Author Topic: PCW kit  (Read 16238 times)

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Offline Token

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PCW kit
« on: 01:51, 14 February 14 »
I saw on Ebay some cheap 8256 mainboards or keyboards too. Is it a good idea if one have a 5V psu and CPC 3" drive / floppy emulator and a GT-64 or 65. I saw a pic on the web of a PCW connected to a CTM (by "fano" I think)
I mean (if it works), do you think it's doable with a little hack or you have to solder tiny chips and stuffs ?

Offline MaV

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #1 on: 11:32, 14 February 14 »
There's two things to consider:

- The power connector will need a bit of tweaking, plus you need 5v, 12v and 24v (IIRC) for it to make the PCW run properly. 12v is for the floppies but are also connected to the expansion port at the back, so expansions might need them as well. 24v is used for the printer only.

- I'd really like to see the CTM-solution you mentioned. There's also this link (tip by Bryce): http://www.retroisle.com/amstrad/pcw/Technical/Hardware/pcwrfout.php
The schematics allow you to connect the PCW to a TV.

So, I'm afraid there are things to solder, but these are standard sized parts, not tiny SMDs.

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Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #2 on: 14:28, 14 February 14 »
Thank you.
I don't have the link anymore, but I saved the pic.

It isn't a lot of help but it works. The author also wrote something like the mainboard died because of dirty hack, probably no soldering, I don't know.
I'm thinking to use a floppy emulator, so I should only need 5V for the mainboard and emu, no printer. The keyboard should directly connect to the mainboard.

Offline radu14m

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #3 on: 18:09, 14 February 14 »
a nice ideea would be to insert a PCW mobo into a cpc6128 case :)

Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #4 on: 18:19, 14 February 14 »
Nice idea, and I have a case ;) it really looks like it can fit inside. Even the keyboard should be possible.
I have a GT-65 that is alone since years now, would love to use it as a PCW. My dad had it. I was so amazed that there were games on it when I had the internet in 98...



I just clicked on Ebay for the 8512 mobo (there's a last one...) and 8256 keyboard. =]
[Evil idea] maybe inside the GT-65, oh noes! [/evil idea]
« Last Edit: 19:18, 14 February 14 by Token »

Offline Bryce

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #5 on: 22:44, 14 February 14 »
The PCW keyboard must be very close to the 6128, they looked very similar. Are the dimensions the same?

Bryce.

Offline MaV

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #6 on: 01:54, 15 February 14 »
Nice pic, Token! That's proof enough that it works. :)

@Bryce: Would it suffice to just connect the correct PCW video signals to the GT65?

Unfortunately the PCW keyboard does not fit into a 6128 case. It sports an additional column of keys, since the function keys are separate from the numeric pad. Otherwise the dimension would have been the same (though the special keys are of different sizes).

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Offline radu14m

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #7 on: 09:18, 15 February 14 »
why not keeping the 6128 keyboard ? can this be connected to the pcw mobo ?


Offline fano

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #8 on: 09:26, 15 February 14 »
I saw on Ebay some cheap 8256 mainboards or keyboards too. Is it a good idea if one have a 5V psu and CPC 3" drive / floppy emulator and a GT-64 or 65. I saw a pic on the web of a PCW connected to a CTM (by "fano" I think)
I mean (if it works), do you think it's doable with a little hack or you have to solder tiny chips and stuffs ?
Sadly i am a pig and i made dirty stuff there =(
All was straight connected and i think that was not a good idea.I'll try something cleaner next time with a regulated power supply.For display, i think i'll use this to get image on a VGA monitor too.About drive, the guy who modded cheap floppy emulator said he will do a mod for CPC so i think i'll use this.That will remove the need of 12V, just need to make an 3"->3"5 adaptator.
"NOP" is the perfect program : short , fast and (known) bug free

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Offline fano

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #9 on: 09:40, 15 February 14 »
a nice ideea would be to insert a PCW mobo into a cpc6128 case
I'd be temped to do that but if my memory is good PCW pcb is too big for 6128 case.Keyboard are not the same size too and are differents.I'll check in my magic box with spare parts to check.
"NOP" is the perfect program : short , fast and (known) bug free

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Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #10 on: 16:38, 15 February 14 »
Cool! I might experiment it soon, it should be a matter of a week. I wonder if it works with hxc without a small different setting than CPC since the soft. But if it works 100% the same, I'll try with the Gotek when the firmware will be released. (a lot of if)
I might post photos and ask for help... ;)

Offline MaV

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #11 on: 19:30, 15 February 14 »
why not keeping the 6128 keyboard ? can this be connected to the pcw mobo ?
No, it can't easily. And I wouldn't try a mod.
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Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #12 on: 19:45, 15 February 14 »
I wouldn't try too, maybe by redoing/modify the membrane then, don't want ;)

Offline Munchausen

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #13 on: 22:26, 15 February 14 »
I have seen videos of a PCW in a box on youtube: Consolised Amstrad PCW & Sega Controller
Consolised Amstrad PCW & Sega Controller


The guy is pretty friendly, I'm sure he has more info if you ask.


