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Old 30 May 2016, 02:39   #1
Retrofan
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I need a copy or original floppies for Amstrad PC3086

Hi:
I've got an Amstrad PC3086 but I don't have the disks. It seems it came with a System disk and also a MS-Dos 3.3 disk and another. I would like to have at least a copy of the System one as I really need it.

I will pay for your work and sending of course.

I actually only have a screen full of squares and then some text that doesn't have letters -font- but rare characters.

All of these problems seem to happen when you change the battery as I did.

I've tried also with the PCem emulator, but it behaves similar: it asks for the System disk that I don't have. I've tried different images or making my own, but it wants another System disk. I've searched everywhere and only You with the original floppy could save me making a copy for me

Thanks in advance.

Edit: I edit this post to attach the System disk, as there is nowhere to find it.
Attached Files
File Type: rar System Disk.rar (259.6 KB, 28 views)

Last edited by Retrofan; 02 November 2017 at 02:41.
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Old 30 May 2016, 03:00   #2
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Ups... I've found a place with the right images: http://foro.vieju.net/index.php?acti...sa=view;down=4

I will try to make my floppies -if I can-.
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Old 30 May 2016, 10:24   #3
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Hello Retrofan,

You probably already know this software but you could try using "OmniFlop" to write the images back to disk: http://www.shlock.co.uk/Utils/OmniFlop/OmniFlop.htm

It definitely supports Amstrad:

Code:
 34. Read and write Amstrad AMSDOS Data format, single & double-sided.
 35. Read, write, and format Amstrad CP/M format.
 36. Read and write Amstrad AMSDOS System format, single & double-sided.
 37. Read and write Amstrad AMSDOS System/Data DS and Data/System DS formats.
I used to use this to read / write FM Towns floppy disks
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Old 30 May 2016, 11:44   #4
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Thanks a lot. In fact today I will search for a program to make the copy. I tried yesterday copying all the files to a 720kb formatted floppy, but it didn't work.

I was thinking that maybe the floppy drive of the Amstrad is bad, but I think some info has to be missing making it this way from the img file.

So now I was searching and reading about RawWrite, but I will try yours instead.
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Old 30 May 2016, 20:09   #5
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The floppy disk I've made isn't loaded. I think it is the floppy drive fault.

Do they use a belt?

Edit: No, they don't... but I think they don't use either a floppy disk metal plate inside of the drive.
This is after taking it out now.


Last edited by Retrofan; 30 May 2016 at 20:49.
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Old 30 May 2016, 20:18   #6
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try
Quote:
The PC3086 supports 5.25" and 3.5" drives. As with the other PCs, the floppy cable does not have a twist; but unlike the other PCs, the floppy cable can itself be replaced with a normal (twisted) cable. Therefore you can either switch jumper settings, or replace the cable.

The DEVICE utility allows drives to be set up as 360k, 720k or 1.4Mb. This is set up using the DEVICE command:
DEVICE SETFD /D:0 /T:0 -CSet drive A: as 360k, no changeline.
DEVICE SETFD /D:0 /T:1 +CSet drive A: as 720k, with changeline.
DEVICE SETFD /D:0 /T:2 +CSet drive A: as 1.4Mb, with changeline.
I have experimented with replacing the original cable in a PC3086 with one with a twist, and using a high-density drive (TEAC FD-235HF) as drive A:. This works, but the drive activity light remains permanently on. The reason for this is that the twisted cable swaps both DRIVE SELECT and MOTOR ON lines; whereas what's really wanted for a PC3086 is one that only swaps the DRIVE SELECT line.
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Old 30 May 2016, 20:51   #7
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Thanks a lot. I've edited my post though. There was a "gift" inside the floppy drive.
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Old 30 May 2016, 21:37   #8
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Good news. The floppy loads right now. But remember that my screen is full of garbage all around.



I have a prompt (it seems, lol), so I can type Device like I did for the photo.

Now I have to see what to change and how to make that without seing anything.

I think I will try with the Pcem emulator to know what to do exactly.
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Old 30 May 2016, 21:41   #9
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I think this computer is on his last moments.
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Old 30 May 2016, 22:11   #10
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Yes, it can be. The screen keeps the same changing the Device (to VGA or others) from commands.

I would like to know what the problem is though.
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Old 31 May 2016, 06:48   #11
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maybe oldish capacitors or faulty RAM modules....
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Old 31 May 2016, 13:22   #12
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Looks like a RAM or a bus problem.
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Old 31 May 2016, 18:57   #13
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Thanks a lot for the inputs, I need them. I think it would complain with beeps if it was ram. I only have one beep and that seems to be normal (Edit: I don't know why, but now I don't have any beep without any inserted disk even), just asking to insert the disk. It doesn't make any beep with the floppy inserted. Also this model didn't have separated simms for the ram. I don't know where the ram is.

