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My old Amstrad's

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    My old Amstrad's

    While we're on the subject of broken things, I used to have an
    Amstrad CPC464 (originally) which had some problems with the
    inbuilt Casette Player. The good thing then was I was able to take
    it to a repair man who was able to get a part for it (95 Aussie
    dollars it costed which was a lot back then), but they had to get
    the part from Sydney (so that may of added a couple of bucks!).

    The irony of the story was that was a computer related problem!
    When I got my Amstrad CPC6128, that also broke down, I took
    it to the same bloke & he told us that he couldn't fix it! So I
    took it to another place & explain that the bug was in the
    monitor, they were happy to have a look & see if they could
    fix it. Sure enough they did! They also explained that
    fixing the problem in the computer monitor was like fixing an
    ordinary TV set!

    Regards.
    Generic and Amstrad CPC based Programs written in Turbo Pascal 3

    #2
    I'm not too familiar with the Amstrad line of machines beyond what I see on other websites from time to time. I've certainly never put my hands on one.

    Is it a relatively common machine outside of the USA?

    Erik
    The Vintage Computer and Gaming Marketplace
    The Vintage Computer

    Comment


      #3
      "Erik" wrote in message:

      Hi Erik,

      > I'm not too familiar with the Amstrad line of machines beyond
      > what I see on other websites from time to time. I've certainly
      > never put my hands on one.

      > Is it a relatively common machine outside of the USA?

      Yes, the Amstrad CPC computer was built in the UK (I should
      imagine) & was perhaps very popular in UK & most of Europe.

      You're perhaps familar with the Amstrad CPC Plus which
      came out in early '90s? It unfortunately was never
      released in Australia, just UK & Europe which was out
      to compete with the Amigas & Atari ST based computers.
      It also had a cartridge port (just like the C64s) which
      the earlier CPCs didn't have & BASIC and a game
      (Burnin' Rubber) came with the machine. The Plus
      also had some additional features over the old CPCs
      like the 4096 colour palette & hardware sprites. But
      I love my old CPC6128 regardless.

      My CPC6128 was came out in 1985 has 128kb of memory,
      the 3" disk drive is perhaps the strangest thing about it
      (still the CPC6128 Plus still had one & so did the Amstrad
      PCW computers that was designed for some serious
      business users!). On top mine has had a couple of 5 1/4"
      disk drives which comes in handy (since 3" disks are
      hard to find), unfortunately 5 1/4" disks are getting
      harder to find too! Still I have plenty of them.

      Basically the Amstrad range of computers were marketed
      via the various distributors around Europe & Australia
      (as well as anywhere else they many of gone too). I
      majority of the community though perhaps come from
      UK & Europe. The French at one time were very interested
      in this machine in terms of producing seemily impossible
      demos on this machine. Some people would say that
      quite a few games from the Spectrum were brought
      over to the Amstrad because quite a bit of the graphics
      in the games on the Amstrad resembled those from
      the Spectrum, but I suppose with the Spectrum being
      a Z80 & the Amstrad CPC computers being Z80 it was
      the quickest way. The Amstrad have much more
      superior graphics.
      Amstrad also brought out the Spectrum & well selling
      them at one stage (after the CPC computers were
      released).

      But that's about all I know.

      Regards.
      Generic and Amstrad CPC based Programs written in Turbo Pascal 3

      Comment


        #4
        Hi CP/M User I had the American version of the Spectrum computer
        the Timex-Sinclair 2068.Only around 60,000 of these were made and Timex pulled out of the Microcomputer market because of poor sales.
        Still it was a good 8 bit machine.I Think that Sir Clive Sinclair later came
        out with his QL (Quantum Leap) computer with the 68000 microprocessor.
        I did hear something about the Amstrad computers buying out Sinclair in the U.K.
        MY IDEA I wish that there was a G.U.I. keyboard one that could be programmed by an application to display icons or text on each Key\'s L.C.D. screen.

        Comment


          #5
          Jon Jarmon"

          > Hi CP/M User I had the American version of the Spectrum
          > computer the Timex-Sinclair 2068.Only around 60,000 of these
          > were made and Timex pulled out of the Microcomputer market
          > because of poor sales.

          > Still it was a good 8 bit machine.I Think that Sir Clive Sinclair later
          > came out with his QL (Quantum Leap) computer with the
          > 68000 microprocessor.

          Here's the details about the Sinclair QL.
          http://www.old-computers.com/museum/...asp?st=1&c=199
          It uses a 68008 processor to be persise!
          If I've read the website correctly the CPU is 32bit based.

          > I did hear something about the Amstrad computers buying out
          > Sinclair in the U.K.

          Yes. I'm not sure as to when, but was sometime in the late '80s
          (but may have been as early as 87). The Sinclair based computers
          that Amstrad built were to use the 3" disk (which was standard in
          the Amstrad CPC & PCW computers).

          In the end it may have been a good thing for the Sinclair machines
          to continue on, however I'm not sure what earlier users would have
          thought about this.

