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Thread: Amstrad PC1640 HD20 Hard Drive

  1. #1
    DarkRain
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    Amstrad PC1640 HD20 Hard Drive

    I have an Amstrad PC1640 HD20 with 16 colours monitor, single floppy (5,3") drive, user manual, original Amstrad utility discs (MS-DOS one boots bad) and the 20 MB HD.

    The machine
    PC1640HD20.jpg

    The floppys
    amstrad_pc1512_9.jpg

    The manual cover
    cover.jpg

    Actually i can't take my own pics, i'll upload them later.

    The HD was broken when i got it. Fortunately i have more than one backup copy of all the data wich was stored on it disk, but with only one floppy drive, using the sistem is painful.
    Actually idk why the HD is broken, probably because it wasn't "parked" when stored away...

    Anyone knows how to repair the disk or where to get a new one (never found it on EBay)?

    Thanks
    DR
    Last edited by DarkRain; 08-20-2012 at 04:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Hello there, you have a descent machine! You cannot easily find a HD for 1640 nor repair it because this is a very old and rare MFM hard drive. What you need is an 8bit ISA-to-IDE controller (google XT IDE project). This is an expansion card that fits in one of the 1640's expansion slots and lets you plug a standard IDE HD, which you can easily find everywhere. This is what i did for my AMSTRAD 1512. check my blog for pictures: http://eightiesbits.blogspot.gr/2010...sk-xt-ide.html http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/...isk_controller

  3. #3
    DarkRain
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    Quote Originally Posted by cauldron View Post
    Hello there, you have a descent machine! You cannot easily find a HD for 1640 nor repair it because this is a very old and rare MFM hard drive. What you need is an 8bit ISA-to-IDE controller (google XT IDE project). This is an expansion card that fits in one of the 1640's expansion slots and lets you plug a standard IDE HD, which you can easily find everywhere. This is what i did for my AMSTRAD 1512. check my blog for pictures: http://eightiesbits.blogspot.gr/2010...sk-xt-ide.html http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/...isk_controller
    Sounds good, thanks! Finally i can get my machine working again... anyway where i can find an 8bit ISA-to-IDE controller? I already have the disc and i think it's 10-10.2 GB. Can i put multiple partitions on it?

    Thanks alot
    DR
    Last edited by DarkRain; 08-22-2012 at 03:16 PM.

  4. #4
    This controller is a do-it-yourself kit. You order the kit it from here http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcfo...=XTIDE+project . You build it yourself or ask them to assemlbe it with an extra fee. I don't know if now they burn the BIOS too. I had to download the BIOS utility to a diskette and burned it inside the AMSTRAD. IF (and this is the tricky part) if you can't write a 5,25 diskette in an other computer, you must transfer the bios utility to the AMSTRAD using a serial interlink cable (25 to 9 pins), dosbox on windows and fxlink DOS utility running in dosbox. see picture: S7301421.JPG Using this cableand utility you can transfer any software to the amstrad. The you partition the HD using the fdisk MS DOS 3.2 in 32 MB partitions, The whole above is quite a task, but i did all of it because i love those old machines. good luck

  5. #5
    DarkRain
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    The cable will be useful, i'd love to transfer more data to the amstrad from my PC and save it on the disk. Actually i may need it... where i can find it?
    I may also need an already-assembled chip because i suck with hardware.

    Thanks alot
    DR

  6. #6
    someone had a ISA CF adapter and an adapter to write to SD cards via parallel port. That would load GEM very fast. GEM was a cut down port of the Atari ST GUI supplied with some Amstrad PCs.

  7. #7
    DarkRain
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    GEM actually is a visual interface based on dos, it looks similar to Microsoft 1.0, the difference is that GEM loads separately and Microsoft 1.0 loads on boot. Anyway you can edit main .SYS file to make it load imediately, but this works only if you have an hard disk. M1.0 had also more options than GEM

  8. #8
    You must find a serial 25 to 9 interlink (or laplink) serial cable. Both ends are females. The 25 pins plugs in the Amstrad, the 9 pins in your desktop. It is easy to built yourself if you have a solder iron. The wiring schematics are here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/142324. It's hard to find so i built it myself. Then you need DOSBOX with proper configured file for serial connection and a program called fxlink to access the amstrad through dosbox. I can give you a configured version of dosbox and the fxlink utility, but for the hardware you are on your own :)

  9. #9
    DarkRain
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    Quote Originally Posted by cauldron View Post
    You must find a serial 25 to 9 interlink (or laplink) serial cable. Both ends are females. The 25 pins plugs in the Amstrad, the 9 pins in your desktop. It is easy to built yourself if you have a solder iron. The wiring schematics are here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/142324. It's hard to find so i built it myself. Then you need DOSBOX with proper configured file for serial connection and a program called fxlink to access the amstrad through dosbox. I can give you a configured version of dosbox and the fxlink utility, but for the hardware you are on your own :)
    Thanks for the software!

