Archives de Genesis8 Amstrad Page de 1999 à 2017 à propos de matériel





Synthétiseur vocal de nouvelle génération pour l'Amstrad CPC 464 par Michael Wessel

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Cette carte de synthèse vocale nouvelle génération par Michael Wesset est passée d'un breadboard à un PCB. Il y a pour le moment quatre vidéo de la carte en action sur Youtube :

La carte utilise un Emic 2, les autres composants du design sont : Atmega 328 pour une interface parallèle (Amstrad CPC) vers série (Emic 2). Un 74LS373 flip flop, 2 G16v8 PLD's pour le décodage d'adresse et la génération du signal de sélection de la puce, et d'autres portes. L'extension utilise l'adresse &F9E1. Il ne nécessite quasi pas de driver : un seul programme basic avec des ou suffit pour faire parler le CPC.

Elle n'est pas pour le moment compatible avec les autres synthétiseurs Amstrad CPC : Dktronics et SSA-1. Elle nécessite un caractère de début (S) et un token de fin (Carriage Return). Alors que les interfaces Dktronics and SSA-1 simply utilisent simplement des allophones. Emic 2 fonctionne en mode bufférisé de façon asynchrone alors que les Dk'tronics and SSA-1 fonctionne en synchrone. Mais cela devrait être possible de rajouter une compatibilité, il y a déjà des switchs pour changer de mode sur la carte.




Réparation et modding d'un Amstrad CPC 6128 par C-E avec photos

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Après la réparation d'un Amstrad NC200 par C-E, c'est le tour de la réparation et le modding d'un Amstrad CPC 6128 (copier/coller du message de CPCWiki, merci pour sa permission).

La dernière fois que je suis allé en Espagne, j'ai effectué de l'archéologie dans mon ancienne chambre, une sorte de capsule de temps vous ramenant dans les années 1980 à 1990. Et j'ai trouvé mon Amstrad CPC 6218 original caché dans un placard à coté de son moniteur couleur. Il y avait également mon ancienne alimentation PC que j'utilisais pour alimenter un lecteur 3,5 pouces et quelques câbles fait maison. Je pense avoir stocké tout cela après avoir reçu plusieurs CPC+ en 1997. Après cela je n'utilisais quasi que les Amstrad CPC 6128+. Le pauvre 6128 était dans un état fatigué, un clavier jauni avec des touches provenant d'un CPC+, un switch ABBA pendant, et beaucoup d'égratignures ici et la...

Cependant, malgré sa condition, ce 6128 était toujours important pour moi. J'ai passé ma jeunesse avec cette machine, moi et des amis à jouer des parties sans fin. J'ai programmé beaucoup de choses dessus et quelques jeux. En résumé, beaucoup de bons souivenirs. Donc, whand je suis renveu au Royaume-Uni, je l'ai rapporté avec moi pour lui redonner une nouvelle jeunesse et le modifier.

La traduction de ce qui suit se fera à partir de demain.

Voila ce que je prévois de faire :

  • New caps
  • double système d'exploitation
  • port Centronics
  • switch ABBA qui se respecte
  • Reset
  • interface 5VCPC
  • 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.

façade avant de l'Amstrad CPC CPC 6128

façade avant de l'Amstrad CPC 6128 et switch

arrière de l'Amstrad CPC 6218

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.

carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128 après nettoyage

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.

carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128 sans les condensateurs et le 40015

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 :

socket pour la ROM DUAL OS de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

After this I recapped the board and soldered the socket in place :

condensateurs et puce 40015 réinstallés sur la carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

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.

ports centronics rajoutés sur la carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

ports centronics rajoutés sur la carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

ports centronics rajoutés sur la carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

Et il semble que cela fonctionne... :)

l'Amstrad CPC 6128 en état de bon fonctionnement



Il reste trois clones de l'interface souris Dk'tronics créée par Bryce, fabriquée par Talrek

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Il reste 3 exemplaires du clone de l'interface souris compatible Dk'Tronics vendue pour 27,50 € pour la France. Elle a été créée par Bryce et fabriquée par Talrek.



HxC, Gotek, et maintenant le DDI3 USB Floppy Emulator pour Amstrad CPC 464 par Zaxon

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L'inconvénient d'un émulateur de disquette HxC ou Gotek pour un Amstrad CPC 464 est qu'il faut tout de même avoir une interface DDI-1 qui fait office de contrôleur disquette. Ce n'est plus le cas avec le DDI3 USB Floppy Emulator pour Amstrad CPC464 par Zaxon qui intégre l'interface DDI et la gestion USB.

