Author Topic: Need help with a PCW8512  (Read 1655 times)

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Offline zamuel_a

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Need help with a PCW8512
« on: 15:55, 04 August 17 »
Hello!
My name is Samuel and I'm from Sweden. I just joined this forum in case I might get some help here for a PCW8512 I just got. It was without any software so I searched ebay and could find some disks for it. One CP/M PLUS disk that says "SYSTEM/UTILITIES/BASIC" on it and a LocoScript 4 v4.11 Master Disc, plus some formatted disks.

The machine hadn't been tested when I got it and I had heard about the drive belts being bad so I took the drives apart and the belt was in small pieces. I got new belts and put in. Checked that the drives looked ok. Everything runs smooth and cleaned the heads.

When I finally started the computer with the CP/M disk in I got the green screen, but nothing loaded. I can hear the drive head going back and forth and the screen flash between green and black. After some time I get 3 beeps.
I tried the LocoScript disk and got the same result. With some formatted disks I got the beeps immediately so there is a difference but since I don't know so much about this I'm stuck now. The drive seems to be ok from what I can see. It's the correct A drive as well, single sided so they aren't swapped or anything.

Offline robcfg

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #1 on: 16:26, 04 August 17 »
Hej hej Samuel, welcome to the forum!


It may be that your drives have calibration problems or that you left some rests of the old belts, which should be cleaned off.


Other than that, it may be that your disks are bad.


Cheers,
Rob

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #2 on: 16:34, 04 August 17 »
I cleaned of all the rests of the old belt from the stepper motor shaft so I don't think that is the reason. I can see that the disk is spinning, but can't of course say that it's running at the correct speed or anything.
How can I check the drive alignment? Maybe not so easy to do?

Should the disks be working with the PCW 8512? I know were there newer PCW systems but I guess they didn't use the 3" disks so of it's 3" it should work?

Offline robcfg

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #3 on: 16:40, 04 August 17 »
Yes, 8256 and 8512 only differ in the amount of memory (512KB vs 256KB) and in the number of drives.


The 8512 came with a second disk drive, though a 720KB one, instead of the usual 180KB drive.


You should be able to read a disk in the A drive on both the 8256 and the 8512.

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #4 on: 16:46, 04 August 17 »
Ok so it's not like CP/M PLUS is for the later 9512 models or anything like that?

Is there some information on how to do a drive alignment? I found some for the Spectrum, but even that it's a 3" drive, the drive itself looked totally different.

Offline robcfg

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #5 on: 17:06, 04 August 17 »
Can you post a picture of your disk?


If the disk is a PCW9512 disk (which has a 720KB 3" drive) you'll not be able to use that disk on your PCW8512, as it loads CP/M from the A drive, which is a 180KB single side drive.

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #6 on: 17:15, 04 August 17 »
Here is a picture of the two discs with software on them.

[attachimg=1]

Offline tjohnson

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #7 on: 17:38, 04 August 17 »
That looks like the cpm disk from a 9512 i expect type drive is fine but you don't have a valid boot disk.   The locoscript disk you have probably needs installing on an earlier copy.

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Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #8 on: 17:40, 04 August 17 »
Okey, so the question is were to find a correct boot disk.

Offline tjohnson

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #9 on: 17:46, 04 August 17 »
Do you have a cpc?

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Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #10 on: 17:52, 04 August 17 »
Yes, those disks look like 9512 disks, so they will NOT boot on a normal PCW8xxx which has a SSSD drive A.   If you have an 8512, then once you can get the machine booted, these disks CAN be read on the B: drive.   At that point, you could prob copy the contents to A: disks, and then you'd be OK.


The give-away with these disks is that the text on the end of the disks is printed one way around, and there is no sign of any A/B or 1/2 side indicators, which exist on all SSSD disks.


You should check the other disks you have.   Maybe one or more of those will boot.   You need to look for a SSSD disk (with the A/B or 1/2 markings on the bottom edge (the bit that will project when the disk is inserted).   May be marked 'Start of Day' or 'Boot' or suchlike, or just CP/M or Loco.


It is possible that you could swap the drives around, so that the present B: is in as A:, and vice versa.   As you've got a valid DS boot disk, this may work.   I don't believe it will do any harm to try.   You've had the drives out anyway to change the belts!   Buy, you may then have problems with DISCKIT, used to format disks etc, if it insists on creating SSSD copies in A:   This may get you going, but to avoid ongoing complications you should swap back, but you will still need the correct boot files.


