Author Topic: Amstrad CPC Project - Getting Online to BBS with 1980's Tech - Complete!  (Read 10543 times)

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Offline spookspring

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Amstrad CPC Project - Getting Online in 2013 to a BBS with 1980's Tech

Update: Project Complete! Online with 464 and classic modem, no modern mods 26/5/13! (See below post)

Hi guys this is my current (futile?) project to get online to a BBS board with 1980s tech ALONE.

No cheats or addons or PC's. Is it possible? I have no reason to doubt that it isnt, if I get another
computer to talk the same language to me. Everything is connected and working fine, and others have had success.

I have collected over the last 2 years all the components from ebay and modified them: RS232 (modified
with 2 extra ROMs), 64k RAM (mod to 256k RAM). Nightingale Modem (300 or 1200 Baud). Parallel to 5 pin
domino lead (selfmade). Commstar - Honeyterm (ASCII) & Honeyview (Viewdata) browsers. 
I have a basic understanding of how all this works.

I have tested by calling various BBS dialups and BT. All I am getting is some garbled handshake on
300 Baud. The other BBS are Spectrum and Commodore orientated, which in theory should work, we
have similar language, but no success so far.

So if here is anyone out there who has a (secret) CPC server or knows of a Amstrad friendly website,
 or anyone who might want to hook up 2 computers let me know! Distance no object.

Cheers, Spooks


« Last Edit: 15:40, 28 May 13 by spookspring »
The final frontier - trying to get online with a CPC - Complete!

Offline Bryce

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Cool idea. Unfortunately I don't have the hardware to connect up, but there are other BBS servers out there that might want to communicate with you.

Bryce.

Offline Munchausen

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My first thought would be to use dial-up unix shell access from a terminal emulator on the CPC. These used to be widespread and free, often run by Universities. However after searching I can't find any still running (at least free and in the UK). With this you can then use command line programs on the unix machine, such as news readers, email, irc and web browsing, or even ssh to another machine.

I would say that you should at least test the serial setup by logging in to a unix/linux machine, or just a windows machine running hyperterminal, over the serial port. For a more basic test you can try bridging the transmit and receive pins (pins 2 and 3) of the RS232 connector with a wire. Then, when running a terminal emulator on the CPC (with handshaking turned off), you should see whatever you type coming back to you to be printed on the machine.

To test the modem as well you could set up another machine (a PC) with a modem attached to it, also running a terminal emulator, and connect them both to (seperate) telephone lines. Type "ATDT <telephone number>" on one machine to call the other, and when the call comes in on the other machine answer it by typing "ATA". You should then be able to type on one machine and see the output on the other. Of course for this you need two telephone lines. With various old mobile phones you could do this with a serial cable or serial infra red connection, and talk to the modem in the phone, but I'm not sure you can do it with newer phones. You can even probably connect two modems together directly, but I'm not exactly sure how to achieve that (I think you'd need to simulate a dial tone somehow).

If it was me I think I'd just attach the serial line to a linux box and use command line utilities from there. I'm afraid I don't know much about BBS, but you could run a BBS client on the machine I'm sure. I think you'll have more luck at 1200 baud than 300 though... 1200 seems to be a bare minimum for most dial ups that are still running today, but again I can't say about BBS.

Offline arnoldemu

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In the past I and a friend managed it.
I think we used 1200 baud and XMODEM.

Perhaps 8-bit, parity, no stop bits, something like that..

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Offline ralferoo

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I'd quite like to have a go at some point as I've got an Amstrad serial board and I'm pretty sure I have a modem somewhere in my loft, but I'm almost certain that it won't work over my phones as my house is all VOIP nowadays. I've tried to get a fax working over that in the past and the modem won't connect even though it should in theory be able to negotiate down to prehistoric modem speeds...

Offline MacDeath

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I clicked on "like", still I would have prefered a 6128 anyway. :(

Offline Gryzor

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bbs.cpcwiki.eu? If only I could persuade the host to hook up a modem and phone line to the server rack...

Offline spookspring

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Guys! Woooho! I'm so excited! I am ONLINE with my Amstrad as specced above! This project is now complete! Thanks for the "technical advice" but I stuck to the classic mods... I had to use 300 Baud to connect to an Acorn 32 bit orientated Arcade site. That speed is STILL too fast and my 464 is not coping, so I need to do something to slow the incoming rate of text. Any ideas? I am ready for internet apocalypse! Cheers! james





The final frontier - trying to get online with a CPC - Complete!

