstrad CPC emulator for msdos/win9x by CNGSOFT, go
A1.1.19) CPC-emulator (Linux/Unix) 02/05/2001
CPC-emulator for Linux/Unix with X11 version 023 by Ulrich Cordes,
features .DSK (with large formats : 720 Ko), sound, debugger.
A1.1.20) M.E.S.S. (PC, MAC, Amiga) 10/23/2001
Multi-Emulator Super System (Amstrad CPC, PCW, and NC) is available
on : http://www.mess.org
For using PcW16 emulation, get ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/misc/pcwos.zip
A1.1.21) Arnimedes (PC) 05/06/2003
Arnimedes for msdos and win9x, by Oliver Lenz, get it at http://www.arnimedes.de
A1.1.22) XCPC (Unix/X11R6) 10/24/2001
An Amstrad CPC emulator by Olivier Poncet for unix and X11R6 at :
A1.1.23 CoPaCabana (win9x) 05/06/2003
A french windows Amstrad CPC emulator at :
A1.2.1) SNA2GIF (PC)
SNA2GIF v1.1 by Marco Vieth is included in CPCEMU, it extracts
screens from snapshots to GIF format.
A1.2.2) SNAP GRAB (PC)
SNAP GRAB v1.1 is a freeware by Georg Schwarz to extract screens from
snapshots to Multiface II format, which can be seen on real CPC even
with a multiface. If you want to see the picture on your PC, you will
need CPC2x (see A1.2.3), get SNAPGR11.ZIP.
A1.2.3) CPC2x (was CPC to TIFF) (PC)
CPC2x v2.0 by Michael Stroucken converts Amstrad CPC screens to the
graphic TIF and GIF format. Get CPC2X.ZIP with sources and
binaries for MSDOS and CP/M.
A1.2.4) CPC file system (PC) 06/08/2004
CPCfs v0.85.3 by Derik van Zutphen, it transfers CPC files between .DSK
files and DOS files, in the two ways. There is a useful batch mode.
Better get CPCXFS, the updated version by Kevin Thacker which
supports now extended .DSK, bugs removed, other updates, at :
A1.2.5) Multiface II to Snapshot (PC)
M2TOSNA v1.1 by James McKay converts CPC Multiface II files to 64
Ko and 128 Ko snapshots files. Look for M2TOSNA1.ZIP.
A1.2.6) CPDread and CPDwrite (PC) 06/03/99
Copy Protected Disk reader v3.24 by Ulrich Doewich, for transferring
CPC disks into the common DSK file format of CPC emulators. It uses
the extended DSK format which manages copy protected disks better.
CPDwrite v1.03, for writing back .DSK to a disk, even with protected
games, get CPDW103.ZIP
A1.2.7) MACTerm (MAC)
Transfer files between CPC and MAC with a parallel cable, get CPCTERM.ZIP
A1.2.8) 22disk (PC) 08/06/2000
22disk is a shareware utility by Sydex (http://www.sydex.com) which
can read/write/format CP/M disks on PC. It can read CPC disks formats
with a file called CPMDISKS.DEF which comes with CPCEMU, or EURO.DEF
(ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emu-uti/eurodef.zip) or my
own file (ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/emu-uti/gen8-def.zip).
You shouldn't use it under OS/2 or win95, unless you have the last
Sydex has removed 22disk since 2000 from public distribution, but is
still for sale on their web site.
A1.2.9) DIC (PC) 06/14/97
Disc Image Copier by Tim Rieman, transfer DATA and SYSTEM disc from
CPC to PC with a parallel cable, get :
For conversion from PC to CPC, see A1.2.11
A1.2.10) AIFF decoder (Unix, PC, Amiga) 02/28/2000
AIFF decoder by Pierre Guerrier, a tool for retrieving data from
sampled Amstrad CPC tapes, C sources included. Get programs from :
- MSDOS port v1.2 by Ulrich Doewich :
- Amiga port by Kevin Thacker :
A1.2.11) PC2CPC (PC)
PC2CPC v2.0 by James Churchill converts CPC emulator EDSK images to 3"
disks via the CPCEMU parallel link, look for
For conversion from CPC 3" disk to PC .DSK see A1.2.9
A1.2.12) DSK-CPC (CPC) 09/01/99
DSK-CPC by Divine Coding reads a .DSK or .EDSK image from a 3.5"
720Kb DOS disc in drive B and writes the image to a CPC disc, thus
recreating the original software disc. It can can cope with copy-
protected software. Get it at :
A1.2.13) CPCKEY (PC) 06/08/2001
CpcKey v0.3 for msdos use the CPCEMU parallel link for :
- command/replace CPC keyboard with the PC keyboard,
- send files between CPC and PC
- modify the CPC memory, poke during games
- automatic procedures, etc...
- compatible Intel HEX format
A1.2.14) SEND2 (CPC) 06/15/97
SEND2 v1.2 by J.GUEZENNEC (jguezenn icor.fr) is a complete parallel
transfer package which is an amelioration of CPCPARA.BAS :
- 3" disk transfer (DATA, SYSTEM, IBM),
- ROM transfers,
- tape transfers.
CPC transfile project, a project aimed at simulating a small file
system on the Amstrad CPC with the files being stored on a PC hard
disk. The project is complete, there is no plan to improve it. Get
The CPC asm code needs Devpac or similar to be compiled, and any PC
assembler for the PC asm code.
A1.2.16) ReadScr (PC)
A PC utility for ms-dos by Ark for viewing Amstrad CPC screens, with
palettes or not, get ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/graphic/readscr.zip
A1.2.17 CPC2TAPE (PC) 08/16/99
A dos utility (comes with C sources) to transfer Amstrad files from
a PC to the CPC directly via the sound card, or to tapes, get
A1.2.18) SLIP/IP stack 04/24/99
A SLIP/IP stack developped by Mark Rison for Amstrad
CPC6128s with Amstrad serial interfaces. Using this, you can
establish a SLIP connection from your Amstrad and then ping it. To
* find out more, go to http://www.nenie.org/cpcip/
It's probably easiest if you connect your CPC to a Linux box,
using a null modem, and the instructions assume this, but there's
no reason in principle why you couldn't connect via a modem.
A2) Sources of emulators, ROMs and programs
ROMs are now included with CPCEMU and CPE, with the permission of
Amstrad and Locomotive Software.
If you have ROMs on a romboard, you can get them for use with an
emulator, get CPCEMU, it comes with a basic program to transfer a ROM
to a file.
A2.0) IRC 07/24/2004
You can exchange files with Internet Relay Chat, but its primary goal
is to chat with other internet users.
- #CPC, every days on IRCNet
- #CPC, on irc.emm.fr
- #CPC on irc.neoxys.org port 6667
A2.1) FTP sites 07/31/2004
If you have problems accessing FTP sites, use the following method :
- ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad, thanks to Remy Card,
http://genesis8.free.fr/files.php (HTML front-end with
the list of all files, size and description included).
all questions about this site should be directed to roussin noos.fr
- ftp://andercheran.aiind.upv.es/pub/cpc/ADATE, thanks to Sergio Bayarri
or creating the site, and to Kevin Thacker for maintaining it. Send
what you have in /pub/cpc/ADATE/incoming. This site contains tape
images (.cdt) and disk images (.dsk). The aim of this site is to
preserve games, so only original games are allowed. No hacked or
modified games will be allowed. Please see the documentation at this
site about creating tape-images using existing tools. (voc2tzx)
- ftp://ftp.nvg.ntnu.no/pub/cpc, thanks to Arnt Gulbrandsen for
creating the site, and to Nicholas Campbell for maintaining it.
Send what you have in /pub/cpc/incoming or email to nich otto.org,
look for the HTML front-end : http://tacgr.emuunlim.com
mirror of ftp.nvg.ntnu.no
- ftp://ftp.demon.co.uk/pub/cpm, thanks to Paul Martin, specific
Amstrad CP/M related files.
- http://www.cantrell.org.uk/mirrors, mirror of lip6 and nvg
- Two Mag FTP site
A2.2) WWW 07/24/2004
You will find them at :
the FAQ maintainer homepage with Amstrad news and more !
Three other important web sites :
the official Amstrad web site
the biggest Amstrad web page by Kevin Thacker
Cliff Lawson's site about all Amstrad computers range, even the PC ones
A2.3) BBS 07/31/2004
Informations removed indefinitely.
A2.4) Using programs with emulators or real CPC
A2.4.1) DSK files
These files are images of a disk, you "insert" a disk with F3 in
CPCEMU, and F6 with CPE, then you can type CAT to see the files,
RUN"file_name" to run a program (.BAS or .BIN).
A2.4.2) CPC files 11/07/2004
Three solutions to use plain CPC files :
a) put them in the TAPE directory, type |TAPE then the usual RUN"
b) WinAPE comes with a ROM image called CPCDOS. Simply select the ROM
(probably best below AMSDOS in ROM 6), then you can use |DOS,
|DOS.IN, |DOS.OUT, |CD
c) inject them in a .DSK file with CPCFS (see A1.2.4) :
- create an empty .DSK : CPCFS -nd empty.dsk (you can omit the .dsk)
- inject files : CPCFS empty -mp *.* (the files must be in the
current directory, the DSK can be somewhere else)
To extract files from a .DSK : CPCFS image.dsk -mg *.*
XTI by Pierre Guerrier can also put amsdos files into a DSK.
Note that there are MAC and Amiga ports of XTI.
A2.4.3) How to run programs with a CPC or emulator ?
Type CAT to get the directory of the disk, mostly programs are run
with a BASIC loader, so looks for *.BAS, then type RUN"name.BAS" (.BAS
can be omitted). If there isn't a basic loader, run the .BINary
program directly : type RUN"name.BIN" (.BIN can be omitted).
Some disks doesn't have a real directory, and must be launched with
the CP/M command : |CPM.
For running tapes on a real CPC, type RUN", the CPC will launch the
first program on the tape.
A2.4.4) How to format a disk 01/03/2003
On a CPC, use the formatting utility on your CP/M disk (diskit) or
the following basic program :
5 ' QuickFormat by Adrian Forbes
10 MODE 1:PRINT"Please Wait..."
20 GOSUB 150
30 MODE 1
40 INPUT "(D)ata or (V)endor";f$
50 PRINT "Sure (Y/N)"
60 a$=INKEY$:IF a$="" THEN 60
70 IF LOWER$(a$)<>"y" THEN GOTO 60
80 MODE 1
90 PRINT"Insert disc to format in drive A":PRINT"Then press a key..."
100 CALL &BB18
110 MODE 1
140 GOTO 30
180 FOR x=1 TO 8
190 READ a$:a=VAL("&"+a$)
200 POKE add,a
240 READ ch$
250 IF ch 'put 'not equal to' here, cant do it in HTML' VAL("&"+ch$) THEN PRINT"Error in line";ln:END
280 IF ln 'put "not equal to' here, cant do it in HTML' 510 THEN GOTO 180
290 CALL &4000
310 DATA 21,8D,40,01,91,40,C3,D1,354
320 DATA BC,FE,01,C0,21,9A,40,06,37C
330 DATA 09,36,00,23,36,00,23,36,F1
340 DATA 00,23,36,02,23,10,F2,21,1A1
350 DATA 88,40,CD,D4,BC,22,89,40,410
360 DATA DD,6E,00,DD,66,01,23,5E,310
370 DATA 23,56,1A,FE,44,CA,80,40,35F
380 DATA FE,64,CA,80,40,3E,41,32,39D
390 DATA 8C,40,11,00,00,06,28,C5,1D0
400 DATA 21,9A,40,7A,06,09,77,23,21E
410 DATA 23,23,23,10,F9,3A,8C,40,278
420 DATA 06,05,21,9C,40,CD,73,40,288
430 DATA 06,04,21,A0,40,CD,73,40,28B
440 DATA 21,9A,40,DF,89,40,14,C1,378
450 DATA 10,D5,C9,77,23,23,23,23,2B1
460 DATA 23,23,23,23,3C,10,F4,C9,295
470 DATA 3E,C1,32,8C,40,C3,3F,40,33F
480 DATA 86,00,00,07,00,00,00,00,8D
490 DATA 00,97,40,C3,09,40,C9,51,2FD
500 DATA C6,00,20,00,00,00,00,00,E6
510 DATA end
On a PC, use 22disk, look for A128
A2.5) Buying hardware/software
A2.5.1) Auctions sites
Auctions sites like http://www.ebay.com are good places to find
hardware and software
A2.5.2) Emma�s (only in France)
It's possible to find interesting things in Emma�s shops, like at
- You can buy a selection of games cartridges for the CPC+ and the
GX4000, cartridges are unboxed and without instructions. Price £7.99
each including postage and packing in United Kingdom, also programs
for CPC/PCW, go at http://www.tradeinpost.com
John Thackeray (email : Tradingpost btinternet.com)
Trade in Post
Shropshire TF11 8AF
Tel/Fax : 00 44 (0)1952 462135
A3) Transfer between CPC and PC
Later mentions of DDI-1 can also be replaced by FD-1 (which comes
without the interface for the 464)
A3.1.1) 3" drive on PC (part one) 10/22/2002
* A working solution on http://www.fvempel.nl/3pc.html
A3.1.2) 3" drive on PC (part two) 01/11/2000
Porting files across from CPC to PC is easy, at least, if you have
a DDI-1 disk drive ! You need to follow exactly these instructions.
