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kepla
June 16th, 2003, 04:57 AM
I recently acquired an old Amstrad NC200 notepad - 16-line display, Z80 processor, 720 Kb 3.5" floppy, serial & parallel ports. I was wondering if anyone had tried porting CP/M onto one of these machines, or knew of any reason why it wouldn't be possible ?
At the moment I'm working on some dumb terminal software and an infra-red interface for it to use as a remote terminal to a mains-powered CP/M box, but would really like to run CP/M on it natively.
Any ideas, anyone ?

CP/M User
June 16th, 2003, 05:35 AM
"kepla" wrote in message:

> I recently acquired an old Amstrad NC200
> notepad - 16-line display, Z80 processor,
> 720 Kb 3.5" floppy, serial & parallel ports.
> I was wondering if anyone had tried porting
> CP/M onto one of these machines, or knew
> of any reason why it wouldn't be possible ?

> At the moment I'm working on some dumb
> terminal software and an infra-red interface
> for it to use as a remote terminal to a
> mains-powered CP/M box, but would really
> like to run CP/M on it natively.
> Any ideas, anyone ?

Sure I'd like to think so.

I just hope it has the right amount of memory
& relatively easy to create a boot disk for this.

The Amstrad CPC version of CP/M Plus might
be your best bet at getting CP/M Plus working
on it. Some of the programs might be an issue
on it if the NC200 doesn't support things like
Firmware (like the CPC computers do).

Unfortunately, I don't really know if the size of
the screen matters in CP/M Plus, you might
have to modify CP/M Plus file in order to
correctly display it. On the CPC CP/M Plus
works in 80x25 text mode.

All the Best.

kepla
June 16th, 2003, 07:10 AM
I just hope it has the right amount of memory & relatively easy to create a boot disk for this.
128 Kb should be okay, but getting it to boot off the floppy might be 'interesting'. Normally, the NC200 just uses the floppy for file storage - FAT so it is DOS compatible. Problems ?

Some of the programs might be an issue on it if the NC200 doesn't support things like Firmware (like the CPC computers do).
The NC200 supports its own firmware, but I don't think this will be relevant to CP/M. Would I be better off porting standard CP/M 2.2 ?

Unfortunately, I don't really know if the size of the screen matters in CP/M Plus, you might have to modify CP/M Plus file in order to
correctly display it. On the CPC CP/M Plus works in 80x25 text mode.
I'm hoping I can just define a terminal profile which matches the NC200 display size, like I would in normal CP/M.

CP/M User
June 16th, 2003, 03:31 PM
"kepla" wrote in message:

>> I just hope it has the right amount of memory &
>> relatively easy to create a boot disk for this.

> 128 Kb should be okay, but getting it to boot off
> the floppy might be 'interesting'. Normally, the
> NC200 just uses the floppy for file storage - FAT
> so it is DOS compatible. Problems ?

Interesting, you have a DOS file compatable storage
system & a Z80 processor! If it's 100% FAT
compatable then yes it should be bootable.

>> Some of the programs might be an issue on it if
>> the NC200 doesn't support things like Firmware
>> (like the CPC computers do).

> The NC200 supports its own firmware, but I don't
> think this will be relevant to CP/M. Would I be
> better off porting standard CP/M 2.2 ?

No well, the programs I was referning to are pretty
much custom made for the Amstrad CPC (I was
thinking in terms of the programs which come with
the Amstrad CPC version of CP/M Plus).

That's another issue I see on it's own. CP/M has it's
own Filing System, in order to get it to support FAT,
it will need to be modified (that might be a big job
in itself).

>> Unfortunately, I don't really know if the size of
>> the screen matters in CP/M Plus, you might
>> have to modify CP/M Plus file in order to correctly
>> display it. On the CPC CP/M Plus works in 80x25
>> text mode.

> I'm hoping I can just define a terminal profile
> which matches the NC200 display size, like I would
> in normal CP/M.

Yes, well I don't see that as a too big a hassle.

