Archives of Genesis8 Amstrad Page from 1999 to 2020 about hardware, page 1 / 18





Another ISA board for the Amstrad PPC by Enide, video by Retro Erik

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There is already an ISA interface for Amstrad PPC done by Retro Theory. Retro Erik let us discover in a video another ISA interface for Amstrad PPC by Enide. You can buy this card in his Tindie shop (assembled or not), the stock is 0 at the moment so join the waitlist to let Enide you want one. More informations on Enide's web site.

As explained in the video, Enide's interface doesn't have a power input like the one by Retro Theory, but the PPC has enough power for a possible hard disk (on a few PPC sold only) and two 3,5 disks drives, so it should be able to provide power to up to 3 ISA boards without a problem. Retro Erik recommends to check the video by Gouldfish on Games where the card has been installed inside the Amstrad PPC. But if one day you replace the internal screen by a new LCD screen, you should check if there is enough power with the ISA interface used.

I was lucky to be able to buy the card by Retro Theory on System.CFG's forum.



Gemini by PulkoMandy, a 1 Mb RAM compatible CPC+ for Amstrad CPC

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Due to compatibility problems between the Amstrad Plus ASIC memory mapping and existing memory expansions, PulkoMandy has designed its own : Gemini.

This is a 1 Mb expansion with a switch to force it to 512K (in case you hit compatibility problems with something). Unlike other RAM expansions, it tracks the status of the ASIC to avoid conflicts if software attempts to map both the ASIC and expanded memory to the same address. At the moment the only software known to hit this situation is the Soundtracker DMA. But let us know if you find (or make) more :)

More info on Gemini's PulkoMandy web page.

Compatibility chart :

  • Amstrad Plus (464 or 6128) : this card is for you
  • GX4000 : why not, if you have soldered an expansion port
  • CPC 6128 : this will work, unless software tries to unlock and map the ASIC. If there is enough demand, I can make a modified (and simpler) version of the Gemini for CPC 6128
  • CPC 464 and 664: this will not work. Do not use this card on 464 and 664 machines. Since he doesn't own one of these, he doesn't plan to make a version of the card for them.
  • Availability : for now PulkoMandy has built a very small batch of 3 cards, and all 3 are already sold (someone really wanted to own the one with serial number 0). But he will build more (parts are on the way) and he will take preorder to know how much I need to build.

    The price is 35 € including worldwide shipping. Reduced price if you come to my home to get it, or if you buy it from me during a meeting or demoparty (but tell him beforehand, so he knows how many he should bring).



Amstrad CPC CRTC Compendium v1.3 by Longshot and the AMSpiriT emulator by Dmanu78

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Longshot has released version 1.3 of the Amstrad CPC CRTC Compendium (beware, the english version isn't definitive, only the french one is actually) which is a documentation about the CRTC 6845 (and some others circuits). Note that the CRTC is a generic component used in several computers including the IBM PC.

As seen on CPCRulez, the AMSpiriT emulator by Dmanu78 is respecting by a great margin the SHAKER tests by Longshot than other emulators. SHAKER is a program designed to run on CPC machines produced by AMSTRAD in the 80s-90s. The objective of this program is to carry out extensive tests on the video circuits of this machine. These video circuits are the GATE ARRAY and the CRTC 6845. AMSTRAD produced several series of GATE ARRAY and used CRTC models produced by different manufacturers (HITACHI, MOTOROLA, UMC, AMSTRAD). This has been causing compatibility problems on operations that exceed the functional specifications of these circuits. The identified CRTCs are numbered from 0 to 4.

So AMSpiriT is better especially if you like to see Amstrad CPC demos, and can't be bad either for games. I don't have the time to test extensively all Amstrad CPC games, but for sure I will take time during the Benediction Coding Party #2 to use it.



New batch of Albireo cards made by Zik (originally by PulkoMandy)

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PulkoMandy is the author of the Albireo expansion card for Amstrad CPC which lets you use mass storage (USB and/or SD card) and a serial port.

With the agreement of PulkoMandy, Zik is going to make a new batch of cards (beware without the serial port). It's even possible to use two cards (but needds a cutter and some soldering).

You will need a ROM board and one of the ROM which can manage an Albireo, Unidos for example. The estimated price for the card, shipping cost and maybe a SD card is 30 euros.

If you are interested, go write on the CPCWiki's thread.



UniDOS v1.40 by Offset, the lord of the DOS to rule them all

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These last years several expansions allows you to use mass storage (USB or sd...) on Amstrad CPC, each needing a ROM to use it correctly.

And if you use two of these expansions, you will need to load two ROMs, so less RAM for your Amstrad CPC.

So Offset did write UniDOS and drivers to be able to use another expansion, needing only one ROM with features being the same whatever the expansion. Unidos can manage actually :

Offset also wrote UniDOS Cartridge Creator (v1.4) which is an utility to create Amstrad Plus cartridges equipped with a patched firmware which allows to add UniDOS and its DOS nodes. You can furthermore configure up to 30 additional tool ROMs (such as Utopia, Maxam, Protext..) in the cartridges (compatible with ParaDOS and Burnin' Rubber) without requiring a real ROM board. The tool also let you automatically download the latest UniDOS ROMs from the official web site.

