Author Topic: Just bagged my first PCW's  (Read 2975 times)

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Offline BluesBrothers

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Just bagged my first PCW's
« on: 11:12, 09 July 14 »
Just bagged my first PCW's - 2 of them in one find  :D . One is a 8256 and the other a 9512, now I just need to work out what to do with them and if they are working properly. I'm assuming these need a system disk to boot? I do have a little pile of disks that came with but none are loading so I think I need to service the drives.

I'll add some pics in a bit as I'll be doing some retr0brite on them and thoughth some before and afters would be good.

Any advice on what to do with these machines from properly testing function, servicing and using would be awesome. I'll go away and try to find some literture online but it's always good to hear from you guys.

Was quite a good weekend in fact as I managed to pick up not just these 2 machines but also a 464plus a 6128 and a 464 with GT65 monitor. Non Amstrad stuff picked up included a Beeb B, Beeb Master, 4 Elks (one with interface 1), 5 Atari ST's, XE GS keyboard, Sega Saturn, a box full of Master System 2's, a Mega Drive 1 and a load of Speccy stuff (which is going to a mate as not much of a Speccy fan) and countless other bits and bobs into the bargain  8)


Offline MaV

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #1 on: 11:39, 09 July 14 »
Just bagged my first PCW's - 2 of them in one find  :D . One is a 8256 and the other a 9512, now I just need to work out what to do with them and if they are working properly. I'm assuming these need a system disk to boot? I do have a little pile of disks that came with but none are loading so I think I need to service the drives.
Correct, you'll need to service the drives first because of the known drive belt problem. PCWs load their system from disk, so you'll need a pair of system disks; 8256 and 9512 have different ones, I'm not sure if you can use the former's with the latter system - my guess is that it should work just fine. Some games boot straight from the game disk as well.

breiztiger transferred the 8256's system disk to dsk-files. You could convert them back with an HxC drive for example.
Syst Disk Amstrad PCW 8256

Quote
Any advice on what to do with these machines from properly testing function, servicing and using would be awesome. I'll go away and try to find some literture online but it's always good to hear from you guys.
Well, it's a nice CP/M machine, you can do text processing with it (it's been primarily used for that), it has basic and quite a few games for it. Pulkomandy will prepare PCB for a sound card that'll work with two games (Head over Heels and another one).


Quote
Was quite a good weekend in fact as I managed to pick up not just these 2 machines but also a 464plus a 6128 and a 464 with GT65 monitor. Non Amstrad stuff picked up included a Beeb B, Beeb Master, 4 Elks (one with interface 1), 5 Atari ST's, XE GS keyboard, Sega Saturn, a box full of Master System 2's, a Mega Drive 1 and a load of Speccy stuff (which is going to a mate as not much of a Speccy fan) and countless other bits and bobs into the bargain  8)
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Offline BluesBrothers

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #2 on: 13:58, 09 July 14 »
Cheers Mav, I have actually just found the manuals in amoungst the boxes of this and that so was about to sit down and study them before I start weilding the old screwdriver. This really is a machine I know bugger all about so it'll be fun  ;D

Offline Munchausen

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #3 on: 14:59, 09 July 14 »
There's also symbos available for it, and it can be used as a terminal if you get the serial/centronics adapter. A mouse interface is nice to have too. So currently there are 3 expansions worth having:


Serial/centronics
AMX mouse
AY card


Hopefully when pulkomandy does a production run I will have all 3 :D


Also a disk emulator and the new ROM card would be interesting - it would be cool to load symbos from ROM or from an HxC, for example.

Offline BluesBrothers

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #4 on: 11:17, 10 July 14 »
Right I've managed to get both working but not really past loading Logoscript or cpm. How do games work on this machine as I get the impression everything requires Logoscript or cpm to make it work? what games are worth playing on these machines and is there much of a library. I know there's some as I've had stuff pass through in CPC collections but it was all pretty much Colossus Chess or Colossus Bridge.

