comp.sys.amstrad.8bit FAQ v1.27 1 / 16 1/1

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From: (Emmanuel ROUSSIN)

Newsgroups: comp.sys.amstrad.8bit

Subject: comp.sys.amstrad.8bit FAQ v1.27 1 / 16 1/1

Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 20:08:25 +0000 (UTC)

Message-ID: <a9v67p$kqo$>


Archive-name: amstrad8bit-faq

Posting-Frequency: monthly (4th day)


  comp.sys.amstrad.8bit Frequently Asked Questions v1.27 (04/14/2002)


* The FAQ exists in english, french, german, spanish and dutch. The

* spanish and german translations arent up to date. They are are archived on :


  - first site :

  - second site :

  - FAQ archive (english text only) :


  The french translation was done by Pierre Guerrier and then by Pierre

  Thevenet. Thanks to them.


  This FAQ is posted twice a month on the 4th and 19th to

  comp.sys.amstrad.8bit, and only once on the 4th to comp.answers and



  Lines preceded by '+' have been added since the last FAQ

  Lines preceded by '*' have been modified since the last FAQ


  This FAQ is written by :


  - Emmanuel Roussin,, section A (CPC), D (PcW16), E (PDA600)

  - Mark Ray,, section B (Notepad)

  - Frank van Empel, section C (PCW)


  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, thanks to : (Noel Llopis) (Robert Steindl) (Kenneth Crawford) (Dr S.J. Harris) (Ben Williamson) (rrotz) (Peter Sorensen) (David Long) (Klaus Weber) (Ian Macdonald) (IAN RODERIC IZETT) (K.E.W. Thacker) (Roger Bradley) (Richard Fairhurst) (Steffen Huber) (Dirk Eismann) (Martin Krausse) (Pierre Guerrier) (Gilles Blanchard) (Cliff Lawson) (Simon Matthews) (David Cantrell)






  Table of Contents





  A - Amstrad CPC


  A0) Amstrad CPC(+), KC Compact and GX 4000 presentation


  A1) Emulators and utilities


    A1.1) emulators

    A1.2) utilities


  A2) Sources of emulators, ROMs, programs, new hardware/software


    A2.0) IRC

    A2.1) FTP

    A2.2) WWW

    A2.3) BBS

    A2.4) Using programs with emulators or real CPC

    A2.5) New 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)

    A3.5) Companies

    A3.6) Tapes


  A4) Maps, solutions, pokes, basic loaders


    A4.1) Maps and Solutions

    A4.2) Pokes

    A4.3) Basic loaders


  A5) Hardware problems


    A5.1) Internal drive

    A5.2) External drive

    A5.3) Components


  A6) How can I help the Amstrad world ?


    A6.1) Updating the FAQ

    A6.2) Commercial games becoming freeware

    A6.3) Adding files to

    A6.4) Updating ALL_CPC, ALL_HW, ALL_ROM, ALL_UTIL


  A7) Programs


    A7.1) Commercial programs which are now PD, freeware or shareware

    A7.2) New non commercial games


  A8) Useful addresses and information


    A8.1) Snail mail addresses

    A8.2) Information

    A8.3) Email addresses


  A9) Fanzines


    A9.1) on paper

    A9.2) on disk


  A10) Additional hardware


    A10.1) Hard disk

    A10.2) Multiface II

    A10.3) Rombox

      A10.3.1) ROMCARD and RAMCARD

      A10.3.2) Inicron ROM-RAM-BOX

    A10.4) Sound Player 1 and 2

    A10.5) Network

    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

    A10.11) CD-ROM

    A10.12) Mouse


  A11) Upcoming CPC meetings



  B - Amstrad Notepad (NC100/150/200)


  B0) NC 100/150/200 presentation


  B1) Emulators


  B2) How can I buy one ?


  B3) What peripherals can I use ?


    B3.1) Printer

    B3.2) Extra Memory

    B3.3) Disks


  B4) How do I connect it to a PC ?


    B4.1) Which cable ?

    B4.2) Settings

    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


  B11) Credits



  C - PCW


  C0) PCW presentation


  C1) Emulators and utilities


    C1.1.1) Joyce

    C1.1.2) Joyce MAC

    C1.1.3) M.E.S.S.

