1. Not old. Vintage. :)

CPC 6128 restoration

Discussion in 'SIG: 8-Bit Hardware' started by Vyper68, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

    Vyper68 Deckhand

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    Hi
    Just picked up a 6128 off feeBay and it arrived today. Quick test shows it powers on but the drive belt is shot and is in need of a good clean.
    Pictures will follow along with updates.
     
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  2. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

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    Yay! Looking forward to a the restore!
     
  3. by Timothy Kline
    Timothy Kline

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    Bring it on!

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

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    Here are some pictures of the CPC stripped down and the 3" Drive removed. The drive belt had snapped but luckily was in one piece. Sometimes the belt breaks down into a black goo which is a real pain to clean off. Once the belt was replaced I had to make sure the little brass pin was still in place which is the write protect pin and tends to get lot when working on these drives. I had a spare but managed not too loose the original.
    Reassembled the drive and connected back up and drive reads and works as expected so that was a good sign. I gave the keyboard a teardown and a good clean. The PCB got a dust and put the whole thing back together and a nice CPC6128 was the result. :)

    [​IMG]
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    a with s images
     
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  5. by Andy Barr
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    Very nice indeed, Richie.

    That's a GRAND job and no mistake, mister - well done, mate.

    I have seen those little brass capstan read / write pins on Feebay before and now I see why they are in demand... they easily get misplaced and once you've lost the little fella, you're really in the "goo" to quote you!
    Glad the drive belt hadn't completely perished and you were able to replace without a song and dance.

    The CPC6128 is a smashing, quality micro which really helped to put Amstrad into the driving seat in terms of sales in the final days of the 8bit micro in the UK.

    I am sure you will get a lot of enjoyment out of this machine, Richie, and it has reminded me that I must give a proper appreciation of that fine CPC464 you sent me and is well-overdue a proper screen test, software review and reminisce as this machine always propels me back to 1986-1987 when I enjoyed playing Harrier Attack and Gauntlet on it at my... local newsagents.

    Happy times sorting the evening papers and having a blast with my old mate Robin...

    GAME ON, RICHIE - you have a real beaut and a winner on your hands here.

    PS. Your data recorder left Hull tonight.
     
  6. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

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    I wish my restorations were all so easy, for me. Most of the machines I acquire in need of restoration have one or both feet in the grave and it's a complete Voo-Doo resurrection needed!

    Great job!
     
  7. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

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    Yes it turned out to be less problematic than I was expecting in the end. Only the drive belt was broken in the end. Not that I am complaining about it though, I ended up with a decent 6128 and is in better nick than my last one.
     
  8. by Klyde
    Klyde

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    Nice piece of British technology you have got here, Vyper. And you did a good job! Amazing how these cheaply made machines keep going after all the years...
     
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  9. by Tharkanoid
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    Nice job Vyper, can beat a good restore project.
    I used to play an amstrad 464 with the cassette deck built in.
    Always thought it was a good computer, better than the zx spectrum in my opinion.
     
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  10. by Andy Barr
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    Definitely, Thark.

    Agreed, buddy.

    The Amstrad CPC design/specs would even give the much more expensive Beeb a run for its money.

    The Speccy was mega-popular and mega-well-catered for, software wise, but its shortcomings were only too clear with its screen output attribute colour clashes, awful keyboard/sound and cheap build/high returns (in some cases).

    Amstrad definitely got it right as you still got value for money with the deal including even a monitor - I don't remember any other UK-only micro company offering that?
     
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  11. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

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    And my favorite 8-bit of choice never even had it's own monitor, included or separate. But I still prefer it. One of these days an Amstrad may come my way. I think the BBC and the CPC have become the two British computers I've become most interested in acquiring, supplanting the Spectrum and QL I wanted in years past. But the C64 will still come first as it will be easier and cheaper for me to collect for, since I don't have to look outside my own country for it and it's software and the high shipping costs.
     
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  12. by Tharkanoid
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    Despite the speccys shortcomings I still love the thing dearly!

    Got 2 speccy +2b machines. With new ram fitted, rebelted, recapped throughout and working grand.
    I even refit the power supplies as the caps looked shot.
     
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  13. by M.D.Baker
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    I'm sure, I would probably love the Speccy dearly too (US version) if it hadn't lost support in the US when I was ready to upgrade from my Timex/Sinclair 1000 (ZX81). But since that didn't happen, there's just no nostalgia for me when it comes to the Spectrum or any other non-US computer, it's all curiosity driven for me, which means learning to like a computer with so many shortcomings compared to other micros of the day, including what I'm used too, I just don't think I would or could. Machines like the CPC and BBC are more comparable to the Atari and Commodore machines I'm used too, so I think I'd enjoy them more and they wouldn't end up just collecting dust because they aren't as good as my Atari and future C64 to me.

