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General Category => NC100, NC200, PCW, PDA600 - the rest of the Family! => Topic started by: torrind on 23:39, 09 January 19

Title: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: torrind on 23:39, 09 January 19
Hey All,

Happy New Year and all that!

I'm after a copy of Locospell for Locoscript 2 but can't seem to locate a download of it. Any of you good folk know a site where I can download please? I can find Locoscript but Locospell seems quite elusive.

As always, thanks in advance.

Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: GeoffB17 on 01:53, 10 January 19
Hello Darren,

I'm not sure that LocoSpell was widely available as a separate package, although it may have been.   Especially for LocoScript 2.

I have a 9512 LocoScript disk, this contains LS 2.16, and this system includes LocoSpel.Joy and LocoMail.Joy.   I don't know if the LocoSpel bit would work (correctly) with another variant, I'd guess you need all or nothing.

As I cannot access the CF2DD disk for the 9512, I had the files extracted for my reference.   The .Joy file is only about 6k, but I think there's a dictionary file as well.

I may have a separate LocoSpell, but I'm sure that's for LS 1, not 2, but I'd need to dig that out (from the archives ??)

Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: torrind on 21:09, 11 January 19

Hi All,

It has occurred to me after creating a CF2DD disk image of the LocoSpell system disk (Thanks Geoff) that I can't test it as I can't boot from the B: drive. I know that you can add some sort of switch and I have come across these images in the past but now can't find them.

Does anyone have simple instructions for modding the Amstrad with a drive A: or B: boot selector switch please?

Thank you

Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: GeoffB17 on 00:34, 12 January 19
Hello Darren,

The method for this is fairly simple, and has been used a lot for the CPC computers, so it's well tested.

Refer to the message from JonB who provides a diagram in another thread re PCWs, you were involved with that one regarding using the Gotek for booting.

I'd think it's still possible to get DPDT switches.   Basically, instead of being On or Off, it's On this way, or On another way, never Off.  But this is a help only if you're switching between two drives, i.e. a standard 3" and a Gotek (in your original enquiry) or between a CF2 drive and a CF2DD drive as in your new enquiry.   Not sure you can get a switch to select one from 3 drives.

Basically, two of the lines in the cable are the Drive Select voltage, and the line will be On or Off.  The idea is that at any one moment, only ONE drive will be active, even though data may be going to all of them.

If you don't want a switch, like if you want to select 3 drives, you could make a little patch bay, with three plugs on short leads, and 2 sockets.  The sockets are labelled Computer A: and Computer B:, the three plugs are labelled CF2, CF2DD and Gotek.  However they're connected, that's how they work.   You just need to remember that the computer doesn't know how the drives are connected, so it's not a good ides to try to do something that the drives are not correct for!

On the data cable, connector 4 is DS0 (A:) and connector 6 is DS1 (B:).   It's fairly easy to break these two lines, to swap them over, to swap between 2 drives, much more complicated to handle three drives as you need all the other wires too - prob far too complicated, but I'm sure not impossible.   On my PCW, I have two alternative drive B: drives, one for 5.25" disks, one for 3.5".   There's a standard drive connector accessible outside the box, and two cables with a plug on, and I just connect the right one.   Just CANNOT do it while the computer is ON.   A switch affecting just the DS line could be.

Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: torrind on 21:41, 12 January 19
Thanks Geoff,

Now you come to mention it I remember Jons thread. I have a DPDT switch, so I'll give this a go in the next few days....

Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: GeoffB17 on 00:28, 13 January 19
Hello Darren,

One thing to check up on, can your PCW boot from a CF2DD disk/drive?

This may be dependant ONLY on the code in the boot sector.  I'm fairly sure that the normal code in the first sector of the disk on a PCW 8??? machine expects a CF2 disk, and therefore cannot handle a CF2DD.   I would expect though that the format process on a 9xxx machine will put slightly different code onto the disk, so that it CAN boot from a DS disk.   When you create such a disk,to boot, you need to make sure that's what you're putting onto the disk.   Prob, the relevant version of DISCKIT will do the job.   Do you have such a version?

Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: torrind on 00:44, 13 January 19
Hi Geoff,

So I've made some progress on this, this evening. I can now boot from Drive B: but in a slightly different way!

Looking at JonB's wiring diagram I was confused as to what he meant by select lines S0 and S1 originating from the motherboard.

I then looked at the drive select jumpers on my two installed Gotek's. Currently drive A is jumpered as S0 and drive B jumpered as S1, as you'd rightly expect.

All I did was to swap these around manually. Drive B is now S0 and Drive A is S1 - This seems to have done the trick and I can now boot CF2DD images - obviously I need to find a way of making this switchable but is this correct?

In answer to the question in your latest post - I tried to boot from the LocoSpell image I created from your files, and whilst it did load partially - I was then greeted with an 'incompatible version' error.


Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: GeoffB17 on 01:21, 13 January 19

That may be the error message I was getting, some time back?   I'll need to dig out my nore, and check though.

It was while my 3" drive was dead, and I was trying to get my PCW to boot off a 5.25" drive.   It was a 360k drive, but DS.   There is some code in the system file (the .EMS file) where it was checking that the drives were the right type, and it was seeing that the drive was DS and it expected SS and complained.   I had corresp with John Elliott, and we found a version of the system (CP/M) which could be patched to get around the problem, but 1 version ONLY.   Maybe your LOCO is doing the same thing.   Maybe it's complaining about the B: drive, not the A:?   Could also be seeing that it's a 8xxx, but has a DS drive A:?

If it's not that, maybe one or more files are not in the right place?   What's showing on the screen, and how far has the boot got.   I'm sure that message is NOT in the boot code, so it's loaded at least the .EMS file.

Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: torrind on 21:15, 13 January 19

Please ignore my previous post - I was talking complete nonsense! It occurred to me after posting that swapping jumpers should only swap A and B drives around not allow booting from CF2DD images - I was correct after testing today. This means I cannot boot 720k images yet!

I'll have to revisit Jons switch via the S0 and S1 select lines - Although its back to my original statement that I don't know where to connect the DPDT switch (based on the diagram).

If I try to boot the 720k image I created from your files, from drive A, all I get is a blank screen and the drive light stays on. If I select anther file whilst this happened, I get a Locoscript load screen with the errors I've previously mentioned. This is probably because I'm trying to boot a 720k image from the A drive.


Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: GeoffB17 on 23:59, 13 January 19
Yes, from what you describe, this COULD be because the image you have includes boot code for a SS disk, and maybe it needs to be DS.   The system starts by loading the 512 bytes in the first sector.   This includes a VERY simple system, which is not clever enough to do much more that follow a few instructions.   The instructions on a SS boot assume that it's loading from consecutive tracks on one side of the disk.   The instructions on a DS boot disk will be a little more complex, and can swap sides to read the file over both sides.   If the disk (or image) doesn't match what the code can do, then the process will get lost and freeze, which sounds like what you get (as in the disk light stays on).   May be just a matter of getting data/file and boot code consistent with each other.

Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: meles on 01:04, 05 February 19
I've just found a collection of old LocoScript / LocoSpell etc disks but have no way of reading them. I've put them on Ebay, so hopefully someone will buy them and be able to copy and make them available to the community.
Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: robcfg on 01:42, 05 February 19
Do you mind sharing a link to your auction?
Title: Re: LOCOSPELL Software
Post by: meles on 02:01, 09 February 19
It's at https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/254109724885
I sold the PCW that went with all this a year or so ago.
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