    C1.2) Utilities



  C2) Where can I find emulators and programs ?


    C2.1) FTP sites

    C2.2) WWW

    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) Hardware


    C5.1) Printer

    C5.2) Keyboard

    C5.3) Disc drive


  C6) Additional hardware


    C6.1) Memory up to 51k2kb

    C6.2) Memory beyond 512kb

    C6.3) Interfaces (various purposes)

    C6.4) ProScan

    C6.5) MasterScan

    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'kTronics sound synthesiser

    C6.17) ISA card

    C6.18) Various DIY layouts


  C7) Fanzines



  D) PcW 16


  D0) PcW 16 presentation


  D1) Emulators


      D1.1) CP/M v2.2 and 3.1 for the PCW16

      D1.2) M.E.S.S.


  D2) Support



  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),

  NC100/150/200 and PDA600.


  Appropriate topics include, but are not limited to :


       - CPC, GX4000, PCW, NC, PDA hardware and software,

       - emulators,

       - 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* newsgroups must be

      used, especially


  For questions about these PC see


  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.




  A - Amstrad CPC


  A0) Amstrad CPC(+), KC compact and GX 4000 presentation 10/26/2001


  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 Fran‡ois Quentin (

  for 25 Euros (postage included, send an international postal order

  by going to your post office) to :


  Fran‡ois Quentin

  9 Nonneville

  28140 Loigny la Bataille







  A1) Emulators and utilities


  A1.1) emulators


  There is a commercial spectrum emulator for the CPC, reviewed in

  Amstrad Action.


  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  10/23/2001


  CPE, first written by Bernd Schmidt and then by Ulrich Doewich

  (report bugs, suggestions to since v5.1


  Get, or if you have a

  386, get

  For sources :


  CPE is now replaced by Caprice32, a 32bit emulator for dos (v1.11 or

  2b2) or win9x (v3.0), get them 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)


  A PC v0.40 of AMI-CPC by Ludovic Deplanque (see A1.1.7), go or get and

   for conversion between .CPC and .DSK images disks.



  A1.1.5) NO$CPC (PC) 02/04/2001


  Another german emulator by Martin Korth, get the dos version :

  for win9x :

  Go to



  A1.1.6) Richard Wilson's emulators 12/23/99


  Richard Wilson (author of ParaDOS) wrote no less than 3 emulators, get

  them at :


  - RWCPC for msdos :

  - CPC emulator for windows 3.1, with debugger and assembler :

  - Win Ape 32, the CPC(+) emulator for win9x, it comes with

    a built-in compatible Maxam assembler, get v1.8b at



  A1.1.7) AMI-CPC (Amiga) 02/15/98


  A french CPC emulator for Amiga, by Ludovic Deplanque. Last version is

  v0.46, get,

  includes sources. See



  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



  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


  Get the sources at or get


  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



* A1.1.12) CPC++ (Unix and MAC) 03/02/2002


  This emulator for SunOS, Linux and MAC is written by Brice Rive.

* Go at




  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 (



  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 and Unix/Linux) and Arnold Junior (Java) 10/24/2001


  A CPC(+) emulator by Kevin Thacker for win9x, get binaries and

  sources at


  Get the MACos conversion by Richard Bannister at


  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) 02/17/98


  Zsim v2.41 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. Get



  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 (PC) 11/24/2001


  The first spanish Amstrad CPC emulator by CNGSOFT, go

* ou




  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.

  go or get



  A1.1.20) M.E.S.S. (PC & MAC) 10/23/2001


  Multi-Emulator Super System (Amstrad CPC, PCW, and NC) v0.37b15 is

  available on (msdos, win9x and MAC) :


  For using PcW16 emulation, get



  A1.1.21) Arnimedes (PC) 04/22/2000


  Arnimedes for msdos by Oliver Lenz, get v0.8a here or on




  A1.1.22) XCPC (Unix/X11R6) 10/24/2001


  A new Amstrad CPC emulator by Olivier Poncet for unix and X11R6 at :





  A1.2) Utilities


  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) 10/24/2001


  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.