I could sort you out an appropriate boot disk, if nothing else works.


Geoff

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #11 on: 18:08, 04 August 17 »
Swaping the drives didn't work. Nothing happened at all. Maybe there is something on the drive that tells if it's A or B (but can't see any jumpers or anything like that)
The other disks I got were blank so nothing on them.

Is it easy to attach an 3.5" drive and use as A? I have read about it, but I think it was only to use as drive B.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #12 on: 18:21, 04 August 17 »
Yes, it is possible to fit a 3.5" drive, and that will work, but it's a fiddle getting one that will handle the 'ready' signal.   But consider that the 3.5 would be indistinguishable from the 3" B (DSDD, 720k format) and would be working on that basis.   So if the 3" B: drive does NOTHING, then I'm not sure that a 3.5" drive would do any different, also you'd have the problem of sorting out boot disks for that (possible, but complicated).   Unless your drive is faulty additional to the drive band having gone.


When you say the swapped drives did nothing, what do you mean.   Please describe what happened, moment by moment, from trying to boot.   Incl the details of any beeps, which are significant.


With the disks the right way around, what happens - in detail - when you insert the CP/M boot disk?


How do you KNOW the other disks you have are blank?


Just re-read your original message.   What you describe there DOES suggest the other disks are empty, i.e. not even formatted.   What you describe regarding the 'boot' disks suggests that the system is trying to read them, but is getting nothing.   When you say swapping black/green, do you mean alternating bars stepping down the screen - this would mean that the system IS reading the disk OK, just that it's reading a DS disk as a SS disk, so the data it reads is NOT correct, so after reading the boot will fail totally.   If this IS the case, then it would be worth getting a proper boot disk, incl a correct version of DISCKIT, then you'd be up and running.


Geoff
« Last Edit: 18:28, 04 August 17 by GeoffB17 »

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #13 on: 18:49, 04 August 17 »
Since I didn't had any discs I searched on ebay and found a lot of 5 blank (formatted disks) plus the CP/M and LocoScript disks I showed a picture from. So the other disks were supposed to be empty and when I inserted them I got 3 beeps after a few seconds.
With the CP/M or LocoScript disc it took maybe 30 seconds before I got the beeps and the screen were flashing between totally green and totally black. Not the normal black lines I know are supposed to come if everything is ok. I could also heard the drive head moving back and forth on the disk (saw it as well after taking it apart again).

When I tried the B drive I just took the connector on the ribbon cable that was on drive A and put on drive B. Inserted a disk and turned on power. Nothing happened. The drive LED gives a small red light but not like when it tried to read something. The screen is just totally green. No beeps or anything.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #14 on: 18:51, 04 August 17 »
Just a couple of clarifications.


Firstly, the PCW has separate wires for A: and B:, and this is fixed, unlike a PC where one cable connects both A: and B: and a twist (and jumpers ?) decides which is A: and which is B:.   So whatever is connected to the A: wires is A:.


I got my PCW way back when they first came out.  For a long time I had a 5.25" B: attached (360k format).   Then, when my A: died (not JUST the band), I reconfigured some things to use the 5.25 as A: (incl booting) and then attached a 3.5" B: (720k format).   I now have it set up back as original, as I got my 3" drive fixed, with the 5.25 as B: again, but the 3.5" drive is available to reconnect just by swapping connectors.   However, I have the uIDE device attached, giving me 13 @ 8 Mb virtual HDs (see previous items on this forum).


Also, note that with the 8512, the B: drive can READ the A: disks, but it MUST not be allowed to WRITE to one, else the disk will become unreadable again in the A: drive.


Geoff

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #15 on: 18:57, 04 August 17 »
OK, the drive was trying to read something, but failing.   Maybe read Track 0, then looking for the directory (hence the 30 secs) but the dir is on side 2 (Track 1) so it would NOT find it.


No, you need a (normal) SSSD boot disk.   Even just the CP/M one.   Once you've got that, and can boot, you can read the B: disks and format new A: disks and copy the stuff on your two B: disks to A:.


You MIGHT however have problems with that version of Locoscript on the 8512.   version 4.?? is very late, there may be things in that which are NOT compatible with an 8512.   Can soon get you a more suitable version.


