CPCWiki forum

General Category => NC100, NC200, PCW, PDA600 - the rest of the Family! => Topic started by: TynH on 18:42, 15 February 19

Title: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 18:42, 15 February 19
Hi all,


not sure why but for some weird reason I always wantend a PCW. Maybe because my first ever encounter with computers was my dad‘s Xerox 820-ll, a rather bland business machine running CP/M.
Living in Germany it seems a „Schneider Joyce“ 8256 would be the one to get, they do pop up from time to time.
The main problem however would be how on earth to copy files onto such a beast? It‘s not my first retro computer but the Archimedes has a network card fitted (it also accepts 1.44 MB 3.5“) and even the lowly Amstrad NC100 has a serial port.


Traditionally one would start by fitting 3.5“ drives on the Anstrad or 3“ ones on an IBM compatible but surely there’s a better way now!
I did of course read about the possibility of fitting an IDE interface (cool!) but that wouldn’t exactly help with file transfers. Replacing the original disc drive with a Gotek floppy emulator sounds interesting but also quite daunting. Not sure how easy handling .DSK images would be on the non-Amstrad end either (mostly MacOS but I could also use WinXP/Linux).


So uhm any hints? General buying advice welcome too (typically ebay though, hence no way of checking the hardware before buying).


Cheers!
Tim
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:47, 15 February 19
Welcome!

Although I've used the PCW in the past I'm not up to date with modern add ons for it but if you wait a few hours I'm sure someone will be along to help :)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 01:13, 17 February 19
Well, I'm sorry, but you're going to have to actually DO something.   Bite the bullet.

There are various options.   Each one has provisos.

I'd say the easiest would be to attach a 3.5" drive as B: to your PCW.   There's enough info about on how to do this.   There's a LOT of discussion about finding the 'correct' type of 3.5" drive, but I skipped all this when I sorted one by following one set of instructions which did everything in the cable.   A bit crude I guess, and things like DISCKIT has a problem with the 'ready' line, but you can get around this, and the disks work fine normally.   But you need a PC with a working 3.5" drive (more of a problem as each year goes by) and you need some software on the PC like 22DISK.

My 3.5" drive works fine when it's connected.   I also have a 5.25" B: drive (340k format) which is more usually connected (as I have far more dsks written over the years using that format).

You could also get the Serial Interface box, this may be simpler, but it's far less reliable and slower to work, but I've communicated with people who are happily doing this.

Others may refer to the Gotek option, where you can maintain the contents of the .DSK images on your PC.   But it's less of a PCW.   But if's you've got a PCW 8256, you don't 'lose' anything (as you never had a standard B: drive) and you still gain something.

I've got one of the uIDE drives on my PCW, and this is a wonder.   I believe you COULD get such a drive to operate on a PC to transfer files, but you'd need some special software to allow a PC to access the CP/M format (but maybe trusty 22DISK could do this but I think that as it works thru the FDC it could be that you cannot go this way, need something else.   However, JonB (on this forum) who implemented the uIDE, put masses on CP/M software onto the uIDE disks, so this is certainly possible.

Questions so far?

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 14:49, 17 February 19
Well it seems I just bought myself a PCW. Had my eye on a well kept if slightly overpriced example (original bill of sales, everything working plus 16 3" discs) while placing a bid on a different machine on ebay. Actually I already decided not to buy that one, mainly because the keyboard looks pretty worn (contrary to sellers claim of it being a lightly to unused item!). Lowered my max bid twice but still won the auction, crap! ;-)
On the positive side though: it does come with an anti-glare screen and original box. No software whatsoever though, hence no way of making sure anything works apart from screen lighting up...
Maybe not such a wise move after all. Haven't told my girl friend the good news either, hmmm.

Already ordered replacement drive belt (since I'll be needing one anyway), three NOS Maxell CF2 floppies and a set of Loco 2 flopies including CP/M Plus 1.15 from whoever owns Locoscript nowadays (may seem silly but at least they promise to send tested copies only).

So, this thing is really happening.

As for future file transfer options: I've decided not to pursue the 3.5" floppy path. I do have several machines capable of reading them but given both the cost and amount of work included in modifying the Amstrad it would seem unwise to rely on obsolete tech. I've contacted an ebay vendor instead and discussed the Gotek adapter/kit with him. About the same effort really and more flexible. Obviously I'll keep the original drive in a box somewhere.
Adding an uIDE interface however sounds tempting as well. I'll probably add one AFTER sorting out file transfer options though. Storing stuff on your internal DOM with no easy way of copying it elsewhere is fine for say gaming but I'm more interested in using the PCW for text files ("word processing" would be a bit of an exaggeration!).   

 edit: thanks for the warm welcome btw!
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 16:04, 17 February 19
So, sounds like you're thinking of putting a Gotek as A:.   I'd have thought it more use to keep the standard A: drive and put the Gotek as B:, might be generally more use, but having it as A: means you can boot from it easily, which may be a help if you're doing lots of games.

If you're thinking of the uIDE device, note that you need special versions of the system to boot.   This is detailed in the docs on the Wiki.   The special version knows about the .FID file that needs to load on startup.   This is the same for both the CP/M and for LocoScript.

There's no particular problem regarding the CP/M, you can just load and go, and you can have the 13 @ 8 Mb virtual drives.

I recently got the LocoScript working as well, and found a problem.   Rather, an 'inconvenience'!

I found I had a later version of LS, that was 'officially' a version number or two before the versions that were designated as working, so I tried it anyway.   It worked.   When John Elliott had determined the point at which the .FID system was supported, he clearly did not have EVERY version to test, so he was just reporting the earliest version that he had that worked.

Anyway, when I tried it, I was using a uIDE drive with all 13 drives active, and with LOTS of files on the drives, in lots of User Areas, and LS took an ABSOLUTE AGE to load up, as it read the complete DOM to generate all the data for the Disk Manager screen.  And once it had loaded, and displayed, moving around the screens wes pretty tedious.   I decided pretty quick that there was little point to having 13 drives.

I knew that when JonB first did the uIDE thing there were 6 drives only, so I explained the situation to him, and asked if he had a version of the driver that implemented fewer drives, and he was able to produce something that did 4 only.   Much better.

I still have quite a few files in the first 4 drives, so it still takes a while, but for the benefit of LS I've moved some files from an early drive to a later drive, and this is much more friendly.  As far as LS is concerned, the extra drives are not there, but for CP/M they are there and fully accessible.

So, if you plan to do a fair bit with LocoScript, and use the uIDE process, this is something you need to consider.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 17:23, 17 February 19
Sorry but I've got to ask: what does FID stand for?

Quote from: Wikipedia


• Fid, a hollow spike for use in ropework
• The Fid, a mountain in Antarctica
• F.I.D. (album), an album by Masami Akita
• Final Investment Decision, a term used in the Oil and Gas Industry
• Financial institutions duty, an Australian tax
• Flame ionization detector
• Flight information display
• Flight initiation distance
• Focus-image distance in projectional radiography
• Foreign internal defense
• Free indirect discourse
• Free induction decay
• International Federation for Information and Documentation
• Stop the Decline (Italian: Fermare il Declino), an Italian political party
• Elizabeth Field (Suffolk County, New York)'s IATA code

Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 17:33, 17 February 19
I'm mainly curios regarding Locoscript but also aware of it's reputation for being slow. Coming from the NC100 however I'm familiar with the superb Protext software, which also runs in DOSBox. More importantly files can be saved directly as ASCII, TXT or even converted to (slightly non standard) RTF format. I've used native Protext ALOT in the past but I'm tempted to give TeX a try now for even better compatibility. Protext can certainly be used as simle editor in program mode but with actual CP/M running I might give VDE or even ZDE a try instead.

 
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 21:28, 17 February 19
Sorry, but none of the options you suggest is right.  Any more ;)

Actually, it's something like 'Field Installable Driver'.

When later versions of the PCW system file (either the CP/M or the Loco *.EMS or *.EMT) load, they look to see if there are any *.FID files there.   I think there could be more than 1.   If the system finds such files, they are loaded and actioned.   If not, no problem, the normal load continues.   Such files are used to insert an optional extension or modification to the base system, or the BIOS.  The extension to the system to support the uIDE HDs is installed via a FID.  One could be there for other reasons as well, like non-standard printers.   If you wish to disable the extension, simply rename the .FID file, and rename it back to .FID when you need to reactivate whatever.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 22:05, 17 February 19
Ah that makes more sense!  :D
Fascinating stuff: https://www.seasip.info/Cpm/amsfid.html (https://www.seasip.info/Cpm/amsfid.html)


I thought of hooking up the Gotek as secondary drive btw. Not sure if it would work that way although I’ve seen online evidence of two Gotek drives fitted. So probably ok. On the other hand it’s a drastic mod, cutting the original faceplate with a hacksaw.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 18:18, 18 February 19
Yes, Geoff is right. To use a FID such as the uIDE driver on a PCW you need a later CP/M Plus version.

Here's everything you need to know about uIDE: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/UIDE_Universal_IDE_adapter_cards_for_Z-80_computers

You can transfer files to and from a DOM or CF card using a PC and cpmtools. The page I wrote shows you how (and includes a download link).