The drive on the 9512 was a sod to get at! The base is supposed to unclip from the monitor panel but it simply wouldn't release (& yes I did take out all the screws, lol) so I had to take the tube out to get to it. I dont think I positioned it back quite right as the display is now wonky but I'm not gonna worry about this right now as the case will be stripped down again for retr0briting and I make it right when all done.

If anyone has an interface for a mouse which they could spare that would be very cool. I will pay for it of course ;) .

Offline MacDeath

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #5 on: 15:38, 10 July 14 »
Those PCW have a great potential, but as it was mostly considered a word processing CP/M machine and is quite limited by its Monocolour display, there is no real "scene" for it.
Consider it a cheap 8bit Macintosh. :P

As those machines were quite common, with millions unit sold, it's still a good find, most of them were purchased by companies so ended in trashcan.
They can make great terminals, and with a proper soundcard, could really be a nice chiptune machine.

I mean : great RAM, great display resolution... perfect to code or do soundtracker... if you want to do it on a real antiquity.

One of the very best game has to be Head Over heels... which supports the AY soundcard and looks like a CPC version.
The "Soundcard" also included joystick port if I remember well.

the "CPC mode2" like video mode enable fine dithering AKA third colour ("grey") but really I think it is a shame amstrad did not implement extra video modes like those on CPC.
A Mode1 equivalent could really be usefull and a 16 gradiants Mode0 as well (just look at some graphics done in all grey on PLUS...).

Also those machines where limited in expansion ports... but at least there is one that can get many peripherals.


The "256k" models use the same mainboard as the 512k version, this means you can try to get your hand on the missing components and turn yours into a 512k machine. ;)

Those machine ranges should get their own MotherX4 variants and proper modern peripherals then...

Some models had a double face (HD or DD ?) 3" disk drive... which needs to be carefully used or else if can screw up your floppies...


Hey please, psot some photos of those.  :)

Offline BluesBrothers

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #6 on: 15:59, 10 July 14 »
I'll do some externals today and some internals when I get round to the Retr0briting as I don't want to be opening these up more than I have to at the moment since I'm cramped for room for a week or so while I get organised.
Quite a nice learning exercise for me this though and I'm looking forward to really seeing what this range of machines can do. I do need look into this sound card as there is no joystick or mouse port which I find frustrating. I would have though a mouse would have been a pre-requist but hey,...

Offline Munchausen

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #7 on: 17:45, 10 July 14 »
The 8256 has a standard drive, the same as a CPC, the 8512 has a standard drive and a double density, double sided drive, so it can store more and no need to flip the discs over.

For a full list of games see here: Full list of Amstrad PCW 8256 games

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #8 on: 22:30, 10 July 14 »
The 8256 has a standard drive, the same as a CPC, the 8512 has a standard drive and a double density, double sided drive, so it can store more and no need to flip the discs over.

For a full list of games see here: Full list of Amstrad PCW 8256 games


I thought the 8256 also had an 80 track Double sided drive. The one I salvaged certainly came from 8256 and it is a 8256.


As my 9512+ lives in the loft in the original box I don't think I am in a hurry to get a new PCW.


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Offline MacDeath

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #9 on: 22:33, 10 July 14 »
anyway it should be quite easy to fit a 3"1/2 DD disk drive as for CPC in the second drive slot ?

Where those Floppy drives in 5V or 12V ?

Offline BluesBrothers

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #10 on: 01:18, 11 July 14 »
anyway it should be quite easy to fit a 3"1/2 DD disk drive as for CPC in the second drive slot ?

Where those Floppy drives in 5V or 12V ?

I'll check the voltages next time I'm in there.

Anyway as promised here are some pics


Offline steve

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #11 on: 02:39, 11 July 14 »
Did you get the printers as well?

Offline Munchausen

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #12 on: 09:33, 11 July 14 »
Did you get the printers as well?


If you didn't get the printers I have four of them and could happily offload three (in fact I may get forced to get rid of them soon).

Offline BluesBrothers

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Re: Just bagged my first PCW's
« Reply #13 on: 10:56, 11 July 14 »
I got one Amstrad printer with them a DMP3160 but the other printer I got was a Star something or other. I've tried neither yet but will get to them in due course.