Geoff

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #16 on: 19:08, 04 August 17 »
One mine it's one ribbon cable that comes from the board and first goes to drive A and after that drive B, just like on a PC. Not two separate ones.
« Last Edit: 19:11, 04 August 17 by zamuel_a »

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #17 on: 19:22, 04 August 17 »
My apologies, yes, there is just the 1 ribbon cable, but there is nothing different - I think - between the two drives.   Not sure about the power connectors.


When I was swapping the 5.25 between B: and A:, I was having to change the jumper so the drive was A: or B:.   My 3.5 was only ever B:, and connected as B:.   As far as I know, there's nothing in the 3" drives to switch A/B.   The power connectors give power ONLY, I'm sure of that.


I think the ribbon cable has drive 0/1 wires for drive select, but I'm not sure how the actual drives determine.


Geoff

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #18 on: 19:45, 04 August 17 »
I guess I need to find some original CP/M disks. I also got the CPS8256 unit with RS232 interface. Had hoped to be able to transfer files from PC with a null modem cable. I guess I also must find some terminal software on disk that works with CP/M.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #19 on: 20:03, 04 August 17 »
The vast majority of the files on the CP/M disk you've got will be perfectly fine.   Just a handful that will be a problem.   So once you've got a basic boot disk, you can copy most over.


The Loco will be more of a problem.   The 9512 system may not support the PCW printer you've got.   Or not without some tweaking.


As I said, I can send you a boot disk easily enough.   With a suitable version of DISCKIT, which I'm sure you WILL need.   And some other handy utilities NOT on the usual PCW disks.


If you try to use the CPS module, you'll need come software.   There is a prog supplied (with the 8512 anyway) called MAIL256, I believe it was on the Loco disk in my original ones.   This is a comms prog, and it does work, and you can move stuff OK, but many people swear by KERMIT which is readily available for the PCW.   I think it's on the uIDE drive.   I never bothered much, as I had the 5.25" drive which read standard PC floppies, or I used something called 22DISK which could read/write CP/M disks on the PC.


I'd suggest that WHEN you get the basic machine working, you look at fitting a 3.5" B: (you can juggle the connectors so you can swap between the 3" and the 3.5", just like I swap between the 5.25 and the 3.5").   Then you're using the DSDD 3.5" disks, and if you've got a 3.5" drive on a PC then you could use 22DISK to move whatever back and forth - more about that later?


Geoff


Geoff

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #20 on: 21:00, 04 August 17 »
It had been great if there is somewere I can buy a disc with CP/M and Kermit on it so that I can see if it works and be able to transfer files from PC.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #21 on: 21:46, 04 August 17 »
Buy?


For the money involved, it's hardly worth it.


I've got spare disks I barely use.   I'd just put bits on a disk and post it to you.  You send me a blank disk back, I can always put some more things on if required and send it back again?  But no rush.   I really use the 3" disks for booting, and little else.   Otherwise I use 3.5", 5.25£ and now the uIDE drives.


I'm sure I've got KERMIT somewhere, I'll just have to find it.


Always happy to help a fellow PCW user.   That's what we're all here for!


Geoff


Oh, you got the machine without disks!   But did you get manuals?   Incl for the CPS8256 interface box?
« Last Edit: 21:48, 04 August 17 by GeoffB17 »

Offline zamuel_a

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #22 on: 22:41, 04 August 17 »
I didn't get it with anything. Had to search on ebay to see what I could find and found some blank disks, plus the ones with the software on. For the RS232 interface I didn't get anything, so I need a CP/M boot disk and a terminal software like kermit or whatever might be working with the RS232 interface.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #23 on: 22:54, 04 August 17 »
Send me a PM (private Message) via the forum, with your name/address, and I'll send you something.


I can't do anything about the main manuals, just too big to be practical, but they do appear on Ebay from time to time.


The little manual for the CPS may be on the Wiki, or it's only 20 pages (or about) so it's possible to scan.


Geoff


PS - I think it's pretty wrong to be selling something like this without the boot disks.   The machine could be quite useless without.   The seller MUST have them, somewhere?

Offline robcfg

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Re: Need help with a PCW8512
« Reply #24 on: 22:59, 04 August 17 »
You can download the PCW8256/8512 manual here: http://habisoft.com/pcwwiki/doku.php?id=es:manual_del_amstrad_pcw_8256_8512_inglés

The download link is at the bottom of the page.


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