By the way, the lower face plate is just stuck on. Why not heat it a little with a hairdryer then gently push it off (from inside the PCW)? Then you can make up a replacement and fit the Gotek, secure in the knowledge that you can restore the machine to its original looks any time you like. The only thing to be aware of is the Gotek would be lying on its side, so the display might look odd. On the other hand you can mod them easily with remote switches, better displays and even a remote USB socket, so you could easily mount the drive on its side and the controls / display the right way round.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 12:10, 19 February 19
Cheers Jon

A copy of CP/M+ v1.15 is on its way from Locoscript, AIU versions later than 1.14 support field installable devices.
Regarding cpmtools et al: I did say "no easy way of copying" files. Taking the back off the monitor, extracting the module and firing up Windows/Linux (wouldn't be surprised if MacOS dropped support for something crucial) isn't something I want to do on a daily basis.
A rather elegant way around this - and I've seen this under similar circumstances via IDE-adapter connected SD card - would be using a WiFi enabled storage device. Easier said than done obviously!

Still, your efforts regarding uIDE are most impressive and thanks for also taking the time to provide extensive documentation. Unfortunately this often tedious part tends to get overlooked by quite a few hardware devs!
Nevertheless I'm still puzzled by some of the finer points, apologies for my ignorance!

1. What *is* the difference between the uIDE-8 and -16 board? One has has to have certain practical advantages/disadvantages over the other I reckon? 

2. Shim vs expansion port adapter: again not entirely clear what you might gain/lose by choosing one over the other (and what's up with the LH/RH version)? I get what you're saying about surface mounted CPUs though. I'm also assuming your design is supposed to go with the UK style edge connector (as opposed to the Schneider expansion port).
I really suck at soldering so modifying your board would be out of the question for me.

3. Where does this "Z80 bus cable/40 way IDC-IDC ribbon" come in, is this a bespoke design or just an off the shelf part?

Again, sorry for being such a newbie here!

__________________________

P.S.: shame there's no ethernet adapter. My vintage Acorn machine is known as "Orac" on our local network, a slot for "Zen" is still available!
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 13:51, 19 February 19
No problem.

You have the right CP/M Plus version, good.

Documentation is fun if you are into what you're doing. Problem is that not everyone will read it!

To your specific questions (which, I hate to say, are covered by the document  :D ):

1. The short answer is "use uIDE-16 with CPC6128/464 computers, uIDE-8 for the rest".

uIDE-8 supports 8 bit port addressing. Most Z80 computers use this, apart from the Amstrad 6128 (and 464 I reckon). So uIDE-8 decodes the lower half of the address bus. For the 6128 I had to extend it to decode the whole 16 bits of the address bus, because that machine uses the OUT(C), A instruction, which (not well documented) puts all of BC on the address bus, and the 6128 takes advantage of this to extend its I/O port range. So, in order to support it, I needed to decode 16 bits instead of 8, hence "uIDE-16". This board can be run in 8 bit addressing mode, though. There is a jumper to select.

2. Shim vs. adapter. If you use the adapter you lose access to the expansion port, because the adapter has no through connector. But you do get a composite video out, plus access to all the special signals on the expansion port. Left/Right shims exist so you can choose the orientation that fits best in your machine. Remember, it is "universal" in that it can be connected to any Z80 computer - not just the PCW - and so there is this option. The Schneider port type is not supported, unless it has the same footprint as a 50 way IDC header (in which case you could solder it to the board and plug it into the machine). You are probably best off with a shim / internal solution.

3. Z80 bus cable is just a standard PC IDE ribbon connector, as the page explains. They are cheap and easy to acquire so I do not offer them.

4. Regarding cpmtools. The download link includes disk definitions for the uIDE CP/M format, so it's covered. If you go with a shim you have the option of running the cable out of the bottom right hand corner of the machine and having the PCB external; that gives easy access to the DOM / CF card (plus, you get to see the drive activity light, BONUS!). Alternatively, cut a slot in the machine (they are not exactly collector's items!) and mount the uIDE behind it. Then you can access the DOM/CF card any time.

Re: newbie: Never apologise for asking questions, I welcome them. How else can anyone learn? Just try to not ask the same question repeatedly... and read the documentation provided. Here endeth the lesson...!

One more point - be aware of the limitations. For example, it does not support cold booting the PCW.

Now to supply. I do not have all the parts required to start making them again, so there will be a lead time. However, I do not expect payment until all items ordered are ready to ship.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:02, 20 February 19
Any idea how to disconnect the FDD? The connectors won’t budge and I don’t want to aply brute force.


(https://i.postimg.cc/sDwfpyHX/22-DB0-EC6-1-C71-47-FA-B12-C-57257-F5-BC5-CC.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:07, 20 February 19
Wasn’t expecting the motherboard to look like this either...  :-X


(https://i.postimg.cc/yd8C6SBy/16433532-2-EF3-430-C-A0-F0-6-F86-BFBBF45-F.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/4yKCVkYK/D2-D07-B15-D91-A-4806-B831-0-E477245-E59-A.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:45, 20 February 19
Got it out! Good thing I didn't pull hard either, hadn't realized, the power connector was a two piece part which snaps in place, locking the connector.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: robcfg on 17:53, 20 February 19
Can you see your board’s MC code?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 19:23, 20 February 19
Not really, where would I find that?




(https://i.postimg.cc/1X7mbZkK/0-EBF8-FAF-7-DA4-46-FC-B9-F0-5-C84969-D447-F.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/YSM5NsV2/853-A1261-F42-A-4279-A9-F9-09849336-B557.jpg)


(https://i.postimg.cc/4dBshgxT/E9-F34032-7-DD3-46-F1-9911-13-E3-A7-B57-A65.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/FFChrN6y/95636526-FAFF-473-B-81-B1-6-D378-EA0-A0-A4.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/2SQpZD0X/ABE98-A3-B-597-B-40-F5-978-B-279438-BB3-A1-E.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/MTGgNjqh/960-BBCDB-B736-4-C44-8-B05-1-B7-BAF5-DB9-D9.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 19:33, 20 February 19
I did however manage to finish the main job for today:


(https://i.postimg.cc/0NvsWQ6s/9-A41-ED0-D-AB6-C-448-C-B6-FD-CED7-BCBB5922.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/635NKmLb/6-B2-EE1-E7-AF34-4-A61-9-C2-F-A882-E4-C1-D5-FD.jpg)


(https://i.postimg.cc/QxRs7ShV/DEEC3-C60-7231-438-F-A2-C0-D68-AC10539-D9.jpg)



(https://i.postimg.cc/PJJhWRCv/851-F2168-777-F-4-B2-B-9479-1727-F049338-D.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/rsDX0RHS/823-B54-B6-5376-48-F5-BDA1-C59-EB0-A313-C6.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/TYyfhB8Z/1253452-B-DBB5-4486-BEA4-7-D695-F127-EC3.jpg)



(https://i.postimg.cc/HxZ1k96Y/86-AED302-377-F-451-E-BF70-630-B58236461.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/MHLwdmBP/A1-B23-D41-C450-4291-A001-4-F86-ABD5980-A.jpg)


(https://i.postimg.cc/440TCwKw/BF4-F1-D7-A-38-DB-498-E-A108-CC6161-BA9-DC7.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/MHgkyKkg/A0-FB4935-A935-47-B6-8-C60-4-D002-A3-D118-E.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/sgddxX4h/7-C60-E36-B-75-E6-4294-B768-B43-D2-F35454-B.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 19:40, 20 February 19
An awful lot of work really* and without a system disk there's no way of telling whether it's been a success either.
The case however did clean up rather nicely, hardly any yellowing. The disk drive has never been opened before it seems (factory paint seal unbroken), interesting.






_______________________

*Well it took me five hours, including disassembly, cleaning the case and putting everything together again. Must have cost an arm and a leg at commercial rates! Obvioously a pro would only need a fraction of how long it took me but still, quite a job!
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: robcfg on 20:08, 20 February 19
The main board is the one with the two centronics connector.


I guess that to be able to see the MC code, you'll have to remove the metal shield.


I'm just curious to see if your main board is listed here: http://habisoft.com/pcwwiki/doku.php?id=en:hardware:placas
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 20:14, 20 February 19
Seeing that the case is dated September 1985, this looks like a pretty early model.
Which would really suck given the fact that upgrading RAM required soldering instead of changing the dip switch settings.


P.S. yeah I didn’t bother disassembling the board itself, maybe another time.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:26, 24 February 19
Ok so just had a peek at the mainboard. I did not however dismantle the shielding completely: far too many screws, soldered earth wires and locking tabs. Unfortunately it is an early version without dip switch and I‘m not going to mess with those soldered connections. Doesn’t match the ones shown on the wiki page either but as I said, didn’t take it apart far enough to read the actual number.
It does have the „copper band all the way round“ thing: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:PCW_Z70291_MC0031B_R-1705_PCB_Top.jpg (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:PCW_Z70291_MC0031B_R-1705_PCB_Top.jpg)
Considering the metal shields used on the Schneider machines this could be peculiar to all German boards.
Other than the example pictured mine came without dip switch. None of those messy looking wires either though: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:PCW_Z70247_MC0015Q_PCB_Top.jpg (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:PCW_Z70247_MC0015Q_PCB_Top.jpg)



Probably a lot easier to just buy a model 8512 instead.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:41, 24 February 19

By the way, the lower face plate is just stuck on. Why not heat it a little with a hairdryer then gently push it off (from inside the PCW)? Then you can make up a replacement and fit the Gotek, secure in the knowledge that you can restore the machine to its original looks any time you like.