As is usual with things like this, you do everything entirely at your
own risk. I have done this on my own PC without damaging it, but
cannot guarantee that it will work with yours. If you do damage your
computer, it is YOUR FAULT.
Note of the FAQ keeper, I have a report of someone trying out the
following instructions, who had his controller burnt, and another
whose 3" drive died, so beware.
These instructions only apply to the DDI-1 package. They MAY work with
the FD1 3" second drive, and will definitely NOT work with the
internal drives on 6128s, 664s, and 6128+s.
Install 22DISK! You will need to tell it you have no A: drive, and
that B: is a 360K drive, physical unit 0, on the Primary adapter, with
step-rate of 12 milli-seconds. You will also need the CPMDISKS.DEF
file from CPCEMU.
0 Install 22DISK with CPMDISKS.DEF coming with CPCEMU or the one from
1 open your PC, following all usual precautions such as turning off
the power and discharging any static electricity on your body!
2 Unplug any floppy drives. This step is important. (See note 1)
3 Find the connector that is meant for the B: drive. (It is probably
on the same cable as the connector for the A: drive. The A: connector
has a twist in it. The B: connector is the other one!)
4 Plug it into your DDI-1 drive unit. You may have to file the keyway
on the connector off. (Different PCs have different keyways on their
connectors, so you may not have to attack it with a file. So much for
5 Turn the DDI-1 drive on first, then the PC. When it does the
Power-on test, press DEL to enter the setup menu (you have got an AMI
BIOS haven't you?). Tell it you have no A: drive and a 360K 5.25" B:
drive. (See note 2)
6 Use 22DISK to read (not under OS/2 or windows 95), write and format
your 3" disks to your heart's content ! You could also use ANADISK I
7 When you've finished, restore the machine its original state. As
well as using CPC disks, you'll probably be able to use Spectrum 3
disks if you have an appropriate CPMDISKS.DEF. If of course you want
to use Speccy disks...
Note 1 : Amstrad's disk drive is reasonably standard, but not quite!
When you install it, it claims to be both your physical drive 0 and
physical drive 1. As such, if you expect it to be just drive 1 (B:),
and leave unit 0 (A:) still plugged in, it will promptly ram the heads
of unit 0 hard against the end stop, promptly trashing your unit 0. I
found this the hard way, and had to buy a new 3.5" floppy drive.
Note 2 : If you don't have an AMI BIOS, then this will be different.
You may have to run a program from a system disk which came with your
The pin-outs of the 3" drive are _identical_ to the ones of a 5.25"
drive - it will just plug in. It's a long time since I was inside my
Einstein, but I'm pretty sure that drive is a 40track SS unit - what a
PC would call a 180K drive. Things like the Disk Change line may be
different, but if you set up your PC to ignore that (and possibly tell
it it's a 360K drive), you should be OK.
I've used a 3" drive (actually a Double-sided model) with an original
IBM XT in this way.
A reply to the last two paragraphs :
It actually depends on the type of 3" drive. Some of them had a 34 way
connector like the IBM PC 5.25 " drive (i.e. PCB gold plated edge
connector) and are compatible. Genuine Amstrad drives on the other hand
have a 26-way PCB header which contains all the useful signals, although
some have been removed.
I remember, that the 34 way connectors are only nearly compatible. In
those days around 1985, I connected a CPC 464 External drive to
another CPM computer with standard 5.25" drives like the PC-drives.
It was necessary to swap the lines since the pin numbering was mirrored
compared to the standard.
I also think that the exact layout depends on the version of the
computer (CPC 464/664/6128). So be careful and do not ruin your
hardware by building sh circuits! (It shouldn't be very difficult to
verify which are the GND-lines )
A complement to this reply
The Amstrad and PC disk connections are as follows:
26 pin Amstrad disk drive:
Index 2 * * 1 GND
DS0 4 * * 3 GND
DS1 6 * * 5 GND
Motor 8 * * 7 GND
Dirn 10 * * 9 GND
Step 12 * * 11 GND
Wdata 14 * * 13 GND
Wenable 16 * * 15 GND
Track0 18 * * 16 GND
WProt 20 * * 19 GND
Rdata 22 * * 21 GND
Side 24 * * 23 GND
N.C ? 26 * * 25 GND
34 pin Standard disk drive:
Head Load 2 * * 1 GND
In Use ? 4 * * 3 GND
DS3 6 * * 5 GND
Index 8 * * 7 GND
DS0 10 * * 9 GND
DS1 12 * * 11 GND
DS2 14 * * 13 GND
Motor 16 * * 15 GND
Dirn 18 * * 17 GND
Step 20 * * 19 GND
Wdata 22 * * 21 GND
Wenable 24 * * 23 GND
Track0 26 * * 25 GND
WProt 28 * * 27 GND
Rdata 30 * * 29 GND
Side 32 * * 31 GND
N.C. ? 34 * * 33 GND
Note that on the Amstrad drive, DS3 and DS2 are missing.
The pins marked with a ? may have been redefined on some
drives (e.g. on high density PC drives, one of them is used
to change the drive current - I can't remember which now),
also on very old single sided drives, the Side signal used to
be used to reset the drive. If you are using a 34 way
connector drive in an Amstrad, you may want to hard wire
Head Load to be permanently enabled (if it is used - not
all drives do).
A3.1.3) 3" drive on PC (part three) 02/17/98
Here is other information by Juan Perez Delgado, as I know nothing
of hardware, be cautious. This doesn't apply for Schneider drives.
1. Read all first
2. Then you open your PC, and unplug and take off the cable that goes
from the FD controller to the FD drives. The cable looks something
like this: (including the twist between the B: and A: connectors)
(ctlr = Floppy Disc Controller)
to FD ctler to B: drive to A: drive
/-\ /-\ /-\
10-|---------|-|-\ /----|-|10 ) 16 of ctler, A: thinks it is 10
12-|---------|-|- \/ ----|-|12 ) 14 of ctler, A: thinks it is 12
14-|---------|-|- /\ ----|-|14 ) 12 of ctler, A: thinks it is 14
16-|---------|-|-/ \----|-|16 ) 10 of ctler, A: thinks it is 16
\-/ \-/ \-/
3. Using a screwdriver and a cutter I reordered the wires that go to
the A: drive (I left some of them not connected):
to FD ctler. to B: drive to A: drive
2 -|---------|-|------- You can see that signals
4 -|---------|-|------- 2,4,6,10(16 from the ctler)
6 -|---------|-|------- are not used.
10-|---------|-|-\ /-nc \-|-| 2 (connected to ctler pin 8)
12-|---------|-|- \/ -------|-| 4
14-|---------|-|- /\ -------|-| 6
16-|---------|-|-/ \-------|-| 8
\-/ \-/ |-| 28
Of course, odd pins must be connected to wires of ground (odd
pins in the drive with odd pins in the ctler, doesn't matter the
4. Next, you open the CPC6128, and get the 3"FD, unplug only the cable
that comes from the controller (the one in the 26-pin connector).
5. Plug-in the cable you have 'build' in step 3 to the FD cntler (as it
was before you disconnected it), and connect the CPC 3"FD to the
connector whose wires you have reordered. As the connector is 34 pin
wide, and the drive is 26-pin, there will be a side not connected
(corresponding to pins 28 to 34).
Now you have the controller cable from the PC controller connected to
the 3" drive. I think you can still connect another driver to the
other free connector, but I didn't try it because I read some people
have burned its controller doing similar things. You leave the power
cable of the 3" drive connected to the CPC, as it was before.
6. Now, you switch on your CPC (monitor, then keyboard). The FD will
start running continuously.
7. Now, you switch on your PC. If all is Ok, nothing should burn :), and
the 3" FD will stop running. Then in the bios setup you tell you have
a 360Kb 5.25" drive A. You boot the PC again if needed.
8. In order to use with CPDRead, you must set your drive
(cpdread.cfg) as a 360Ko drive with 360Ko disks, and you must set
#STEP to 2)
#STEP set to 1 worked for somebody else.
A3.2.1) 3,5" or 5,25" drive on CPC 06/29/98
See A5.2 after installing your new drive.
You can use a 3.5" or 5.25" drive on a CPC. You have to take care
about the cabling, as some 6128s use a 36 pin port and the drive only
has 34. A normal PC floppy cable (5 connector) can be used to connect
drives, although some connectors may need changing. The six problems
which can arrive are:
- The drive has no ready signal. That is true for some older PC
drives. In this case, forget it, if you are not able to solder some
IC's to simulate the signal.
- You can only use one side of the disk (180k). If you want to use
both sides, you have to solder in a switch, or get another DOS
(Vortex XDOS or Dobbertin X-DDOS), the best DOS is ParaDOS.
- High-density drives have a hi/lo signal not present on CPCs which
may cause problems, it is probably best to use older 720k drives.
- Some 5.25" drives, namely 720k QD drives, may cause problems,
however these are not very common and so shouldn't be a cause for
- Drives may not work properly on the CPC by giving read errors and
seek errors, etc. The first thing to do in this event is to clean
the edge connector on the CPC with some IPA (head cleaner fluid),
and then clean the drive heads in the same way if necessary.
- The jumper setting on the drive is wrong. On older 5.25" drives
you may find that they have been set to Drive 0 (DS0), in which case
you need to set the drive to drive 1 (DS1) or use a PC drive cable
which has a twist in it.
To copy disks from 3" in drive A to 3.5"/5.25" in drive B
the best method is to use Disckit2/3 that comes with CP/M, depending on
which version you have. If Disckit3 doesn't work, Procopy can tackle
most disks, and runs from drive B so you can copy it across to your CPC
fairly easily. You can read the CPC disks on the PC with 22DISK from
Sydex, or Ulrich Doewich's CPDRead, see A1.2.6 and A1.2.8.
The following diagram is a pin table comparing a modern 1.44Mb 3.5"
drive to the drive B connector on a CPC, which you may find useful.
Note that although the CPC connector is numbered backward, it is still
1.44Mb 3.5" drive: CPC drive B connector
All odd pins: Ground -------------> All even pins: Ground
2: Hi/lo density -----------------> 33: N/C
4: N/C ---------------------------> 31: N/C
6: N/C ---------------------------> 29: N/C
8: Index -------------------------> 27: Index
10: Motor enable A ---------------> 25: N/C
12: Drive select B ---------------> 23: Drive select 1 (B)
14: Drive select A ---------------> 21: N/C
16: Motor Enable B ---------------> 19: Motor On
18: Direction select -------------> 17: Direction Select
20: Head Step --------------------> 15: Step
22: Write data -------------------> 13: Write data
24: Write gate -------------------> 11: Write gate
26: Track 00 ---------------------> 9: Track 0
28: Write protect ----------------> 7: Write protect
30: Read data --------------------> 5: Read data
32: Head select ------------------> 3: Side 1 select
34: Disk change ------------------> 1: Ready
A detailed guide more specific to 5.25" drives can be found at the All
Things CPC website, and there is also information at the other CPC
sites, see A2.2.