Offline ralferoo

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That speed is STILL too fast and my 464 is not coping, so I need to do something to slow the incoming rate of text.
It's surprising that it can't manage 300 baud as that's less than 50 characters per second...

Also, I can only see one bit of corruption on your screen - "available" has become "avail`ble" which is 1 bit different.

Anyway, congratulations on your success!

Offline MacDeath

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So now the only one real interesting question...


Where are the porn sites?

Offline Badstarr

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Have you tried looking to see if you can connect to Hackaday.com retro site? I'm not sure of all the details but I do know that they encourage people to access the site with retro hardware and they usually do a feature on their site about the latest machine to be added to the list of visitors with a bit about the machine and how the task was achieved. Might be of interest to you. Nice work by the way!
Proud owner of 464 GTM64 6128 GTM65, GX4128 and a 464/6128 Plus Hybrid a 20 year long ambition realised! :-)

Offline arnoldemu

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nice.

text is 99% fine, it could be the terminal emulation.

rest of the text is clean. It looks like it wants to use some terminal control codes???

Any ideas what it looks like on a risc os machine???

do you know which terminal emulation is being used on the cpc?? vt100??

EDIT: So which protocols and which communication configuration (stop bits, number of data bits, parity) did you use for the working connection???
« Last Edit: 11:36, 28 May 13 by arnoldemu »
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Offline spookspring

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Sorted out the garbling, just needed to align the plug in correctly.


I have not used any mods or changed the modem settings, its a simple
TTY screen display at 300 RX=TX Baud with 0 Parity, 8 Data Bits, 1 Stop Bit, Soft Handshake.


Ive looked at more of the site and its quite comprehensive and up to date, and could keep
me entertained for an hour a night. In an emergency or if I had to loose the internet this could be
a useful replacement.  If there is no Amstrad BB I will add a thread there. Surprised you guys are
not using a BBS on a CPC!


Positive Thoughts:
  • I get free email when I register - I can send emails from my 464!
  • I get free phonecalls on weekends - free (BBS) internet
  • I wont get any viruses with a CPC...I think - downloads might have hacks? just delete!
Negative Thoughts:
  • No Graphics - but I dont need fancy banner ads!
  • No Amstrad friendly games? - cant access game section yet
  • Interminable Patience needed
  • Probably the last BBS in the UK - how long will the guys stay hooked up?!
Therefore, all you would need to do in theory to get a CPC online is build or buy an RS232,
download Honeyterm and use from a disc drive/RAM, and buy an old modem for about a £1
Chiz Spooks
« Last Edit: 16:20, 28 May 13 by spookspring »
The final frontier - trying to get online with a CPC - Complete!

Offline dcdrac

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I have a Nightingale...wow that takes me back

Offline TCMSLP

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Sorry to revive an older thread but ... I'm amazed dial up BBSs still exist!   


I thought all such BBSs either migrated to telnet or closed altogether.




Offline Gryzor

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Which one did you dial?

Offline radu14m

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this projekt is amazing :)


im alsoamazed that dial up BBSs still exist...i tought they were long dead.
[/size]
[/size]What s the status of this project ?
[/size]

Offline redbox

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Which one did you dial?

It's Arcade BBS which is still available on +44 20 8654 2212.  It's run on RISC OS.

Interestingly, I saw a way recently of getting a Raspberry Pi to act as a Hayes modem... So in theory you could use a serial port on the CPC (such as a MiniBooster), connect it via USB to the Pi and have TCP/IP run over it and voila, a CPC that is truly on the internet  :D

Offline MacDeath

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Is this similar to this video ?


Guide to Getting Online with an Amstrad CPC 464 (from 1984) in 2013


Quote
Positive Thoughts:
I get free email when I register - I can send emails from my 464!
I get free phonecalls on weekends - free (BBS) internet
I wont get any viruses with a CPC...I think - downloads might have hacks? just delete!
yeay, and not even sure NSA can monitor those...