Hmm, looks like his died too. I wonder what the cause of this is. I'd be hesitant to try converting one without being sure it wouldn't kill it.


ATM I really want joystick/audio and serial/centronics modules for my PCW.
« Last Edit: 22:41, 15 February 14 by Munchausen »

Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #14 on: 21:11, 21 February 14 »

I now got the 8512 mainboard and keyboard.
I opened and cleaned only the case. No screws inside, easy and fast. I will remove keys and membrane later. It's similar to 6128, the same thing, just larger and with controller (tall but on the right...)
 
It's possible to put the mainboard inside the 6128 case. Keyboard require to remove some plastic on the sides then. Not sure the case is tall enough but I think it is. Of course it needs to redo and cut some plastic inside the case for the screws. I shouldn't do it, I like the external PCW keyboard case more...


The mainboard doesn't have a DIN connector for the keyboard. Only pins. Same for the power supply and video. Jumpers in the middle are setted for 512k. All the RAM chips are there, I didn't knew it wasn't soldered. So if you have a 8256 there should be 8 free sockets.


I did a small test with 5V, see if the leds of my USB floppy emulator are red. Not sure it's enough. I mainly need infos now.
I grabbed some.


Correct/help me is more than welcome. My last soldering was kind of laughable (inverted pins) =]


some links
http://www.retroisle.com/amstrad/pcw/Technical/Hardware/pcw_monitor.gif
http://www.retroisle.com/amstrad/pcw/Technical/Hardware/pcw_keyboard.gif
http://www.retroisle.com/amstrad/pcw/Technical/Hardware/pcw_cpu.gif


Edit: this works.

__________________________ PSU


I think the PSU is like this:


°   ° ° ° °
1  2 3 4 5
      AMSTRAD
         1985
1:DV
2:DV << GND on the 5V PSU
3:5V  << 5V
4:12V
5:24V


I use a HXC floppy emulator with it's own psu, no printer
So for 5V only:
5V on "3" and GND on "2"


__________________________ KEYBOARD

4 pins DIN jack:

              v
        4         1
         3       2

then on the mainboard:
=========
 |1  2  3  4 |


1:5V
2:GND (ground)
3:DATA
4:CLOCK




__________________________ VIDEO (with a GT65 2)


On the mainboard:
=========
 |1  2  3  4 |


1:NSYNC (VSYNC maybe, hard to read)
2:GND (ground)
3:VIDEO
4:GND


GT65 2:

         3
    4   6   2
   5          1
         ^

1:RED     <<< no
2:GREEN <<< no
3:BLUE   <<< no
4:SYNC  to "1"
5:GND (ground) to "2"
6:LUM to "3"

Only use SYNC, GND and LUM, "4", "5" and "6" for green monitor.
But almost all for color monitor (not 6)
CTM:
1:RED     <<< all colors connected to "3" PCW video
2:GREEN <<< ...
3:BLUE   <<< ..
4:SYNC to "1"
5:GND (ground) to "5"
6:LUM  <<< no


______________________________________

Shopping on Ebay :D


- 4 Pin Electrical DIN Chassis Socket Pk5
(keyboard)


- DIN Chassis Socket Connector 6 Way (Pack of 2) 6 Pin
(video for Amstrad Monitor)


- Lot 2 Connecteur DC Jack Fiche Alimentation Embase Femelle Châssis 5,5mm 2,1mm
(Amstrad PSU)


- Fil de liaison 40 fils Femelle/femelle 1P 1P - 20 cm pas 2.54 mm
(Dupont cable)
(to connect the pins on the mainboard)


- Amstrad / Schneider CPC 664 6128 / Spectrum +3 internal ribbon cable adaptor
« Last Edit: 15:20, 21 March 14 by Token »

Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #15 on: 22:13, 21 February 14 »
I couldn't resist, I see something on the monitor, it really looks like what I remember. Does the PCW makes 3 beeps after a minute when there's no disk?
I need to add the keyboard too, then test with the hxc , but I wonder how it can boot, from the setting...