A3.2.2) 3,5" or 5,25" drive on CPC+ (by Simon Matthews)
See A5.2 after installing your new drive.
Adding a 3.5" drive to the CPC 6128 was a doddle - 34 way card edge
connector on one end, 34 way IDC on the other end and you were away.
The numbering on the pins was pretty easy, too. Looking at the
connector from the BACK of the machine, Pins 1 to 33 (odd) ran from
left to right along the bottom, pins 2 to 34 (even) ran from left to
right along the top. All of the top pins were grounded, and pin 1
(bottom left) was the READY line, which by convention would be denoted
by the "stripe" of the ribbon cable. At the other end, a simple IDC
plug connected to the external drive, usually with the "stripe"
nearest to the power connector.
The problem with the CPC+ is that the connector on the back of the
computer is 36-way, not 34 and is numbered back to front as well. So,
looking at the connector from the BACK of the machine again, pins 1 to
35 (odd) ran from RIGHT TO LEFT on the top of the connector, and pins
2 to 36 (even) ran from RIGHT TO LEFT on the bottom of the connector.
Again, all of the even pins were grounded. Here's where it gets
This time, pin 33 is READY, pin 31 is SIDE 1 SELECT all the way to pin
7 which is INDEX. In other words, the lines are in the same order,
but different pin numbers. It all sounds quite hectic, but it's easy
to sort out in practice.
Firstly, take a length of 34-way ribbon cable and crimp the 34-way
IDC connector on as usual. At the other end, peel away the cable on
the other side of the "stripe" for a few centimetres. Now
place this cable in the 36way Amphenol connector so that the stripe
corresponds to pin 33; in other words, make sure the LEFTMOST 3
blades are left empty. The other edge of the cable should be lying on
the RIGHTMOST blade, with the wire you peeled away not connected to
"stripe" --->|||||||34 WAY RIBBON CABLE||||||||
||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| \ <--- Peel away
Goes to pin 33->||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| <--- Goes to pin 1
pin 35 --------------------------------------- pin 1
\ 36 WAY AMPHENOL CONNECTOR /
pin 36 ------------------------------------- pin 2
* LEFTMOST 3 pins (36,35,34) NOT CONNECTED *
Double check all is Ok, then crimp together. Now you can test the
cable on your external drive. If the drive is unresponsive, or just
spins constantly, try plugging the IDC cable in the other way around;
most drives want the "stripe" nearest to the power connector, but a
few want it the other way around.
I know it sounds complex, but have a look at the pin-out diagrams and
it's not too bad.
A3.3) parallel cable 06/08/2001
The CPCEMU emulator has documentation on how to make such
a cable yourself and includes utilities for both the PC and CPC that
allow two-way communication and file transfer. However CPCPARA.BAS
supplied in this package can extract files from CPC disk drives, not
those saved on cassette tape. For files on tape, see A1.2.14.
following line to be removed on next FAQ
See A184.108.40.206 for getting this cable in France.
If you have a problem with PCPARA.BAS, coming with CPCEMU, load the
program into the emulator (put it in the TAPE directory) and save it
as an ascii file with this command : SAVE"PCPARA.BAS",A
or use SEND2
A3.4) RS 232 & RS 422
Neither the CPC nor the PCW have a RS 232. You can buy it, you then
just need a communication program on PC and CPC/PCW and a null modem
cable to exchange files between the computers.
Get ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/misc/rs232cpc.lzh for a circuit plan for
a RS 232 interface, by Tim Riemann.
Commercial companies can transfer your files
A3.5.1) Locoscript Software (was Locomotive Software) 05/08/2000
The Locomotive name and products has been sold to SD Micros (SD
Microsystems Ltd). For sales write to sales locomotive.com,
for support write to support locomotive.com
Contact Tony Gill at tgill alystra.win-uk.net for rates.
ROWANSOFT, ROWANCRAIG, ARDFERN,
BY LOCHGILPHEAD, ARGYLL, PA31 8QN
Tel. 01852 500 257
A3.5.3) Holland Numerics Ltd 09/07/97
Converts PCW data to PC format. A price list can be obtained by email
from phil.holland bcs.org.uk on the web page :
or by post from:
Philip R Holland
Holland Numerics Ltd
94 Green Drift
Herts SG8 5BT
A3.5.4) David Simpson
David Simpson (email : DAS picknowl.com.au)
PO Box 187
Mitcham Shopping Centre
South Australia 5062
Contact me for rates.
I also supply belts and/or do the replacement for 3" drives
I am the contact for Amstrad Computer Club Incorporated in South
The club meets weekly on Tuesday evenings between 6:30 and 9:00pm at
Torrensville Primary School, Hayward Avenue, Torrensville, SA. While
the club is primarily a no-brand PC compatibles club, I and several
other members are familiar with CPC and PCW machines and are only too
happy to help.
A3.6) Tapes 03/28/2002
A3.6.1) Using AIFF decoder 03/28/2002
- digitalize the tape as AIFF or WAV files, using Cool Edit for example,
- use AIFFdecoder (A1.2.10) for transforming an AIFF file to
plain Amstrad files to put in the TAPE directory of an emulator,
or use CPCFS (A1.2.4) to put the files into a .DSK,
- run the Multi-Machine emulator which can directly read .WAV files.
You can use CPC2TAPE (A1.2.17) to transfer a tape directly from PC to CPC.
A3.6.2) Using vox2tzx and playtzx 03/28/2002
Voc2tzx is an utility to transfer cassette programs into CDT tape
images for use with emulators. There are instructions at the ADATE
archive which describe how to identify and convert various loading
Playtzx is an utility to convert CDT tape images to a real cassette
for use on a real CPC. You can play the CDT through the sound card of
Get voc2tzx and playtzx at Word of Spectrum
A4) Maps, solutions, pokes, basic loaders ?
A4.1) Maps & Solutions 02/14/2000
Post solutions in the newsgroup, I will store them on lip6.
A lot of adventure games solutions
- WOS games maps
a lot of games maps
A4.2) Pokes 03/05/99
Starting with CPCEMU 1.3 you can easily poke games with an external
database file. If you have new pokes, send them to
tous club-internet.fr which maintains a database for CPCEMU. The last
database is 1.641 pokes for 576 games, get
Amstrad CPC poke database (for CPCEMU), you can submit your pokes to
be added in the database : http://andercheran.aiind.upv.es/~sergio/cpc
A5) Hardware problems
A5.1) Internal drive 07/22/2000
If you have the error : 'disk missing', the drive belt should be the
problem. The best solution is to come with your old belt in an
electronics shop and see the available belts. You should look for
one with the dimensions 72mm x 3 mm x 0.5 mm (although I believe it is
OK to use belts in the length range of 69-72 mm long and either 3 or
You can find belts at Paris (75011), reference Koenig 7093.00 at
Espace Composants Electronique, 66 rue de Montreuil, m�tro Nation,
phone 01 43 72 30 64, fax 01 43 72 30 67 (http://www.ibcfrance.fr)
Cibotronic at Paris (France) used to sell them, but they
don't have them anymore. The reference was MASTER type CR 4092,
dimensions 71.0 x 0.6 x 2.8 mm.
An U.K. address : Andre Howard at 65 Altyre Way, Beckenham, Kent BR3
3ED. Price is #2.25 (UK pounds) including P&P.
Still in U.K., CPC components sells them as reference AVBELT3 for 18
pences. Phone (01772) 654455.
Pinboard Computers can supply belts, email to Pinboardcomputers btinternet.com
A working reference in U.K. : maplins reference RK99.
For Germany, see A220.127.116.11 and A18.104.22.168
Now it is time to change the belt of an Amstrad CPC 6128/6128+ :
- open the CPC by unscrewing the screws at the back of the CPC,
without disconnecting anything. For a CPC+ there are screws and 3
- unscrew the drive from the CPC,
- disconnect the 2 cables (data and electricity),
- if you have a CPC+, get out the drive from its metallic place, there
are 4 screws and you have to push the drive,
- put the drive to let you see the green electronic card,
- unscrew the card from the drive,
- disconnect the items which goes from the card to the drive to let
you lift enough the card and see the belt (you wont be able to detach
completely the card from the drive),
- remove the belt with your fingers or a screwdriver. In all cases,
keep always the drive with the head down, or a nail will fall.
It is used for the detection of write protection.
- buy a new belt (see above),
- put the new belt, reconnect all items, screw again the green
electronic card, reconnect the drive to the CPC, close the CPC.
The other possibility is a fault with the index hole detection. As
well as the large shutter on a 3" disc, there is also a smaller one
through which the disc drive can watch for the index hole to go past.
There is a LED and an associated detector that watch for this, and if
either has gone wrong or got covered in dust you may get disc missing
A5.2) External drive 05/15/99
See A3.2.1 and A3.2.2 for adding a 5,25" or 3,5" drive to your CPC.
Then, when the drive is installed, you can't format your disk to the
full 720 Ko unless you have a ROM box and another operating system
such as RoDOS, ROMDOS (not CPC+ compatible) or ParaDOS (the best one).
Parados recognise all ROMDOS formats and can replace ROM slot 7
The place to go for CPC spares is (coincidentally) a company called
CPC Spares in United Kingdom, at +44 1772 654477.
There are 3 Gate Array, two types being used on 464 (a very old cpc uses
400007, the newer ones have 400010).
The AM40007 is the type used in most CPC464's and they should be
available from CPC Ltd. +44 1772 654455. They're gonna be expensive
though, probably about 25-35 pounds.
A6) How can I help the Amstrad world ?
A6.1) Updating the FAQ
By sending corrections, modifications, new informations for this FAQ
to roussin noos.fr
A6.2) Commercial games becoming freeware 07/31/2004
If you know addresses of authors who wrote programs on CPC/PCW, send
me their address, I will write them to ask the persmission for letting
their games to become freeware or shareware (they still will retain
the copyright, even after all these years).
for the games that already became freeware, or almost freeware
(authors stating that they don't care for the distribution of their games).
A6.3) Adding files to ftp.lip6.fr 04/15/2001
You can send me your latest production. As there is no upload
directory on lip6, you will need to email your programs to
roussin noos.fr, or send them to ftp.nvg.ntnu.no/pub/cpc/incoming,
I will then put it on ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad
A6.4) Updating ALL_CPC, ALL_HW, ALL_ROM, ALL_UTIL 04/14/2002
Frederic Herlem (frederic.herlem planetis.com) is writing the complete
inventory of the CPC programs, get v08 and help him to update it :
Kevin Thacker (amstrad aiind.upv.es) wrote :
- inventory of all hardware produced for the CPC (v1.0 is 02/04/97)
- inventory of all CPC ROM software, (v1.0 is 02/04/97)
- inventory of all CPC utilities, commercial or not, (v1.0 is 02/04/97)
A7) Commercial programs which are now PD, freeware or shareware 07/31/2004
A8) Useful addresses and information
See A3.4 for a PCW address.
A22.214.171.124) removed 05/18/2001
A126.96.36.199) Futur's 10/31/99
Futur's is a french group, they do many things. They bring you the
Soundplayer (a better Digiblaster). It connects on the printer port.
The Soundplayer is used by Protracker and Digitracker. You can do it
yourself for about 5 euros of electronic components. The electronic
plan is in the paper zine Quasar issue 9, see A9.1.3. With this little
marvellous thing, you can have 8bit samples, instead of 4bit samples.
The SoundPlayer+ is a better SoundPlayer, which can include Virtual
Net 96 (see A10.5) for a bit more more, or which can use a CPC+ port instead
of the normal CPC printer port.
The SoundPlayer II now exists. It connects on the expansion port and
permits to make mono 8 bits/22KHz digitalized sound. It offers one
more port to connect a second Soundplayer (for stereo) or to free the
For ordering a SoundPlayer+ or 2, see A9.1.3
see http://www.chez.com/futurs or http://www.ifrance.com/futurs
old A188.8.131.52 removed, A184.108.40.206 become A220.127.116.11
A18.104.22.168) Association des Fans de CPC (AFC) 07/31/2004
AFC is a french association whose aim is to be a link between the various
CPC users. For more information, write to
10 rue du Capitaine Menard
or see http://genesis8.free.fr/
A22.214.171.124) Sinotech Ltd.