Plus d'informations en anglais à propos du DDI3 USB Floppy Emulator allez sur Indie Retro News.

La vidéo youtube est de Novabug.



Une console Amstrad GX4000 torturée pour créer la PC Engine SD par Starforce PI...

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Vu sur Gameblog, à chaque fois qu'une PC Engine SD est créée, une pauvre console GX4000 doit mourir !

Si vous êtes un amoureux de la console japonaise PC Engine ce ne doit pas trop vous choquer, mais pour la génération Amstrad CPC, c'est un crime !

Photos d'écran bientôt.



CPC 128K, un clone d'Amstrad CPC par Zaxon avec quelques améliorations intégrées

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Vu sur le groupe Facebook d'Amstrad.EU, un clone d'Amstrad CPC créé par Zaxon avec les caractéristiques suivantes :

  • RAM 128 Ko
  • interface lecteur de disquette compatible DDI-1
  • interface clavier PS/2
  • vidéo RGB video sur prise minidin 8 avec câble vidéo inclus
  • CRTC est un UM6845R
  • 2 slots pour carte d'extension

Il fabrique et vends également son clone d'Amstrad CPC 6128.





FPGAmstrad sur la carte MiST revision r005.8.14.1 par Renaud Helias (émulateur Amstrad CPC)

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Une nouvelle version du coeur Amstrad CPC par Renaud Helias pour MiST est disponible.

  • 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...


Nettoyage de l'assistant personnel Amstrad PenPad PDA600 de ChinnyVision par The Backoffice

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L'assistant personnel Amstrad PenPad PDA600 de ChinnyVision testé précédemment avait un petit soucis du revêtement du PDA600 peu ragoutant. Heureusement The Backoffice a pu nettoyer le PDA600 avec des produits chimiques dans une vidéo de 47 minutes pas moins.

intérieur du PDA600 Amstrad nettoyé par The BackOffice  façade avant du PDA600 Amstrad nettoyé par the BackOffice



Un nouveau batch du clone de l'interface souris Dk'tronics créée par Bryce, fabriquée par Talre

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Pour 27,50 € pour la France, vous pouvez commander un clone de l'interface souris Dk'tronics créée par Bryce et fabriquée ici par Talrek. Dépêchez-vous avant qu'il n'y en ait plus, nombre limité.

La vidéo permet de voir son usage avec un Amstrad CPC+ et une souris Logitech RX250 compatible avec l'interface et que vous devriez pouvoir trouver facilement.



Réparation d'un Amstrad Notepad NC200 en photos par CE (et des remerciements en vrac)

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Avec la permission de C-E (sans les caractères ascii), ce qui suit est un copier/coller d'un message sur CPCWiki à propos de la réparation d'un Amstrad NC200 agrémenté de plusieurs photos. Merci à C-E.

Je tiens à remercier également tous les utilisateurs des forums Amstrad que je consulte (CPCwiki, CPCRUlez, Amstrad.ES, Amstrad.EU, etc...), les Youtubbers pour leurs vidéos, ceux qui écrivent des programmes pour nos ordinateurs Amstrad ou ceux qui fabriquent des extensions matérielles pour eux. Sans vous ce site n'existerait pas ou serait dramatiquement désert. Merci donc à tous ceux qui continuent à faire vivre les ordinateurs Amstrad plus de 30 ans après leur création.

I recently bought and old and battered NC200 that I plan to use every day as a glorified programmable calculator and diary in the lab. I wanted to have one since long ago but prices were a bit too high so when this unit appeared on e-bay for 10 pounds I went for it. It was described as "For parts or not working" due to the faulty keyboard but I thought that if the motherboard and the display were in reasonable condition it should be possible to repair everything else. This thread is about how it was brought back to life. I know that the NC200 is not a very common machine but maybe some of you will find this description useful or, at least, funny :) . The pics in the thread are quite massive, by the way, but not so heavy.

Below you can see the computer when I received it. It seems that in 1997 it was brought to some sort of technical service because the space bar was not working anymore. In there, they said that it was not possible to repair it and the NC200 went back to its owner. It was probably laying around since then, until they decided to get rid of it. I know that many of these machines were actually not used very often, but this is not the case. Whoever had it first worked with the laptop a lot: you can see marks here and there and a few shiny keys.

front of an Amstrad Notepad NC200  Amstrad Notepad NC200 open, screen and keyboard visible

The first thing I did was to power it on and check that, as the seller said, the keyboard was actually not working properly. The display was fine besides the backlight, that turned out to be extremely dim. There was also a decent layer of crap covering it.