The modification still requires making non-reversible cuts:


(https://i.postimg.cc/GhBsmzM9/B0826-FF7-4829-4-ADF-9818-E3481752-D146.jpg)


I know they’re not exactly museum pieces (yet) but I‘m reluctant to permanently modify the case just for fun. Reminds me of how I tried to find an uncut radio plate for my Triumph Spitfire a few years ago: turned out to be impossible because every owner at some point decided to upgrade to a better radio (usually a lovely piece of 80‘s Japanese plastic with flasing LEDs and more buttons than a nuclear rocket launcher).
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 09:49, 26 February 19
Oooh Triumph Spitfire.. I've had four of those in my time. Now have a Lotus Elan. Make sure you oil the trunnions....

Anyway, on topic. Yes, you would need to cut that piece of plastic but if you take the aluminium panel off first, you can restore the look of the thing easily. The panel is meant to come off anyway - that's why it's attached by legs - so that you can add an extra drive. Still, your computer / your choice!

Cheers
JonB
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:14, 26 February 19
My Locoscript/CPM floppy finally arrived, until now there was absolutely nothing I could do with my new paper weight. Annoyingly that’s pretty much how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future because nothing happened. Arghh!
Switched the machine on, monitor comes on, inserted disc and listened to drive making noise but apparently nothing else. The activity light sort of indicates something by glowing slightly dimmer but no horizontal lines on screen etc. Of course it could be the floppy (which would be a bit rich considering how much I payed for it). I bought some more floppies privately though, including Schneider system discs, they should arrive by tomorrow. However there’s no way of telling if they still work...


Speaking of recent purchasing activities: I also bought a PCW 8512 in „non working condition“.
 :picard:
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:20, 26 February 19
PS: gave up on the Spitfire. A blast to drive with the top down but the quality was simply appalling. Spares in particular. Upgraded to a Jensen Interceptor instead, much nicer car and far more reliable as well. Bit of a „gas guzzler“ though!
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:48, 26 February 19
Maybe it is the floppy? This is what side A sounds like:


https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZCmCd7ZwHfmaad3VqzsP8XnMxk6854OGWM7 (https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZCmCd7ZwHfmaad3VqzsP8XnMxk6854OGWM7)


Almost as if the disc wasn’t even recognised.
Booting from side B sounds (and looks) more promising at first:


https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZ6hCd7ZXx2jPOJ1fS4KjodTIdcXgJM0IygX (https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZ6hCd7ZXx2jPOJ1fS4KjodTIdcXgJM0IygX)

Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 21:12, 26 February 19
Well, for side A, I saw no sign of any disk activity light.  So the drive was not even trying.   Did hear the beeps at the end, I think there were 5?, which may be significant.

For Side B, I did see the disk activity light, so the drive tried.   But didn't find anything.   I think there were 3 beeps ONLY for B, which I think means that it's not reading anything, or maybe it found the boot sector OK but no system file?

After you'd tried B:, did you try A: again?   Worth keep trying, in case the stepper motor is dirty and need s few tried to free up the worm thread?

Anyway, in this situation, the number of beeps is significant, so please state the number.

So far, no clear evidence that the disk is faulty, or good.   Drive seems to be trying, but trying what?   You need a known, good, disk!  Maybe one of the others on the way may help.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: tjohnson on 21:53, 26 February 19
Sorry to butt on but it's our possible to not from disk b on an 8512?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 23:03, 26 February 19
Sorry to butt on but it's our possible to not from disk b on an 8512?


Only if you reverse the polarity of the neutron flow. Sorry what did you say?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: tjohnson on 00:40, 27 February 19

Only if you reverse the polarity of the neutron flow. Sorry what did you say?


Bloody phone swipe to type. 


Is it possible to boot a 8512 from the B drive?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 00:56, 27 February 19
AFAIK they always boot from drive A. Of course I only have a single drive model 8256 myself!
I seriously doubt you could manipulate the boot sequence though, it’s pretty much hard coded.


Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 14:58, 28 February 19
Boots from drive A: only.

Oh sorry. There is only one drive and you are referring to the sides.  :picard:

Good description of the boot sequence: https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~jacobn/cpm/pcwboot.html

and this: https://www.seasip.info/Unix/Joyce/hardware.pdf

Three beeps = bad floppy. Did you clean the heads when you replaced the drive belt?

I can see that it attempts boot with side B so you're OK as far as the motherboard, screen and (from the looks of it) drive are concerned. Just need a known good boot disk.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 17:05, 28 February 19
Thanks for mentioning it, I did a quick google for „Amstrad PCW“ „error codes“ and eventually found this:


(https://i.postimg.cc/Y0NKQrb1/D90-C4-C37-C170-4-A7-D-A154-149817466377.jpg)


Intriguing stuff, unfortunately I still don’t have any discs known to be good.
I did clean the head with isopropanol and a Q-tip but tbh it didn’t look like it was necessary.

Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 17:57, 28 February 19
Gave it another try (now that I read about hitting the space bar) and the drive now reliably attempts reading both sides of the disc. Ultimately giving up and emitting four beeps every time but on two attempts I even got a horizontal „load line“ (as in: one).


Well, who knows? Maybe those Schneider discs will help shed some light on this.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 19:28, 28 February 19
Aha, progress.

My guess, based on long experience of such things and what you describe, is that the stepper motor is not stepping.   The worm thread has dust/muck in the thread.  Cleaning this is problematic, you can easily make things worse.   

What I suggest.   Keep trying.   Each time you try, if the process gets just a little bit further (i.e. more of the horizontal lines appear) then this IS the problem, and just keep on trying.   Also, as the machine warms up, it may get a little better again.

If it shows no sign of improvement, then maybe the stepper motor is 'broken'.   A little while back, mine ceased to work at all, and a certain miracle worker here fixed it!  The magic he used on mine may work on yours as well?

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 17:57, 01 March 19
Good point, Geoff.

Only, I'm not sure I'd suggest getting the stepper motor to clear the blockage. It might get overloaded.

In general, you can move the head, either by rotating the worm drive shaft (recommended) or pushing the head's carriage (carefully). Then you can see if anything is going on - because it has to seek to Track 0 before attempting to read the boot sector(s). So move the thing away from Track 0 and see if it moves back when it is powered up.

This will also help clear any obstacles (gunk, or whatever) from the head movement mechanism. Actually, while you're in there, clean the worm drive with light oil. It's good practice. But beware the Write pin falling out.. http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Writepin

On the other hand... in my limited experience I have never had a problem like this (I have five different 3" drive units) and I think it is more likely to be the disk itself. Let's just hope his heads aren't misaligned...
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: tjohnson on 23:28, 01 March 19
One of my drives was Jammed, also had an issue with one drive spinning too slow and wouldn't reliably read a disk
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:27, 02 March 19
Floppies finally arrived and even though I wasn’t really expecting anything to happen...


(https://i.postimg.cc/qqBLXSFF/E68-B1708-BA89-4-C12-ABA8-AF27-E0-BCECE7.jpg)


Holy crap it’s s working!
Well actually it’s not... For some reason I couldn’t navigate Locoscript properly and got stuck in a popup menu.
The reason why became apparent after rebooting into CP/M:


(https://i.postimg.cc/VLG74smW/31-C8-B576-2963-4019-B7-BD-98-C9541-C9672.jpg)


Pressing „STOP“ terminated the keyboard outputting the character „k“ but unfortunately this turned out to be the least of my problems:


(https://i.postimg.cc/RhPTPG5Z/77688-BEA-5475-4-AF4-B128-895-CFD57-ECDA.jpg)


Most of the keys don’t work properly, „D“ is „WD“, „F“ AND(!) „T“ equal „TF“, „J“ is „ZJ“ and others like the letter iI don’t work at all.



Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: tjohnson on 15:53, 02 March 19
dismantling the keyboard and cleaning up the membrane will probably fix that, easy to do.  I've cleaned a couple of keyboards by using the bath, put it in the airing cupboard to dry out, works a treat.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 15:55, 02 March 19
I’ll try that, thanks.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: tjohnson on 17:36, 02 March 19
I’ll try that, thanks.


A paintbrush to clean between the keys is useful , watch you don't lose any of the little springs  they shouldn't come off if you're are gentle
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 19:22, 02 March 19
@TynH (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=3010) : Well done, you're nearly there. Geoff will be along soon to recommend your first PCW upgrade...  ;)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 20:48, 02 March 19
Took everything apart, luckily the plastic is a lot sturdier than the one used on the NC line of machines!
Now it wasn’t the filthiest keyboard I’ve ever seen but giving it a more thorough clean certainly seemed like a good idea:


(https://i.postimg.cc/2yZg60tK/9600-FD61-A117-4-A78-BA08-B71-CBB205714.jpg)



(https://i.postimg.cc/yNpGTq4G/E7445-A14-DFA4-4771-8-C6-D-A05-B9-BE9-F53-C.jpg)




Bit of compressed air, isopropanol and distilled water to give everything a good clean:


(https://i.postimg.cc/j5WFg8RS/7574-D4-C1-7-C17-4261-9007-98153-DB5073-E.jpg)


(https://i.postimg.cc/C1W6WjKH/883-FE6-B4-EF92-47-BA-B717-7-B399315-F827.jpg)




(https://i.postimg.cc/mZv0qGzf/5537844-E-D0-CE-4-E29-9-E6-C-0-F47-F7038607.jpg)




Reassembled the keyboard and holding my breath while switching back on:






(https://i.postimg.cc/8zH9jJyN/E2411719-8792-4782-A676-E9-D910-A89191.jpg)




Flippin eck!