  Get CPDR324.ZIP


  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 ( 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

  ( or my

  own file (

  You shouldn't use it under OS/2 or win95, unless you have the last

  version (


  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

  author homepage or :


  - 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 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 ( is a complete parallel

  transfer package which is an amelioration of CPCPARA.BAS :


  - 3" disk transfer (DATA, SYSTEM, IBM),

  - ROM transfers,

  - tape transfers.



  A1.2.15) TransCPC


  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



  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 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


  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 03/27/2001


  You can exchange files with Internet Relay Chat, but its primary goal

  is to chat with other internet users. There are 3 IRC channels :


  - #CPC, every days on IRCNet, see ;

  - #CSA8, every SUNDAY at 3:00 pm, on Undernet (best server is

    the London Netcom server, see ;

  - #CPC, on



* A2.1) FTP sites 01/18/2002


  If you have problems accessing FTP sites, use the following method :


  -, thanks to Remy Card, (HTML front-end with

    the list of all files, size and description included).


    all questions about this site should be directed to

    files comes from 'Genesis, the 8bit generation BBS' (see A2.3).


* -, 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)


  -, 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,

     look  for the HTML front-end :



    mirror of


  -, thanks to Paul Martin, specific

    Amstrad CP/M related files. Paul Martin (

    will send anyone, who can give him proof (photocopy of the CP/M disk

    with the serial number for example) that they have original Amstrad

    CP/M Plus, the binary ROM images of his "CP/M Plus ROMs" for free.


  -, mirror of lip6 and nvg


  - Two Mag FTP site



  A2.2) WWW 04/24/99


  You will find them at :



    the FAQ maintainer homepage with Amstrad news, the AFC association

    (sells belts, 3,5" drives, the zine Amstrad Live, a CD with all

    lip6 files and other 8bit computer files), FAQ (english, french,

    german in HTML and text), all emulators, gallery of CPC users,

    the most comprehensive Amstrad links, list of books and hardware, etc...


  Two other important web sites :



    the official Amstrad web site



    the biggest Amstrad web page by Kevin Thacker



  A2.3) BBS 01/20/2001


  - Genesis the 8bit generation (2:320/220) : +33 1 53 95 32 43

    (modem/ISDN) & 44 (modem), Paris (FRANCE), sysop : Emmanuel

    Roussin. There are about 139 Mo of Amstrad files (CPC, PCW, NC and



  - ZNODE 51 : +49 89 961 45 75, in Germany, from 15:00 to 3:00 CET

    (MEZ), up to V32b, CPC files.


  - The Dream Machine (2:442/600) : +44-1222-689812, Cardiff, Wales,

    U.K., V21 through v34/VFC, sysops : David J. Thomas and Rachael

    Munns, this bbs carries CPC and CP/M files, and the c.s.a.8 newsgroup.


  - Chill out zone : +49 821 2290356, Augsburg, Germany, v21 to v32b,

    sysop : Dark Sector, CPC files (coming from Razormaid).


  - SchnickSchnackBBS (FidoNet: 2:2448/615): +49-234-9620318, Bochum,

    Germany, V34, X75, sysop: Armin Schaefer, this bbs carries cpc files

    and it is the home of CPCNet, a german speaking network for Amstrad

    8bit-users based on Fido and  ZConnect-technology. For infos on

    CPCNet write to


  - Chaos Cottage : +44 1736 756633, Hayle, Cornwall, U.K., V34,sysop :

    Nigel Woolcock (, CP/M file area (mainly PCW)

    with 5 Mo, AMSTRAD, CPM, CPMTECH fido echos and the csa8 newsgroup





  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 10/27/2001


  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,



  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.



  A2.5) New hardware/software


  A2.5.1) New hardware


  - You can buy a selection of games cartridges for the CPC+ and the

    GX4000, cartridges are unboxed and without instructions. Price ú7.99

    each including postage and packing in United Kingdom, also programs

    for CPC/PCW, go at


    John Thackeray (

    Trade in Post

    Victoria Road


    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) 01/11/2000


  Porting files across from CPC to PC for use in CPCEMU is easy, at

  least, if you have a DDI-1 disk  drive it's easy!  You need to follow

  these instructions. Follow them exactly. 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).