Quote
Negative Thoughts:
No Graphics - but I dont need fancy banner ads!
No Amstrad friendly games? - cant access game section yet
Interminable Patience needed
Probably the last BBS in the UK - how long will the guys stay hooked up?!
For the graphics, you have ASCII art I guess...
Also wouldn't it be better with more RAM expansion ? or it this still limited ?
Perhaps a PCW would be better to surf the web than a CPC464, but peripherals may be harder to find (or not ?)

also can we get something slightly more...graphical ?
Bulletin boards/image board a bit more like 4chan, with possibility for some graphical characters ?



Is the 50 characters per second limitation due to the old design of the peripherals (modem, serial and so on) or the Amstrad itself ? or the "servers" used ?


Is the +64K used ? what leaves as few RAM available then ?


What a modern re-enactment of those peripheral specs would be like ?
« Last Edit: 23:34, 30 October 13 by MacDeath »

Offline Gryzor

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Ah damn, I'm not calling another country. I (my parents, that is) paid enough back in the day :D

IanHUghes

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I was really stoked to see this.  I got online back in the day with my CPC464 and a Cirkit Modem Setup, with voice syntehsiser which was brill.  I used to dial into BBS such as RCPM Beconsfield and OBBS Sheffield.  I think I will try and get back on line with my CPC6128 so would yo umind if i message you  from time to time to touch base and get advice??

Big challenge for me is getting a modem and software will work, so any advice greatly welcomed. 

Anyway, brill little project - thanks for sharing!


Amstrad CPC Project - Getting Online in 2013 to a BBS with 1980's Tech

Update: Project Complete! Online with 464 and classic modem, no modern mods 26/5/13! (See below post)

Hi guys this is my current (futile?) project to get online to a BBS board with 1980s tech ALONE.

No cheats or addons or PC's. Is it possible? I have no reason to doubt that it isnt, if I get another
computer to talk the same language to me. Everything is connected and working fine, and others have had success.

I have collected over the last 2 years all the components from ebay and modified them: RS232 (modified
with 2 extra ROMs), 64k RAM (mod to 256k RAM). Nightingale Modem (300 or 1200 Baud). Parallel to 5 pin
domino lead (selfmade). Commstar - Honeyterm (ASCII) & Honeyview (Viewdata) browsers. 
I have a basic understanding of how all this works.

I have tested by calling various BBS dialups and BT. All I am getting is some garbled handshake on
300 Baud. The other BBS are Spectrum and Commodore orientated, which in theory should work, we
have similar language, but no success so far.

So if here is anyone out there who has a (secret) CPC server or knows of a Amstrad friendly website,
 or anyone who might want to hook up 2 computers let me know! Distance no object.

Cheers, Spooks




Offline simulant

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Hey if anyone can test my new Amstrad BBS on their CPC it would be really appreciated. I've still a lot to do and it is early days yet but any help is really appreciated.

At the moment it is 80 column screen width and full Ansi, this is fine on some other Amstrads using DOS or Windows etc but nut sure about CPC based (or CP/M) terminal clients. I'll get round to more testing myself hopefully soon but it would be great to get a few more CPC users telnetting in! Also if anyone with experience wants to help and be a Sysop?

This is the website with more info:

https://amstrad.simulant.uk

Thanks :)
« Last Edit: 09:24, 12 March 18 by simulant »

Offline Gryzor

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That's lovely, but what are the credentials to log in?


Also, only ssh seems to work for me, trying to telnet just ends with a closed connection...

Offline robcfg

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Welcome!


I've tried to connect too, but I can only connect like Gryzor through SSH, and then I cannot login as Guest, nor guest...


Here's what I tried, in case I did something wrong:
Code: [Select]
ssh -p 6128 Guest@amstrad.simulant.uk
telnet -l Guest amstrad.simulant.uk 464
rlogin -l Guest amstrad.simulant.uk

Offline simulant

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Welcome!


I've tried to connect too, but I can only connect like Gryzor through SSH, and then I cannot login as Guest, nor guest...


Here's what I tried, in case I did something wrong:
Code: [Select]
ssh -p 6128 Guest@amstrad.simulant.uk
telnet -l Guest amstrad.simulant.uk 464
rlogin -l Guest amstrad.simulant.uk

Hey thanks for trying! I've had a few users login and register accounts, but they may be connecting from PCs. Can you *not* specify a username, as then in should just sign you up for an account on login or ask if you want to view as "guest".

So just "telnet amstrad.simulant.uk 464" should do it...

I hope you can get in!! :)
« Last Edit: 09:38, 12 March 18 by simulant »