That really did the trick, ALL keys seem to be working perfectly!Thanks for all the fantastic help so far!
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 17:37, 03 March 19
Hello,

Just to clarify?

You were trying to boot from a disk, and it wasn't working.

You then got some more disks.

Is the machine now booting from the earlier disk, or is it booting from one of the new batch?

If one of the new ones, have you tried the first disk again?   Will the machine now at least read the disk?   Will it even boot from it now?

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 22:55, 03 March 19
Ok so we’re talking about these discs:


(https://i.postimg.cc/HkWkfPF2/E3-CE611-D-34-F5-4357-A4-BA-A988662-BF1-FA.jpg)


The first one in the upper left corner came from Locoscript.co.uk with Loco 2.0 (A) and CP/M 1.15 (B). This turned out to be a dud, never managed to boot from.
In the middle we have an original system disk from Schneider Computers with Loco 1 (A) and CP/M 1.14 (B). This seems to work just fine, yay!
The last one however is where it gets interesting again. Bought in a set of several unopened Maxell CF2s. Ok sealed or NOS doesn’t necessarily mean they’re fine but probably as good as it gets.
Anyway, ran a Diskit of the Schneider disk, which went fine at first. It soon became apparent however that the copy was unreliable. Loco won’t load and even CP/M will give disk errors every now and then. Re-inserting the disk seems to help.


(https://i.postimg.cc/pXJdctcr/8-EABEC37-1-ECD-4100-ABBC-FF3-E6331-D4-F2.jpg)


I still can’t read the Locoscript.co.uk floppy. Side A just gives a disk error whereas side B also gives a disk error but lists the content after choosing the „Ignore“ option. Haven’t tried running any of it though.


The fact that the copy I made doesn’t work seems to point towards drive related problems. Since the Schneider disk is slightly thicker than both the one provided by Locoscript.co.uk and my blank media Maxell, I‘v been thinking about that little felt pad.
There IS a felt pad in there, it’s not missing but without anything to go by I had now way of knowing whether it‘s still within spec.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 23:06, 03 March 19
P.S. Not sure how to proceed. In the end I’ll want an easy way to transfer data to/from the Amstrad, which is why there’s a Gotek emulator coming my way. So why fix the floppy drive?
And then of course there’s the SECOND PCW, I bought off ebay... :doh:


Condition unknown, advertised as „not working“ but it *is* a higher spec 8512 with more RAM and two floppy drives. Now a dual floppy machine would make a perfect candidate for a Gotek/3“ hybrid!
Probably best to wait.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 23:27, 03 March 19
Well, what you're now describing sounds like an alignment problem.   The head is not hitting the data track perfectly.   As each sector is read, the checksum is checked, and some of them are failing.   How many?   The 'data error' and the ignore can sometimes be useful, but NOT if you're trying to read an executable prog.  Reading text, or anything that can be viewed and corrected, could be OK.

This may be, as said, due to alignment, and this can be adjusted but it's fiddly.   Some people can do it with a know good disk, others need some test equipment.   Other causes bad heads (incl head not making proper contact, which might be due to dud pressure pads.  Then back to the stepper motor not lineing the head up with the track.

Anyway, it seems more likely it IS the drive, and not the disks.

Do you have anyone handy with an OK drive?   This will prove things one way or another.   Send one to me, if it reads OK I'll make images ready for your Gotek device.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 00:05, 04 March 19
Thanks for the kind offer but that won’t be necessary. The Schneider system disks are available for download online and I probably won’t be using Loco 2.0. I have CP/M 1.15 as dsk image as well but maybe I‘ll explore z3plus instead. So there’s really nothing on those three floppies that needs saving.
Also less of an argument to invest in having the drive serviced.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 15:59, 04 March 19
If the head is out of alignment and you format a good disk, it should work reliably on the same drive it was formatted on.

I would then expect the newly formatted disk to be unreliable in other drives.

What I'd do if I were you is to create a new boot disk and try to copy the CPM v1.5 system file to it, so you can boot into CP/M v1.5.

You will probably find that once you have your bulk setup done, transferring files to / from the PCW using Gotek images is cumbersome (this was my experience). My preferred method is Kermit and a serial interface (but then, I was developing the uIDE drivers so needed to be able to constantly transfer FIDs in development for testing).

If I didn't have a uIDE, I would use a Gotek or HxC but as a boot drive - definitely not as a file transfer medium.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 16:08, 04 March 19
Hm, that's a useful idea.

I would suggest you do what Jon suggests, i.e. format a good, clean disk in your drive (if you can get DISCKIT to run there, mind you, which is the initial hurdle).

Then, having got the disk formatted, test copying files to it, and use the VERIFY option within DISCKIT.

If the disk works reliably with this format, then the problem is ONLY the alignment, everything else is OK.   Yes, it will prob not work on any other PCW, but this MAY not be a problem?

If the disk will NOT work reliably, then there are OTHER problems with the drive, and you may need to give up on it.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 21:34, 04 March 19
If the head is out of alignment and you format a good disk, it should work reliably on the same drive it was formatted on.

I would then expect the newly formatted disk to be unreliable in other drives.


Good point!

Quote
What I'd do if I were you is to create a new boot disk and try to copy the CPM v1.5 system file to it, so you can boot into CP/M v1.5.


Computer says no:


(https://i.postimg.cc/CKqdvdBZ/4709-B5-C6-29-DE-417-E-A164-37-D157-CC45-BB.jpg)

Fired up my CP/M 1.14 floppy, started PIP and replaced disk. Unfortunately now luck.
I managed to list the DIRectory but couldn’t start PIP from the CP/M 1.15 floppy either.
Simply not going to happen.


Quote
You will probably find that once you have your bulk setup done, transferring files to / from the PCW using Gotek images is cumbersome (this was my experience). My preferred method is Kermit and a serial interface (but then, I was developing the uIDE drivers so needed to be able to constantly transfer FIDs in development for testing).

If I didn't have a uIDE, I would use a Gotek or HxC but as a boot drive - definitely not as a file transfer medium.


Having used zmodem on the NC100 I‘m not a huge fan. Sure it works but in my opinion it’s hardly less cumbersome than using USB thumbdrives.
Mainly because it involves dragging an old WinXP Laptop out of storage (which is only kept to upload eprom files to my car‘s ECU) and run Hyper Terminal.
My main machine doesn’t have an RS232 port and no means of using an USB converter either (driver issue).


The main problem however seems to be where to source a working CPS8256 from.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 21:38, 04 March 19
Reckon I ought to go through the Mallard Basic documents before typing silly stuff:


 ;D


(https://i.postimg.cc/13TfcDth/B8-B0915-D-A325-4-A2-F-A0-E2-2-BDC431-D09-C5.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 22:11, 04 March 19
What you need is an FTDI based USB adapter. Works with Win 10 64 bit. But also, you need a serial port. Then no muckling about, plug into your main PC, transfer
the stuff over with Kermit, job done. No old laptops needed, though you will need a serial port for the 8256.

Like this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/163561771022

What about the 8512? Maybe time to break it out and fix up its Drive A? Borrow the band from the 8256's drive you just overhauled?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 22:41, 04 March 19
The 8512 hasn’t arrived yet, no need to salvage the 8256‘s rubber belt though. Naturally I did order more than one.


The USB adapter would be of little use to me, my desktop computer runs RISC OS and AFAIK there are no drivers*. I have several machines equipped with a RS232 port but they’re either retro machines or over at my other place so not super convenient really.


Isn’t it a bit of a moot point given the scarcity of RS232 adaptors for the PCW (and the centronics version at that)?




*Edit: I spoke to soon


Quote
SerialUSB
=========

SerialUSB provides a DeviceFS serial interface (SerialUSB<n> :) for USB serial devices

It supports the following USB serial devices:

CH340
CP210x
PL2303
FTDI

The first device found will be called 'SerialUSB:'. If more than 1 serial usb device
is plugged in they will be given names 'SerialUSB1:' 'SerialUSB2:' etc. To see if the
device is recognised

*SerialUSBDevices

will list the recognised devices.

SerialUSB supports the standard RISC OS DeviceFS serial interface so you can test
output with:

echo test { > SerialUSB: }

which will send 'test ' to 'SerialUSB:' by default 'SerialUSB:' is equivalent to:

SerialUSB#baud=115200;nohandshake;data=8;stop=1;noparity:

So if you only want to change the baud rate/handshake you just need to use:

SerialUSB#baud=9600:
SerialUSB#baud=19200;rts:
SerialUSB#xon:
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 11:15, 05 March 19
I presume that is a utility for your RISCOS macine?