          Cheers.
          Generic and Amstrad CPC based Programs written in Turbo Pascal 3

          Comment


            #6
            Sinclair QL and the 68008

            Originally posted by CP/M User
            Jon Jarmon"

            Here's the details about the Sinclair QL.
            http://www.old-computers.com/museum/...asp?st=1&c=199
            It uses a 68008 processor to be persise!
            If I've read the website correctly the CPU is 32bit based.
            The 68008 could be thought of as an 8/32-bit architecture (by the same token, the 68000 would be classed as 16/32, as would the i386sx) - internally, the registers are 32 bits, but externally, the data bus is 8 bits and the address bus is, IIRC, 20 bits.

            Programs written for the 68000 will run on a 68008 unmodified, as long as instruction timing isn't critical - with the 8-bit bus, things take somewhat longer to fetch.

            I worked for a company in the 1980s and 1990s that made 68000 and 68010-based VAX peripherals. We had a prototype of a 68008 design of our flagship product for the DOS world, but it never left the engineering bench (I have all 4 of them!). At one point, it was a handy way to make a cost-reduced 68000-compatible product, but Motorola eventually came out with their 68330 family of chips complete with lots of goodies stuck right in the CPU package (up to and including multiple serial ports with one fast enough to be used as a 10mbps ethernet port using an external level converter). That and the falling cost of memory spelled the end of the bottom end of the 68000 line.

            -ethan

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Sinclair QL and the 68008

              "erd" wrote in message:

              >> Here's the details about the Sinclair QL.
              >> http://www.old-computers.com/museum/...asp?st=1&c=199
              >> It uses a 68008 processor to be persise!
              >> If I've read the website correctly the CPU is 32bit based.

              > The 68008 could be thought of as an 8/32-bit architecture (by
              > the same token, the 68000 would be classed as 16/32, as would
              > the i386sx) - internally, the registers are 32 bits, but
              > externally, the data bus is 8 bits and the address bus is,
              > IIRC, 20 bits.

              > Programs written for the 68000 will run on a 68008 unmodified,
              > as long as instruction timing isn't critical - with the 8-bit
              > bus, things take somewhat longer to fetch.

              'Fraid I don't know anything about instruction timing. I
              suppose if they varied & instruction timing was in everything
              it would be a big issue. I suppose it's like a C64 which has
              a 6510 CPU, but would have compatibility with anything for
              a 6502 (which would mean that a C64 could run Vic-20 software).

              > I worked for a company in the 1980s and 1990s that made 68000
              > and 68010-based VAX peripherals. We had a prototype of a 68008
              > design of our flagship product for the DOS world, but it never
              > left the engineering bench (I have all 4 of them!). At one point,
              > it was a handy way to make a cost-reduced 68000-compatible
              > product, but Motorola eventually came out with their 68330
              > family of chips complete with lots of goodies stuck right in
              > the CPU package (up to and including multiple serial ports with
              > one fast enough to be used as a 10mbps ethernet port using an
              > external level converter). That and the falling cost of memory
              > spelled the end of the bottom end of the 68000 line.

              Oh Dear!

              Regards.
              Generic and Amstrad CPC based Programs written in Turbo Pascal 3

              Comment


                #8
                interprocessor compatibility

                Well... the C-64 and VIC-20, to be specific, are only *mostly* compatible. The exact clock frequency is slightly different, the C-64 video chip steals cycles (which is why the screen has to be blanked to use the tape drive), the RS-232 constants are different, and the code to talk to them over the IEC bus has to be slightly different (thus the 1540 vs the 1541 disk drives).

                These are the sorts of things that instruction timing affects. The same sorts of issues would come into play if, for example, you wanted to migrate a software-UART routine from an Amiga to a Sinclair-QL... Same processor family, but between bus width, fetch times, graphics overhead, etc., it's not a pure copy job - there's some rework involved.

                -ethan

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: interprocessor compatibility

                  "erd" wrote in message:

                  Hi Ethan,

                  > Well... the C-64 and VIC-20, to be specific, are only
                  > *mostly* compatible. The exact clock frequency is
                  > slightly different, the C-64 video chip steals cycles
                  > (which is why the screen has to be blanked to use
                  > the tape drive), the RS-232 constants are different,
                  > and the code to talk to them over the IEC bus has to
                  > be slightly different (thus the 1540 vs the 1541 disk drives).

                  That's horrible. And to think lots of Amstrad Tape games have
                  loading screens (there's one game I know of, which has this
                  sub-game which you can play while the main game is loading).

                  No wonder I didn't know anyone with a C64 & Tape Drive!

                  The only case I've seen where the Amstrad needs to blank
                  the screen (when loading a game), is when data is being
                  loaded into the Screen Memory (to save the data being
                  displayed onscreen!), once that's done, it's possible to move
                  the data somewhere else in memory & run the game.

                  <snip!>

                  Cheers.
                  Generic and Amstrad CPC based Programs written in Turbo Pascal 3

                  Comment


                    #10
                    To be fair, a lot of C64 games on tape had loading-screens. In fact, I think most original games had (though I haven't tried every original C64-game ever and measured up the ones with vs. the ones without loading screens ). A lot even had small scrollers and music running. Heck, I even have one game - Starquake - which lets you play space invaders to the music of Rob Hubbards "One Man and his Droid" while loading the main game.

