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My old Amstrad's

CP/M User

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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.
 

Erik

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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
 

CP/M User

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"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.
 

Jon Jarmon

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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.
 

CP/M User

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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/computer.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.
 

erd

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Sinclair QL and the 68008

Sinclair QL and the 68008

CP/M User said:
Jon Jarmon"

Here's the details about the Sinclair QL.
http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.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
 

CP/M User

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Re: Sinclair QL and the 68008

Re: Sinclair QL and the 68008

"erd" wrote in message:

>> Here's the details about the Sinclair QL.
>> http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.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.
 

erd

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interprocessor compatibility

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
 

CP/M User

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Re: interprocessor compatibility

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.
 

Thomas Hillebrandt

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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.

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 :wink: ..
 

CP/M User

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"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.
 

Thomas Hillebrandt

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CP/M User said:
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...

CP/M User said:
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...
 

CP/M User

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"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.
 

Erik

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CP/M User said:
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
 

Thomas Hillebrandt

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CP/M User said:
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... 8)
 

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"Erik" wrote in message:

>> 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.

Haven't heard of any belt spindle problems
associated with the 3" drives the Amstrad
uses. The drive belt seems to be the main
issue. Naturally this happens when the belt
loses it's tension.

Cheers.
 

CP/M User

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"Thomas Hillebrandt" wrote in message:

>> 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... 8)

Generally with the Amstrad drives, since I
used to collect many Amstrad magazines,
generally you'd get this information every
once in a while relating to the drive belt.

Naturally with the since the internet provides
a community of Amstrad users (along with
everything else), drive belts are sometimes
talked about (even the FAQ gives some
information).

Cheers.
 
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