All you need to do now is keep an eye on eBay for a serial interface. The do come up from time to time. As far as I know they are all serial + Centronics adapters. The Amstrad one is called a CPS8256 and there's another one by SCA Systems that has a real time clock in it.

I drew up schematics and did the board layout for a CPS8256 clone but there wasn't enough interest to make it worthwhile to produce. It is designed to connect to the Z80 bus that my uIDE device uses, so could be fitted internally or externally using the uIDE expansion port adapter. Take a look: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:CPS8256_3D.PNG

Cheers
JonB
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 13:15, 05 March 19

All you need to do now is keep an eye on eBay for a serial interface. The do come up from time to time. As far as I know they are all serial + Centronics adapters. The Amstrad one is called a CPS8256 and there's another one by SCA Systems that has a real time clock in it.


Err yes, thing is I don‘t have an edge connector port so it has to be a Schneider branded CPS 8256. AIU none of the UK versions would fit without extensive modifications.
They do come up on ebay as well but prices vary from around 50 to 90 EUR. Not exactly a bargain.
I’ve saved my search and turned on email notifications but not expecting anything soon.

Quote
I drew up schematics and did the board layout for a CPS8256 clone but there wasn't enough interest to make it worthwhile to produce. It is designed to connect to the Z80 bus that my uIDE device uses, so could be fitted internally or externally using the uIDE expansion port adapter. Take a look: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:CPS8256_3D.PNG (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:CPS8256_3D.PNG)


I read about that too (and the possibility of adding an RTC chip which would be even nicer to have!) but I was under the impression that you gave up on it (understandably) due to complete lack of demand?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 13:55, 05 March 19
That's correct.

This unit can be fitted to the Z80 socket using a shim. I did not add a RTC to it because the board size prevents it (RTC could be put on a different board, though).

The Serial / Parallel port was supposed to be the first in a series of add-ons that use the "Z80 bus" - essentially all 40 pins of the Z80 processor - and there are shims and expansion port connectors that expose this bus. You would then connect your devices - like uIDE, or the serial parallel port - to the bus and put the FIDs in the boot disk's User 0 area.

The problem is that while the uIDE is reasonably easy to build (and get components for), the serial / parallel ports use the Z80 DART and i8253 timer, both of which are not exactly common or cheap. I wanted to clone the original design so that the existing CP/M Plus drivers work.

So the upshot is, it would not be cheap to produce, or sell; and as there was ZERO interest in it (despite me putting it up on the uIDE page and talking about it) I let it go. That said, I did the board layout and routing so it might be in order to get a fabrication house to knock up some boards for testing... just haven't had time yet.

(Update: When I searched eBay for the 8253 I looked for "i8253", but if you look instead for "8253 timer" you get more results. But you are still going to pay ~£10 for these two chips alone, and that's before you buy the other components and board.)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 01:16, 07 March 19
So what’s the deal with CP/M 1.15?
Fitted my Gotek drive (love it but more on that tomorrow) and played around with 1.15. It doesn’t really want to load, blanks the screen with apparently nothing going on. This being a floppy *emulator* I forced an abort by simply deselecting the disk image. This seems to be the only way to finish booting.


(https://i.postimg.cc/NF7MSwMw/2-B228-EE3-FB41-488-E-9477-0-B64-B1028096.jpg)




It’s trying to load something not present on my 8256, isn’t it?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 01:42, 07 March 19
Exactly.

We use version 1.15 (as in 1 point fifteen) for loading JonB's driver for his uIDE system.   This version is one (as well as later versions) that will do this.

At a point near the end of the process of loading the .EMS system file, the just active prog will look to see if there are any .FID (or .FIB) files available to load, and if it finds any, then it will load and activate whatever.   For example, the driver for the uIDE , or your dir listing shows I think A35.xxx which is a disabled (by renaming) driver for a 3.5" drive as A: (prob activate by renaming as A35.FID, the similar .FIB files are more to do with changing the speed settings for the drives which is a little more specialised).

So, at this point, the EMS prog is looking for any .FID file.   BUT, it's looking on A:, and there may not be enough CP/M loaded for it to tell the difference.

Jon may know more about this, and might be able to advise, but until you can get this sorted you'd be better to use an earlier version of the system that does NOT seek a .FID file.

However, looking at your screen, the EMS does seem to have completed it's load, and you have got a working CP/M, so it may not matter.   Depends on what would normally happen AFTER any .FID file(s) load

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 02:07, 07 March 19
Thought as much, thanks.
Well I was going to explore the depths of this machine tonight but man, I‘m tired!
Being able to finally load something other than the operating system or Locoscript really is fun though:


(https://i.postimg.cc/L88Nvt4x/378-D86-A2-96-E8-4-A1-E-A1-A0-02164-CC07477.jpg)


Enough for today, I’m off to bed!
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 02:26, 07 March 19
I'm pretty certain that AFTER trying to load any .FID file, then the system will look for PROFILE.SUB and run that.   So, if the process drops out, then it might fail to do anything with PROFILE.SUB, which might be a problem.

That could be all, though?

On my PCW, loading the .EMS loads the uIDE driver.   The process THEN runs PROFILE.SUB, and this includes commands running from drives C: and I think J: (on the uIDE drives).   So CP/M is fully active, and the uIDE drives are fully active.

Your DIR listing shows PROFILE.ENG, which is a renamed (disabled) PROFILE.SUB, there is no PROFILE.SUB active now.   If you rename .ENG to .SUB you might test this?

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 10:01, 07 March 19
Try by all means, but I think if there is no PROFILE.SUB it just returns to the CCP prompt.  Function 17 of the BDOS is called "Search for first" and it's used to locate the directory entry matching the passed in file name: http://www.gaby.de/cpm/manuals/archive/cpm22htm/ch5.htm#Function_17

So it's looking for a FID or FIB file (actually, any file that has a file type that begins with .FI). Not finding one shouldn't cause an error, so there is something odd going on. Maybe your Gotek is not properly configured..
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 23:19, 07 March 19
Well I got nowhere, tried every possible permutation and failed miserably.
Even substituted J14CPM3.EMS or J12DCPM3.EMS with either J12CPM3.EMS, J15CPM3.EMT or J15CPM3.EMS from here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/nc100-nc200-pcw-pda600/cpm-plus-1-11-1-5-download/msg141771/#msg141771 (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/nc100-nc200-pcw-pda600/cpm-plus-1-11-1-5-download/msg141771/#msg141771)


Always starts booting, then stops looking for a fid file in A>
Apparently fooling CP/M with an empty text file named test.fid doesn’t work either.



Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 23:38, 07 March 19
That's not right.

You refer to J14...   Is that one of the original system files (in effect, version 1.04)dating back to mid 80s.   If so, that version knows nothing at all about FID files, and will NOT be looking for one.

Please refer to the version ## that appears on the screen with the initial startup screen.   The number indicated by the filename is NOT reliable, as in it needs some 'translation'!!

Maybe you've tried a version 1.14 (i.e. the version immer prior to the 1.15 you tried) and that one may well know about .FIDs.

Looking for a FID is hard-wired into the system file, from a certain point onwards, and NOT before.

Details on John Elliott's web site, but this isn't 100% reliable.   John has not been able to check EVERY version (nearer to all with CP/M than with Loco) and when he says that FID support startes at version xx, it MIGHT have been a version just before that John has never seen.   Fair do!

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 00:57, 08 March 19
That's not right.

You refer to J14...   Is that one of the original system files (in effect, version 1.04)dating back to mid 80s.   If so, that version knows nothing at all about FID files, and will NOT be looking for one.


Err that’s kinda the point. Neither J12DCPM3.EMS (early German version by Schneider) nor J14CPM3.EMS support FID files but boot on my 8256.
J12CPM3.EMS and J15CPM3.EMT (as uploaded by you!) support FIDs but don’t boot on my machine. Renaming *.EMT to *.EMS doesn’t help either.



Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 01:11, 08 March 19
P.S.: just found out what A35.fib and B35.fib stand for:


http://www.habisoft.com/pcwwiki/doku.php?id=en:hardware:perifericos:datatwin8 (http://www.habisoft.com/pcwwiki/doku.php?id=en:hardware:perifericos:datatwin8)


Makes perfect sense, when you think about it. Cp/M is looking for 3.5“ drives A & B.

Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 01:21, 08 March 19
Hello,

I'm losing track of just what you're trying to achieve here.  Need to go back a step or two and clarify?

I understand that you're trying to boot from the Gotek, but when you use later version of the system (as in .FID enabled) then you have a problem, as the system file (EMS or EMT is irrelevant) tries to load a FID but cannot find one and reports an error which it should NOT do (if it does not find a FID file it should just continue and NOT report an error).   This problem is something that needs investigation, but maybe not immed?

To get past this problem, suggested you use an older version of the system which does NOT use FIDs.   This should go right to PROFILE.SUB, and should NOT try anything re FID.   Are you saying such a system file is STILL looking for a FID?  Or what?

The old J14 system (actually 1.4, really 1.04 on later numbering) should be OK, and should NOT be looking for FID.   Did this work OK with the Gotek?

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 01:27, 08 March 19
Booting isn’t the problem, „pre-fid“ files work fine.
It does however mean that fitting an uIDE upgrade isn’t an option.


Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 01:34, 08 March 19
The FIB file is similar to the FID.