A source for Amstrad PCW, PC 1286/2286, PC1386/2386, PC 1512/6400, and
PC 1640 disks, ribbons, memory and drive upgrades, etc. in the USA is:
218 Terrace Drive
phone: (708) 566-0504
A8.1.3) United Kingdom
A126.96.36.199) Comsoft (was Campursoft) 07/24/2004
Comsoft doesnt exist anymore. This company was held by Peter Campbell.
Comsoft was selling ParaDOS, DES, and other products. One of these
products was the Basic Idea, a tutorial of 42 pages and disc of
examples for the basic programmer, now available at :
A188.8.131.52) United Amstrad User Group 06/01/98
13 Rodney Close
The group has been going for 10 years now. We publish a magazine
called "CPC User" every couple of months, and have other services
for members (disk and tape library, book library, and help-lines).
The magazine carries occasional articles on using CPCs in conjunction
with PCs (how to set up emulators, share files, and so on), and other
articles range from those aimed at beginners to experienced users,
with competitions, type-ins, tutorials, and fiction.
See A2.2 for web address and A9.1.2 for fanzine.
A184.108.40.206) Brian Watson
39 High Street
Tel (and FAX by arrangement, phone first): +44 (0)1353 777006
E-mail : brian spheroid.demon.co.uk
Supplier or distributor of a number of products and services
for users of CPCs, CPC Pluses, PCW/PcWs and some other
computers. Fuller details with prices on application
- The Protext family, including Proprint, Protext Office,
Maxam, Utopia etc for the CPC and PCW (also the PC and
Atari versions and the Prodata PC database). Free user
support at normal phone rates is included with all items
- Montrac: a new monitor/tracing program to work with Maxam
- PcW16 operating system upgrades. Free for a DS/HD disc and
return postage with your address in a padded bag
- Pipeline Tutorials for the CPC: a printed tutorial course in
parts (and firmware guides) with free example files on disc
- Second-hand Software: an extensive range for the CPC, all
originals with documentation. From 50 pence UK.
Also editor of 8BIT magazine, and is the Publicity Officer of
WACCI CPC club and IEBA (Independent Eight Bit Association)
Send large Self Adressed Envelop (SAE) or two International Reply
Coupons (IRC) for Brian Watson Software catalogue.
A220.127.116.11) Karl-Heinz Weeske
Potsdamer Ring 10
Tel +49 7191 60078
Fax +49 7191 60079
CPC hardware and software, printer ribbons (NQL401 & DMP), circuit
diagrams, manuals, etc..., demand an offer list !
A18.104.22.168) Walter Kuhn
Hessenstrasse 7 (Frohnhausen)
Tel./Fax +49 2771 32688
supply printer ribbons Schneider/Amstrad, DMP 2000...3160, NLQ
401, Joyce, LQ 3500, PCW 8256/8512, PCW 9512,
Multistrikeband, Maxell 3"-Disks 10 pack,
A22.214.171.124) Beratung Mewes 06/09/2004
53902 Bad Muenstereifel
Tel. +49 2253 932388
Fax +49 2253 932387
Email : s.mewes usa.net
drive belts (CPC, PCW), 3" drives (PCW), RAM-Extensions, repair
service for disc-drives (3")
A126.96.36.199) Andreas Micklei 06/19/2004
Andreas will send out replacement belts for 3 inch drives to anyone in
germany. The price is 1,5 euro per belt plus 0,55 euro for postage.
Payment is accepted in cash, stamps, bank transfer or CPC hardware.
To avoid long delays and assure that enough belts are in stock,
contact him at nurgle gmx.de
A8.2.1) the firmware guide
The unofficial (not the proper SOFT 968 guide) Amstrad CPC Firmware
guide is available now! Thanks to Bob Taylor and Thomas Defoe for
allowing the distribution.
David Cantrell has scanned and reformatted the electronical version!
A8.2.2) Pin-out for colour monitor
4 2 (viewed from rear)
1 = Red 4 = Sync
2 = Green 5 = Gnd
3 = Blue 6 = Lum
A8.2.3) Programs on ROMs (01/10/99)
With RamRomBox by Inicron or RAMCARD by RAM7 (see A10.3.2) come the
utility Softbrenner which can easily save any program on ROM (or
fake, SRAM-simulated ROM in case of a RamRomBox), even ones longer
than 16 kb.
A8.2.4) "The Anatomy for the CPC's" 03/21/2005
The Anatomy for the CPC is a hardback book, with a pink cover, and
contains details of the CPC hardware and software. It describes the
different Gate Array versions (including the one with the heat sink),
the CRTC, FDC and more, their signals (and what those do), and how
these relate to the CPC. It also contains:
- a listing of the CPC firmware calls, plus the undocumented maths
- a commented "disassembly" of the CPC Basic and OS Rom (this comes
in the form of an address and a comment. Although not a actual fully
commented disassembly, it is still very useful).
A8.2.5) using a CPC joystick on PC 09/18/99
To use a CPC joystick on PC, get ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/misc/DPADPR50.ZIP
A8.2.6) loading protected BASIC programs 02/20/2000
'Read Amstrad CPC protected BASIC files
' Adapted from Clefs Pour Amstrad, 2. Systeme disque
' by Daniel MARTIN and Philippe JADOUL
' (c) Editions du PSI, 1986 ' ISBN 2-86595-256-8 '
' Run, type in filename (can be empty for tape) and
' then type 'CALL &A400'
' This program will fail for very large BASIC files
' A line needs to be changed for CPC464s '
INPUT "Filename "; n$
n = LEN (n$)
FOR i = 1 TO n
POKE &A430 + i, ASC (MID$ (n$, i, 1))
FOR i = &A400 TO &A428
POKE i, VAL ("&" + a$)
POKE &a401, n
DATA 06, 00, 21, 31, A4, 11, 00, A0, CD, 77, BC, 30, 18
DATA C5, 21, 70, 01, CD, 83, BC, C1
DATA 21, 70, 01, 09, EB, 21
DATA 66 : ' Change this to 83 for CPC464s
DATA AE, 06, 04
DATA 73, 23, 72, 23, 10, FA, CD, 7A, BC, C9
PRINT "Type 'CALL &A400'"
If french people are interested, don't forget to send stamps to get
back your disk or paper fanzine. For foreign people, International
Reply Coupons are available from post offices in all EU countries,
US, Canada, and most others. A single International Reply Coupon
(IRC) can be exchanged by the recipient for enough postage stamps
to cover airmail for a letter weighing up to 10 grams. For heavier
letters, such as those containing disks or zines, send more IRCs!
A9.1) on paper
A9.1.1) WACCI 07/24/2004
For more informations see http://www.wacci.org.uk/
They have a Book Library, Tape library, "Homegrown" Disk Library and
PD Disk Library, 3" Disks supplied at 1 pound 50p each, alternative
Firmware Guide and Disk, 6 pounds.
For a free sample copy of the clubs magazine either Email at
brian spheroid.demon.co.uk with your name and address.
A9.1.2) CPC User
A magazine published every couple of months by the United Amstrad
User Group (UAUG), see A2.2 and A188.8.131.52
A9.1.3) Quasar 05/02/2003
A french zine, especially about programming on CPC(+). Last issue is
no 20 (July 2002), for prices and availibility see their bilingual
site at :
Philippe Rimauro (Futur's/Quasar)
8 chemin des Maillos
A9.1.4) Eurostrad 10/31/99
A french paper zine, most of the articles are translated in english.
Last issue is no 12 (summer 1999).
A9.1.5) Amstrad Action 07/24/2004
Not a fanzine, but a commercial U.K. newspaper which stopped with
issue 117 in June 1995. It was sold with cover tapes containing
commercial games. Issue 117 came with North & South.
Issues of Amstrad Action are now available online with the permission
of its editor Future Publishing
at the following address :
A9.2) on disk
A9.2.1) Boxon 07/28/97
Nicolas Ader (Nicky one)
Place du Donjon
Boxon issue 3 is out (07-96 to 02/97).
A9.2.2) Demoniak 11/03/98
Anthony Nevo (orphee)
Get issues 3 to 6 on ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/zines (dmk*.zip)
A9.2.3) Dracula Fanz 08/01/98
Miguel Fremeaux (Dracula)
238 rue du cardinal Allen
Last issue is 5 (December 1995) with articles in english, get the
issues at ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/zines
Sebastien Broudin (Seb)
1 rue Emile Combes
A9.2.5) Better Than Life
An English disc fanzine, with around 40 articles (all in English)
covering a huge range of subjects. Issues 1 to 4 are out, look at
ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/zines, you can e-mail the editor
Richard Fairhurst (CRTC/Systeme D) : richard systemed.u-net.com
A9.2.6) Tribal Mag 05/23/99
A good german zine, with some english articles, issue 8 is the last
one. Tribal Mag has now merged with CPC-Telegramm. Web site is :
All issues are on ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/zines
Jan Deppisch (email : Deppisch Internet-Service.nu)
A9.2.7) Art of Fantasy
A TGS/Creators production. It's a discmag that is mainly about
non-computer stuff, but instead about stuff like role-playing games,
fantasy books, science fiction, stories, etc. Collapse, the editor,
gets nearly no contribution, so it would be good to point his mag out
a bit... The first issue (the only one out up to now) was German only,
but if he gets English stuff, this mag could become international
soon! The address:
Collapse of TGS/Creators
Augsburger Weg 3
A9.2.8) Guten TAG
A new disc german-only mag by the group "TAG". I don't know much to
write about it now... ask the editor! His address:
Gremlin of TAG
A9.2.9) Coders Paradise
A disc mag for all the programmers out there. All Routines the editor
(Steve of Wizcat) gets are published with many explanations
(normally). Steve has many problems getting enough stuff for each
issue, so pointing him out would be good again... The address:
Steve of Wizcat
A9.2.10) CPC-Telegramm 08/04/98
German Diskzine by
A9.2.11) Digital Press 07/11/2004
At first a german zine with english articles, now a french-german
production. Get the issues at ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/zines
For information email oliver.floquet manchoo.com :
84 rue de Montbray
A10) Additional hardware
For using older additional hardware on a CPC+, you will need an
adaptor called a widget, as connections are not the same. They use
the same connectors as german CPC (Schneider). All hardware should
work with this adaptor, except the standard multiface, see A10.2
Look A6.4) for a list of hardware made on CPC.
A10.1) Hard disks (no more produced)
A10.1.1) MFM hard drive
- a Dobbertin MFM interface with 20 MB HD,
- in the very early years a Vortex Filecard with 20 MB MFM HD.
A10.1.2) AT IDE hard drive
A10.1.2.1) GIDE 11/08/2004
The GIDE is a generic Z80 device that allows easy connection of any
AT (16 bit) IDE hard drive to a Z80 computer. If your Z80 is
socketed, you simply unplug it, plug the GIDE into the Z80 socket, and
plug the Z80 into the GIDE. You need to write your own driver
Gide doesnt exist for Amstrad CPC, but you will find informations
about the GIDE for PCW on :
- All about the GIDE interface
A10.1.2.2) IDE Drives (by RAM7)
It uses an ISA IDE controler and an adaptator card wich plugs in the
expansion connector. It will be able to use IDE hard drives, CDROM
(certainly) and disk drives (1.44 Mo). Not available for the moment.
A10.2) Multiface II
A useful add-on, connected to the expansion port, its primary use is
to make snapshots, exactly like the emulators. See A1.2.7, an utility
to transform multiface snapshot to emulators snapshot.
There is a special multiface for the CPC+, standard multiface doesn't
work on a plus, even with a widget. (06/09/97)
A10.3.1) ROMCARD and RAMCARD 10/31/99
Francisco DOS SANTOS
123 boulevard Strasbourg
94130 NOGENT SUR MARNE
email : ram7 mail.dotcom.fr (no reply or very slow, best way is
to use snail mail)
The ROMCARD is a ROM box with 4 available slots which accepts 16 Ko
(27128) or 32 Ko (27256 or 27C256) EPROM for a maximum of 128 Ko
(so better use 32 Ko as there are only 4 slots). Other ROMCARDs
can be put in parallel, to add another 128 Ko of ROMs each time.
The RAMCARD is a ROMCARD that uses 128 Ko of RAM instead of ROM.
