Amstrad NC Questions

Started by DoctorCPC, 01:36, 23 November 21

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DoctorCPC

Hi Dear Amstrad,

I will collect my questions about Amstrad NC in this topic. First of all, I have an Amstrad NC 100 portable computer. all my questions will be on the NC 100. If I get an NC 200 in the future, I will ask these questions in this topic. amstrad is truly a passion.

Questions:
1-) The computer has a liquid crystal display. and it's just above the contrast setting. I don't know if this feature is missing on my device, but I can't see the screen in the dark. There is no light on the screen. My first question is how do we put light on this screen and how can we use it in the dark? Or can we replace it with a more modern liquid crystal display? frankly, making the lighting process is more important for me in order not to spoil its originality.

2-)While transferring data with Amstrad NC 100, we can transfer data with NC100.exe program over DOSBOX with a COM-USB cable. but can't we do this data transfer between Amstrad CPC and Amstrad NC? I have M4Wifi hardware as well as USIFACII hardware. I know that for example USIFACII does serial communication. then is it not possible to transfer data and files over USIFACII with the NC 100? Amstrad CPC can record and keep all Amstrad PCW data. It has the capacity to hold NC data. in this case the Amstrad CPC would be a complete workstation.

3-) How can we transfer data with NC100 with COM-USB cable other than DOSBOX? Can we see text files in windows in this case? that is, I want to see the list of files inside the device and install them on the windows operating system.

4-) We can communicate and transfer data from the serial port on Amstrad NC 100. So what can we do with the parallel port? Are there any projects done on parallel port? if a hardware was developed for the NC 100 it was via the parallel port?

5-) Are there any projects for amstrad NC 100 where we can use the USB stick directly from the serial port as a storage device? I think of such a project if it has not been done. Thanks to a raspberry pi zero, such an application can be made. It can also be done with arduino nano but I guess it can be quite difficult.
My Amstrad Products: Amstrad CPC 464, Amstrad CPC 6128, Schneider CPC 6128, Amstrad NC 100, Amstrad HiFi EX330, Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 Music Keyboard, Amstrad Penpad 600, Amstrad Emailer Plus, Amstrad E3 Emailer, Amstrad VCR Programmable Remote Control, Amstrad DVD/Divx Player, Amstrad GT 65, Schneider CTM640

CPC Hardware: USIFACII, M4Wifi, ZMEM, MotherX4, GOTEK, PS2 Mouse Adapter, RSF3 (Soon), DES Mini (Soon)
PCW Hardware: GOTEK, PCWIO, uIDE (Soon), uRTC (Soon)

Editor-In-Chief / ACUC Magazine - Amstrad CPC User Club Magazine (Soon)
www.dizzyradio.com  / Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Other Home Computer's Musics
www.cpcuserclub.com / +90 555 498 36 55 for adding WhatsApp Group

pelrun

If you're in a dark room and want to see the NC100 screen, turn the lights on.  :laugh: There's no backlight built in. Replacement screens aren't available - one person did find compatible LCDs with better contrast, but that was 15 years ago.

I don't know what you're doing with DOSBOX, but it's certainly not required. Any serial terminal program can be used for file transfer on the PC side.
There is *no* way to connect the NC100 as if it was a USB drive and see the stored files on the PC. It was not designed for this at all. Theoretically you can plug the PCMCIA card into a PC and read it but basically nothing supports using SRAM cards that way these days, even on machines with the correct slot.
The printer port was designed to connect a printer, funnily enough, although it could be used for file transfer if you had the right cable. It's far more hassle than using the serial port and not worth the effort.
Remember that the NC100 was intended to be a complete replacement for a PC, not something to be used alongside one.

jimmyd

I also have an Amstrad NC100 and am currently developing a monitor/debugger for it.