As far as I understand things, the FIB is used primarily to change the speed of the drive.   Not quite sure why.   I think that's it's more of a performance thing.   I have a 3.5" drive attached (as an option) to my PCW as B: and I've never used a FIB, so it's being presented exactly as a 3" CF2DD drive would appear.   Maybe the use of a FIB might run it a little faster, but it works fine as is.

If you use a DS drive with a 8256, then you may well need something to avoid problems, as there's code in the system which expects a SS drive as A: and will report an error with a DS disk.   Maybe you could have a file A35.FID as well, regarding this, but I think a file A35.FIB is for speed only.   I've looked at the code in such a file and the message on loading refers to speed, IIRC.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 01:45, 08 March 19
Aha, you're worrying about the NEXT bridge?

Hopefully, by then, we'll have worked out where the problem is coming from.  And 'sorted' it.

The FID system is totally optional.   By design.   If there is no FID, this should be perfectly OK, and the system should proceed untroubled to the next step.   It should NOT be reporting an error.   Maybe the Gotek is confused about something, maybe there is something wrong with the file found, but the message you illustrated (a number of postings ago) suggests file not found.

NB creating a dummy file would not help.   The FID has a very specific format, incl CHK, and a faulty file WOULD inevitably generate an error.   Better to have NO file at all.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 02:03, 08 March 19
Need to dig into this further, but I note that the problem error message is:

BDOS ERROR 17  Invalid Drive A:

while trying to find the *.FI? file

This is while using the J15 system, but please confirm, what 'format' of Gotek image are you using for this?   Is this an A: image (178k) or a B: image (703k)?   Maybe the system is getting confused.

I had problems when I was trying to use my 5.25" drive as A:.   I had discussions with John Elliott.   Seems that Amstrad kept changing the code to check the drive types, and depending on the circumstances, some variants worked better than others.   Got it working by using a version even earlier than 1.04 which did allow an effective patch to the system to disable the 'sided' check.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 02:05, 08 March 19
Thanks for the explanation, much appreciated!
I think part of the confusion is really due to the fact that SD Microsystems sold me J15CPM3.EMS both on physical media as well as in digital form. No wonder the floppy didn’t work (whereas the Schneider system discs did)! So now my legitimately purchased DSK won’t boot, that’s just not cricket.
Luckily the digital download only cost me a moderate GBP 2 but the floppy was actually a bit dear when you include „airmail“ shipping (which only took around ten days). Harrumph.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 02:18, 08 March 19
Good point re image size!
All my regular DSK files are 178K. My image handling tool was unable to load the DSK as provided by SD Microsystems, complaining the file was „too large“ (DD and EDSK aren’t supported).
Doesn’t mean I can’t copy the file to USB of course. The disc did seem surprisingly large under CP/M as well though, show.com reporting „486k“ (free?) space.


I did however copy the *ems/emt file to my regular sized discs without much success.




P.S. a DSK also by SD Micro is „cp/m utilities“ which is 700 something k. This isn’t bootable or anything but works fine on my 8256. So obviously the Gotek can handle these.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 02:34, 08 March 19
More interesting.

The SD Microsystems disk is clearly a B: (703k) image and this would appear as a B: disk and this may well trigger disk type problems.   The image may have the same?

I boot my PCW from a 3" disk (normal A: format, normal boot sector) using J15, and this boots fine, and loads the .FID for uIDE fine, and then proceeds OK to the PROFILE.SUB.

Something in your setup is triggering the format/sided conflict.   I guess.  This is there to protect the user of the 8xxx series where the A: and B: drives are different, and is being - maybe - a little over-protective?   Which is why Amstrad kept changing the code/mechanics of the 'protection' to try to refine the check better.   But they never allowed for Gotek!!!   Which can happily be both formats at once!!!

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 03:00, 08 March 19
Regarding the images.

No problems regarding the real PCW, as the uIDE drives mean I'm OK for space.

I also use the Joyce emulator on my PC, and this needs B: type images, which can be created easily within Joyce.   The system includes a .FID for accessing PC drives/folders as virtual HDs (just like the uIDE drives on the real thing).   I assume that B: images could be emailed to you easily if you need any?   How does the Gotek (technically an A:) cope with B: type images, maybe it gets confused as CP/M says it's drive A: (device 0) but the format info on the disk (sector 1) says it's a B: format??

But once the system is booted, you might flick an A/B switch and tell the machine that the Gotek is B:, select B: within CP/M, and happily use B: images with 4 times the capacity??

Maybe not much point, if Gotek A: gives you xxx virtual A: disks.   Even less point if (when) you get the uIDE drives active!!   13 @ 8Mb - gee - Thanks Jon!!

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JohnElliott on 12:22, 08 March 19
I suspect the Gotek may be appearing to the PCW as a 3.5" 720k drive. In which case, it might be best to try booting from a 720k disc image with an A35.FIB file on it.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 16:30, 08 March 19
To try this, you'll need to use one of system files J14 or J15 (v1.14 or 1.15, or they may show as 2.14 or 2.15).

And rename A35.XXX to A35.FIB.   Not sure of how this affects the Gotek, but it may be more a matter of setting something so that CP/M recognises the drive correctly.   Prob best done with the original disk image you received, which may have boot code that will work with a double-sided disk.   The boot code on a normal disk (A:) is coded to read a SS disk.  Only.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 17:20, 08 March 19
Wow, this is getting complicated.

I am surprised at the FID loading error and can tell you that if a FID is malformed, it is ignored. Found this out yesterday when checking the GET-XDRV.BAS program that is listed on the uIDE wiki page - it doesn't work with the later FID, so I've updated it. Anyway, when I say "ignored" I mean "with no error". So it must be something at a lower level and I think this point about the image size / type is bang on the money.

I know there are other people using GoTeks on a PCW, I wonder where they've gone? I do have a GoTek here but I haven't started using it yet (it's destined for a Superbrain II).

What happens if you put an image of a single sided disk on the Gotek? And does it have any sort of configuration that allows you to set the drive type, or is it getting that from the image file?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 18:08, 08 March 19
Well renaming the A35.XXX file didn’t get me far. Renaming doesn’t work (Disc I/O). Copying to M and renaming does. Copying it back does however not (Error: make file nonrecoverable - a35.$$$)
Trying to remove restrictions doesn’t seen to work either:
set a35.*[rw] „Invalid file“


I also copied it to a regular disc image, also replacing the working j14 file with J15CPM3.EMS and rebooted.
It did boot but got stuck later. Forced yet another abort by deselecting the virtual disc. Machine froze but the status line was revealing:


(https://i.postimg.cc/3RmmRJNM/9-A7-B2-E90-10-DB-411-A-B945-FC0-EF95-E6-F46.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 18:13, 08 March 19
Re Gotek behaviour


Ultimately it’s going to be down to the software running on the Gotek: FlashFloppy.
I had a long hard look at the Github page earlier today but couldn’t find anything helpful.
Doesn’t seem to distinguish between different drive/image specs.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 18:44, 08 March 19
Hello,

Just to clarify..

Your screen says '2 disk drives'.  What are they, and how are they connected?

The system is structured around certain rules, i.e. A: is SS and B: is DS, etc.  These rules might be bent a little, if certain provisions are made.   Still seems like your machine is finding things that it doesn't like, or cannot cope with.   Things that COULD be OK, if everything is consistent.

I don't think there is anything 'wrong' re the Gotek.   I suspect it's down to what the PCW expects to see, what the Gotek (and/or the image being used) actually presents, and how the PCW might be able to cope with any inconsistencies.

Any chance you could send me a copy of the boot disk you got, the one that gives problems.   I've got no interest in the files, already got everything, but I would like to look at the data/code in the boot sector.

Oh, the pic you show doesn't show the status line.   Just the startup text, but no A: prompt, so boot has not finished.   Is this booting from an actual disk, or from an image/Gotek?

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 19:24, 08 March 19
Sorry for the misleading use of terminology! Since mine‘s a single drive 8256 (and working CP/M copies report this correctly) the „2 disc drives“ statement is interesting. If the OS expects to find two DD 3.5“ floppies, there’s something quite wrong. TBH I’m beginning to suspect the disc image is actually meant for later series 9000 machines.


Happy to send you the image for further investigation!
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 19:44, 08 March 19
Thanks.

Yes I'd like to see the file.  You could just ZIP it, and attach to your next message here.

The version of CP/M you got is certainly intended for a 9xxx series machine, but it will still work fine on an 8xxx one.   We're using it fine with the uIDE.   I don't know how different the boot code might be, which is one reason I'd like to see the image.

If your machine has just the one drive (I assume then that the Gotek is fitted as A: and there is no B:) I don't know why you get a message saying there are 2 drives.   The message is created on the fly, based on what the loaded system finds, and should be accurate.   There must be some reason why it sees 2 drives when there is in fact 1.   This fact may shed some light in the general problem.

One thing I can do is to reset the Joyce emulator from 8256 to 9512 and then try to boot from your image.   The emulator may have the same problem as your PCW?