A10.3.2) Inicron ROM-RAM-BOX 04/15/2001
The RRB is a ROM box that doesn't need EPROMs. Up to 32 EPROMs can be
simulated in the 512Kb big RAM (if build the enhanced RRB). Additional
to this you can use a normal EPROM from 8-64Kb in a normal EPROM
socket. Go at http://www.inicron.de or get
A10.4) SoundPlayer 1 and 2
See A184.108.40.206) and A9.1.3)
A10.5) Network 10/31/99
A10.5.1) Virtual Net 96 (VN96)
Virtual net 96, a network for Amstrad CPC, made by germans, look at
(english and german page) :
Get ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/misc/vn96eng.lzh (or ger instead of eng)
for information about VN96.
A10.5.2) Multi-IO card 05/30/2003
VN96 doesn't work on a CPC+, but Futur's (see A220.127.116.11) has a plan for a
VN96 card for CPC+, which will work of course on plain CPC. But the
multi-IO card is more than a VN96 card, it has a standard parallel port
where you will be able to connect all parallel devices such as a printer or
a ZIP drive when a driver will be ready. The price will be about 15 euros.
A10.6) Future OS 05/31/2003
Future OS is a new operating system for Amstrad CPC that needs
a rombox or a rambox, Future OS is more powerful than amsdos, but
amsdos and CP/M programs must be adapted before using them under
Future OS (they can even work faster). Type |OS or |FDESK to launch
Future OS. For more information, go http://www.FutureOS.de
You can use it on emulators like Caprice (install ROMs A B C D
in slots 10 to 13) or WinAPE 2.0a4 (doesnt work with WinAPE 2.0a5).
A10.7) Memory extension
A10.7.1) 256 Kb to 2 Mb MemCard (by RAM7) 05/30/2003
For 6128 and 6128+, it's compatible with Dk'tronics memory extensions,
it plugs on the expansion connector. It uses the same memory managing
of the 6128 second 64 Ko bank. It comes with 4 slots of static RAM (128 Kb
or 512 Kb). For more information, see A10.3
Beware the 256 Kb and 512 Kb models use 128 Kb RAM, the 1 and 2 Mo use
512 Kb RAM. An extra cable is also needed.
A10.7.2) Inicron RAM-BOX 04/24/2000
A 512 Ko RAM extension for Amstrad CPC by Inicron, get
or go at http://www.inicron.de
A10.8) Card Tridge (by RAM7) 10/31/99
The Card Tridge can read, copy and store Amstrad CPC+ cartridges with
its 512 Ko of RAM). For more information see A10.3
A10.9) CPC ISA 03/26/2005
Connect ISA cards on your CPC by Siou (siou free.fr) :
As 26th March 2005, playing adlib music (.SA2 files) works with a Sound Blaster, and
low level working of hard disks too, file system must still be done.
A10.10) Amstrad MP1 and MP2 10/27/2000
Amstrad MP1 and MP2 replace the CPC monitor alimentation and permits to
use the television (SCART connector) for the video output (MP1 for 464,
MP2 for 664/6128). You can also send the video signal on a PC which has
a tuner card.
The MP1 does not provide the 12V connector the 664/6128 needs to power
the floppy disk drive. So you can use a 664/6128 with a MP1 but you
cant use the floppy, or you need an external power supply.
A10.11) CD-ROM 05/12/2003
For several years people thought that the CPC version of the
Codemasters CD-ROM (using a domestic CD player and a special
interface to convert the audio signal into something suitable for
Arnold) didnt exist. In fact, the developper (The Oliver Twins) of
product acknowledged that it did exist, for more informations :
A10.12) Mouse 08/06/2000
You cant use a PC mouse (serial or PS/2). There are Amstrad CPC
mouses, but few programs uses them (Advanced OCP art studio) :
- AMX mouse (the most common),
- GENIUS mouse,
- DATEL mouse.
A11) Upcoming Meetings
B - Amstrad Notepad (NC100/150/200)
B0) NC 100/150/200 presentation 08/06/2000
The Notepad is Amstrad's idea of a simple word processor. It is NOT
a PC-compatible and is NOT the PenPad PDA.
The NC100, launched in september 1992, is about A4 size with a LCD
screen (80 car. x 8 lines), nearly full size keyboard, a PCMCIA memory
card slot on the left side, four coloured keys, 64 Kb of RAM. It
features a word processor, word spell checker, address book,
calculator, diary, clock, alarms and BBC basic. There are a serial
and parallel ports.
The NC200, launched in october 1993, has a fold-down LCD screen
(80 car. x 16 lines), a 3.5" disk drive, 128 Kb of RAM, new software
(spreadsheet and graphics, games).
The NC150, launched in april 1993, has the look of the NC100 but
the NC200 software, 128 Kb of RAM too, and the possibility to connect
a 3,5 drive. It exists only in french and italian versions.
B1.1) M.E.S.S. 06/09/2004
B1.2) NC100EM 03/17/2001
NC100EM by Russell Marks for Linux (svgalib, X, tty) and MSDOS. It
supports both the ROM software and ZCN, a free CP/M 2.2 clone. Get
it at http://rus.members.beeb.net
B2) How can I buy one ? 10/27/2000
Unfortunately, Tandy finally stopped selling them in November 1996.
The best way to buy one now is probably second-hand ads in national
computer magazines, "for sale" newsgroups or auctions sites like
B3) What peripherals can I use ?
The Notepads have standard Centronics parallel ports and RS232 9-pin
serial ports. The system has drivers for 9 and 24-pin dot matrix,
Canon inkjet and Laserjet printers. The serial port claims 9600 bps,
but I can only make my NC100 work reliably at the full speed using
Xmodem and the AC adapter. This seems to be a common problem probably
because the AC adapter supplies 10 volts and the batteries only 6.
B3.1) Printing 07/14/99
The NC can use dot matrix, inkjet and laser printers with its built-in
drivers (for emulating Epson, IBM, Canon, LaserJet). The LaserJet printer
driver doesn't seem to be fully implemented. It doesn't support changing
font sizes (at least in the german version of the NC100). If anyone fancies
writing the necessary software, we'd love to hear about it...
* B3.2) Extra Memory 09/09/2009
A battery-backed PCMCIA memory card (SRAM) will keep data even if
your Notepad crashes and increases the available memory. It also
allows you to create a file with BASIC bigger than 2048 bytes. This is
because BASIC allocates all available memory on start-up except 2048
bytes. The memory card (maximum of 1 Mo) can be bought from :
- Primary Simulation Inc., 2963 Mozart Drive, Silver Spring,
MD 20904, USA. http://www.psism.com/sramsp.htm
- - Talisman Electronics, P.O. Box 26 Pangbourne, Reading, RG8 8TL.
- Telephone 01491 671914. http://www.talisman-uk.com
- Vikant Corp., 512 Kb or 1Mb cards (http://www.vikant.com or
B3.3) Disks 08/15/99
Cliff Lawson (NC Project Manager): if you have an NC200 you already
have a disk and built in Ranger disk routines. If you have an NC150
then the only bit of Ranger code is the terminal but it contains a hidden
"hook" which allows the Ranger external disk to be connected to the
machine and if you have an NC100 there is no Ranger code in it at all.
B4) How do I connect it to a PC ?
B4.1) What's the cable ?
Brief instructions are given in the manual. You can either use the LapCat
parallel port system or use a standard "null modem cable", available
from most computer parts shops. If you really want to make your own, the
NC serial port is a 9-pin RS232, and the PC cables are:
25 pins at PC 9 pins at PC
NC PC NC PC
2 ----------- 2 2 ----------- 3
3 ----------- 3 3 ----------- 2
4 ----------- 6 4 ----------- 6
5 ----------- 7 5 ----------- 5
7 ----------- 5 7 ----------- 8
8 ----------- 4 8 ----------- 7
Use a terminal program on the PC (Telix supports XModem file transfers
as well, but standard windows terminal/hyperterminal works ok for text).
Set both ends to the same speed (9600 is fine), 8 data bits, no parity,
1 stop bit, RTS/CTS handshaking on and experiments until it works...
B4.3) Converting Word Processor Files 04/29/2000
Converter programs are available for both PC and NC to convert from
the NC's protext to RTF on the PC :
- for msdos : ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/nc100/nc2rtf.zip
- for NC : ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/nc100/nc2rtfb.zip
B4.4) How do I connect it to a BBC micro 08/15/99
You will need a 5 pin C-type DIN plug, a 9 pin serial plug, some
cable, and the instructions from http://www.gre.ac.uk/~st702/qanda.htm#q11
Oddly enough, the Notepad includes a copy of BBC BASIC. This allows
you to create your own programs and download other peoples. However,
some people have found that using the WP to look at a BASIC file can
crash the machine, so backup your important files first.
B5.1) Where can I find programs for it ?
Tim's Amstrad NC Users Site, go to links
B5.2) Can I use the Word Processor to enter listings ?
Certainly, to go from WP to BASIC type "*EXEC filename" into BASIC
(don't forget line numbers). To go from BASIC to WP, load the program
and then type:
Don't put formatting (bold, etc...) in the program.
B5.3) Can I make a program auto-run ?
Of course, just save it with the name AUTO and whenever you start
BASIC, it'll run.
B6) Other Programs 07/11/99
ZCN is a free operating system for the NC100. It's largely compatible
with CP/M 2.2. It runs most CP/M 2.2 programs, including ZDE, QTERM,
Mallard Basic, and Hitech C. It can also run the NC100's ROM BBC Basic
as if it were a native ZCN program. You need an NC100 and at least one
PCMCIA memory card to use it, a separate computer (perhaps a PC)
and a serial lead to get the system code to it for the first time.
It's available from ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/nc100 or
B7) I've just crashed it...
If you're lucky, switching it to standby and back will get you out. If
you've got context saving on then it definitely won't. Try these:
switching on while holding Function; switching on while holding
Function, Stop, Del and the right-hand Shift; removing all the
batteries (including the lithium cell) and the power adapter and
trying to switch on. The last two definitely blank the memory. The
first two don't always, but they don't always fix it.
B8) I've just broken it...
Try CPC supplies on +44 1772 654455 (Main switchboard) or Email their
fax machine at remote-printer.Sales 18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.tpc.int
and ask them to 'phone you! Failing that, call Amstrad (see A2.2
B9) Help! Where to ask 08/15/99
Since the demise of Amstrad and Tandy stopping to sell the Notepad,
the best place to ask for help is the newsgroup comp.sys.amstrad.8bit
Free user support on Protext, the NC series word processor,
from Brian Watson (protext spheroid.demon.co.uk).
B10) Internet resources 12/17/2000
- http://www.amstrad.com and http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cliff.lawson
official and unofficial Amstrad page
NVG FTP site
New address of Mark Ray NC page
Tim's Amstrad NC Users Site
B11) Credits 08/15/99
Although I appear to maintain this section, it wouldn't be in its
current fine state without the many people who have asked questions
and provided answers over the year. Especially Tim Surtell and
Russell Marks, who have provided substantial amounts of information.
C - Amstrad PCW
C0) PCW presentation 08/04/2001
Amstrad made the following PCW systems :
* 6) PcW10, see http://www.fvempel.nl/pcw10.html
1) had 180K drives, 2) had a 180 kb A drive and a 720 kb B drive,
3) had only 720 kb drives. All subsequent models had 3.5" disks
using CP/M format at 720 Kb until 7) when it switched to 1.44 mb in
MS-DOS format. The PcW's (no capital 'c') all used EMT rather than
EMS early morning start files with 3.5" drives. The PcW 9512+ was a
look-alike from the older 9512, including the daisy-wheel printer.
The 9256 (256 kb memory) was a redesign of the 8000 series, with
thesame dot matrix printer and keyboard, but in a more modern
lookingdesign. The PcW 10 resembled the 9256 but had 512 Ko.
The PcW16 is a radical digression who's sole "raison d'�tre" was to
make a true WYSIWYG product but this meant a change in the screen
and processor (to 16MHz) which meant that it could not be kept
compatible with the previous models (though documents ARE compatible).
C1) Emulators and utilities
C1.1.1) Joyce 06/09/2004
A superior PCW emulator with loads of features. Currently at version 2.02
(stable) or 2.1.5 (unstable). The 2.1.1 emulates the PcW 16 as well, version
2.02 all the other PCW and PcW models.