My 2 cents regarding your questions below:
1-) I have spend a fair bit of time searching the web for a replacement LCD with backlight, unfortunately without luck.
2-) My main system is linux and I use a Serial Terminal program to transfer files to and from the NC100, either using the XMODEM protocol or play ASCII. Any Serial Terminal program that is able to send and receive files with XMODEM or ASCII will be usable to transfer files to and from the NC100
3-) See reply 2-)
4-) I believe the software used to transfer files over the parallel port was called LapCat, and you may be able to find specifications for a calbe, but then you would need a computer with a parallel port as well.
5-) It seems to me you would need to use an Arduino or Raspberry Pi to communicate on the serial port, on top of that you would have to write your own "driver" that would be able to tell the NC100 that there is storage attached and then intercept read/write to specific addresses and send it over the serial port. I have not seen such a project.


Be sure to let us know if you do find a working replacement for the LCD or any other fun stuff for that matter :)

DoctorCPC

Using an additional hardware on Amstrad NC, they built a system that converts the morse code signals coming over the radio into characters. Communication and additional equipment can be made from the serial port. If the appropriate software is made on the NC, why not make useful applications? For example, something can be done by connecting a small device such as a raspberry pi zero to the NC100 with a serial cable. or something can be done by connecting arduino nano or arduino uno. the business seems to be looking at creating innovation and taking the time. years ago, I made a visual simulation on opengl by connecting a car tachometer to the computer from the serial port.
My Amstrad Products: Amstrad CPC 464, Amstrad CPC 6128, Schneider CPC 6128, Amstrad NC 100, Amstrad HiFi EX330, Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 Music Keyboard, Amstrad Penpad 600, Amstrad Emailer Plus, Amstrad E3 Emailer, Amstrad VCR Programmable Remote Control, Amstrad DVD/Divx Player, Amstrad GT 65, Schneider CTM640

CPC Hardware: USIFACII, M4Wifi, ZMEM, MotherX4, GOTEK, PS2 Mouse Adapter, RSF3 (Soon), DES Mini (Soon)
PCW Hardware: GOTEK, PCWIO, uIDE (Soon), uRTC (Soon)

Editor-In-Chief / ACUC Magazine - Amstrad CPC User Club Magazine (Soon)
www.dizzyradio.com  / Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Other Home Computer's Musics
www.cpcuserclub.com / +90 555 498 36 55 for adding WhatsApp Group

DoctorCPC

#4
I don't think anything is impossible after serial and parallel ports. The video below is an example of the LCD screen. They added a backlight to a non-light LCD screen and it was successful. When we use 8 LEDs, which are presumably NC100 superior, we get the color light we want. We can even change the light color. My hand is not prone to soldering, but very thin solder is not required. I think that by adding auxiliary equipment to work with the NC100 connected to the serial port, everything will be done and the LCD screen can light up. there is not impossible. only because the NC100 model was not very popular, there weren't many people who tried it. I think our problem is sum number of the NC User. because we have got a few users.  a small number of users cannot spare time due to professional life. Professional life and life of NC 100 users affect their time for new projects. I don't have a lot of time. but it can be done.

Liquid Crystal Display LED Backlight Mod

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPOCGbt3nI4


Gameboy Color Backlight Mod

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqX3LT9Q6vE,
My Amstrad Products: Amstrad CPC 464, Amstrad CPC 6128, Schneider CPC 6128, Amstrad NC 100, Amstrad HiFi EX330, Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 Music Keyboard, Amstrad Penpad 600, Amstrad Emailer Plus, Amstrad E3 Emailer, Amstrad VCR Programmable Remote Control, Amstrad DVD/Divx Player, Amstrad GT 65, Schneider CTM640

CPC Hardware: USIFACII, M4Wifi, ZMEM, MotherX4, GOTEK, PS2 Mouse Adapter, RSF3 (Soon), DES Mini (Soon)
PCW Hardware: GOTEK, PCWIO, uIDE (Soon), uRTC (Soon)

Editor-In-Chief / ACUC Magazine - Amstrad CPC User Club Magazine (Soon)
www.dizzyradio.com  / Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Other Home Computer's Musics
www.cpcuserclub.com / +90 555 498 36 55 for adding WhatsApp Group