Offline MaV

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #16 on: 23:15, 21 February 14 »
Congratulations! :)

Yes, the three beeps occur after a time, if you do not insert a boot disk. That means that the RAM chips are ok and therefore the Z80 and the ASIC as well, otherwise you would not get this far.

Now go to this thread and fetch the boot disks and convert them to HFE-format for the HxC:
Syst Disk Amstrad PCW 8256

breiztiger offers even the French CP/M disks. :)

BTW, the schematics and your descriptions look good, but Bryce should glance over them as well (he's the hardware guy here).

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Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #17 on: 23:32, 21 February 14 »

Great news =] The beeps were very harsh and loud ;)
 Thanks MaV!  :D

Offline radu14m

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #18 on: 09:39, 23 February 14 »
post some pictures and info with the results :)

Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #19 on: 13:51, 23 February 14 »
I ordered some 26 pins to 34 ribbon cable. I hope it will work =]
I saw some games yesterday on CP/M box emulator, I'm amazed. I never knew that the beeper could tune some notes. Played Livingstone and some other, I really not expected that, very very nice.

Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #20 on: 01:20, 26 February 14 »

Still waiting, please wait... !! But then I can find PCW stuffs, there's more than I thought!


Nice info here...
Spoiler: show
http://www.retrowiki.es/rw10/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?2589.10


http://translate.google.fr/translate?sl=auto&amp;tl=en&amp;js=n&amp;prev=_t&amp;hl=fr&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;u=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20110921053519%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.retrowiki.es%2Fe107_plugins%2Fforum%2Fforum_viewtopic.php%3F2589
http://translate.google.fr/translate?sl=auto&amp;tl=en&amp;js=n&amp;prev=_t&amp;hl=fr&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;u=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20110921053519%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.retrowiki.es%2Fe107_plugins%2Fforum%2Fforum_viewtopic.php%3F2589
http://translate.google.fr/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=fr&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20110921053519%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.retrowiki.es%2Fe107_plugins%2Fforum%2Fforum_viewtopic.php%3F2589



/!\I did it, but you have to remember to connect and power on peripheral first (monitor as well), power on the mainboard the last when everything is ready.


From the above links, for the fun, great!



« Last Edit: 01:25, 26 February 14 by Token »

Offline Munchausen

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #21 on: 14:20, 27 February 14 »
Great! Let us know how you get on (specifically, if it lasts).


That PCW in a 6128 case is awesome! Was wondering if the keyboard would fit in there. Looks as though the keys must be a teeny bit smaller than the 6128 ones, as it has an extra column of keys on the right.


EDIT: aha, just noticed that hey's cut the keyboard hole bigger, so they probably are the same size keys.
« Last Edit: 14:22, 27 February 14 by Munchausen »

Offline Token

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #22 on: 18:32, 27 February 14 »
I didn't add the keyboard yet, but I have the 4 pins DIN connector now. I tested the 26/34 ribbons on my 6128, works nice with hxc.


On the PCW it try to read then after a time there's 3 beeps...
It must be a problem with the software setting.


I own a slim version, since 3 weeks, so it's pretty new. Maybe there's a new firwmare yet.


I read you need to set "Double Step" on, but when I save and reload the config file (HXCSDFE.CFG) it's still off.
I wonder if I need another version of AUTOBOOT.HFE, I read stuffs that bugged me :) like one could write HFE file with Double step?? arrrg


Well, I tried a lot of things...


Edit:
I tried to put some PCW DSK's from the CPC, tricky but now it does load but nothing happened on screen (lines were expected...), and it end to an infinite beep.
2: mmm I see you can load HFE and save it again, I tried with double step... Now it also save the config. I don't get it. I'll try again later, I've C64 stuffs too on it :D :o
« Last Edit: 19:17, 27 February 14 by Token »

Offline MaV

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #23 on: 19:22, 27 February 14 »
I don't think the autoboot.hfe works with PCWs. It's probably best just to load one converted CPM-Boot disk for the PCW to the sd card. Then start the PCW and press the next button one time to jump to this image and wait a bit.

I myself have an HxC with LCD and it works well with the CPC (without autoload.hfe). I don't know about the double step, but I can't imagine that it is needed, as the PCW format is the same as the CPC.

(and a last question: do you convert the dsk files to hfe files with Del Nero's Windows software? Sorry for the question, but you never mentioned this. I just want to make sure we can rule out the simple mistakes.)
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Offline radu14m

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Re: PCW kit
« Reply #24 on: 19:40, 27 February 14 »
That PCW in a 6128 case is awesome !!!
Big Brother of the 6128 :) anyway, there is no mobo and no buttom case, only the upper part with keyboard is shown...