JOYCE 2.x is an integrated program: most utilities for e.g. converting disks to
images (including MicroDesign disks) or vice versa, can be accessed through the
menus. Features include, but are not limited to:
- emulation of all PCW's (as from 2.1.1) with additional memory and hardware.
- emulation of additional hardware includes amongst others: mouse, serial/
parallel port and 2mb of memory;
- support of actual disc drives;
- virtual hard disc drives (8 mb each);
- DOS directories for reading or writing, export and import tools;
- one disc image included, with loads of CP/M tools, for use with JOYCE;
- a variety of settings, including the original color settings of the PCW
- printer support. Either through LPT ports or rerouted to file (e.g. superb
matrix printer emulation in Adobe PDF files);
- the Windows version allows for easy creation of print screens (very useful
for an editor);
Check the documentation for obtaining or creating the boot disks.
Available on http://www.seasip.demon.co.uk/Unix/Joyce/
The (older) version for DOS v 1.36 is also still available.
C1.1.2) Joyce MAC 11/08/2004
MACOs port of Joyce by Richard Bannister at
C1.1.3) M.E.S.S. 06/09/2004
You need the boot images. M.E.S.S. should not emulate other hardware
than the standard (i.e. no Centronics parallel port on a PcW 9256).
C1.2) Utilities 08/04/2001
See C2.2) for some PD stuff. A listing of the better commercial utilities
as well as PD will follow shortly.
C2) Where can I find emulators, ROMs and programs ? 08/08/2000
C2.1) FTP sites 07/24/2004
Demon UK, Amstrad directory, containing lots of programs for the PCW.
NVG, a few PCW programs.
C2.2) WWW 10/03/2004
Locomotive Software, co-author of the Amstrad CPC and PCW ROMs
bought in 2000 by SD Micros, see below
new owner of Locomotive name and products
a site by an Amstrad member staff with information, files for all
the Amstrad computers. The official Amstrad site :
Ansible information, makers of AnsibleIndex for LocoScript,
AnsibleIndex Pro and AILINK (to convert LocoScript data to e.g. Word).
Free downloadable CPM.EXE (freebies) to copy files from CF2DD to DOS.
* - http://www.fvempel.nl
PCW Joyce Computer Club : PCW serial communication with a PC,
mounting a 3.5" drive on a PCW, a 3" on a PC, repairing a 3" drive,
upgrading memory to 512 Ko, club news, PCW ads. Downloadable Public
John Elliott's CP/M page, he is the man behind some of the finest PCW
freeware around and provides links to many generic CP/M resources.
He's also put up exhaustive information on the PCW's XBIOS.
Lots of downloadable conversion tools, also for graphics.
Richard Fairhurst page about PCW hardware reference
Ian Macdonald, about PCW
- Protext related issues: Brian Watson (protext spheroid.demon.co.uk).
- Walnut Creek CD-ROM has a PCW section, no longer sold, but get it at
C2.3) Various sources 08/08/2000
A PCW CD-ROM by P.D. Blake with over 4,500 files of PCW software,
including all of his commercial titles and around two hundred PD and
Freeware titles. There is also a large amount of Microdesign material
and just about every programming language and utility available for
the PCW. The CD costs �25 + �2.50 P&P. You can order it by
sending a cheque for �27.50, made payable to Mr P.D.Blake to:
P.D.Blake, 32 Sample avenue, Beverley, E.Yorks, HU17 9DW, England.
E-mail address : pdblake yahoo.co.uk
C3) Transferring between PCW and PC 08/08/2004
Transferring data from floppy discs is easy if you have a 3.5" drive:
all PcW's have one. A PCW (the 8256, 8512 and 9512) can be provided
with such a drive. The free software CPM.EXE from Ansible Index at
http://ai.ansible.co.uk/ can read CF2DD (double sided
discs for drive B). If you have a 3.5" disc, reading it in a PC will be
easy. If you only have a 3" drive you could opt for mounting the B
drive in your PC (see C3.4). If you have other logical disc formats on
3.5", Sydex 22DISK will give you the best results.
Summarising the hardware conversion alternatives:
- 3.5" drive on PCW (DIY possible),
- LocoLink between PCW and PC,
- RS 232 serial null-modem between PCW and PC (DIY possible),
- 3" drive on PC (DIY possible),
- acoustic communication (DIY possible).
The 22DISK, MS Odball, PCWTrans and CPM.EXE software is freely
available: 22DISK still is shareware formally and should be purchased
(USD 25, an unsupported license) with Sydex. Of these programs 22DISK
is the only one that can handle all disc formats for the PCW : some
formats require additional definitions, some common ones listed in
If you have discs that have been formatted by DISCTOOL (the
one from Matthijs Vermeulen, not the Moonstone program with the same
name) which offered variable combinations of directory- and data-
* allocation, see the site http://www.fvempel.nl/.
There are quite a lot of commercial alternatives around: among others
Moonstone 2-in-1 and DDriverPCW (a DOS driver that allows disks to be
read and written on a PC). These two can still be obtained from
Besides the hardware process you will need to pay some attention to
the file format as well: at least where LocoScript is concerned.
The simple and cheap option is to export the documents on the PCW to
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange - the
"language" that works with most computers, except for Windows which
uses a slightly different dialect called ANSI). By exporting to ASCII
your files will be restricted to the default 256 characters available
with ASCII (quite a downgrade from the 600 as offered by LocoScript)
and you will lose formatting, headers, footers, page numbers and
accents. When you opt for the PAGE IMAGE attribute, present on all
versions of LocoScript, you will at least retain some details like tab
stops (replaced by spaces) and margins, but you definitely will have to
check the end-result on the PC. When combined with mounting a 3" drive
on a PC or (more expensive) a 3.5" drive on a PCW it is a cheap DIY
solution, useful and reliable for confidential data or data that you do
not want to risk losing in the mail.
If you want to retain the document settings, layout, accents and the
like you will have to convert the document(s), using the available
- Ansible AILINK
- LocoScript Professional or LocoScript Easy with or without LocoLink
Which one suits you best depends on your budget and purpose. The
AILINK http://ai.ansible.co.uk/ can read CF2DD format disks and convert
all LocoScript formats (from 1 to 4) into a.o. Richmond Text Format,
a format commonly used in word processors. At GBP 19.50 it may sound
expensive and I have not used all of it's features but it seems like a
good alternative to reformatting documents or buying a DOS word
processor for conversion only. AILINK is a true Windows program
(allowed for the occasional DOS box) and offers amongst others RTF,
RTF for Word, WordPerfect 4.2, ASCII, ANSI, HTML and some other
formats.It allows for mass copying and converting and seems to produce
a 1:1 copy including formatting and accents. Do note that AILINK can
read from CF2DD only (no CF2 or other formats) and does not solve the
3" problem, unless you mount a 3" drive in your PC.
The LocoScript alternatives are more expensive but they also provide
the hardware solution (LocoLink, part of LocoScript, does). Data
conversion retaining layout and accents is also seamless but there is
no mass-tagging option and the PCW LocoScript source file has to be
translated to PC LocoScript source file before it can be exported to
other formats. But then again, the LocoScript PC word processing
software is not bad either. LocoFile datafiles need to be "squashed"
by LocoScript Professional or PC Easy before they can be used.
Conversion requirements do not apply for LocoLink for Windows, only
the earlier version requires it.
To use the data from a LocoFile datafile with other PC software you
will need to use LocoScript Professional or LocoScript PC Easy
Mailmerge commands to output the data to a LocoScript document. You
should then export the document as above. Or LocoLink for Windows can
be used to convert datafiles to DBase or FoxPro formats.
I have heard from other projects on the subject, but have not seen
products so far.
Using Mallard BASIC programs on the PC is possible, though the
following aspects should be considered. First of all, Mallard BASIC has
a special file format that (I think) can be read by the PC version of
Mallard BASIC only (an expensive and therefore rare item: I do believe
it is still for sale, though). Saving it into ASCII format is easy
though: just add the attribute A when you (re-)save a program, e.g.
SAVE "PROG.BAS",A will save the file in ASCII format. This format can
be read by 99% of the other Basic dialects. Also, unprotect your
file program, if it has been protected, before exporting it.
Although Mallard BASIC is pretty much standard in command convention,
there are a couple of exceptions.
1) JetSam keyed-index databases cannot be used by other Basic dialects:
redesign of the program to a sequential or random access database
structure will be required.
2) GSX, the Graphics System eXtension, does not have an MS Dos
equivalent. In fact it is not part of BASIC but if your application
uses this add-on on the PCW, it can obstruct the proper working on
another Basic language. It will have to be replaced by graphics
functionality offered by the other Basic.
3) Machine code and peeks & pokes will not work at all. If the
program contains too much of these: forget it...
4) The different hardware can be a bit of a problem when the program
uses the PCW hardware to it's maximum. The big screen and the
Epson FX-80 emulation on the printer may force you to re-write
I found that good old GWBasic, supplied in numerous quantities with MS
Dos, works best when porting PCW Basic source to other computers. Check
a program up-front for the mentioned issues and decide whether it is
worth your while to adopt it on a PC, to redesign it on a PC or to use
a PCW emulator on the PC. Do be careful when modifying a PCW Mallard
BASIC program on the PC, though!
Using PC data on a PCW is also possible: ASCII would be the normal
standard here but several Dos and Windows programs offer export
formats for older software (e.g. dBaseII, SuperCalc II) too. LocoScript
Professional or LocoScript Easy documents can be read by LocoScript
2.50 or later on the PCW if they have been saved in the LocoScript 2/3
format, a feature offered by LocoScript Professional 2 or LocoScript
PC Easy (version 1.01 or later).
LocoFile databases from a PC need to be extracted to a LocoScript
document and can be converted to the PCW. On the PCW the LocoFile
database needs to be rebuild.
Software Versions and Requirements (Howard Fisher)
To use LocoLink, LocoScript Professional or LocoScript PC Easy is
required. The above information applies to versions since 1 st January
94 - LocoLink for LocoScript Professional, Version 1.08 or later of
LocoScript Professional and Version 1.01 or later of LocoScript PC
Easy. To export from LocoScript on the PC to the PCW you need v2.50
or later of LocoScript on the PCW. LocoLink for Windows can
convert documents and datafiles produced with any version of
Alternatively, you can use a disc transfer service both to copy the
discs and if necessary convert the files to other PC word processor
Here are those which can transfer and/or convert files :
C3.1) 3.5" drive to a PCW 06/09/2004
(this section by Axel_Berger Su2.Maus.De)
Amstrad uses a 26-pin floppy bus, which is exactly similar to the 34
pin Shugart bus but with 4 signals, that are never used anyway, left
out. In both cases all odd numbered lines are grounded and all signals
are active low. The unused lines of the Shugart are: (usage of some of
them varies, I have tried to state the most common one)
4: Head Load
6: Drive Select 3, Ready
14: Drive Select 2
So you have to splice the cable and fit it to a 34-pin connector as:
Amstrad Shugart Use
2 8 Index
4 10 Drive Select 0
6 12 Drive Select 1
8 16 Motor On
10 18 Step Direction
12 20 Step
14 22 Write Data
16 24 Write Gate
18 26 Track 00
20 28 Write Protect
22 30 Read Data
24 32 Side Select
26 34 Ready
There is one problem with the choice of drive: The PCW expects to get
a "Ready" on pin 26 and IBM compatible 3.5" HD don't deliver it.
Drives used to have jumpers but with the Gates monopoly they don't
have them anymore, so you might have to improvise something. A direct
connection from Drive Select to Ready by Diode will deliver the signal
too soon, reading will work, as the computer gives it a second try but
writing will be dangerous. I haven't needed to try that, I have got
enough old 720 k drives that can be jumpered or otherwise adapted
Some people have experimented successfully with a diode protected push
switch with a signal from motor on. See http://www.king27.freeserve.co.uk/
*BEWARE OF A SERIOUS PITFALL*
Amstrad has the *power connecter wired the other way round* and on top
of that uses yellow for 5 V and red for 12 V!!!!
Note from FvE: this remark is not valid for the PCW 9512!