DoctorCPC


@ikonsgr my dear friend. Im NC100 user at the sametime. NC100 has got serial port.  can we use COM Port-USB (RS232) cable for communication with Amstrad CPC? can we use same USB port for communication or can we add other USB port? do NC100 users need driver or we can read NC100 information directly. Im newbee at NC100 but NC100 has got serial communication capable. and USIFACII mean is Serial Communication. I'm sorry if I'm wrong. At least I will have the answer to my question. My Amstrad CPC and Amstrad PCW can transfer data with each other. If Amstrad NC can transfer data on Amstrad CPC, Amstrad CPC will be a complete workstation. ie can we use the USIFACII device as a serial device between Amstrad CPC and Amstrad NC100? Can we achieve this by connecting a com port cable to the NC 100 side and a USB cable to the USIFACII part? or do I need to add anything to USIFACII?
My Amstrad Products: Amstrad CPC 464, Amstrad CPC 6128, Schneider CPC 6128, Amstrad NC 100, Amstrad HiFi EX330, Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 Music Keyboard, Amstrad Penpad 600, Amstrad Emailer Plus, Amstrad E3 Emailer, Amstrad VCR Programmable Remote Control, Amstrad DVD/Divx Player, Amstrad GT 65, Schneider CTM640

CPC Hardware: USIFACII, M4Wifi, ZMEM, MotherX4, GOTEK, PS2 Mouse Adapter, RSF3 (Soon), DES Mini (Soon)
PCW Hardware: GOTEK, PCWIO, uIDE (Soon), uRTC (Soon)

Editor-In-Chief / ACUC Magazine - Amstrad CPC User Club Magazine (Soon)
www.dizzyradio.com  / Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Other Home Computer's Musics
www.cpcuserclub.com / +90 555 498 36 55 for adding WhatsApp Group

jimmyd

Quote from: DoctorCPC on 23:41, 24 November 21Liquid Crystal Display LED Backlight Mod

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPOCGbt3nI4

That's a nice mod. I will have a look at my NC100 and see if a similar hack could be put together for it.

pelrun

The NC100 is true RS232 serial, at +/-10V. Basically all the modern CPC peripherals use TTL serial, which is *not* hardware compatible. Connecting them together will fry something.
You will either need a RS232 level shifter (like a MAX232 chip) in between, or use an actual old-school CPC RS232 interface. A third option might be to find a USB to RS232 cable and plug that into the USIFAC II or Albireo, but I don't expect there are currently drivers for that configuration.

DoctorCPC

yes we must use USIFACII for communication with NC100 and CPC. but we can use RS232 cable. one side is USB and other Side Com connector. USB side for USIFACII and CPC. Com connector side for NC100. i expect @ikonsgr says something about NC100 and CPC serial communication. maybe we can use |NC100 or |NC command and it starts for communication. i dont know but we can wear new hardwares in CPC like USIFACII. USIFACII is very special because its CPC Hardware. so my dear friend. We just don't have time. Otherwise, nothing is impossible.
My Amstrad Products: Amstrad CPC 464, Amstrad CPC 6128, Schneider CPC 6128, Amstrad NC 100, Amstrad HiFi EX330, Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 Music Keyboard, Amstrad Penpad 600, Amstrad Emailer Plus, Amstrad E3 Emailer, Amstrad VCR Programmable Remote Control, Amstrad DVD/Divx Player, Amstrad GT 65, Schneider CTM640

CPC Hardware: USIFACII, M4Wifi, ZMEM, MotherX4, GOTEK, PS2 Mouse Adapter, RSF3 (Soon), DES Mini (Soon)
PCW Hardware: GOTEK, PCWIO, uIDE (Soon), uRTC (Soon)

Editor-In-Chief / ACUC Magazine - Amstrad CPC User Club Magazine (Soon)
www.dizzyradio.com  / Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Other Home Computer's Musics
www.cpcuserclub.com / +90 555 498 36 55 for adding WhatsApp Group

jimmyd

Quote from: jimmyd on 08:30, 25 November 21I will have a look at my NC100 and see if a similar hack could be put together for it.
I took my NC100 apart and had a look at the LCD. Unfortunately it has a metal "collar" attached all the way round it which makes it hard to mount LEDs that can light up the background. At this time I am not willing to try and remove the metal collar for fear of destroying the only NC100 I have.