  A3.1.2) 3" drive on PC (part two) 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

         /-\         /-\         /-\

        2 -|---------|-|---------|-|2

        4 -|---------|-|---------|-|4

        6 -|---------|-|---------|-|6

        8 -|---------|-|---------|-|8

        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.

        8 -|---------|-|---------\

        10-|---------|-|-\  /-nc  \-|-| 2 (connected to ctler pin 8)

        12-|---------|-|- \/ -------|-| 4

        14-|---------|-|- /\ -------|-| 6

        16-|---------|-|-/  \-------|-| 8

        18-|---------|-|------------|-| 10

        20-|---------|-|------------|-| 12

        22-|---------|-|------------|-| 14

        24-|---------|-|------------|-| 16

        26-|---------|-|------------|-| 18

        28-|---------|-|------------|-| 20

        30-|---------|-|------------|-| 22

        32-|---------|-|------------|-| 24

        34-|---------|-|------------|-| 26

        \-/          \-/            |-| 28

                                    |-| 30

                                    |-| 32

                                    |-| 34



      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

  directly compatible.


    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 A8.1.1.1 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 for a circuit plan for

  a RS 232 interface, by Tim Riemann.



  A3.5) Companies


  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,

  for support write to


  See C3.1



  A3.5.2) Rowansoft


  Contact Tony Gill at for rates.




  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 <> on the web page :

  or by post from:


  Philip R Holland

  Holland Numerics Ltd

  94 Green Drift


  Herts SG8 5BT

  United Kingdom



  A3.5.4) David Simpson


  David Simpson  (

  PO Box 187

  Mitcham Shopping Centre

  South Australia  5062

  Ph +61-8-83731693


  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

+ systems.


+ 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

+ your PC.


+ 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.



  ("PDD's adventure page")


  It features much informations about the beginnings of the text

  adventures and gives a lot of links towards other related pages.

  All major companies are mentioned with a brief  historical

  explanation.  To be especially noticed is a link towards the ftp

  "IF-archive" which contains tons of informations, in particular

  solutions of most classic adventures.



    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 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 :



  A4.3) Basic loaders 06/12/99






  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

  4mm wide).


  You can find belts at Paris (75011), reference Koenig 7093.00 for

  22 FF at Espace Composants Electronique, 66 rue de Montreuil,

  m‰tro Nation, phone 01 43 72 30 64, fax 01 43 72 30 67,



  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, ask


  A working reference in U.K. : maplins reference RK99.


  For Germany, see A8.1.4.4 and A8.1.4.5


  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




  A5.3) Components


  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




  A6.2) Commercial games becoming freeware


  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 04/15/2001


  You can send me your latest production. As there is no upload

  directory on lip6, you will need to send me your programs uuencoded to, or send them to,

  I will then put it on



* A6.4) Updating ALL_CPC, ALL_HW, ALL_ROM, ALL_UTIL 04/14/2002


* Frederic Herlem ( is writing the complete

  inventory of the CPC programs, get v08 and help him to update it :


  Kevin Thacker ( 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






  A8) Useful addresses and information


  A8.1) Addresses


  See A3.4 for a PCW address.


  A8.1.1) FRANCE


  A8.1.1.1) removed 05/18/2001



  A8.1.1.2) 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 30 FF 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 10 FF 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

  printer port.


  For ordering a SoundPlayer+ or 2, see A9.1.3


  see or



  old A8.1.1.3 removed, A8.1.1.4 become A8.1.1.3



  A8.1.1.3) Association des Fans de CPC (AFC) 10/31/99


  AFC is a french association whose aim is to be a link between the various

  CPC users. For more information, write to


  Emmanuel Roussin

  10 rue du Capitaine Menard

  75015 PARIS



  or see



  A8.1.2) U.S.A


  A8.1.2.1) 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:


  Sinotech Ltd.

  218 Terrace Drive

  Mundelein, Illinois

  USA    60060


  phone: (708) 566-0504



  A8.1.3) United Kingdom


  A8.1.3.1) Comsoft (was Campursoft) 05/06/99


  This company is held by Peter Campbell (

  Now on internet,



  10 McInstosh Crt.



  G31 2HW

  United Kingdom


  Tel/fax (044) 0141 554 4735


  World wide credit card (visa, mastercard) are accepted, you can also

  send an international postal money order, and of course checks (U.K.



