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Thread: Amstrad PCW 8256

  1. #1
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    Default Amstrad PCW 8256

    Hi All,

    I was given an Amstrad PCW 8256 the other day as not working, so I finally took a quick look at it yesterday. When it turns on, the disk drive spins and the light comes on, then the screen comes on and is completely green. I don't have any disks but I'm curious if this is normal before booting or if it should be displaying something. I assume i'll have to do some kind of Gotek solution or find some 3" disks to actually use it, but I'm just trying to figure out if this is a repair project or expected behavior so I can figure out the next steps.

    Thanks!
    -- Brian

    Working Systems: Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA
    Project Systems: Amstrad PCW 8256, Kaypro 2/84 (Bad Chips: 81-194, 81-189).

  2. #2
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    Sounds about right--the screen is graphics only and so needs to load the OS before you really see any text.

    The system does look for a READY/ signal from the boot drive.

  3. #3
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    It's the drive belt that needs replacing.

    Open it up and you'll find the drive belt has melted into a sticky black goo - clean it all up and replace the belts and the machine will boot from disk and clear that bright green screen.

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    He doesn't have any CF 3" disks--and they're pretty hard to come by in the US.

    However, with some care (particularly with the power connector), a 3.5" 720K drive works just fine (you will need that READY/ signal, so a 1.44M drive like an SFD-321B jumpered correctly will also work).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    He doesn't have any CF 3" disks--and they're pretty hard to come by in the US.

    However, with some care (particularly with the power connector), a 3.5" 720K drive works just fine (you will need that READY/ signal, so a 1.44M drive like an SFD-321B jumpered correctly will also work).
    Okay, great, I'll give that a try. I'm assuming there are disks on the net I can just IMD with a PC onto a 720k disk? (meaning not some crazy format like the Mac's that won't image on a PC?).
    -- Brian

    Working Systems: Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA
    Project Systems: Amstrad PCW 8256, Kaypro 2/84 (Bad Chips: 81-194, 81-189).

  6. #6
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    The format is pretty tame with no surprises. But watch out for that power connector! It may look the same as a standard 3.5" power connector (4 pin), but the +12 and +5 lines are swapped. Unless you correct that, you'll let the magic smoke out of any 3.5" drive.

    I'm pretty certain the mod is covered somewhere on the web.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngtwolf View Post
    Okay, great, I'll give that a try. I'm assuming there are disks on the net I can just IMD with a PC onto a 720k disk? (meaning not some crazy format like the Mac's that won't image on a PC?).
    I'd avoid even trying to use a regular 3.5" drive and just go right to Gotek... Although I suppose if you can put in a Gotek you can also put in a 3.5 black drive. Now, can are there disk images to use with the machine via a Gotek or 3.5" drive? Hmmm.
    -- Adrian

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    I can probably create a few 3.5" IMD images if there are none from our UK friends available.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    I can probably create a few 3.5" IMD images if there are none from our UK friends available.
    Let me check around and if I run into problems I'll likely take you up on that. And thanks for the warning about the power connector, I might not have caught that.
    -- Brian

    Working Systems: Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA
    Project Systems: Amstrad PCW 8256, Kaypro 2/84 (Bad Chips: 81-194, 81-189).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterblack View Post
    I'd avoid even trying to use a regular 3.5" drive and just go right to Gotek... Although I suppose if you can put in a Gotek you can also put in a 3.5 black drive. Now, can are there disk images to use with the machine via a Gotek or 3.5" drive? Hmmm.
    Yeah, as you saw yesterday , it doesn't look like either would fit as is, so I'll probably have to do the gotek with a replacement 3d printed mount. For now though I just want to confirm it's working before I proceed on about permanent solutions. It's also possible I don't care that much about actually using it (considering that kaypro, Osborne and even the trs-80 can do CP/M) and might just leave it stock. It's a nice looking system, as is.
    -- Brian

    Working Systems: Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA
    Project Systems: Amstrad PCW 8256, Kaypro 2/84 (Bad Chips: 81-194, 81-189).

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