DoctorCPC

I do not dare to do so. but a professional electronics repairer can do it. In the coming months I will be giving my NC100 computer to an electronics mechanic to make this modification. I guess 6 or 8 LEDs are enough to illuminate the screen. we can even put an on-off switch to prevent it from draining the battery during the day. Unfortunately, our friend, the producer of USIFACII, did not give an answer about the serial connection. I would like to request an answer from him for serial connection between NC100 and CPC. 
My Amstrad Products: Amstrad CPC 464, Amstrad CPC 6128, Schneider CPC 6128, Amstrad NC 100, Amstrad HiFi EX330, Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 Music Keyboard, Amstrad Penpad 600, Amstrad Emailer Plus, Amstrad E3 Emailer, Amstrad VCR Programmable Remote Control, Amstrad DVD/Divx Player, Amstrad GT 65, Schneider CTM640

CPC Hardware: USIFACII, M4Wifi, ZMEM, MotherX4, GOTEK, PS2 Mouse Adapter, RSF3 (Soon), DES Mini (Soon)
PCW Hardware: GOTEK, PCWIO, uIDE (Soon), uRTC (Soon)

Editor-In-Chief / ACUC Magazine - Amstrad CPC User Club Magazine (Soon)
www.dizzyradio.com  / Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Other Home Computer's Musics
www.cpcuserclub.com / +90 555 498 36 55 for adding WhatsApp Group

Gryzor


Gonzo_XIII

I'm interested in any outcome of backlighting the NC100.
CPC 464 (in parts), 6128plus+monitor (w/ Multiface II), NC100

jimmyd

I only have a single NC100 and am not willing to risk destroying it for this hack, but I am willing to spend some money on buying a second NC100 and trying the backlight hack on that.

If someone can point me in the direction of a fairly cheap NC100, that would be great. I am located in Denmark so I would prefer systems located in Europe (not UK).

eto

Quote from: jimmyd on 13:34, 31 August 22If someone can point me in the direction of a fairly cheap NC100, that would be great. I am located in Denmark so I would prefer systems located in Europe (not UK).
Not sure what is considered cheap for a NC100 but I saw one on Ebay Kleinanzeigen (Germany):
https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de/s-anzeige/amstrad-nc100/2192588775-278-2715

jimmyd

Quote from: eto on 14:11, 31 August 22Not sure what is considered cheap
I was hoping for not more than 45-50 eur especially if I am just using it for LCD hack test.
Then again, it does not necessarily have to be a working unit.

Gonzo_XIII

CPC 464 (in parts), 6128plus+monitor (w/ Multiface II), NC100

jimmyd

I have managed to find another NC100 which should arrive within a couple of days.
When I have two, I will see if I can get a back light mod going.

Stay tuned for updates.

jimmyd

Woohoo, the NC100 arrived.

Hopefully I will soon have time to play around with the LCD.

jimmyd

So I took my newly acquired NC100 apart to see about making the backlight.
After removing the LCD from that chassis and removing the attached metal frame, it looks like this:



I though it was a simple matter of shining an LED behind the glass front of the LCD, but as you can see from below picture, it does not seem to do anything  :(


If anyone can come up with an explanation and possible solution to why the LED does not light up the background of the LCD at all, I will be happy to give it a try.


pelrun

This is a pure reflective LCD, so there's a fully opaque reflective film on the back of the stack that will block backlighting as you've discovered. You'll need to light it from the front instead.

Also, if you've gone this far, you may be interested in replacing the front polarizer film, which will have degraded with age: http://aunet.epizy.com/nc100.html

robcfg

Hi @jimmyd , I see you got a danish or norwegian NC100, would you be so kind to tell me the version of the rom? It should be written on the rom chip itself.

Thanks!

jimmyd

That's too bad about the reflective film on the back. I am not sure it will be possible to fit anythin in the case that would allow light from the front :(

I had seen the article you link to before, but was unable to find it again. I may revisit this at a later time, but for now both of my NC100's have a fairly clear display and I don't feel like messing with that.

If anyone can come up with an idea for adding any kind of light to this display, that will also fit in the case, I am all ears...

jimmyd

@robcfg, both my NC100's are Danish with A1 version of ROM.
I believe that the version reported in ROM is 1.02

pelrun

Theoretically you could replace the reflective film with transflective film instead, which is only half-silvered. https://3dlens.com/transflective-polarizer-film.php

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