The second thing was to disassemble the machine. It is quite easy. You have 5 screws on the bottom and a few clips on the keyboard region. Take the screws first and then lift the case a little bit in a careful way. The clips from the keyboard can be released introducing a little plastic sheet in the gap between the two shells and moving it around, or even with your fingers. In any case, be careful not to damage the case around the keyboard, this computer had been opened in the past in a very clumsy way and there was already a small crack that I had to repair with epoxy resin (more of this at the end). You can see four of the five screws to be removed in the next image. The last one is inside the battery compartment. They have different sizes, remember their original position.

back of an Amstrad Notepad NC200

Once you remove the upper part of the case you have to disconnect the cables that go to the screen. Be careful, the white one is short.

keyboard of an Amstrad Notepad NC200 with the screen removed

It is time to take out the floppy drive, the motherboard and the keyboard. There are a few screws holding everything in place.

keyboard of an Amstrad Notepad NC200 without the floppy drive

The external structure of the keyboard is similar to the one found in many other Amstrad. To open it you need to remove 3 screws and release a few clips.

removing crews to go at the Amstrad Notepad NC200 keyboard

In my case the membrane was extremely dirty. It seems that some liquid fell onto the keyboard in the past and entered between the two layers sticking them together. I used isopropanol to dissolve the crap and give it a good clean. Luckily, the solvent did not affect the fused plastic that joins the two layers, otherwise it would have been necessary to re-glue them. It seems obvious but when you see that two layers of a membrane are stuck by something that dried between them you should never try to separate them by pulling. There is very decent chance to damage the tracks.

Below is how it looks after the cleaning. Some of the silver is darker because there was some oxidation going on, but this does not affect conductivity or makes the tracks more prone to break. The oxide layer is extremely thin. In case of broken or corroded tracks it would have been necessary to reconstruct them with silver paint. This can happen if acid liquids, like orange juice, are spilled on the machine.

membrane of the Amstrad Notepad NC200 keyboard

Now onto the keyboard itself. There was nothing important here. The only thing that was out of place was the clip that makes the SPACE bar to go down uniformly when you press it. I put it back in place and cleaned the keyboard with lots of KH7 and water. Everything is made of plastic besides the metal clips, so no worries about oxidation. After cleaning you just need to manually dry the clips and let the rest dry by itself. If you do not dry them it is fine too, but I like to do it.

keyboard of an Amstrad Notepad NC200 without the space key

Time to reassemble the keyboard. We do not have nice springs, like in the CPC range, but rubber domes with the same function. I do not like this solution because it changes the keyboard feeling and the domes look a bit on the fragile side, but I must say that they are still in perfect condition. Maybe Amstrad engineers were not so wrong after all.

rubber domes of the Amstrad Notepad NC200 keyboard

The next thing was the backlight. The NC200 is reported to have a bright backlight that, in my case, was extremely dim. I asked Bryce about the backlight on his unit but, before he could check, I decided to replace the caps in the board and the light came back clear and strong. It seems that one or more of them went bad over time and this was giving the circuit a hard time. Replacing the caps is easy and their values completely common (sorry, I trashed the note where I wrote them). It should be a relatively simple task if you have some soldering skills but there is a very important thing to remember: some of them NEED to be low profile. Look at the picture below, it is the mainboard with the new caps. THE ONES MARKED WITH RED ARROWS NEED TO BE SHORT, otherwise you will not be able to re-install the floppy drive or close the case.

mainboard of the Amstrad Notepad NC200

Finally, onto the floppy drive. It is a very special model (Citizen V1DC-65B) or, at least, this is the first time I come across it. When I tried to format a floppy in the hope that it would work I found that it was not OK. Sometimes it was able to read something but most of the time you could hear the motor making noises and struggling with the old belt. Therefore, I opened it to see if it was possible to install a new one.

The first thing is to unscrew the upper shield to have access to the guts. It is not necessary to remove the frontal plastic bezel at all for this.

floppy drive of the Amstrad Notepad NC200

The second thing you need to do is to lift the head of the drive and remove the floppy support. It is very easy, just pull it back a little bit and it will come out. The springs that keep the floppy in place are also part of a mechanism that allow easy removal of the whole support. Funnily enough, the drive has a LED but you cannot see it when the machine is working because there is no hole in the bezel. It is very important not to forget to lift the head (not yours, the black plastic thing in the middle of the drive). Otherwise you could easily damage it and it is very delicate.