As I noted in an earlier message, I boot my 8256 from an A: disk (178k) with the J15CPM3.EMS file  (the EMS or EMT is irrelevant and this can be renamed as needed to suit the boot sector code).   I've usually got my 5.25" B: attached, so I get '2 disk drives' showing ok.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 19:49, 08 March 19
Interesting stuff about booting an 8256 with a 9512+ image via floppy emulator:


Quote

The 8000 PCWs expect a boot sector with checksum 255, while the 9000s expect checksum 1. This is calculated by simply adding up all the bytes in the sector. When I look at the boot sector, there are zero bytes at the addresses & 000A to & 000E, so I wrote a & FE at & 000E.


Instead of beeping three times Joyce is now booting up - and is hanging. For a short card from the floppy emulator, back in, [R] etry and after the setdef [ALT] + [C] press to interrupt the PROFILE.SUB, because the 8000er the command DAISY is not good.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 19:52, 08 March 19
Hope this works:


https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZXBeq7Z7nzDMlT5djRNJrEOFwdrzyI8MTxV (https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZXBeq7Z7nzDMlT5djRNJrEOFwdrzyI8MTxV)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 20:19, 08 March 19
Hello,

Thanks for image, which I've got through OK.

Initial look, XDPB info seems fine.   Boot sector code looks OK, but not compared yet.   I note that this code shows the *.EMT hardcoded, at some time (later) this changed to *.EM? I suspect.

Lot of deleted SYSTEM files in DIR, I guess you got rid of a lot you didn't immed need.

I'll try to boot it in Joyce later.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 20:27, 08 March 19
That's the file as sold, no modifications by me.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 22:02, 08 March 19
Well, not good news.

Given that I'm LOOKING for a problem, and thereby some hints how to fix something.

However, I've tried the image as a boot disk within Joyce, and it works perfectly.   The system has loaded fine, reported things as should be, given me the A: prompt, and the system operates as normal.   So, no hints.

I tried to rename A35.XXX to A35.FIB, and this works fine.  No complaints.

The only other thing I can see to do would be to create an A: image with the same files on (or most of them, there's not space for all) and make sure that the image is correct (as I see it) and test that Joyce boots it OK and send you the image to try.  If your machine is getting the idea that it's a 9512, when you make a new disk there you may be getting something not quite right?

Any use?

Edit:  I restarted the boot with A35.FIB present.   The FIB loaded fine, and reported
'Pinboard Computers 3.5 inch Drive A:'
Although this makes no difference to anything within the emulator.   A: worked fine before, still works fine.

I then restarted Joyce as an 8256 using a normal boot disk, and loaded your image as B:.   The image worked fine as B:


Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 23:00, 08 March 19
Most odd. I just thought I might be making some progress when this file booted with minor hiccups:


(https://i.postimg.cc/NMfyPy5x/FF270409-B205-4-BC8-9-AE8-62-B729318-AD2.jpg)


But unfortunately:


Quote
PCW 2.1 Supplied with the PCW9512.
  • Support added for the PCW9512 and its daisywheel printer.
  • Does not include code to load *.FID drivers.
  • Floppy drive support altered to support a system with a 720k drive A:. Also some tweaks made to floppy interrupt handling, perhaps to cope with slight hardware differences.[/l][/l]
[/list]
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 23:15, 08 March 19
So, system was looking for PROFILE.SUB.   Is there a PROFILE.SUB on that boot disk?

The matter of the startup showing '2 disk drives' worries me.

If there is only one drive, then this is OK, but the system should recognise this.

When you get the A: prompt, and you then type B: and press enter, what happens.  Please describe in detail what you see on the screen.   You should get a B: prompt, and a message about swapping disk in the drive.

I'm wondering if there is something wrong with the wiring for your disk, so that the machine thinks both A: and B: are in fact there when in fact they're not, and insofar as they MIGHT be there, they are in fact different when the system logic assumes they are the same thing?

Geoff

Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 23:22, 08 March 19
I tried a slightly different approach which (much to my surprise) seemed to work with another 1.15 image.
Gave it a shot with the one I sent you and voila:


(https://i.postimg.cc/66zm2Fr2/01-EE0-C02-22-DD-4-F27-B003-5-FA16-DBC5-BD8.jpg)


Still had to temporarily unmount the image but on re-insertion „retried“ which is apparently sufficient, go figure?
Not sure whether everything’s working as it should but it’s certainly some progress.





Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 23:31, 08 March 19
Well it’s not that great, suddenly I seem to get a lot of disc errors on almost every other virtual disc. Rebooting into 1.2 or 1.4 immediately fixes this.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 23:45, 08 March 19
Aha - the screen image you show just now, shows '1 disk drive' and it shows the 'Drive is A:' in the bottom right of the screen.   When the system was showing '2 disk drives', what was it showing lower right?

You might have an intermitant cross connection between the two drive select lines?   When they're shorting, the computer thinks there are two drives, when they're not, it sees one only.   Between the system seeming to work, and it later not working again, was the cable, or anything, moved that might have caused a problem?   The problem with this 'guess' is that the actual lines in the cable are NOT adjacent, there is an unused line between them (at least) so it would need some major damage to cause such a problem.   Did you start trying to do anything to make an A/B switch, that might have gone wrong?

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 00:02, 09 March 19
There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with the wiring as such. No switches, loose cables etc. At least I didn’t spot anything. I definitely didn’t move the machine either (apart from switching on and off a few times).
Maybe I never noticed but I don’t remember seeing „two drives“ before.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 00:09, 09 March 19
Any chance you could post some pics of how the Gotek is connected?

Also, there's a jumper on the Gotek, relating to which drive it is emulating.   I assume you've got this jumper on correctly for DS0 (i.e. A:) as opposed to DS1 which would be B:, and there's no chance of any 'short circuit' here.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 00:16, 09 March 19
Looked back thru your pics.

Pic in post #58 shows '1 disk drive
                 #79 says 2
                 #89 shows 1
                 #91 shows 1

So maybe the 2 in #79 is an oddity?  But it's come from somewhere???

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 01:35, 09 March 19
Just tried to recreate the conditions as above by placing J15CPM3.EMS and A35.FID in a regular sized disk image but the error didn’t reoccur. Briefly swapping the image file in and out allowed boot to finish by selecting (R)etry. As before this did lead to instability however with many disc images becoming unreliable. Not a magic wand it would seem.


TBH I can’t muster the necessary enthusiasm to take the machine apart again just now. No pictures I’m afraid! Still waiting for the 8512 to arrive though, which should be here any day now. I’ll probably swap the Gotek over then and take some pictures and all.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 01:38, 09 March 19
Here’s a shot showing my Gotek by the seller:


(https://i.postimg.cc/vTxwb6Xy/078-C62-B0-A614-415-E-AF22-663998-B33-D33.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 16:23, 09 March 19
If someone has a suggestion how to change the drive belt on an EME 232 without taking the drive apart I‘m all ears. I managed to get the old one out but further disassembly has proven impossible without cutting wires.


(https://i.postimg.cc/Kv2GPRKQ/09511-FE2-2983-4-C6-C-AE40-E31-E04-F7-C602.jpg)



 
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 16:33, 09 March 19
There should be no reason to 'cut' any wires, although to get right in you may need to disconnect a couple of connectors, but these can be reconnected.

Need to remove some screws connecting board to chassis.

Here's a description of how to do it, which might help.   Not enough pics though?

http://web.archive.org/web/20160325090634/http://pcwpage.co.uk/replace-belt-on-3-drive/ (http://web.archive.org/web/20160325090634/http://pcwpage.co.uk/replace-belt-on-3-drive/)

Another version, with more pics:

http://www.fvempel.nl/belt.html

I managed to get into mine to replace belt, but mine also has a pin for write protect, which I wasn't watching.   I heard the ping when it fell out!   I managed to find it, and keep it, but someone else kindly got the pin back in place while fixing the stepper motor.

Enough others here have changed belts though.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 17:09, 09 March 19
Well I was only half joking but this DD drive has me defeated.


There’s a set of two thin wires soldered to the PCB on one side:


(https://i.postimg.cc/s2FTnQWH/CAEDA9-F0-BC1-C-459-A-9009-BAC2390993-A7.jpg)






And on the other side these two are actually clamped onto the PCB in at least two places:


(https://i.postimg.cc/2SLHFF1B/5769465-A-FE86-4891-ACCA-E7-D2902-A06-B0.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 17:21, 09 March 19
You’d think this was some kind of gynaecologist joke but I actually managed it!


Well at least the belt is now in situ. Hopefully nothing out of alignment et al.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: tjohnson on 18:51, 09 March 19
You’d think this was some kind of gynaecologist joke but I actually managed it!


Well at least the belt is now in situ. Hopefully nothing out of alignment et al.
You can lift those clamps and move the PCB away from the chassis and it gives you enough room to get in there as I guess we've probably worked out by now. 
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 20:13, 09 March 19
Success!




(https://i.postimg.cc/7L110Rts/D54284-AC-E896-43-C7-B5-E8-6-C526615-B756.jpg)


And it gets even better!




(https://i.postimg.cc/k5PFVCsR/F3-BF9674-676-A-4097-9-E0-B-52-CF7-C26-FAD0.jpg)


Using the CP/M 1.15 disc from SD Micros!

Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 10:08, 10 March 19
So I guess the 8256 will be in the bin, then.

