Author Topic: Hello from a new member - and advice request  (Read 2034 times)

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Offline robbarton

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Hello from a new member - and advice request
« on: 19:34, 10 August 14 »
Hello everyone,

After lurking without registering for the best part of a year I have finally decided to register. I came across the forum by accident while searching for some CPC info and read a few posts, and found myself drawn in by the humorous posts and the supportive atmosphere.

I owned a 6128 from 1985 to 1995 when I gave it away (with loads of games, joysticks, printer, ~80 Amstrad Action magazines, tape recorder) to a local hospital's children's ward - well I was 15 and didn't know any better...  ???   I regretted giving it away a couple of years later and promised I would get another 6128 eventually - finally I picked one up yesterday through ebay (disc drive has read fail errors - I'll come to that later).

Now I have the 6128 keyboard but no monitor or power source, so my question is:

I want advice about the best way to complete a working system - what would you do?

I don't want a monitor as I don't have the room for it.
I saw a scart+PSU kit on ebay (ebay link) which would let me use it on the TV but could I then power a floppy drive replacement e.g. Lotharek.pl's HxC floppy emulator? I suspect I'd need another power source (unless there's a neat way to power the HxC from the feed for the 3" drive which I could remove)

Are there other options to attach externally? I considered getting a 3.5" floppy as I have some old PC disks already but then I thought might as well go the whole hog and get the HxC. I've also seen some USB floppy drive replacements on Amazon but the reviews were less than stellar.

At the moment I don't want to poke about with the 3" drive if I can help it - my electronics skills aren't great - but I might consider sending it away for an expert to do the work if it's not too expensive.
 
Basically, what would you do? All advice welcome and thanks in advance.
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Online Bryce

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #1 on: 20:11, 10 August 14 »
Hi Robbarton,
    welcome to the forum, we'll ignore the fact that you were a stalker for the last 12 months, and as for humourous posts?? No idea what you're talking about we are all deadly serious here :)
But enough idle banter, on to your questions:
First off, your 6128 needs about 2A (including some overhead for expansions) for the 5V side and 500mA on the 12V side for the drive. Any supply will do as long as it can supply this. The HxC needs about 500mA too, so if you are removing the 3in drive (which I wouldn't recommend) you'd still have enough juice. The HxC has a standard PC floppy power socket, but the CPC used the same socket with a different pinout, so if you want to connect the HxC internally, then you need to swap the two outer pins in the connector (Red and orange).
As far as the 3in disrive is concerned, it's probably just got a perished belt - The drive has a rubber band the falls apart over the years, you can get this on ebay too. No electronics knowledge is required. If you can use a screwdriver and manage not to loose the write-pin, then you can fix this yourself. Personally I like to keep a working 3in drive in my 6128 and add any alternatives (3.5in or HxC) externally.
When it come to monitors, it all depends on what you currently have and where you want to use your CPC. There are solutions to connect your CPC to SCART, S-Video and/or a VGA monitor. What's your preferred monitor, then we can suggest what solution to use.

Bryce.


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Offline mr_lou

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #2 on: 20:12, 10 August 14 »
Welcome wise sensible man who decided to re-acquire a CPC6128.  :)
You will do well here.

I have my CPC6128 connected to the same LCD TV that I also use for my PC.
It only needs one power-source, because the floppy drive has been replaced with the HxC. Then you don't need addtional power. (At least I'm 99% sure about this, but Bryce will probably come along shortly and confirm).

EDIT: Ok, Bryce beat me to it.  :)
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #3 on: 21:14, 10 August 14 »
Hello new person!   :)

I have no advice cos I am not one of the techy members.  I just do chunky pixels.  But I just wanted to say welcome now you made yourself known!    So welcome to cpcwiki.  8)
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Favorite CPC games: SwitchBlade, Stryker in the Crypts of Trogan, Turrican II, UN Squadron, Oh Mummy

Offline robbarton

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #4 on: 23:24, 10 August 14 »
Thanks for the replies so far.

I've read the wiki pages about replacing the drive belt and it's probably much easier than it looks, just lots of screws to remove plus avoiding dropping the write pin! I think next weekend with the aid of a few cups of tea I will open the drive and see if I can tell what the problem is.

As far as monitor/display goes, option 1 is a laptop screen that I already have a working controller board for - it accepts HDMI and VGA inputs and I use HDMI with Raspberry Pi on it. I could connect up Amstrad->SCART->female to female connector->SCART to VGA which sounds like it would work but not be pretty (or is it even possible to make/buy an Amstrad to VGA cable?).

Option 2 is my 40 inch TV with SCART which would be easy to connect to, but maybe too big to be sat so close to - would prefer something on the desk instead.
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Offline mr_lou

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #5 on: 10:08, 11 August 14 »
Option 2 is my 40 inch TV with SCART which would be easy to connect to, but maybe too big to be sat so close to - would prefer something on the desk instead.

