Author Topic: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link  (Read 5450 times)

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Offline robcfg

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[NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« on: 13:01, 09 September 13 »

Hello everyone!


Last week I got a Dreamwriter 225 computer, which belong to a line of computers made by Nakajima for NTS, with the same aspect as the NC series range, but with a Nec V20 processor instead a Z80 one.


The 225 is the first one in the Dreamwriter range, and I noticed that the manual that appeared in the ebay picture, was actually an NC100 manual with a piece of paper with the NTS logo on top of the Amstrad one.


My surprise came when I switched it on, and it was actually a rebranded NC100!


Also, the rom is a 512kb one, but the actual contents would fit in a 256Kb one, and has a slightly different version of the NC100 rom, including the NC150 version of the BBC basic.


So far, the different machines in the NC series identify themselves in the settings menu as follows:


Model NameName in settings menu
Amstrad NC100 (UK)Amstrad NC100 v1.00
Amstrad NC100 (DE)Amstrad NC100 v1.02
Amstrad NC100 (DK)Amstrad NC100 v1.02
Amstrad NC100 (SE)Amstrad NC100 v1.02
NTS Dreamwriter 225Amstrad NC100 v1.06
Amstrad NC150 (FR)Amstrad NC150 v1.10
Amstrad NC150 (IT)Amstrad NC150 v1.11
Amstrad NC200 (UK)Amstrad NC200 v2.01


Beyond the 225 model, all Dreamwriters come with a Nec V20 processor fitted, and special software written for NTS such as typewriting tutorials for schools.


My guess is that a NC100 can be fitted with the Dreamwriter 225 rom for an updated basic.


In a few days, I'll upload the 225 rom the the NC Series page, and also add the device scans. The board is the same NA 999-32142 Board documented her in the wiki.


Cheers!
« Last Edit: 21:48, 11 October 13 by robcfg »

Offline MacDeath

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #1 on: 21:49, 14 September 13 »
The sad part with those machines : you couldn't plug them on a TV.


those portable device could have been better with such a feature.
Many still don't (iPad ? on my TV ? never...)

Offline mr_lou

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #2 on: 23:43, 14 September 13 »
The sad part with those machines : you couldn't plug them on a TV.

Give one to Bryce for a few days, and he'll add all sorts of plugs so you can connect that thing to whatever you want.

Offline Bryce

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #3 on: 14:34, 15 September 13 »
The sad part with those machines : you couldn't plug them on a TV.


those portable device could have been better with such a feature.
Many still don't (iPad ? on my TV ? never...)

The whole display circuitry isn't at all suitable for a TV signal. A TV out socket would have meant adding a huge amount of additional components just for this one socket.

Bryce.

Offline MacDeath

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #4 on: 19:20, 15 September 13 »
could have been an external add-on then.

Offline Bryce

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #5 on: 22:58, 15 September 13 »
Not really. Those computers don't have a screen RAM as a CRT computer has, so it would be a very complicated and expensive add-on.

Bryce.

Offline mr_lou

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #6 on: 08:12, 16 September 13 »
Not really. Those computers don't have a screen RAM as a CRT computer has, so it would be a very complicated and expensive add-on.

Be as modest as you want, but we all know that you can hook up a VGA screen to a coffee machine if you want.  :)

Offline Bryce

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #7 on: 10:40, 16 September 13 »
My Coffe machine is HDMI only. There was no room for VGA circuitry after I'd added the W-Lan and Bluetooth modules :D

Bryce.

Offline robcfg

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #8 on: 11:11, 16 September 13 »
No Megaflash?  ;D

Offline Bryce

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #9 on: 11:32, 16 September 13 »
No, but it wouldn't work on the NC100 either :(

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #10 on: 17:52, 16 September 13 »
Very interesting, had never before heard of the machine - let alone the fact that it's a NC100 sibling.


Interesting choice of CPU. Why would they go for that one - I would assume it was more expensive?

Offline Bryce

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #11 on: 19:56, 16 September 13 »
The V20 wasn't Z80 compatible, it was an unlicenced 8088 Clone, so I doubt the NC100 ROM would work on the 255. There's a good chance that it was cheaper than the Z80 at the time, but it would have meant that a new PCB layout and modified firmware and software would be required as far as I know.

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #12 on: 20:07, 16 September 13 »
Yeah, when I first read it I thought "but this is not V80, that's quite different, ain't it? Reading the specs, it's not a bad CPU, so would it be cheaper indeed by then? I would assume Z80 and clones would be dirt-cheap at the time...