    But, as i said, i suck with hardware :( anyway i'll try!

    EDIT: http://www.ebay.it/itm/1M-USB-Male-t...ht_2952wt_1089 what about this?
    Last edited by DarkRain; 08-24-2012 at 06:32 AM.

  10. #10
    No, it will not work with USB. Also that is a simple printer cable. Printer cables or normal serial cables have a different wiring than the laplink cable, altough they look similar.

  11. #11
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    You need an usb-serial adapter and a null-modem cable. With those, you can remotely copy and start the Intersvr/Interlnk files to transfer data between two computers, no need for a working floppy disk nor drive.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by unclejun View Post
    You need an usb-serial adapter and a null-modem cable. With those, you can remotely copy and start the Intersvr/Interlnk files to transfer data between two computers, no need for a working floppy disk nor drive.
    USB serial adapter didn't work for me. I tested it with dosbox under windows xp. Only a db9 serial plug on a desktop PC (or older laptops) will work...

  13. #13
    DarkRain
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    Found!

    http://www.ebay.it/itm/CABLE-SERIAL-...ht_1300wt_1271

    But i need an USB adapter (i don't have any RS232 DB9 Serial port, maybe only one in a Windows 98 PC but idk if it still works)
    Last edited by DarkRain; 08-24-2012 at 10:26 AM.

  14. #14
    Hallo,

    Transferring files between two computers?
    Very easy.
    I am transferring files between my Windows PC and my Amstrad PC-1512 every day!
    I use an RS-232C Null-modem cable with 1 small (for the Windows PC) and 1 large (for the Amstrad PC-1512) connector.
    I bought my cable from http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Computers-And-Electronics-Shop
    You have to have a serial output (RS-232C) on your windows machine!
    You can by a PCI card with one or more serial ports on e-bay.
    On the Windows machine I use Kermit for Windows and on the Amstrad PC-1512 I use Kermit for DOS.
    Sending files between machines is very easy and fast.
    As a bonus I have in the Windows PC an internal ZIP-100 and on the Amstrad machine a have two external ZIP-100 drives. So I can exchange files this way too.
    Don’t let them tell you you can’t use ZIP-100’s on old Amstrad machines. You can if you know how.
    Hope this helps.
    If I can help you, just ask.

    Greetings from The Netherlands,
    Henk SWT
    Last edited by hmjswt; 08-24-2012 at 10:50 AM.

  15. #15
    DarkRain
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    Quote Originally Posted by hmjswt View Post
    You have to have a serial output (RS-232C) on your windows machine!
    You can by a PCI card with one or more serial ports on e-bay.
    I have a very recent notebook, not a PC. I don't have the RS232 here!
    And i can't attach cards here unfortunately.

    Anyway my problem wasn't the cable, but the drive (my 20MB drive is broken).
    I have almost solved with Cauldron help.

    Anyway thanks
    DR

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cauldron View Post
    USB serial adapter didn't work for me. I tested it with dosbox under windows xp. Only a db9 serial plug on a desktop PC (or older laptops) will work...
    You're right, it doesn't work with an usb serial adapter, however I tested with a pcmcia serial adapter and the auto copy of the program http://www.simtel.net/free/System-Ut...ZIP/63068.html worked fine.
    After that the usual file transfer functions worked even with the usb-serial adapter, all done in dosbox from a P4 laptop to a 486 laptop.

    DarkRain, you need a cable such as this: http://www.ebay.it/itm/2-5m-DB9-DB25...item588c892f09
    Last edited by unclejun; 08-24-2012 at 02:35 PM.

  17. #17
    DarkRain
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    I have finally found that cable and i'm going to ask for an assembled XTIDE v2

    DOSBOX with proper configured file for serial connection and a program called fxlink to access the amstrad through dosbox. I can give you a configured version of dosbox and the fxlink utility
    so can you give me that please?

    Thanks
    DR

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkRain View Post
    I have finally found that cable and i'm going to ask for an assembled XTIDE v2



    so can you give me that please?

    Thanks
    DR
    well done! Of course, send me a pm, i will be able to answer and give you the files during the next week.

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