Archives of Genesis8 Amstrad Page from 1999 to 2020 about hardware, page 4 / 17

Amstrad Diagnostics ROM v0.91 by Noël Llopis (v1.0l WIP)


Noel Llopis has written an Amstrad CPC diagnostic ROM which is already at version 0.91 and whose sources are available on Github.

The WIP version 1.0l will permit to test the keyboard, whatever the language (qwerty/azerty).

Changes since v0.8 :

  • Fixed ROM test hanging from upper ROM builds
  • Detecting and testing all upper RAM up to 4MB (it can take a LONG time to test the full 4MB!)
  • Esc aborts upper RAM test
  • C3 configuration test uses a pixel not visible on screen
  • Paging out M4 lower ROM to access system ROM
  • No need to press a key after low RAM tests
  • Holding ESC or Fire for 2 seconds exits keyboard test

USIfAC II:Convert a PC or USB stick to Amstrad HDD,access DSK and much more for 23 euros


Universal Serial Interface for Amstrad CPC II (a.k.a. USIfAC II or... THE GOTEK KILLER FOR AMSTRAD CPC! :D) by Ikonsgr is an evolution of his previous Design USIfAC (with which is fully compatible), based on a modern and much more powerful 40pin 18F47Q10@64Mhz 8bit PIC microcontroller, which offers many new amazing features :

  • Completely "from the scratch" project,based on a modern 8bit PIC 16F1579@32Mhz MicroController! (all other serial interface projects, use the rather old, expensive and bulky 40pin 16C550 UART chip)
  • Very easy to use by only two BASIC commands, INP() and OUT!
  • Completely free DIY project, rather easy and cheap to make (total cost for the DIY kit +all extra parts, would be less than 6euros!)
  • SUPER FAST loading of many games/programs, DIRECTLY from the PC!(see "Direct Load" function in User's Guide, and here is a list of games already tested and working)
  • Easy and fast transfer of dsk images directly to Amstrad CPC disks!
  • Easy and fast individual file transfer (check link for 1000's of games extracted from dsk images)directly from/to Amstrad's Disks!
  • Equipped with a reset button and a pause switch for Amstrad CPC!

For more informations check the CPCWiki link and the video made by Crazy Piri (french inside).

Amstrad PPC512/640 ISA Expansion Board by Retro Theory


Thanks to Youtube who proposed me a video by Retro Theory called Amstrad PPC512 ISA Expansion Board XTIDE Network Sound PPC640 where is he testing his ISA expansion board using the 2 connectors at the back of the Amstrad PPC 512 or 640.

Check the description of the video for the github page with the pcb files and the components list.

So in this video he is testing an XTIDE, memory card (to 640 Kb and some UMB), sound card using the unisound (universal sound driver) and a CGA/EGA card. So he launchs Prince of Persia with OPL2 (sound blaster) and EGA.

More Amstrad content should appear on his youtube channel later as states in the commentaries, so stay tuned and subscribe to his channel like I did.

New v2.0.7 of the firmware for the wifi card M4 Board by Duke


The M4 Board which let you add wifi on your Amstrad CPC just got another firmware v2.0.7.

Changes since v2.0.6 :

  • Changed behaviour of RMR "ghost" register to support FutureOS and IMPdraw running from ROM on Amstrad PLUS
  • Added C_ROMLOW command to map in and out lowerrom(s) on the fly
  • NMIROM.BIN is now loaded from microSD card root by default, if present, otherwise internal HACK MENU is used

New HACK Menu improvements by Cebe74 (Thanks!) :

  • Reorganized displayed layout
  • Menu keyboard shortcuts
  • Improve memory dump feature

An Amstrad PCW core for Mister FGPA by Steddyman


Steddyman did develop an Amstrad PCW core for the Mister FGPA project.

Version two of this core is out since today, it features :

  • Turbo support to 32Mhz
  • Expanded memory support to a maximum of 2MB
  • 3" and 3.5" disk support
  • Dual disk drives
  • PCW 8xxx and PCW9xxx model support
  • All hardware Joysticks and Mice supported
  • 4 colour mode support

You can see a youtube video of this core running an adventure game in 4 colours.

FlashGordon cards by PulkoMandy are available (rom board)


FlashGordon by PulkoMandy is a Flash/ROM board and mostly a clone of Bryce's MegaFlash design, with a different flash chip and integrated mods for a reset button and "disable all ROMs" switch. It can be slotted on a Mother-X4, or plugged to the CPC with the appropriate cable (centronics or HE902 to HE10 female, 50 pins). It can store up to 32 ROMs, including optional replacement for ROM7 (need hardware mod on CPC6128/664 to disable the internal one, no changes needed on Plus and 464) and ROM0 (for use of the Hacker or straight-to-CPM boot or other foreground ROMs). Software is available to manage it (either ROMAN from PNG or TFM's RomManager) and will come pre-installed on the boards.

