Fresh Amstrad CPC, PCW, Notepad NC100 NC150 NC200 and PDA600 news





Latest Youtube Videos :

dustin by Retro Danuart
friday the 13th by Xyphoe
After Burner by ChinnyVision
starboy by Amstrad Maniaque
ranarama by Zeusdaz
Reino del Color (el) by Xyphoe
Reino del Color (el)
Space War by Xyphoe
Aigle d'Or - Le Retour (l') by Amstrad Maniaque
nemesis the warlock by Amstrad Maniaque



Next-Generation Speech Synthesizer for the Amstrad CPC 464 by Michael Wessel

-

This Next-Generation Speech Synthesizer for the Amstrad CPC 464 by Michael Wessel started with a breadboard and now a PCB. For the moment, they are 4 videos of the interface card on Youtube :

It uses an Emic 2, the other components in the design are : Atmega 328 for implementing a parallel (CPC) to serial interface, to bride from the CPC to the Emic 2; a 74LS373 flip flop, 2 G16v8 PLD's for address decoding and generation of the chip select signal, and some other gates. The hardware extension is at address &F9E1. The speech synthesizer requires almost no driver, since the microcontroller and the Emic 2 are implementing an intelligent interface. The Basic program shown in the videos is implementing a simple protocol, but basically, to talk to the speech synthesizer, one only needs to write bytes to port address &F9E1 (e.g., using OUT in BASIC). Interestingly, the interface from the CPC's parallel data bus to the Atmel was tricky to implement.

It isnt compatible at the momeent with the other Amstrad CPC synthesizers : Dktronics and SSA-1. Emic 2 requires Start- (S) and End-Token (CR) - whereas Dktronics and SSA-1 simply send the allophones. Emic 2 works buffered, asynchronously, Dk'tronics and SSA-1 work synchronously. To make it compatible with SSA-1 and Dk'tronics, it would a) need to translate between allophone bytes and Emic 2 "equivalents", and b) figure out start- and end-token and shuffle them into the data stream (maybe based on a speech pause timing criterion). Not so obvious. Speech won't be synchronous, but maybe doable.?





New version of Arnold, the Amstrad CPC emulator by Kevin Thacker

-

Arnold build 20170513 is the new version of the Amstrad CPC emulator by Kevin Thacker.



Amstrad Sang pour Sang by Zisquier, the Amstrad CPC music with some metal added in it

-

Thanks to the Facebook Amstrad.eu CPC 464 / 664 / 6128 group, I stumbled on the r Zisquier youtubber who dont hesitate to remix Amstrad CPC music in metal mode. Will you recognize Barbarian, Nebulus and Antiriad ?

Dont hesitate to look for his other gameplay videos of Amstrad CPC games.



Caprice Forever v2017-5, an Amstrad CPC emulator by Frédéric Coste for Windows

-

Caprice Forever v2017-5 by Frédéric Coste is a modified version of the Caprice emulator (by Ulrich Doewich) for windows.

  • Add cheat script keywords
  • Fix FastFDC crashes when trying to read multi-sided disk image
  • Play CSW tape images
  • Convert WAV to CSW tape images (see Hints)
  • Fix game controller detection issues (Xbox 360)
  • Fix FDC write sector issues
  • Fix FDC read sector regression (Dimension6)
  • Use « Keep original aspect ratio » option for fullscreen display
  • Add PlayCity audio channels
  • Fix minor bugs



Nemesis the Warlock, remixes of the original music by Rob Hubbard, and video gameplay

-

Another game with Rob Hubbard music : Nemesis the Warlock with a gameplay video by Amstrad Maniaque.

They are 2 nice remixes of this music :





Samdisk v3.8.10 by Simon Owen, Amstrad CPC disks tranfers on PC

-

SAMdisk v3.8.10 by Simon Owen is out since the 18th December.

The utility supports transfers between floppy disks and disk images, and is designed to work with almost any soft-sectored disk format compatible with the PC floppy controller, including some copy-protected formats.

Low-level floppy device access requires the fdrawcmd.sys driver to be installed.