                    Oh, BTW, CP/M User: The Amstrad CPC series were mostly built in Korea - but sold mainly in Europe. And the diskdrives and disks for the 664 and 6128 (plus the Amsclair Spectrum +3 and the Amstrad PCW series) are really good, if you ask me. Much better than the 3.5" floppies still in use today.

                    Of course - nostalgically speaking (to me at least) - nothing beats 5.25" disks ..
                    Thus spake Thomas Hillebrandt
                    www.thomashillebrandt.com

                    Comment


                      #11
                      "Thomas Hillebrandt"

                      > To be fair, a lot of C64 games on tape
                      > had loading-screens. In fact, I think
                      > most original games had (though I
                      > haven't tried every original C64-game
                      > ever and measured up the ones with
                      > vs. the ones without loading screens LOL.
                      > A lot even had small scrollers and music
                      > running. Heck, I even have one game -
                      > Starquake - which lets you play space
                      > invaders to the music of Rob Hubbards
                      > "One Man and his Droid" while loading
                      > the main game.

                      Generally those sorts of loaders look to
                      the hardware. How do you mean you play
                      space invaders to the music?

                      > Oh, BTW, CP/M User: The Amstrad CPC
                      > series were mostly 'built' in Korea -
                      > but sold mainly in Europe. And the
                      > diskdrives and disks for the 664 and
                      > 6128 (plus the Amsclair Spectrum +3
                      > and the Amstrad PCW series) are really
                      > good, if you ask me. Much better than
                      > the 3.5" floppies still in use today.

                      Yes that correct. Actually (let you in on
                      a little secret), the disk drives need a
                      drive belt after a while (what happens
                      is the old belt becomes too lose & the
                      computer starts to complain about the
                      disk being missing when the disk is in
                      the drive. Some of the newer 3" disks
                      (or discs) which were made are as
                      good as the earlier thicker ones too!

                      But yeah, their okay!

                      > Of course - nostalgically speaking (to
                      > me at least) - nothing beats 5.25" disks
                      >

                      Well yeah!

                      Cheers.
                      Generic and Amstrad CPC based Programs written in Turbo Pascal 3

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by CP/M User
                        Generally those sorts of loaders look to
                        the hardware. How do you mean you play
                        space invaders to the music?
                        Just that you can play a Space Invaders clone, while the music is playing also...So generally the computer is "fully occupied", even though it's loading from tape...

                        Originally posted by CP/M User
                        Actually (let you in on
                        a little secret), the disk drives need a
                        drive belt after a while...<snip>
                        I know...When I got my DDI-1 drive, the belt needed changing, and the same is the problem with my PCW9512...Thankfully this can be done fairly easily...Well, sort of...
                        Thus spake Thomas Hillebrandt
                        www.thomashillebrandt.com

                        Comment


                          #13
                          "Thomas Hillebrandt" wrote in message:

                          >> Generally those sorts of loaders look to
                          >> the hardware. How do you mean you play
                          >> space invaders to the music?

                          > Just that you can play a Space Invaders
                          > clone, while the music is playing also...
                          > So generally the computer is "fully
                          > occupied", even though it's loading from
                          > tape...

                          Sounds quite a complicated thing for a 6510
                          to do.

                          >> Actually (let you in on a little secret), the
                          >> disk drives need a drive belt after a while...

                          <snip>

                          > I know...When I got my DDI-1 drive, the
                          > belt needed changing, and the same is the
                          > problem with my PCW9512...Thankfully this
                          > can be done fairly easily...Well, sort of...

                          Do the 5.25" drives on a C64 have any
                          problems like that?

                          Cheers.
                          Generic and Amstrad CPC based Programs written in Turbo Pascal 3

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by CP/M User
                            Do the 5.25" drives on a C64 have any
                            problems like that?
                            I'd guess that almost all belt-driven floppy drives will require a belt during their service life. Another thing I've been taught is that the belt spindles require cleaning if they aren't smooth. Imperfections on these can cause read and write errors.

                            Erik
                            The Vintage Computer and Gaming Marketplace
                            The Vintage Computer

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by CP/M User
                              Do the 5.25" drives on a C64 have any
                              problems like that?
                              Personally, I've never experienced it, with any of my Commodore drives, be that 1541, 1541-II, 1541C, 1570 or 1571 (phew!)...But if they're belt-driven, like Erik says, they probably will need a new belt eventually. I can't remember right now if they are, though (it's been a while since I had a drive opened). It could be that the disk is spun by the motor directly (like in newer 3.5" drives)...But then, wouldn't that be awfully advanced for 20 year old drives??? I know that Amiga-drives are belt-less, but prone to failure. Especially - it seems - the drives in the Amiga 500. I have three different versions of the Amiga 500, and all had faulty drives. Luckily I got my hands on some dead Amigas with working (or in one case, semi-working) drives, so that was good spares...
                              Thus spake Thomas Hillebrandt
                              www.thomashillebrandt.com

                              Comment

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