Details and a photo-session on the subject can be viewed on :
I have added a changeover switch that allows me to make the 3.5"
either drive A or drive B and the original 3" one the other. Of course
my 3.5" disks have to be formatted differently for either use and the
3" accessed as drive B will not work, but allows me to boot from 3.5"
and then switch over to use the full 720 k capacity.
C3.2) LocoLink (for Windows) 06/09/2004
LocoLink is a cable that can connect a PCW to a PC with a parallel
cable (connects to the expansion port of the PCW). The software is a
part of LocoScript Professional or LocoScript PC Easy and converts the
complicated format of the PCW LocoScript file seamless.
At present there are two versions around, the old LocoLink and LocoLink
for Windows. The latter one provides mouse support and a wider range of
direct conversions to PC format WPs.
A Laplink serial cable can also be used.
C3.3) RS 232 08/04/2001
RS232 can serve for a null-modem cable to connect to a PC. In order to
create such a cable (when you buy one in a store, do check for the
prescribed connections!) connect the pins as stated below.
Pins 4, 6 and 8 must be connected to each other on the same side! It
may look like a classic 'short circuit', but it has to be done !
So : 4, 6 and 8 connected to each other on the PCW side and 4, 6 and
8 connected on the PC side connected to each other.
A Laplink serial cable can also be used.
For software I would recommend Kermit. An old (v 3.0, 1990) but
functional DOS version can be downloaded :
* The PCW version is http://www.fvempel.nl/kermpcw.zip.
If you cannot convert it to a 3" contact me. A safe speed is
9600 bps if you have a standard interface. Other transfer
products like CSTAM and Pipeline will do too. If you have a high
speed model you may try a higher baud rate.
C3.4) 3" Drive on PC 08/04/2001
Operating a 3" 720Kb drive on a PC is very well possible: the cable
required is already presented under A3.1 (the CPC resembles the PCW in
this respect). However, in view of my experiences with it I would
recommend it only to experienced Do-It-Yourselfers. I would not take
the risk and go through the trouble for just 10 3" disks. Besides the
hardware troubles you probably still face the problem of how to convert
LocoScript to a format common on PC's. If you absolutely want to do it,
* consult http://www.fvempel.nl/3pc.html (specific details
for the PCW and a photo session).
Getting the data on a PC is a problem only with a 3" drive as mounted
in an 8256, 8512 or 9512. When you have a 3.5" fitted there are plenty
of utilities around to read from CF2DD format (Ansible's free
downloadable CPM.EXE, the shareware program 22DISK from Sydex or the
PCWTrans/MS Odball programs by John Elliott). The next problem is
getting the data into a format that can be used on a PC: most programs
(dBase, SuperCalc, Masterfile, TasWord, WordStar, MicroDesign) have a
version commonly available for MS Dos and the CP/M file can therefore
be imported in the PC counterpart easily and without loss of details.
C3.5) Acoustic communication 08/08/2000
At present experiments with acoustic communications are being
conducted (in Spain). This would allow for cheap one-way communication
(only the PCW to PC) that requires a PCW 8000 model, a PC with a sound
card and a microphone. A short BASIC listing (that, will be made
available after release of the programs) can be typed in on the PCW
and will allow files to be converted into beeps (call it morse) that
can be received by the microphone and converted back into files again
on the PC.
The software works already: the speed (at present 25 bps) is not very
fast but it is a very promising project that finally could provide 3"
PCW'ers with a cheap and easy way to exchange small data files. The
object is to produce a program protocol that can reliably send and
receive up to 400bps with the additional + feature to record it on
tape, thus allowing for playback. Subject to be continued.
C4) Shops supporting PCW 06/09/2004
Mike Mackenzie (AVCOM Services)
Phone/Fax: 07 32775701 (in Australia)
International callers use "61 7" instead of "07"
Email : avcom gil.com.au
Elliam Associates still supports the Amstrad 8256, 8512 and 9512 in
the US with software, hardware, supplies and repairs. Their address is
P.O box 2664, Atascadero, CA 93423, USA
Phone (805) 466-8440
Fax (805) 461-1666
Pinboard, repairs, parts and disc drives. UK.
Merline Serve, hardware and systems, books, consumables, repairs,
parts, games, conversion. See their large, downloadable, catalogue.
Cambrian Computers, 50-52 Paget Street, Grangetown Cardiff
44 2920 384646 still undertakes repairs
SD Microsystems Ltd, who took over LocoScript Software in 1999, are
dedicated to the profesional support of the Amstrad PCW in general
and all LocoScript products in particular. We offer probably the most
comprehensive range of software and supplies for this market and can
be contacted by phone on 08700 736427, by mail at PO Box 99 Thetford
UK IP24 1NA, by email at sales locoscript.com or via our web site:
To add a 3" drive to your PC you will need a 3" Disk Kit which
includes both the drive and software to copy files from a 3" disc to
a DOS disc. This is available from Eureka on 01329 239953.
There are also some enthusiasts who continue to support the
machines, including limited spares and repairs :
- Geoffrey Hayes on +44 1606 - 784697
- John King at http://www.pcwking.freeserve.co.uk for technical information,
spares and some second user software.
- Ron King at http://www.king27.freeserve.co.uk for technical information
- Anthony Hill at +44 2920 618012 or 07778 044696, email : anthony.rhill tiscali.co.uk
HCC Amstrad Gebruikers Groep (Dutch only):
or directly at http://www.amstradcg.nl/
Some clubs continue to exist in supporting the PCW, though many
have expanded to include PC's:
- British Amstrad PCW club
- Crawley PCW club
- North Wales Computer club contact http://www.nwcc.org.uk
HCC Amstrad Gebruikers Groep (Dutch), web site will open in October 2001:
Look also for A188.8.131.52
C5.1) Printer 08/04/2001
The original PCW printers can't be used on another computer, being
controlled by the PCW itself.
The 9 pin matrix printers, as supplied with the PCW 8256, PCW 8512,
PcW 9256 and PcW 10 are basically the same. They are not fully
compatible, though. Printers for the:
8256 can be used with the 8512 too. Separate data (flat)
cable and power cord;
8512 can be used with the 8256 too. Separate data (flat)
cable and power cord;
9256 only for the 9256. Integrated data and power cable,
IBM/Centronics connector which is NOT Centronics
10 only for the 10. Connector type of the 8256/8512 but
integrated data and power supply.
All of these printers are basically identical, support 7 bit Epson
FX-80 and use Seikosha SP 800/SP 1000 ribbons (available in both nylon
The matrix printer is one of the first parts that will wear and
eventually break down (after 10 or more years). Spares cannot be
obtained and repair is often an expensive and insufficient option. I
can supply used print heads (at postal expenses) but no guarantee
towards quality or life span. In view of the price of a new computer
plus printer, expanding a PCW with a Centronics printer interface might
be a realistic alternative.
You would need to pay attention to the availability of printer drivers
for LocoScript and CP/M and/or the emulation modes offered by the new
printer. The original PCW printer is Epson FX compatible: partly
(7 bits only). Other common emulations used on PCW's are HP Laserjet
III, Diablo 630 and Canon BJ.
The daisy wheel printer as supplied with the PCW 9512 and PcW 9512+
are compatible with each other only. The part that can break down first
in this printer is the hammer, which is subject to violet action.
Spares can be obtained and replacing it is easy. The standard ribbon
type is Olympia Carrera II.
Some of the 9000 models were supplied with standard non-Amstrad
printers as well, a common model was a Canon but Epsons were supplied
too. Being standard models of printers, they are beyond the scope
of this document.
The PCW 9512, PcW 9512+, PcW 10 and PcW 16 have a standard parallel
Centronics printer interface, the other types can be equipped with
such a port through the expansion port (by means of an add-on
interface). Several models were made some of them featuring
additional options like a serial RS 232 port, a real-time clock,
or additional memory (up to 2mb). There is a lot of software for the
PCW's that can make use of external printer: LocoScript (using
softfonts - downloaded from the RAM disc) and MicroDesign (up to 400
dpi graphics) are the top in this respect. But utilities like
landscape printing and screen dumping in text or graphics mode for
CP/M are around too. Again, before considering attaching an external
printer to the PCW, attention should be paid to the best combination(s)
C5.2) Keyboard 08/08/2000
Three different keyboard layouts were produced for most PCW's: the
QWERTY lay-out used for the majority, the QWERTZ for Germans
(Schneider's) and AZERTY for French machines.
Usually reliable sources have told me that the entire series of PCW
keyboards (8256, 8512, 9512, 9256, 9512+ and 10, that is) can be
exchanged. I have not tested them all but found that the Teqniche (an
XT keyboard meant for the 8000 series) does indeed work with a 9000
model, so the statement should be true. In how far all keys will
respond depends on the software version used but I see not much reason
to exchange keyboards, unless you want to use the 9512/9512+/Teqniche
keyboards on the other machines. PCW keyboard do not work on other
computers (or the other way around).
Interesting detail is that the PCW keyboards (already customised to
work as a dedicated word processor) can be altered entirely to match
the user preferences. Besides the standard CP/M SETKEYS.COM there is a
more user friendly SMARTKEYS (a Resident System Extension, RSX) and
LocoScript has the LocoKey program available to do the job.
A negative side effect of the customised keyboard is the confusion
when confronted with standard key-notation of PC (or CPC's for that
matter). Here are some useful keys to remember in CP/M:
PCW: Other computers:
You will find the three keystrokes above useful when reading computer
books or magazines: they confirm to the standards in the computer
industry. ALT+P will for instance function as a toggle to turn print
output (next to screen output) on or off. EXIT will work for certain
strokes: it is the ESCape character that allows control over the
hardware. This is usually from software to e.g. set the printer
to italic. You can input some of these ESCape codes through the
EXIT+E+EXIT+H+ENTER will clear the screen. CP/M 3.0 converts all input
to capital letters unfortunately so all small letter ESC's will not
work: consult a good book on the subject. Some special key stokes on
PTR Printer control status
EXTRA+PTR graphics screen dump of the screen on
ALT+ENTER CAPS lock (like SHIFT lock, except for
the numeric keys)
ALT+RELAY NUM lock (enables the 'numeric path',
the section were the cursor keys are
located to produce numbers.
Using the standard Amstrad SETKEYS (or the enhanced SMARTKEYS) will
allow you to redefine practically all keys on the board as long as you
know it's number and the number of the character or ESC sequence you
want to produce. Certain keys can take more than one character: the
so-called expansion keys. There is a shorter way to modify the
keyboard: the language. Take a look at the manual for the different
accents that will produce.
The PcW 16 Anne (section D) has a PS/2 compatible keyboard and will
NOT work on a Joyce!
C5.3) Disc drive 08/08/2000
The 3" disc drives of the 8256, 8512 and 9512 can suffer from the some
problems as the Amstrad CPC can. Refer to section A5.1) for tips on
how to solve these. The usual problem with a PCW 3" drive is a worn or
broken drive belt. The typical symptoms are: unable to boot, LED
burning constantly, slipping motor noise and a variety of disc and/or
data errors. When you have only one boot disk but do have more 3" data
disks, try to boot from a data disk. If the PCW does not respond with
three beeps (no system disk in the drive) chances are that the belt is
C6) Additional hardware 08/08/2000
C6.1) Memory up to 512 kb 06/09/2004
All PCW (except the 16) can take a maximum of 512kb on the main board
and all of them do have this amount of RAM, except for the PCW 8256
and PcW 9256, which came with a standard of 256kb. These machines can
easily be upgraded to 512kb using 8 x IC 41256 in the range of 100-150
nanoseconds. This is a standard chip, old fashioned nowadays and
should cost a maximum of 10 euros.
All extra memory goes into the RAM disc M and will not attribute to
the computers internal memory capacity of 64kb. CP/M and LocoScript
use a so-called bank switching system that allows the use of more than
64kb: the remainder of memory will go into drive M. A PCW with 256kb
has 110kb drive M, a 512kb model has 368kb drive M. Increasing M can
be very useful, as e.g. disc copying is done through the RAM disc. A
368 RAM disc will allow you to copy a 720kb disc is 2 passes (4 disc
swaps). Moreover: several programs can work with virtual memory (see
below) and starting (and running data-intensive) programs from disc M
is a lot faster than from floppy disc.