Unidos v1.40 brings the following modifications :

  • new |CAT RSX which is sorting directories with color
  • new generic driver UniTools with : allowing automatic boot on whatever drive (check the driver documentation for more details), upgraded ZERO drive (now supports hexadecimal values)
  • upgraded DOS Albireo driver to use two at the same time
  • upgraded M4 and FatFs DOS drivers (minor modifications)
  • small uupgrade of the DOSNode_Init API
  • minor modifications


An Amstrad CPC 464 Portable by Michael Wessel

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Michael Wessel is the author of several hardware expansions for Amstrad CPC which I let you discover on his github and Youtube channel.

His last making is quite original as it's an Amstrad CPC 464 portable as it includes an integrated LCD screen taking the place of the tape drive (it was not working anyway) and it can work with a battery (and still on sector of course). It is 2,84 Kg when finished with more than 40 hours of work.

Other sites are writing about it :

There are several presentation videos including one in french by Passion Jeux Vidéo TV sur Youtube, the most complete is the third one by Michael :

The features of this portable Amstrad CPC 464 are :

  • one MX4 card usable
  • ROM board
  • external stereo speaker (with velcro) and of course the internal mono speaker
  • DDI4 disk controler by Zaxxon (which is also a 512 Kb RAM expansion) and slim HXC drive emulator by Lotharek, the SD card is at the back of the CPC with a rotative button to change disks
  • HDMI LCD screen with a video conversion card
  • a small power supply board also takes power for the unit via USB-C, such that it can operate from a power bank


A new expansion card for Amstrad CPC by Ikonsgr (RAM and ROM)

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Ikonsgr is already the author of two expansion cards for Amstrad CPC:

He just released a new expansion card : multi purpose board : 512K RAM Expansion/32x Rom board/256K Ram+2X Rom board (a complement to his II) with the following features :

  • 512K RAM Expansion (default mode, should work with other boards too,like M4, DDI interfaces etc.)
  • 32X Rom board mode (supports both lower and upper roms)
  • 256K Ram expansion + 2X Rom board mode (supports both lower and upper roms)

You can see two videos of demonstration (the first one being already showned below) :



UniDOS v1.38 by Offset, the lord of the DOS to rule them all

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These last years several expansions allows you to use mass storage (USB or sd...) on Amstrad CPC, each needing a ROM to use it correctly.

And if you use two of these expansions, you will need to load two ROMs, so less RAM for your Amstrad CPC.

So Offset did write UniDOS and drivers to be able to use another expansion, needing only one ROM with features being the same whatever the expansion. Unidos can manage actually :

Offset also wrote UniDOS Cartridge Creator (v1.4) which is an utility to create Amstrad Plus cartridges equipped with a patched firmware which allows to add UniDOS and its DOS nodes. You can furthermore configure up to 30 additional tool ROMs (such as Utopia, Maxam, Protext..) in the cartridges (compatible with ParaDOS and Burnin' Rubber) without requiring a real ROM board. The tool also let you automatically download the latest UniDOS ROMs from the official web site.



mTCP by Michael B. Brutman, TCP/IP for Ms-Dos

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mTCP v2022-07-01 by Michael B. Brutman is a set of TCP/IP applications for personal computers running PC-DOS, MS-DOS, FreeDOS, and other flavors of DOS. mTCP needs a 8088 processor (or +),96KB to 256KB of system memory depending on the application, ms-dos v2.1 (or +) and a network card (Ethernet adapter, or a device emulating Ethernet) that has a "packet driver".



Amstrad CPC CRTC Compendium v1.2 by Longshot

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Longshot has released version 1.2 of the Amstrad CPC CRTC Compendium (July 2022) which is a documentation about the CRTC 6845 (and some others circuits). Note that the CRTC is a generic component used in several computers including the IBM PC.

This version has 226 pages, whereas v1.1 has only 173.




W.I.P. Picogus by Ian Scott, give a G.U.S. sound card to your PC XT/AT

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If there is a Twitter account you should follow, it's Ian Scott who is working on a clone of the mythic sound card Gravis Ultra Sound with a Pico of the Raspberry foundation. Give some love to your Amstrad PC XT/AT ! Otherwise you can try to buy a real one, but you will have to sell your house first. For more informations you can go to Vogons.



Version v22 of the CH375 driver by FreddyV (USB mass storage on PC XT/AT)

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FreddyV is still working on the drive of the CH375 which permits to use USB mass storage on any PC XT and AT. The last version of the driver is v22, which was released the 30th June 2022 for PC XT. There is also a version for PC AT (286 and plus).

Retro Erik has done a video on the use of this USB-ISA card (see the Lo-Tech web page).

Retro Tech Chris has made a 3D model of a bracket for this ISA card.

See the thread on Vogons.





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