I've dismantled it and cleaned it all with isopropyl alcohol. No cap looking wrong. I've unpluged the boards and also the chips on sockets. But it keeps the same.

When I first connected it with the keyboard a week ago the screen was black -no squares all around-, but the letters without font. After changing the dip switches it has (4 of which only the second needs to be On as the manual says) and changing the battery again, I've got this garbage on screen.

I've read somewhere that the clock battery (a bad system using a Dallas one) stores the Bios settings -and maybe more than you can change from software- in a chip and if you change it you lose the data.

I've also seen that you can use the old battery with this mod:
http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/...ttery-chip.htm

Also in this site: http://www.mcamafia.de/mcapage0/dsrework.htm

Searching for info I've found this:

Quote:
...Como hayas perdido la información del Dallas original... date por perdido también. No te arrancará el ordenador, no sólo por que no tiene la fecha o la info del disco duro (es lo de menos) si no, por que no tiene la dirección de los puertos del ordenador, es decir, el ordenador cuando arranca, no sabe a que dirección debe acudir para mirar, por ejemplo el teclado.
Translation:
If you've lost the original Dallas info... you are lost too. The PC won't start, not only because it doesn't have the date or the HD info (not so important), but because it doesn't have the PC port adresses. That is to say that the PC when it boots it doesn't know what adress to go to look for. For example the keyboard.


That's why I was thinking now to make the battery fixing (I keep the original Dallas one) and try with that one instead, to see if it keeps the chip info.

Also there is a HD, but it seems it doesn't find it as I've even tried to format it without success. To me it's all caused by the clock battery losing the chip configuration info.

Edit: I've seen now that the B: drive -that is the 5.25 floppy drive- now isn't detected as it was before.

I know it's hard to give any advice -and I really like to have any- as it's very difficult to find the cause of the problem. To me it's like a case of Sherlock Holmes with little evidence and where we have to find out who killed the Amstrad.

Unfortunately I've only discarded the butler by now...

Last edited by Retrofan; 03 June 2016 at 18:24.
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Old 03 June 2016, 18:27   #14
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I've received some input from John Elliot:

Quote:
It looks as if the video RAM might be faulty, or perhaps the data path to it.

If you can find an 8-bit VGA card, you could disable the onboard video
and use the add-on card instead. If that works then it would definitely
indicate a problem with the onboard video chipset.
It seems to me that when he talks about "the data path to it", it can be caused by the Clockport battery chip, and when he talks about the video ram, that can be solved using an 8 bits ISA graphics card board.

I've just bought an ISA 8bit VGA graphic card: http://www.ebay.es/itm/RARE-8-Bit-16...3D262427572849

The Amstrad has two boards inserted. One seems to be for DB15 joystick ports, and the second one, no idea. It doesn't have any conector to outside either, maybe some ram board?.
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Old 03 June 2016, 18:58   #15
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Maybe post some photos and people may be able to identify?
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Old 03 June 2016, 20:59   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamienD View Post
Maybe post some photos and people may be able to identify?
Ups, I was wrong. The card I thought didn't have connectors is the one with the joystick ports. The other over it is the controller for the HD.

Edit: Well, at least searching and searching for info, I've found this site: https://www.lo-tech.co.uk/

But well, first I've got to fix the Amstrad before looking for ISA add-ons. If I get the Amstrad working I would also look for an HxC floppy drive if it works for it.

There are few videos on Youtube about Amstrad's PCs, and none showing them using a HxC (there are about Amstrad CPC ones).

Edit:
I've made the mod with the clock battery today. The battery works, but the screen keeps the same. Next I will try with the VGA ISA card.

Last edited by Retrofan; 05 June 2016 at 20:44.
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Old 10 June 2016, 01:41   #17
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Just to tell that I use to turn the Amstrad on everyday, but today it doesn't start, it doesn't show anything on screen and it doesn't respond when inserting the System floppy disk either.

So a chip must be faulty. I wonder which is it.
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Old 16 June 2016, 13:32   #18
Retrofan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2325 View Post
I think this computer is on his last moments.

Not so dead now, after inserting the VGA ISA card:




Now I will install the Windows I've got with the floppies of a PC2086


Last edited by Retrofan; 16 June 2016 at 13:52.
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Old 16 June 2016, 13:49   #19
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Awesome; well done
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Old 16 June 2016, 13:53   #20
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Thanks.

I've got an amstrad mouse that connects to the D9 connector. What shall I select here?:



Eit: Ok, it was the first option. But I have to install another Windows, this is too old.

Last edited by Retrofan; 16 June 2016 at 15:07.
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