  - ParaDOS v1.1, a ROM operating system, the best CPC OS, was available

    too on cartridge for 6128+

  - DES (Desktop Environment System), graphical interface for CPC, like

    on MAC or PC   Windows, on disk or ROM,

  - ProPrint, Protext text enhancement program, fonts, font editor, on

    disk or ROM,

  - MicroDesign Plus, DTP package,

  - MicroDesign Extra, disc of clip arts for MicroDesign,

  - Maps for MD, British isles and worlds maps,

  - 2in1, PC to CPC, runs under CP/M,

  - The Basic Idea, tutorial of 42 pages and disc of examples for the

    aimed basic programmer,

  - Xexor, file management/disc backup utility (also for protected


  - Soft-Lok v2.3, tape 2 disc, especially for speedlock protected


  - RoutePlanner PCW is now available as 10/22/97.


  World copyrights on the CPC/PCW versions of the Protext word processor

  (and derivatives), Maxam assembler and Utopia utility programs, formerly

  published by Arnor Ltd, are now owned by WACCO.



  A8.1.3.2) United Amstrad User Group 06/01/98


  Martyn Sherwood


  13 Rodney Close




  CV22 7HJ

  United Kingdom


  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. Brian Watson


  Brian Watson

  39 High Street




  CB6 2RA



  Tel (and FAX by arrangement, phone first): +44 (0)1353 777006



  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.




  A8.1.4) Germany


  A8.1.4.1) Karl-Heinz Weeske


  Karl-Heinz Weeske

  Potsdamer Ring 10

  D-71522 Backnang

  Tel +49 7191 60078

  Fax +49 7191 60079


  supply of:


  CPC hardware and software, printer ribbons (NQL401 & DMP), circuit

  diagrams, manuals, etc..., demand an offer list !



  A8.1.4.2) Walter Kuhn


  Walter Kuhn


  Hessenstrasse 7 (Frohnhausen)

  D-35684 Dillenburg

  Tel./Fax +49 2771 32688


  supply printer ribbons Schneider/Amstrad, DMP 2000...3160 DM 6,50, NLQ

  401 DM 6,50, Joyce, LQ 3500, PCW 8256/8512 DM 7,5, PCW 9512,

  Multistrikeband DM 7, Maxell 3"-Disks 10 pack DM 83,


  P & P (Germany): DM 9,50

  out of Germany: pay in advance only, orders over DM 5,- only



  A8.1.4.3) Wiedmann 06/15/97


  A german company which provides somes Amstrad Support/spares, see



  A8.1.4.4) Beratung Mewes 01/31/99


  EDV-Beratung Mewes

  Gartenstr. 2

  53902 Bad Muenstereifel

  Tel. +49 2253 932388

  Fax  +49 2253 932387



  drive belts (CPC, PCW), 3" drives (PCW), RAM-Extensions, repair

  service for disc-drives (3")



  A8.1.4.5) Andreas 10/09/99


  Andreas will send out replacement belts for 3 inch drives to anyone in

  germany. The price is 3,- DM per belt plus 1,10 DM for postage.

  Payment is to be made in advance in cash or in stamps.


  To avoid long delays and assure that enough belts are in stock,

  contact him at


  Andreas Micklei

  Lefevrestr. 15I

  14161 Berlin




  A8.2) information


  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



       5    1


       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" 02/14/2000


  John Kilcline ( has 8 copies of "The Anatomy

  for the CPC's" for sale (10 UK pounds *each*, this includes postage

  and packaging). This 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, see



 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))

  NEXT i

  FOR i = &A400 TO &A428

  READ a$

  POKE i, VAL ("&" + a$)

  NEXT i

  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'"




  A8.3) Email addresses


  You can found other email address on Kevin Thacker web page, see A2.2


  A8.3.1) Amstrad/Locomotive 01/20/2001


  - Cliff Lawson (Amstrad),,

  - Richard Clayton (ex Locomotive Software Ltd),,

  - Howard Fisher (was LocoScript Software),

  - Roland Perry (was Amstrad),,



  A8.3.2) Emulators authors 04/20/2001


  - Marco Vieth,, CPCEMU,

  - Bernd Schmidt, crux@Pool.Informatik.RWTH-Aachen.DE, CPE,

  - Ulrich Doewich,, CPE, utilities,

  - Mark Rison,, !CPC,

  - Herman Dullink,, CPC,

  - Kevin Thacker,, A-CPC,

  - Brice Rive,, CPC++,

  - Ludovic Deplanque,, AMI-CPC and PC-CPC,

  - Paul Hodgson,, MTM.