  • added read and write support .qdos (QL) disk images
  • added --irregular option for blind output image if first track isn't regular
  • added --fill to set filler byte for regular formats
  • fixed setting perpendicular mode for 1Mbps data rate
  • fixed reading directly to single-sided formats from a:/b:
  • fixed short data indicator showing on no-data sectors
  • fixed raw output not using source format fill byte for missing sectors
  • changed raw output to allow blank head 1 to mirror head 0 format

There is also a Samdisk 4.0 beta version on github for windows, linux and MacOS.



Restoring and modding an Amstrad CPC 6128 by C-E with photos

-

After the reparation of an Amstrad Notepad NC200 by C-E, it's the turn of the reparation and modding of an Amstrad CPC 6128 (copy and paste of a CPCWiki message with the permission of C-E, thanks to him).

Last time I went to Spain I was digging in my old bedroom, that is basically a time capsule that takes you back to the 80s/90s, and I found my original CPC 6128 hidden in a closet along with the color monitor that came with it. There was also an old PC PSU I was using to power the computer, a 3.5" drive, a few home made cables... It seems that I put everything there when I was given a bunch of Pluses for free in 1997. After that, I was mainly using a 6128 Plus. The poor guy was pretty battered: very yellow keyboard that is probably not original (those keys look like coming from a Plus); a crappy ABBA switch hanging from a pair of cables; lots of scratches here and there...

However, despite its condition, this Amstrad is still very important for me. I spent my childhood with the machine, me and my friends played countless games on it, I used it to program a lot of crappy stuff and a few "games"... in summary, lots of great memories. So, when I came back to UK I brought the guy with me to restore and mod it :)

This is what I am planning to do:

  • New caps
  • Dual OS
  • Centronics ports
  • ABBA switch (a decent one)
  • Reset switch
  • 5VCPC
  • Floppy drive restoration

and, if possible, internal RAM expansion.

Externally nothing will change besides the little hole for the reset switch and the case modification required to fit the Centronics ports. It will look like a Schneider 6128.

façade avant de l'Amstrad CPC CPC 6128

façade avant de l'Amstrad CPC 6128 et switch

arrière de l'Amstrad CPC 6218

So... I finally had time to do something with my old 6128. It is still a work in progress but I thought that I could give you an update and show some pics :) . The first thing I did was just to remove the board from the case and clean it a bit. Here is how it looked before cleaning. It is a 6128 board version 2.

carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128 après nettoyage

Then, I removed all the electrolytic caps, the 40015 and the solder that was filling the holes for the centronic ports. To remove the 40015 I simply cut the pins and then they were removed one by one. I was using the old good braid all the time. Here is the stripped board.

carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128 sans les condensateurs et le 40015

Before going on, I think that it is worth saying that it is NOT necessary to remove all the electrolytic caps in a CPC 6128. The only one that can be problematic if you install the 5VCPC is the cap near the power socket. Bryce found that if it is not OK the computer will likely reset. I just decided to replace them with high grade new ones because I felt like doing it, nothing else :) . In any case, if you decide to change the electrolytics, pay attention to one that is near the AY, it is a 50V 1uF NON POLAR cap.

The next step was to prepare the socket for the dual OS. I followed this tutorial from Bryce that describes all the necessary steps in great detail. This is my modded socket :

socket pour la ROM DUAL OS de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

After this I recapped the board and soldered the socket in place :

condensateurs et puce 40015 réinstallés sur la carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

Finally I installed the new ports. I attached them to the board first using screws and nuts and then I soldered the leads. There are quite a few, but it is still a reasonably fast process.

ports centronics rajoutés sur la carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

ports centronics rajoutés sur la carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

ports centronics rajoutés sur la carte mère de l'Amstrad CPC 6128

And it seems that it works... :)

l'Amstrad CPC 6128 en état de bon fonctionnement



Three clones of the Dk'tronics mouse interface left, created by Bryce and made by Talrek

-

There are still three clones left of the mouse interface sold for 27,50 € (France) or 31,50 € (worldwide). They are made by Talkrek, it's a clone of the Dk'tronics mouse interface created by Bryce.



Not without my Amstrad, an article in a spanish newspaper about Amstrad Eterno 2017

-

I am late, but No sin mi Amstrad is an article by Álvaro Corazón Rural with pictures by Jelena Arsic seen on Jot Down web site an also in a paper edition it seems. It's an article about the Amstrad Eterno 2017 meeting which held in Barcelona on the 18th March 2017.