first inside of the Amstrad Notepad NC200 floppy drive

And here is the inner part of the drive once you remove the screws of the motor. The belt was in pretty bad condition and not elastic anymore.

second inside of the Amstrad Notepad NC200 floppy drive

The belt needs to be 2 mm wide, otherwise it will not fit into the grooves of the guide bushings. There is more tolerance with the thickness. The original is 2 mm wide and something like 0.5 mm thick, but the substitution belt is 2 mm wide and 2 mm thick. Regarding the diameter, something around 70 mm should work. You do not want it much smaller because then it would be necessary to overstretch the rubber and that would not be good. Luckily, although the new belt is thicker it does not touch anything in the board.

third inside of the Amstrad Notepad NC200 floppy drive and belt

To assemble the drive you need to follow the same steps but in reverse order. Remember to lift the head to put back the floppy support! Once it was ready I formatted a few discs, saved several files and loaded them back. Everything was fine.

screen of the Amstrad Notepad NC200

The next step was to detail the plastic case a little bit and reassemble the NC200. Then I did some more testing before closing the machine for real. Before you do this remember to align the slider that adjusts the contrast with the variable resistor on the board, otherwise you may have to open it again.

thest of the Amstrad Notepad NC200 keyboard

And here it is, happy and working! There was nothing extremely wrong with it, but quite a few little things.

main menu of the Amstrad Notepad NC200  tetris being played on Amstrad Notepad NC200

As I said at the beginning, there is something worth mentioning regarding the plastic used to make this computer. I found it not particularly robust when compared to a regular Amstrad CPC or Plus. My NC200 had a crack near the keyboard that I am sure appeared when somebody tried to open it in the past. There are also some small marks in the case because the same or other person introduced something in the gaps between the two shells, probably metallic, to separate them. I repaired the crack with epoxy and it is fine now but you really want to be careful when opening the laptop. What I did was to fill it with resin and add some extra epoxy around. It is all in the inner part of the shell and, therefore, not visible from the outside.

crack in the Amstrad Notepad NC200 keyboard

There is still a final tip: the NC200 needs 7.5V and 1A to run. There are many PSUs suitable for it but the polarity is reversed when compared to the CPC range. That is, outside you have the positive and inside the negative. This is written in the case of the machine but many people have burnt the internal fuse because of this. Keep it in mind and remember that if somebody sells on e-bay a not working unit this is possibly the case and most likely it can be repaired.




Test de l'ordinateur portable Amstrad Notepad NC100 (modèle anglais) par ChinnyVision

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Un autre test matériel par ChinnyVision, celui de l'ordinateur portable Amstrad Notepad NC100 sorti en 1992, qui a existé aussi en français et italien (Notepad NC150) et bien sûr le Notepad NC200 avec lecteur de disquette intégré en 1993.

L'Amstrad Notepad NC100 a un processeur Zilog Z80 comme l'Amstrad CPC et PCW, 64 Ko de RAM avec un port série RS232C, un port imprimante, un port PCMCIA pour ajouter une carte mémoire (1 Mo maximum). L'écran LCD a 8 lignes de 80 caractères (480 x 64 pixels). Utilisé avec 4 piles AA, le NC100 peut durer environ 20 heures. Le manuel anglais de Notepad NC100 est disponible en téléchargement.

Ses fonctionnalités sont :

  • traitement de texte Protext (existe déjà sur Amstrad CPC et PCW)
  • tableur (seulement sur NC150 et NC200)
  • journal intime (traitement de texte avec prise en compte de date)
  • carnet d'adresse
  • alarmes
  • calculatrice
  • interpréteur basic BBC
  • jeux (seulement sur NC150 et NC200)

Le notepad Amstrad NC100 peut être utilisé avec l'interface/os original ou avec ZCN de Mark Russel qui est une implémentation de CP/M native, ou bien utiliser Fuzix qui est un unix système 5 par Alan Cox. Vous pouvez émuler un Amstrad NC100 (mais également NC150 et NC200) avec nc100em (toujours de Mark Russel) pour linux ou ms-dos et pour windows (port par Stefano Bodrato). L'émulateur MESS supporte également les 3 notepad NC. Si vous n'avez pas la ROM originale du NC100, il faudra utiliser le fichier ZCN.BIN inclus dans ZCN v1.3. Vous trouverez plus d'informations sur la famille des Notepad NC sur l'excellent site Tim's Amstrad NC users site (sur lequel vous trouverez des programmes NC100 en téléchargement) dont cette page sur ZCN.

D'autres vidéos youtube à propos d'Amstrad Notepad NC computers :



Pour plus d'informations, allez sur la page principale