Archives of Genesis8 Amstrad Page from 1999 to 2017 about hardware
To load an Amstrad CPC tape (or a ZX Spectrum one), you can use the old method : using a tape player. Or you can do it like a geek and use Android phone with tapDancer Virtual Datasette, but it's still a bit low tech. So for the geeks used to the HxC floppy emulator or the Gothek USB, you can use the TZX Duino.
New version of the Amstrad CPC core for MiST by Renaud Helias is available. : robustness (quality of code).
And now he is working on an enhanced abbey of the crime version for Amstrad PCW.
This Next-Generation Speech Synthesizer for the Amstrad CPC 464 by Michael Wessel started with a breadboard and now a PCB. For the moment, they are 4 videos of the interface card on Youtube :
- Amstrad / Schneider CPC 464 Breadboard Connector
- CPC 464 Breadboard Adapter Demo - 7-Segment Display for CPC :-)
- A Next Generation Speech Synthesizer for the Amstrad / Schneider CPC 464
- Next-Generation Speech Synthesizer for the Amstrad / Schneider CPC 464 - First PCB Version
It uses an Emic 2, the other components in the design are : Atmega 328 for implementing a parallel (CPC) to serial interface, to bride from the CPC to the Emic 2; a 74LS373 flip flop, 2 G16v8 PLD's for address decoding and generation of the chip select signal, and some other gates. The hardware extension is at address &F9E1. The speech synthesizer requires almost no driver, since the microcontroller and the Emic 2 are implementing an intelligent interface. The Basic program shown in the videos is implementing a simple protocol, but basically, to talk to the speech synthesizer, one only needs to write bytes to port address &F9E1 (e.g., using OUT in BASIC). Interestingly, the interface from the CPC's parallel data bus to the Atmel was tricky to implement.
It isnt compatible at the momeent with the other Amstrad CPC synthesizers : Dktronics and SSA-1. Emic 2 requires Start- (S) and End-Token (CR) - whereas Dktronics and SSA-1 simply send the allophones. Emic 2 works buffered, asynchronously, Dk'tronics and SSA-1 work synchronously. To make it compatible with SSA-1 and Dk'tronics, it would a) need to translate between allophone bytes and Emic 2 "equivalents", and b) figure out start- and end-token and shuffle them into the data stream (maybe based on a speech pause timing criterion). Not so obvious. Speech won't be synchronous, but maybe doable.?
New version of the Amstrad CPC core for MiST by Renaud Helias is available. : TV mode with border and screen well centered.
After the reparation of an Amstrad Notepad NC200 by C-E, it's the turn of the reparation and modding of an Amstrad CPC 6128 (copy and paste of a CPCWiki message with the permission of C-E, thanks to him).
Last time I went to Spain I was digging in my old bedroom, that is basically a time capsule that takes you back to the 80s/90s, and I found my original CPC 6128 hidden in a closet along with the color monitor that came with it. There was also an old PC PSU I was using to power the computer, a 3.5" drive, a few home made cables... It seems that I put everything there when I was given a bunch of Pluses for free in 1997. After that, I was mainly using a 6128 Plus. The poor guy was pretty battered: very yellow keyboard that is probably not original (those keys look like coming from a Plus); a crappy ABBA switch hanging from a pair of cables; lots of scratches here and there...
However, despite its condition, this Amstrad is still very important for me. I spent my childhood with the machine, me and my friends played countless games on it, I used it to program a lot of crappy stuff and a few "games"... in summary, lots of great memories. So, when I came back to UK I brought the guy with me to restore and mod it :)
This is what I am planning to do:
- New caps
- Dual OS
- Centronics ports
- ABBA switch (a decent one)
- Reset switch
- Floppy drive restoration
and, if possible, internal RAM expansion.
Externally nothing will change besides the little hole for the reset switch and the case modification required to fit the Centronics ports. It will look like a Schneider 6128.
So... I finally had time to do something with my old 6128. It is still a work in progress but I thought that I could give you an update and show some pics :) . The first thing I did was just to remove the board from the case and clean it a bit. Here is how it looked before cleaning. It is a 6128 board version 2.
Then, I removed all the electrolytic caps, the 40015 and the solder that was filling the holes for the centronic ports. To remove the 40015 I simply cut the pins and then they were removed one by one. I was using the old good braid all the time. Here is the stripped board.
Before going on, I think that it is worth saying that it is NOT necessary to remove all the electrolytic caps in a CPC 6128. The only one that can be problematic if you install the 5VCPC is the cap near the power socket. Bryce found that if it is not OK the computer will likely reset. I just decided to replace them with high grade new ones because I felt like doing it, nothing else :) . In any case, if you decide to change the electrolytics, pay attention to one that is near the AY, it is a 50V 1uF NON POLAR cap.
The next step was to prepare the socket for the dual OS. I followed this tutorial from Bryce that describes all the necessary steps in great detail. This is my modded socket :
After this I recapped the board and soldered the socket in place :
Finally I installed the new ports. I attached them to the board first using screws and nuts and then I soldered the leads. There are quite a few, but it is still a reasonably fast process.
And it seems that it works... :)
There are still three clones left of the mouse interface sold for 27,50 € (France) or 31,50 € (worldwide). They are made by Talkrek, it's a clone of the Dk'tronics mouse interface created by Bryce.
The problem with a disk drive emulator HxC or Gotek for an Amstrad CPC 464 is that you still need a DDI-1 interface which is a disk drive controler. It's not anymore a problem with the DDI3 USB Floppy Emulator for Amstrad CPC464 by Zaxon which integrates the DDI and the USB management.
For more informations about the DDI3 USB Floppy Emulator go on Indie Retro News.
The video is done by Novabug.
Seen on the Amstrad.EU Facebook group, a clone of an Amstrad CPC 6128 created by Zaxon with the following features :
- 128 Kb RAM
- DDI-1 compatible floppy interface
- PS/2 keyboard interface
- RGB video out on minidin 8 (video cable included
- CRTC is UM6845R
- Two slots for extensions cards
Il fabrique et vends également son clone d'Amstrad CPC 6128.
New version of the Amstrad CPC core for MiST by Renaud Helias is available.
- TV mode using VSYNC/HSYNC xor and Gerald VSYNC/HSYNC width formula
- This version was realised with atari forum team, testing several experimental forks
- It does output 15kHz original signal on SCART. Do use mist.ini scandoubler_disable=1 (see http://github.com/mist-devel/mist-board/wiki/DocIni)
- sorry FDC work will be for a next time : my r005.8.15 candidate version does fail 80% of arnoldemu FDC testbench...
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