Cheers.

kepla
June 16th, 2003, 04:58 PM
Interesting, you have a DOS file compatable storage system & a Z80 processor! If it's 100% FAT compatable then yes it should be bootable.
It is compatible to the extent that you can move files between the NC200 and PC either way by floppy, so it is basically FAT-12. I'm not too sure what disk controller chip is - I'll look. The floppy drives appear to be similar to those used in the ACT Apricot. I don't think the NC200 has any built-in mechanism for booting from floppy - might this be a problem ?

No well, the programs I was referning to are pretty much custom made for the Amstrad CPC (I was thinking in terms of the programs which come with the Amstrad CPC version of CP/M Plus).
I'm not too worried about specific application programs. A standard set of CP/M utilities, and dev system progs with some compilers should suffice.

That's another issue I see on it's own. CP/M has it's own Filing System, in order to get it to support FAT, it will need to be modified (that might be a big job in itself).
Once the NC200 was booted into CP/M then I guess the disk format would be controlled by CP/M. I don't have any hang-ups about disk compatibility - serial transfer does fine for me.
I get the feeling that the biggest issue will be getting the NC200 to actually boot into CP/M - and this is the one thing I don't really have experience in ! Anyone like to help ?

CP/M User
June 16th, 2003, 05:36 PM
"kepla" wrote in message:

>> Interesting, you have a DOS file compatable
>> storage system & a Z80 processor! If it's
>> 100% FAT compatable then yes it should be
>> bootable.

> It is compatible to the extent that you can move
> files between the NC200 and PC either way by
> floppy, so it is basically FAT-12. I'm not too sure
> what disk controller chip is - I'll look. The floppy
> drives appear to be similar to those used in the
> ACT Apricot. I don't think the NC200 has any
> built-in mechanism for booting from floppy -
> might this be a problem ?

It may. It depends on how the BIOS manages the
Floppy Disk & power up. I suppose one good way
to tell would be to power up the computer & put
the disk in it to see if it trys to read the floppy.
However, if my suspections are correct & the
software used, when the machine is turned on is
in the ROM, then there's no real way of booting
up CP/M.

However someone has already written a form of
CP/M for the NC100 notebook which may help
you understand how to get CP/M Plus on your
NC200. Unfortunately the name of it escapes
me. It should be on ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/amstrad/
though.

>> No well, the programs I was referning to are
>> pretty much custom made for the Amstrad
>> CPC (I was thinking in terms of the programs
>> which come with the Amstrad CPC version of
>> CP/M Plus).

> I'm not too worried about specific application
> programs. A standard set of CP/M utilities,
> and dev system progs with some compilers
> should suffice.

>> That's another issue I see on it's own. CP/M
>> has it's own Filing System, in order to get it
>> to support FAT, it will need to be modified
>> (that might be a big job in itself).

> Once the NC200 was booted into CP/M then
> I guess the disk format would be controlled
> by CP/M. I don't have any hang-ups about
> disk compatibility - serial transfer does fine
> for me.

Then you'll need disks in that format, Or a
program to format those 3.5" into what
CP/M reconises.

> I get the feeling that the biggest issue will
> be getting the NC200 to actually boot into
> CP/M - and this is the one thing I don't
> really have experience in ! Anyone like
> to help ?

Could do. But since someone has written a
form of CP/M for the NC100, then it should
be possible to do one for the NC200!

Cheers.

kepla
June 17th, 2003, 04:28 AM
However someone has already written a form of CP/M for the NC100 notebook which may help you understand how to get CP/M Plus on your NC200.
Found it ! 'ZCN' The NC100 needs to have a PCMCIA memory installed and it is loaded via a serial link into a permanent ramdisk on the card. It seems that an autorun program kicks off the boot loader. It reputedly also works on the NC200 (I have both, but prefer the 16 line screen of the NC200 over the 8 line NC100).

Then you'll need disks in that format, Or a program to format those 3.5" into what CP/M reconises
As ZCN boots of the memory card, it doesn't need the floppy. This also seems to be the one piece of hardware not supported by it - - - - - -yet ! :twisted:
So, thanks for helping with the link you gave. It looks like there'll be some interesting times ahead. Here's hoping ZCN users are welcome in CP/M groups.