My CPC+ is connected to a 40 inch TV in the living room.
It's true that it's way to big to sit close to, but sitting in the sofa 3-4 meters away is just fine.  :)

EDIT: Hm, this probably won't work with a CPC btw. I remember trying this once, but the picture was only black'n'white. Cutting the cable in half made it work, but then you can't sit that far away of course. My CPC+ is connected via S-Video that Bryce installed.
 
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Online Bryce

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #6 on: 10:18, 11 August 14 »
For SCART to VGA you'll need some hardware in between, the CPC outputs a 15Khz signal, but VGA will need at least 31Khz.
S-Video will work fine up to about 25 metres, SCART starts to go wrong at about 5 metres depending on how good the line drivers are.

Bryce.
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Offline Munchausen

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #7 on: 10:31, 11 August 14 »
This is what I have for VGA: replace Amstrad CPC 464 664 6128 old Monitor to LCD video converter , in UK. |

The only trouble is it comes with a cable that just has bare wires at one end so you need to solder a monitor connector on to it, if you can manage that then it's great.

The soldering isn't that hard, you need this connector: Maplin DIN 6 Pin Plug | Maplin

And this is the pin out: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Connector:Monitor

Welcome to the forum!

EDIT: Thinking about it, you'll also need power. This is also very easy, you just need to split the 5V power so that it also goes to VGA board. My advice - if any of this is too scary, I bet Bryce or Ikonsgr will build a whole kit for you if you ask one of them nicely. Ikonsgr also sells kits for HxC connection to the CPC: AMSTRAD CPC KIT:RIBBON CABLE AND POWER SUPPLY FOR AMSTRAD & 3,5" DRIVE / HxC EMU
AMSTRAD CPC KIT:RIBBON CABLE AND POWER SUPPLY FOR AMSTRAD & 3,5" DRIVE / HxC EMU
« Last Edit: 10:43, 11 August 14 by Munchausen »
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Offline robbarton

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #8 on: 23:20, 11 August 14 »
First a disc drive update:

Following the wiki guide, I opened up the 3" drive tonight and fortunately I was greeted with a limp black band  ;D . I carefully removed it which duly broke up into a dozen pieces, cleaned the capstan, then ordered a replacement band on ebay.

@Munchausen: I looked at Ikonsgr74's ebay page and the kit with ribbon cable, power lead/Y splitter and 3.5" drive looks pretty good (here).

Then if I went down the VGA converter route, could I power that as well from one PSU (split 5V between VGA and CPC (which is passing through to 3.5" as shown above))?

What sort of current would I need to power all three devices - is 2A enough?

(I'm aware that I'd need a 12V PSU for the 3" disc drive as well if I wanted to use that but one question at a time)

I definitely think a desktop VGA route is the way to go - sorry SCART.

Thanks
Rob
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Offline TFM

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #9 on: 23:43, 11 August 14 »
Hi! the CTM644 delivers 5 V with 1.7 A and 12 V with 0.4 A. So if you want to be on the save side take a PSU with 5 V and 3 A, this will also be enough for FutureOS future expansions.
« Last Edit: 19:41, 25 August 14 by TFM »
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Online Bryce

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #10 on: 10:56, 12 August 14 »
That depends on what you now intend connecting to the 5V rail.

CPC = 2A (allowing for a few expansions)
HxC = 500mA
VGA = depends on which one you get, but 500mA is cutting it close.

You'd be safer going for 4A. It's always better to have a little bit too much, and the price difference between a 3A and 4A PSU is nothing.

Bryce.
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Offline robbarton

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #11 on: 15:40, 24 August 14 »
Hi, here is an update on what I have decided to do.

For the moment I am going slowly as I am not sure I want to splash out 70 Euro for the HxC just yet - and like the total hypocrite I am I went for a SCART connection so that I could make sure the CPC was working on the TV, rather than the more involved VGA options.

The CPC works fine, I replaced the drive belt and the 3" floppy reads the two discs I have. Had a go at typing in the Telly Tennis listing from the Amstrad manual which revealed a half dozen typos on my part  ::) but corrected them all and got it going a few minutes later.

I ordered a 3.5" external kit from ebay (ikonsgr) last week which is on its way. I got an external USB floppy and a pile of old disks from the back of my parents' cupboard, and have succeeded in formatting the disks and copying DSK images (thanks to CPCrulez and my knowledge of French). I hope they will work - I will know the answer when I get the external drive and connect it up.
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Offline MacDeath

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #12 on: 16:05, 24 August 14 »
Quote
to a local hospital's children's ward
did they really used it ?
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: Hello from a new member - and advice request
« Reply #13 on: 20:41, 24 August 14 »
A bit late, but: welcome (officially) on board mate!

As far as guys giving away their CPCs (or any other childhood computer) when they were young go, you probably did the best. So no hard feelings.

I was thinking maybe we should create a pinned thread/wiki article for newcomers to answer precisely all these questions...

Anyhow, you got the image output all settled, you got the drive sorted (yay), just know that on eBay you can find PSUs and leads with all the correct wirings for the CPC and HxC. I'd definitely recommend getting a HxC though (for the thousandth time probably), it opens up a whole new world of usability. Though sure, writing and loading disks has its own charm :)

Again, welcome!
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