Offline robcfg

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #13 on: 21:34, 16 September 13 »
The 225 is still z80, from that model onwards they are all fitted with a v20.

Offline TFM

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #14 on: 00:07, 17 September 13 »
Not really. Those computers don't have a screen RAM as a CRT computer has, so it would be a very complicated and expensive add-on.

Bryce.




Well, I don't see the problem. It has an RS232 port, so use some good old RS232 terminal. I'm sure everyone here has at least two somewhere in the attic, basement of that small room where all that stuff get stored.

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #15 on: 00:11, 17 September 13 »
Oh, btw.... in this nice raw of computers the Dreamwriter does fit too....


It has a 3.5' drive too (sadly mine was crashed by some stupit british lad).


http://www.google.com/search?q=dream+writer+word+processor&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=qHM3UpOmFKGM2gWKl4BQ&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=653&dpr=1
http://www.google.com/search?q=dream+writer+word+processor&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=qHM3UpOmFKGM2gWKl4BQ&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=653&dpr=1



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Offline robcfg

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #16 on: 01:20, 17 September 13 »
Well, finally found the time and I uploaded the Dreamwriter 225 pictures and rom file to the NC Series page.


I'll scan the manual cover and software disk in the near future...  ;)


I think I have almost the whole Dreamwriter range but for the Dreamwriter 500, Dreamwriter IT (this is a Windows CE machine), and maybe the computer used by professors to get the data from the tests done in the class (I don't know if that was a different computer).


The list is:


Dreamwriter 225
Dreamwriter 325
Dreamwriter 100
Dreamwriter 200
Dreamwriter 400
Dreamwriter 450
Dreamwriter 500
Dreamwriter IT

From the list, the 225 has a Z80, while the others have a Nec V20. The 200 is a NC200 form factor computer (I think the 500 too). And the IT is quite a different beast.

Offline Bryce

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #17 on: 10:39, 17 September 13 »



Well, I don't see the problem. It has an RS232 port, so use some good old RS232 terminal. I'm sure everyone here has at least two somewhere in the attic, basement of that small room where all that stuff get stored.

?? You would still need to feed the RS232 with data, so it would need drivers or modify every program to output to RS232 and it would still only be text then, not a mirror of the real screen.

Bryce.

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #18 on: 11:48, 17 September 13 »
Not really. Those computers don't have a screen RAM as a CRT computer has, so it would be a very complicated and expensive add-on.

Bryce.
Hmmm... They do have screen RAM ;)

I think it's all part of the main ram like on CPC.


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Offline Bryce

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #19 on: 12:00, 17 September 13 »
Yes, but it will be a bitmap format suited for the LCD driver circuit, so a lot of hardware would be needed to create a signal that a monitor could accept.

Bryce.

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #20 on: 12:05, 17 September 13 »
Yes, but it will be a bitmap format suited for the LCD driver circuit, so a lot of hardware would be needed to create a signal that a monitor could accept.

Bryce.
yes of course.

Yes in this respect, not easy.
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Offline Bryce

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #21 on: 12:17, 17 September 13 »
A 6845 would do, but you would then need to find a way to format the data for it and a way for it to read the RAM without disturbing the CPU access. Major job.

Bryce.

Offline MaV

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #22 on: 13:21, 17 September 13 »
The V20 has an 8080 mode.

It's quite possible that the Dreamwriter xxx switches to it at start. The ROM software then would only have to adapt the Z80 specific mnemonics.

Speculation, but quite possible.
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Offline TFM

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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #23 on: 18:21, 17 September 13 »
?? You would still need to feed the RS232 with data, so it would need drivers or modify every program to output to RS232 and it would still only be text then, not a mirror of the real screen.

Bryce.


No problem. It can run CP/M [nb]You can download CP/M for the NC100 / 200 f.e. from Tims site.[/nb]and so once a single command is enough. IIRC something like


PIP SIO:=CRT




Easy!  8) :) 
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Re: [NC Series] Dreamwriter 225, The missing link
« Reply #24 on: 18:24, 17 September 13 »
The V20 has an 8080 mode.

It's quite possible that the Dreamwriter xxx switches to it at start. The ROM software then would only have to adapt the Z80 specific mnemonics.

Speculation, but quite possible.


Interresting idea. What would be the advantage of the V20 over the 6 MHz Z80? Is it pricing?




Well, I can't imagine that they wrote the ROM new for another CPU, that would be a major task. So the 8080 mode seems not to be too far out of reality  :)
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