  A8.3.3) demo makers 05/30/98


  - Sebastien Bernard (Arkos),

  - Andreas Stroiczek (aka Face Hugger),

    DOSCOPY, Face Huggers Ultimate MegaDemo, !CPCEmu for Archimedes, and


  - Doc Bartlet,

    Bollaware demo/game coders

  - Antoine Pitrou,, Cheese, Turbo Monitor, etc...

  - Mage, demo maker,,

  - Georg Odenthal (Odiesoft),

    Megablasters, demos

  - Ilias Fotopoulos (KOD),, demos, SEX disk


  - Simon Matthews (Ratz),, Demos

  - Prodatron,, Demos, Digitracker, X-treme


    Heiner de Went

    Tannenweg 1

    48727 Billerbeck


  - Benjamin Fall,



  A8.3.4) Zines 08/05/98


  - Brain Blaster and Schlumpf of Frankenteam,, CPC Telegram Disczine

  - Gert Genial of Frankenteam,

  - Richard Fairhurst (CRTC),,

    AA, BTL, RoutePlanner etc

  - Juggler, editor of TRIBAL MAG ONLINE,

  - John Bowley, WACCI magazine editor,

  - Olivier Floquet (Eliot), Digital Press,



  A8.3.5) Games 07/13/2000


  - Keith A Goodyer,

    R-Type, f16, Dynamite Dan II, Speedzone, Gilbert Escape from Drill,

    Grid Iron I,

   - Mark Haigh-Hutchinson, (Vortex Software), voir

    A7, now a Project Manager at Retro Studios in Austin, Texas.



* A8.3.6) Others 04/14/2002



  - Offset (Groupe Futur's),, hardware/software for CPC(+),

  - Paul Gargan (Gliceas),, Amstrad User

  - Richard Wildey (Wild Thang),

    Sentinel Software, TUSS

  - Simon Forrester (Hairy),

    Amstrad Action, BooTracker

* - Shaun M. Neary,, Game reviews

  - Mark Ray, - Amstrad Notepad (NC100)

* - Frederic Herlem,, see A6.4

  - Brian Watson (Protext, Montrac, Robot Software, Parados cartridge,

    Pipeline Tutorials, 8BIT magazine, PcW16 os upgrades, IEBA, WACCO)

  - Kaneda (swapper) :




  A9) Fanzines


  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 06/22/97


  Issues are 2 pounds each in the UK, 2 pounds 50 pences in Europe and 3

  pounds elsewhere. Special yearly rates : 22 pounds UK, 27.50 Europe,

  33 elsewhere. Cheques and postal orders payable to WACCI at


  97, Tirrington



  PE3 9XT

  United Kingdom


  The Editor is John Bowley, at the above address.


  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. Look at 2.2) for their www



  For a free sample copy of the clubs magazine either Email at with your name and address, or send your

  name and address to the snail mail address above.



  A9.1.2) CPC User


  A magazine published every couple of months by the United Amstrad

  User Group (UAUG), see A2.2 and A8.1.3.3



  A9.1.3) Quasar 07/13/2000


  A french zine, especially about programming on CPC(+). Last issue is

  no 18 (summer 2000), available for 6,70 FF of stamps and 9 FF :


  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).



  Le Reverdy

  50530 SARTILLY




  A9.1.5) Amstrad Action


  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.




  A9.2) on disk


  A9.2.1) Boxon 07/28/97


  Nicolas Ader (Nicky one)

  Place du Donjon

  32320 BASSOUES



  Boxon issue 3 is out (07-96 to 02/97).