So there is a new batch of FlashGordon available if you are interested.

Mod Master XT beta 22 for your PC XT, listen to musical modules files


A new version of Mod Master XT beta 22 by FreddyV is available on Vogons. It lets you hear a lot of music modules formats on any PC under msdos even a PC XT (CGA), for example an Amstrad PC 1512/1640 or a PPC 512/640...

New features are :

  • Fixed one bug for the Tandy Port config
  • Added OPL3LPT Support
  • Changed in the way the mixing buffers are managed
  • Added the support for the Tandy DAC output (DMA)

WARNING: Don't use Pause, it does not work.

Two interesting videos on Mr Lurch's Things about the Amstrad PC 1640 et CPC 464


Two interesting videos on the Youtube channel of Mr Lurch's Things, the first one about the Amstrad PC 1640. This video did let me know that the PC-CD (Standard Color Display) monitor can of course display CGA but also low-res EGA (320x200 and 640x200 in 16 colors). The PC-ECD (Extended Color Display) monitor of course can display high-res EGA (additionnal 16 or 64 colors in 640x350). There also is a PC-MD monitor (monochrome).

The second video is about the réparation of an Amstrad CPC 464 tape drive (but honestly I didnt see this one).

Using an Iomega 100 Mb ZIP drive on any PC XT like an Amstrad PC 1512/1640 or a PPC


You are the happy owner of an Amstrad PC 1512, 1640 or a portable PPC 512/640 (or another Amstrad XT model) but are lacking a hard disk, so you are limited to slow floppy drives, either a 360 Kb 5,25 or 720 Kb 3,5 inch floppy drives. Of course for older PC it's easy to use an 100 Mb Iomega ZIP drive (parallel, SCSI or IDE) but the official driver is using an instruction only available on an Intel 80186 (seldom seen) or a Nec V20/V30 processor (stated on wikipedia). The PPC 512/640 has a V30 but the official driver uses a lot of memory and needs msdos v4.0+ instead of msdos 3.3 on the PPC or v3.2 on PC 1512 (also 1640 ?).

Well, there is another solution for using a parallel ZIP drive (not the Plus version which also features SCSI), it's using PalmZIP by Klaus PEICHL which works with msdos 2.0+, even with a 8086, uses much less memory. The only limitation is using three 32 Mb partition (C:, D: and E:) if you are using msdos 2 or 3, with msdos 4 you can use the full 100 Mb with only one partition (but disks accesses will be a little bit slower). It's a shareware, you can test it for 7 minutes for free to check that it is working for you. If it is the case you will have to pay only 8 euros. I did it two days ago, five hours later I received a zip file by email with the registered version ! Yesterday I bought a ZIP drive and I was able to test it during the night. Happily I still had some ZIP disks I was using years ago and that I kept through several house moves.

Using the driver is simple, just add in your config.sys the following line :

device=palmzip.sys /c

/c is for loading the driver only if it is connected, though the driver is only 3 Kb. They are other options so I recommend to read the included documentation (english and german). You can use the /f option to treat the zip as a fixed disk for faster operation but then the zip disk must not be removed unless using the zipman utility.

Zipman must be used if you are using msdos 2 or 3 to format three partitions of 32 Mb each (FAT12 or FAT16), or an usual 96 Mb partition if you are using msdos 4 or above. Zipcopy is another utility for copying complete partitions within a disk. The partition assigned to the destination drive will be overwritten. The last utility is lpr_test which is designed to check if your parallel port(s) supports the bidirectional data transfer mode. The PalmZIP device driver runs a similar test to determine the correct mode of operation.

You can see a youtube video by Retro Erik using the PalmZIP driver on an Amstrad PPC 512. You should check his youtube channel as he has several videos about Amstrad PC computers.

Mod Master XT beta 21 for your PC XT, listen to musical modules files


A new version of Mod Master XT beta 21 by FreddyV is available on Vogons. It lets you hear a lot of music modules formats on any PC under msdos even a PC XT (CGA), for example an Amstrad PC 1512/1640 or a PPC 512/640...

A Notepad NC200, a PCMCIA card type 1 ... or type 2 now


A Notepad NC200 lets you put under the disk drive one type 1 PCMCIA card which is a RAM or SRAM card with a button battery to save the ram when outside of the Notepad. The problem is that the NC200 can only hold type 1 PCMCIA cards as type 2 are thicker, too big for the slot. Also these 1 or 2 Mb RAM cards are not much better than the capacity of 1,5 or 2,5 720 Kb disks.

But David Given who is the author of CP/Mish (CP/M for Notepad NC200) has been able to use a type PCMCIA adaptator in which you put a Compact Flash card (16 Mb). CP/Mish is of course able to use such mass storage. However it needs to open the NC200 case to change the PCMCIA slot guide with a new 3D printed part !

You can see his video on Youtube in which you can see the case being opened, so why not also changing the disk drive with an USB Gotek ?

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