C6.2) Memory beyond 512kb 08/08/2000
Besides the maximum of 512kb on board PCW's can use memory above that:
the same applies as with normal RAM memory above the bank switching
system. It will be assigned to the RAM disc M. Again, this is very
useful: besides DiscKit, programs like LocoScript 3/4 (softfonts),
MicroDesign (high resolution up to 400dpi), The Rocket, Scratchpad
Plus (the latter two spreadsheets), Flipper (multitasking), The
Network (networking) and several others can use disc M as virtual
memory, thus allowing for more features or capacity.
Several interfaces (see C6.3) were put on the market, while Cirtech
also produced an on-board version called the Sprinter. That card
replaced the Z80 processor by a faster processor on 8mHz and expanded
memory up to a maximum of (I believe) 2 megabytes. Besides the
processor you had to remove a memory chip as well in order to plug the
Sprinter card onto the main board of the PCW. It fitted for the 8000
models only, as the sizes of the main boards do vary.
C6.3) Interfaces (various purposes) 08/04/2001
An interface is an add-on that fits on the expansion port on the back
of the PCW and provides additional communication ports or memory (at
least that is how I define it). An interface is therefore always an
add-on, but not the other way around. A break-through connector is a
feature that allows a second add-on to be connected on the break-
through connector (basically a second expansion port). This
'back-packing' of add-ons is commonly known as the Christmas Tree and
can lead to potential dangerous situations regarding the power supply
of the PCW or the risk of losing an add-on. The later is fatal to the
life of any PCW when connected: never (dis-)connect devices while the
PCW is switched ON!!! Many of the add-ons are no longer for sale.
- Amstrad/Schneider (the German model known as CPS - Centronics
Parallel Schnitstelle). Offered a Centronics parallel and RS 232C
serial port but does not feature a through connector and has a
female Centronics connector: with the normal type of printer that
requires a cable with Centronics male/Centronics male connectors,
rather than the stand Centronics male/IBM.
- SCA Professional & Professional Plus. A look-alike from the original
CPS, but the Professional Plus has a battery-backed up clock plus
- Cirtech parallel interface. Low-budget printer interface with only a
Centronics port. The right, market-standard, connector though!
- Cirtech SpeedPrint. Print spooler that frees the PCW of print jobs.
- Cirtech FlashDrive: non volatile RAM disc memory (data remains after
switching off the PCW) in two different sizes of 1 Mb and 2Mb, with
and without through connector
- The SCA Rampack is an add-on of additional RAM memory of (I believe)
up to a maximum of 2mb. Break through connector for a second add-on.
- LocoMotive RAMpack, additional memory. Marketed when LocoScript started
featuring downloadle soft fonts (with version 3).
- Phono Set (Vortex) offered an RS232 port and an acoustic modem. Sure
wish a had such a beast, considering the Spanish project for acoustic
C6.4) ProScan 08/04/2001
A hand-held scanner, 400dpi, by Creative Technology for use principally
with MicroDesign and some other graphics packages. Uses an add-on box
for the expansion port (through connector available).
"Best in the West".
C6.5) MasterScan 08/08/2000
A scanner that is fitted on the print head of the 9-pin dot matrix and
connects to the expansion port (break through available). Sheets that
are fed through the printer can be scanned and digitised.
Although the format supported was screen size only, the supplied
MasterPaint (a Mac look-alike) is a piece of art in itself.
C6.6) Electric Studio Light Pen 08/08/2000
Light Pen from Electric Studio (PCW variant of the CPC device) for use
with, among others, Fleet Street Editor. Break-through available.
C6.7) Electric Studio Digitiser 08/08/2000
Video digitiser, also from Electric Studio. European PAL system, works
neat, although the monochrome effects of saved snapshots sometimes
need editing. Break-through connector is available.
C6.8) Robotics Hegatron Grafpad II 08/08/2000
Graphics drawing pallet with a substitute keyboard (using the pen).
This package was often used for (electrical) technical drawing.
C6.9) Intergem interface 08/08/2000
A lame duck: an interface that allows you to connect an 80 track disc
drive from a BBC computer to the PCW. Not very useful, considering
the number of BBC owners that would want to offer their drive(s) for
C6.10) Disc drives 08/04/2001
Several manufacturers made (Pace) and still make (Pinboard) disc
drives packages that allow 5.25" or 3.5" disc-drives to be connected
to a PCW. In view of the relatively minor adjustments that are
required for a do-it-yourself operation not very useful, unless you
consider an external power supply (power supply is the PCW's weak
spot). And with the exception of the Pinboard drives that are supplied
in a variety of models. Besides switchable types that allow a 3" 720kb
to be operated next to a 3.5" 720kb (both as drive B) there are also
"double deckers" and versions that allow an 8000 model to boot from
3.5" 720kb discs.
Pinboard is still in business : Pinboardcomputers btinternet.com
LocoScript software supplies a 3.5" that fits into the bay of a 3"
drive, email sales locomotive.com
ACW Soft (Germany) offered a kit to connect a 3" to the PC, Eureka
01329 239953 (UK) still does.
C6.11) Hard disks 08/08/2000
Several hard discs were made too for the PCW series.
- The ACC Computer Services came as a 10mb hard disc, with Tasword
(LocoScript was not supported).
- Vortex (Germany) offered the WD2000 of 20mb.
- WEB made a 20mb hard disc.
- ASD supplied one in 10/20/40mb capacity with some utilities.
- Cirtech offers a variety of hard discs with patched versions of
Others were made for networking purposes and are very rare, considering
the expensive software (back then) which came with these.
C6.12) Margin Maker 08/08/2000
A small, inexpensive add-on for the 9-pins matrix printer that allows
for a shortcoming in the PCW's printer. The PCW printer does have a
ruler but lacks a device that will align paper to the chosen left of
C6.13) Mice & other input devices 08/04/2001
Lots were made for the PCW series: the Kempston 2-button and the AMX
3-button mice are the most familiar but Star, Electric Studio and
Gerdes also marketed these. Most DTP packages support these. The AMX
features a through connector.
Cirtech produced the keymouse, which unlike the others worked through
the keyboard socket.
d'k Tronics produced a joystick for the PCW and several adapters
appeared from various producers. Some were supported by PCW software,
others were not. A simple diy scheme was around that allowed a
joystick to be connected to the cursor keys of the keyboard. Also see
the sections on the light pen C6.6) and the graphics tablet C6.8).
The PcW 16 (see section D) has a PS/2 mouse.
C6.14) Teqniche keyboard 08/08/2000
A standard 102 keyboard (IBM AT type) was made for the Amstrad PCW
series. It fits on all PCW's except the PcW 16 (which uses a PS/2
type). A real heavy keyboard featuring separate [F.] function keys,
cursor and numeric keys, adopted for the Amstrad word processing
C6.15) LocoLink & LocoLink for Windows 08/08/2000
C6.16) d'k Tronics sound synthesiser. 08/08/2000
A sound synthesiser was produced by d'k Tronics but I do not know of
any details. Some DIY layouts were published in magazines to produce
sound add-ons for PCW's.
C6.17) ISA card. 08/04/2001
The layout to make an Industry Standard Adapter for the PCW is
available on http://user.tninet.se/~psr810p/
C6.18) Various DIY layouts. 08/04/2001
A number of layouts for diy expansions to the PCW can be found on:
Amongst others they contain serial and parallel interfaces plus
some applications for these and small modifications to the system.
C7) Fanzines 06/09/2004
No magazines are now produced, the last two PCWPlus and Amstrad PCW
User ceased production in 1998 though the information they contained
is still valid. Two Fanzines exist The Disc Dive produced by The
British Amstrad Group, see above for details of membership or receive
copies. The other is PCWtoday, though issue has become intermittent of
late. Their web site http://www.pcwtoday.co.uk
gives details and subscription rates.
Joyce Bulletin, in Dutch, is the quarterly magazine of the Joyce
Computer Club Amsterdam. It often includes 3" Disks.
It is now available as on-line (Dutch only) Adobe PDF file on:
It deviates slightly from the paper version, due to mismatches
between the page layout in PDF and printer settings.
D) PcW 16
D0) PcW 16 presentation
This presentation comes from a csa8 article by Cliff Lawson.
Unlike all previous 4MHz Amstrad Z80 machines this has a 16MHz Z80
core (hence the 16 in PcW16). I know a lot of people "hate" us for not
making it binary compatible with the previous PCWs but the fact is
that we couldn't do it and design the architecture optimised for
graphic word processing software (which means that it is optimised for
BitBlt type graphics). The screen is actually kind of VGA compatible
in that it is 640x480x2 with a straight raster mapping rather than the
character scan raster map and roller RAM of previous PCW (in fact a
lot like the 640x200 mode on the CPC I suppose).
The main thing that makes this machine such a dream to develop for is
the graphic OS (windows, icons, mice are all in there in the core OS).
The OS was developed in the main by Simon Hargreaves of Creative who
is renowned for MicroDesign on the previous PCWs.
The Rosanne operating system that he has put together is just so
advanced compared to the other Z80 operating systems that we have been
responsible for in the past that it just seems a shame that any Z80
development talent out there isn't considering writing stuff for the
system - you'd enjoy it, believe me.
Apart from the graphic stuff, message based event system (a la
Windows) you've got window, menu, dialog, scroll bar, radio button,
checkbox, etc. etc. all immediately available in the OS.
The OS also has a rich set of disk/flash disk filing stuff. The system
read/writes MS-DOS format files/disks and can also read (not write)
CP/M format files/disks.
It has fairly advanced memory alloc/dealloc routines and OS support
for 24 bit banked addressing.
There's an RTC in there so functions exist for that.
Even the spell checker in the WP is exposed as an OS callable
Perhaps best of all is the huge support for variable typefaces for
output to both the screen and printer using Swiss and Times in 6, 8,
10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 24, 36, 72 point.
The machine has an unused RS232 on the back so there's a possibility
for developing email/news software - perhaps even a web browser!
There's a help engine in the OS so adding Help support to your apps is
also very easy.
For doing maths there's a 5 byte floating point system in the OS so
sin/cos/tan/log/exp are all provided.
If you want to read more about this operating system then get:
or email me direct and chat about it.
D1) Emulators 08/08/2000
D1.1) CP/M v2.2 and 3.1 for the PCW16 08/04/2001
Get this CP/M emulator for PcW16 by John Elliott at
or get directly ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/cpm/cpm_101.zip
D1.2) M.E.S.S. 08/04/2001
D2) Support 08/04/2001
The PcW16 is still supported by Comsoft, Creative technology and
If you know a PcW16 owner who can't download the operating system
upgrades from Cliff Lawson's Web site, Brian Watson will supply a free
upgrade for a DS/HD disk, return postage, and an address label. Send
disk in a reusable padded bag to the address at A184.108.40.206). Or download
the boot disc of a PcW 16 (rescue disk) at :
For more frequently asked questions and other support information, go to
E - PDA600 10/10/2000
E0) PDA600 presentation 10/10/2000
The Amstrad PDA-600 Pen Pad created in 1993 has a weight of 400
grams (14 ounces, 0.87 pound), size is 115mm x 160mm x 27mm
(6.3" x 4.3" x 1.0"). The CPU is a Zilog Z8S180 at 14.3 Mhz. There
is a reflective LCD screen by Kyorcera is 240 x 320 pixels, 70mm
x 93mm (3.5" x 2.75"). The screen is pressure sensitive for Letter
based printed handwriting recognition. It uses 3 batteries and a
lithium pile. It has 128 Ko memory, 32 Ko for display, 32 Ko for
recogniser software. It can also use PCMCIA type 1 SRAM cards upto
2 Mo. It features address list, telephone list, diary, time manager,
todo list, note-taker, world time, multiple alarms, calculator,
calendar, OS by the Eden Group, Mini serial RS232, Speaker, RTC.
Optional Extras : PC-Organiser for Windows, Forms Software, memory.
Probably the first PDA on the market.
F - CP/M 04/21/2002
CP/M is an operating system widely used with computers before ms-dos
existed. It is available on Amstrad CPC, PCW and the NC with ZCN. For
more information, read the newsgroup comp.os.cpm and its FAQ at
The Unofficial CP/M Web site : http://www.cpm.z80.de