I am going to be making up some uIDEs soon, if you're interested. You'll need a LHS shim connector, as I do not support the Schneider expansion plug. There are pictures showing an example installation: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/UIDE_Universal_IDE_adapter_cards_for_Z-80_computers#Fitting_a_Z80_shim_to_the_PCW_8000_series

With the ribbon cable coming out of the case at the bottom right hand corner, you can access the DOM; alternativevely, fit it internally.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 13:35, 10 March 19
Well maybe not in the bin although the missus would no doubt fancy that!
But it has become quite obvious that there's more behind the 8256's problems reading certain discs or images. I don't think it has anything to do with the original disc drive or Gotek. Interestingly I was unable to create start up disc (images), even the one auto-generated by Protext failed. Loading the vde and zde installer failed (unable to load program) and even trying to start a copy of vde already set up for the PCW (kindly uploaded by you!) failed at first. Just to add to the confusion it then started from a different disc image, both on the same usb drive.

Jack Tramiel allegedly ridiculed Apple's decision to originally sell its Apple ][ with a single floppy drive. I fully agree. If you're just going to use Locoscript and print out your award winning novel, that's fine. As soon as you start using CP/M however, you'll really miss that second drive. Having to constantly pip stuff (including pip and erase) from A: to M: and back easily quadruples your workload. Not counting for typing errors of course.
So while the new (to me) 8512 isn't in quite as good a cosmetical condition as its smaller sibling it's certainly a better and far more capable machine.

I haven't swapped the Gotek over just yet (actually I've just finished tidying up the room again) but that's going to be next.

A uIDE card would also make a tasty update, so yes: I'm interested. Not sure if it would fit the Schneider metal shielding though. It does wrap quite tightly around the board.       
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 13:58, 10 March 19
P.S.: what does one use for Ctrl in VDE/WordStar on the PCW? "Alt KX" just gives an "invalid command" and freezes the entire program.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 16:57, 10 March 19
Hello,

I don't know about VDE, but I've used WordStar on my PCW, and configured the system for the PCW, and not had any problems.   Alt K X is the normal 'Save & Exit (backup)' command, which works fine.   For me.

For simple text editing, I use ED80 as supplied with some of the HiSoft software (mainly the DevPack package).   My copy of this has been substantially setup to use WS commands as well, and again Alt K X does the same job.   

I understand that the Alt key usually does the same as Ctrl.   The PCW manuals show the standard keyboard operations, and the chart for Alt + whatever show ^A or ^D etc for the alphabetic keys which is the normal representation for 'ctrl'.

I can recommend the ED80 program, which works very well.   The prog is small, and written in assembly, so it's quite fast.   All the keyboard functions can be user config, so my setup has some cursor codes changed from the WS norm to suit the PCW keyboard.

WS can be useful.   ED80 loads the whole file into RAM, so the limit is about 45k, but if I need to edit or view something larger, then WS does the trick.  Using non-document mode, of course!

Oh, when you say that WS hangs up, this could be nothing to do with WS as such, more something connected with the return to the command prompt.   What sort of file were you editing?  How was WS invoked.   Need to check on quite a few things.

Geoff
Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 18:02, 10 March 19
Regarding WS, I've just been into my setup.

When I tried to type Alt K X to come out, I got some strange things happen, and I ended up needing to restart the computer.

I didn't see an 'Unknown Command' message mind you.

However, if I do the Alt K, then wait for the menu screen to change, then do the X to exit, things work perfectly OK.

Maybe WS isn't fast enough, or isn't accessing any keyboard buffer properly.  Need to look into this.

Using ED80, I can type Alt K X as fast as I can, and this prog responds immed with no errors.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 14:12, 11 March 19
Sorry for the delay, had to install the Gotek on my 8512 first in order to start VDE. ^KX still giving me the „invalid key“ treatment though. As soon as I hit the character „K“ I get an error message. According to my printed manual Alt+K equals Alt code 26 (arrow right).


Checked the VDE manual for alternatives and yes indeed:
Quote
II. FILE AND BLOCK COMMANDS: first hit ^K (or ESC), then the key shown.

So typing „EXIT-X“ works as well but still not sure what the real issue is.


P.S: thanks for mentioning ED80, I’ll give it a try.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 21:38, 11 March 19
As per the usual definition, and confirmed by the PCW manual, Ctrl+K (or Alt+K) should be 11 (&H0B).

As I noted, I'm not familiar with KDE so I cannot comment on that.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 23:03, 11 March 19
Having just tested WordStar 4 I can confirm ^KX works exactly as it’s supposed to. Seems to be a peculiarity of VDE then, maybe JonB would know something about this?


Anyway, just finished copying a variety of CF2 floppies to 22 virtual discs. Ah the joy of watching paint dry!
No, actually I *am* enjoying this. Good thing it won’t be like this in the future though.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JohnElliott on 10:02, 12 March 19
VDE, by default, is configured to use ^H / ^K / ^J / ^L as cursor keys. This is configured in the installer (VINST266.COM) under "Terminal installation" > "Extra arrow keys".
This isn't possible in the older VDE26, only in VDE265 / VDE266.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JonB on 19:07, 12 March 19
For my part, I loathe WS keystrokes, they are so counter intuitive.

I would much rather use "vi". Except, there is no workable implementation for CP/M that is fast enough on a 4Mhz Z80.

It's on my "to-do" list - has been for some years. I have a slow clone called STevie (written for the Atari ST; it became the basis of vim) which I ported to CP/M but it's waaaay too slow. There is also one written by some guys at comp.os.cpm called (IIRC) 's' but it uses all but 6k free, so it's not really usable for files that are any bigger.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 12:44, 13 March 19
VDE, by default, is configured to use ^H / ^K / ^J / ^L as cursor keys. This is configured in the installer (VINST266.COM) under "Terminal installation" > "Extra arrow keys".
This isn't possible in the older VDE26, only in VDE265 / VDE266.


Thanks for the explanation, that makes sense. Unfortunately the whole situation isn’t helped by the awful German keyboard layout. I mean NO BACKSLASH, seriously? There are some truly weird keyboard combinations to get around this but of course they’re not recognised by any program.
Switching to „language 0“ helps but using English on a completely non-standard German keyboard, well...
Using a label printer tends to look terrible, maybe I’ll just substitute my keyboard for a UK version.


Since they all interchange (AFAIK): are they all as terrible or are later keyboards better for actual typing?
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 12:50, 13 March 19
For my part, I loathe WS keystrokes, they are so counter intuitive.

I would much rather use "vi". Except, there is no workable implementation for CP/M that is fast enough on a 4Mhz Z80.

It's on my "to-do" list - has been for some years. I have a slow clone called STevie (written for the Atari ST; it became the basis of vim) which I ported to CP/M but it's waaaay too slow. There is also one written by some guys at comp.os.cpm called (IIRC) 's' but it uses all but 6k free, so it's not really usable for files that are any bigger.


Wasn’t there a CP/M version of emacs? [/phlame]
To be fair, vi(m) isn’t all that „intuitive“ either. It’s what you’re used to, that’s all. Touchscreen interface with drag & drop would be as intuitive as it gets but probably not that useful or efficient when it comes to programming editors.
I miss syntax highlighting but that’s more of a green-screen related problem.  :D
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 13:11, 13 March 19
My favourite editor has to be Zap though:


(https://i.postimg.cc/zXnnGZPW/C6-DAF08-A-00-FE-4-CE9-9-D99-70-F553488-D87.jpg)
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: JohnElliott on 13:36, 13 March 19
Since they all interchange (AFAIK): are they all as terrible or are later keyboards better for actual typing?
I think they're all the same mechanism. The exception might be the Teqniche PCW102, but I've never seen one so I don't know if it would be better or worse to type on.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 16:36, 13 March 19
Here’s a copy of mince (MINCE Is Not Complete Emacs) by Mark of the Unicorn.
I‘ve configured it for the PCW, seems to run fine.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 16:38, 13 March 19
I think they're all the same mechanism. The exception might be the Teqniche PCW102, but I've never seen one so I don't know if it would be better or worse to type on.


Ok probably best to stick to the original series 8000 design then. Keeping the two I have as possible spares.
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: GeoffB17 on 20:12, 14 March 19
I've downloaded the MINCE system, and tried in on my (real) PCW.   Seems to work OK, although it's rather large.   

Just guessing with key strokes/Commands mind you.   Is there a listing I can get at of the main/basic ones?

One of the benefits of a smaller prog like the ED80 I've mentioned is that it can be copied to M: at startup and set as SYSTEM so that it can be accessed from any USER.   Not so important now, for me, as I've got the uIDE drives and progs on (say) C: can be set as SYSTEM for speedy access from anywhere.

Geoff
Title: Re: PCW newbie!
Post by: TynH on 23:30, 14 March 19
MINCE is actually pretty neat for what it is. Thanks to disk swapping you’re not confined to holding data in memory only. If you’re used to Emacs MINCE should feel familiar, although it only supports a small subset of commands. Hardly surprising on an 8-bit system.


https://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~vasily/idl/emacs_commands_list.html (https://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~vasily/idl/emacs_commands_list.html)


I had a look at ED80 but it seemed to be configured for the CPC and felt a bit primitive. There was some other problem, forgot what though.


Having used Arnor’s famous word processor before I’m still fond of Protext.  aybe I should try APED, their cut down version that came with Maxam.