  A9.2.2) Demoniak 11/03/98


  Anthony Nevo (orphee)

  Le Louya

  35290 GAEL



  Get issues 3 to 6 on (dmk*.zip)



  A9.2.3) Dracula Fanz 08/01/98


  Miguel Fremeaux (Dracula)

  238 rue du cardinal Allen

  59553 CUINCY



  Last issue is 5 (December 1995) with articles in english, get the

  issues at



  A9.2.4) Phaser


  Sebastien Broudin (Seb)

  1 rue Emile Combes

  60600 FITZ-JAMES




  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, you can e-mail the editor

  Richard Fairhurst (CRTC/Systeme D) :



  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


  Jan Deppisch (

  Lechstr. 10a

  76437 Rastatt




  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

  Tobias Zimmermann

  Augsburger Weg 3

  59439 Holzwickede




  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

  Thomas Schilling

  Rebenweg 28

  79793 Wutschingen-Horheim




  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

  Christian Stengel

  Ihnbergstrasse 9/1

  73479 Ellwangen




  A9.2.10) CPC-Telegramm 08/04/98


  German Diskzine "CPC-Telegramm", see

  Andreas Koenig

  Hutstr. 7

  D-91056 Erlangen



  A9.2.11) Digital Press 08/01/98


  At first a german zine with english articles, now a french-german

  production. Get  the issues at

  For  information : :


  Olivier FLOQUET (Eliot)

  Chemin de l'Eglise

  14130 DRUBEC




  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 for 1000 DM (400 UKP),

  - in the very early years a Vortex Filecard with 20 MB MFM HD for 3500



  A10.1.2) AT IDE hard drive


  A10.1.2.1) GIDE


  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 software, however.


  Details on


  No GIDE for CPC, but look below for another project which is for CPC.



  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) ROMBOX


  A10.3.1) ROMCARD and RAMCARD 10/31/99


  Francisco DOS SANTOS

  123 boulevard Strasbourg



  RAM7 email :


  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

  price is 150 FF plus the cable at 150 FF.


  The RAMCARD is a ROMCARD that uses 128 Ko of RAM instead of ROM. The

  price is 200 FF plus the cable at 150 FF. Do not expect fast delivery.


  PS : the cable that costs 150 FF can be used to connect every RAM7 add-on.





  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 or get




  A10.4) SoundPlayer 1 and 2


  See A8.1.1.2) 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 (or ger instead of eng)

  for information about VN96.



  A10.5.2) Multi-IO card 10/31/99


  VN96 doesn't work on a CPC+, but Futur's (see A8.1.1.2) 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 100 FF.




  A10.6) Future OS 04/24/2000


  Future OS is in fact 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 under Future OS). Type |OS or

  |FDESK to launch Future OS. For more information, go at




  A10.7) Memory extension


  A10.7.1) 2 Mo MemCard (by RAM7) 31/10/99


  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 Ko

  or 512 Ko). For more information, see A10.3, the prices are :


  - 256 Ko : 300 FF,

  - 512 Ko : 400 FF,

  -   1 Mo : 600 FF,

  -   2 Mo : 900 FF.


  Beware the 256 Ko and 512 Ko models use 128 Ko RAM, the 1 and 2 Mo use

  512 Ko RAM. You must also buy a cable for 150 FF.





  A10.7.2) Inicron RAM-BOX 04/24/2000


  A 512 Ko RAM extension for Amstrad CPC by Inicron, get

  or go at



  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). The price is 400 FF plus the cable at 150 FF. For more

  information see A10.3



  A10.9) CPC ISA 01/20/2001


  Connect ISA cards on your CPC, by Siou (, see :





  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). Could be available from Computer Cavern in UK,

  phone +44 1628 891022. 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 01/13/99


  Codemasters CPC CD-ROM : although there was a great deal of talk

  in the CPC press about Codemasters project to add simple CD-ROM

  capabilities to a CPC (using a domestic CD player and a special

  interface to convert the audio signal into something suitable for

  Arnold) this product never went into production.



  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) Emulators


  B1.1) M.E.S.S.


  See above.



  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




  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 or



  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 07/30/2000


  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.


  - Talisman Electronics, P.O. Box 26 Pangbourne, Reading, RG8 8TL.

     Telephone 01491 671914.


  - Vikant Corp., 512 Kb or 1Mb cards ( 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



  B4.2) Settings


  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 :

  - for NC :




  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





  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:


  *SPOOL document




  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 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 on

  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 (



  B10) Internet resources 12/17/2000


  - and

    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 :


  1) PCW8256

  2) PCW8512

  3) PCW9512

  4) PcW9512+

  5) PcW9256

  6) PcW10, see

  7) PcW16


  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'Štre" 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) Emulators


  C1.1.1) Joyce 08/04/2001


  Joyce v1.36 (dos and Unix) by John Elliott, a PCW emulator at


  Joyce comes with PCWtrans, an utility like CPCtrans and CPDread/write to

  transfer PCW and Spectrum+3 disks between a PC and these computers.

  PCWtrans handles CF2DD (720 kb) format only, but the single sided CF2

  (173 Ko) format can be used too when you use a CF2 drive.

  Joyce emulates two-disc drives, a Centronics printer interface and

  2 mb RAM drives. It supports virtual hard discs and limited use of the

  actual disc drives.



  C1.1.2) Joyce MAC 07/28/97


  MACOs port of Joyce by Richard Bannister at



  C1.1.3) M.E.S.S. 08/08/2001


  See above


  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).

  In that respect JOYCE is better, but M.E.S.S. supports all PCW's. And

  PCWTrans (JOYCE) cannot convert CF2 disks to images, not when you use

  a CF2DD drive.



  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



    Demon UK, Amstrad directory, containing lots of programs for the PCW.



  C2.2) WWW 08/04/2001



    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.



    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 (


  - Walnut Creek CD-ROM, contains a section on Amstrad PCW software and

    other programs which run on the PCW, some requiring no more than the

    operation of a small installation program to tell the program the key

    code to use. Unfortunately no longer sold, but downloadable on:




  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 ú25 + ú2.50 P&P. You can order it by

  sending a cheque for ú27.50, made payable to Mr P.D.Blake to:

  P.D.Blake, 32 Sample avenue, Beverley, E.Yorks, HU17 9DW, England.

  E-mail address :




  C3) Transferring between PCW and PC 08/04/2001


  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 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, contact for additional definitions or



  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

  LocoScript Software.


  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

  commercial programs:

  - Ansible AILINK

  - LocoScript Professional or LocoScript Easy with or without LocoLink

    (for Windows)


  Which one suits you best depends on your budget and purpose. The

  AILINK 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

     the program.


  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 08/04/2001

  (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)


        2:  Density

        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

  to fit.


  Some people have experimented successfully with a diode protected push


  switch with a signal from motor on. See



  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!!!!


  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) 08/04/2001


  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.



  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.


  PCW         PC

   2           3

   3           2

   5          20

   7           7

  20           5


  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 version tailored for the

  PCW can be downloaded too. If you cannot convert it to a 3" contact

  me. A safe speed is 9.600 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. Frank van




  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 (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 08/04/2001


  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


  Wiedmann Unternehmensberatung und Handel

  Haupstrasse 45

  D-73553 Alfdorf


  Spares and consumables.


  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 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 +44 606 888003, email

  - John King at for technical information,

  spares and some second user software.

  - Ron King at for technical information

  and repairs.

  - Anthony Hill at +44 2920 618012 or 07778 044696, email at

  - David Williams email



  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




  HCC Amstrad Gebruikers Groep (Dutch), web site will open in October 2001:



  Look also for A8.1.4.4



  C5) Hardware


  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

  and carbon).


  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:

  EXIT                            ESC

  ALT                             CTRL


  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

  the PCW:

  PTR                             Printer control status

  EXTRA+PTR                       graphics screen dump of the screen on

                                  the printer

  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


  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 NLG 50.


  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 software.

  - 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

  this purpose.



  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:


  LocoScript software supplies a 3.5" that fits into the bay of a 3"



  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

    LocoScript 2.

  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

  right margins.



 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


  See C3.2)



  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 but sound has remained a rarity for the




  C6.17) ISA card. 08/04/2001


  The layout to make an Industry Standard Adapter for the PCW is

  available on



  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 08/04/2001


  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

  gives details and subscription rates.


  Joyce Bulletin, in Dutch, is the quarterly magazine of the Joyce

  Computer Club Amsterdam. It often includes 3" Disks.




  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



  D1.2) M.E.S.S. 08/04/2001


  See above




  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 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 :