    I don't know if you can understand that or not, but it's the same with other American computers that fall short of the Atari and C64, I've developed a certain standard over the years in what I expect out of 8-bits which doesn't suffer well if the machine is too far under the Atari and C64 8-bit bar. If I could have them all, then I would collect them all, but most would end up just being museum pieces collecting dust, so I plan on just collecting 2-4 computers I'll know are powerful enough for me to enjoy.

    That list is pretty short and I have to still decide to cut it even shorter: C64, Coleco Adam, Coco 2/3, BBC and CPC is what I've narrowed it down too so far. The Adam will probably be the next cut, as they are known to be unreliable, hard to find and expensive, with a very small software library, which most games are on the Atari or C64 anyway. Right now the Coco 2/3 would be the next to fall off my list leaving the C64, BBC and CPC...though I want to look into the MSX and Sega computers before I make those three my finalists. But there is something, I can't put my finger on, that has always attracted me to the RadioShack Coco line (post chick-let keyboard) and the Adam, some real uniqueness too them, but they would probably not get used after the "honeymoon". I want to only bother with stuff I know I will use.
     
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  14. by Tharkanoid
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    I understand what you mean.

    It's like I could never get into c64 as much as the Atari or spectrum.

    But I believe this due to the fact the Atari 800xl and spectrum +2 were my first 8 bits. And I used to spend weekends at my cousin's house playing spectrum games and renting video tapes ect.
    So I honestly think it's more about nostalgia, and the reminder of great times.

    I can see how someone not used to the speccy would just keep it to collect dust as a museum peice, There's much better 8 bits.

    Had my cousin had the c64 I'm sure today it would of been one of my faves, it's just the way of things!
     
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  15. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

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    Trust me, the 64 is great fun, sure it has a great big selection of stinkers for games BUT name me a computer that does not. I can even see reasons why it should not be pleasing, odd colour palette, very washed out, the SID chip is marmite, some like me love it some others think everything sounds the same and worst of all the Atari ports to it were pretty poor, so there's a lot to put you off, if you let it. I urge people to delve deeper and see what happens when a good programmer like Andrew Braybrook gets hold of a machine, when Jeff minter coded the C64, when Rob Hubbard made the music...The list is long, there's seriously good stuff on the C64 and what is more fun is that the scene is still very strong on the C64, there' new free or buyable games constantly and the cracking teams often take an old favourite and do them up, fix any bugs, add new graphics and sounds and so on.

    Every day I use my C64, it and the 1541 Ultimate ++ area great team, every game from the past and many many of the new ones are on my USB stick and off I go, fast loader and all. Perfect loading of games on disk, tape and exe types, carts too.

    Try an emulator, Hoxs64 or Vice are superb, grab a few games from https://csdb.dk/release/?id=189473&rss

    And give it a go..

    If you are not smitten I'll eat chocolate hat!
     
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  16. by Tharkanoid
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    I've owned 3 of them. The first two I leant to a friend who's mother bagged it all up and gave it to charity shop, the 3rd one I had I never used very much so sold it. Wish I kept it tho, it is a good machine.

    Not much into Sid - it is good no denying that, but I find most tunes just meowed a lot - cyber cat style.

    Best strange but really good audio on c64 I found was the title screen tune to parallax. Good game too.

    I sold it to make space more than anything, due to stacks of Atari gear.

    Yes I should of kept it!
     
  17. by M.D.Baker
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    Yes, a lot of has to do with what you once owned, grew up with and are used too. Me, for example, still can't understand what people are on about with the C64's SID chip. Every time I hear it play music it sounds shrill and tinny, like a 1960's "pocket" transistor radio with lots of bleeps and squeals. The Pokey sounds worlds better to me, with deeper bass sounds and far less shrill, even though these C64 SID fans claim it has better bass sound, I've never heard it. But I still want a C64, even if I personally find the sounds it makes almost hurt my ears. I'm sure there are worse sound chips. But it will never compare to my ears, to the Pokey. Every game with Rob Hubbard music and other great musicians like him that have been done on both Pokey and SID I find the Pokey so much better to my ears, I can't believe why so many think the SID sounds better. But I guess we all have different likes and dislikes. Again, I imagine it's like Coke or Pepsi, you tend to drink and like which ever one you "grew up" with and the other tastes like shite to you! I expect, once I actually own a C64 I will get used to the SID at least, and not mind it, and maybe grow to like it, but we will see.
     
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  18. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

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    The 64 was the first computer I bought myself when I left college moving on from my trusty 48K Speccy after I saw “Way of the Exploding Fist” on a Saturday morning TV show. I think it is a very nice machine but as with all of these machines it wasn’t perfect. Wireframe 3D was very slow on a 64 and the Spectrum was far better ( compare Elite or Starglider ) on both machines. The CPC suffered from lazy Spectrum ports which ran slower than the original, but as with all of these in the hands of talented programmers who understood the machines hardware they produced amazing games.
    Going back to the 64 I would say I like the SID quite a lot but I also love the POKEY too, I agree that the POKEY sounds more “Bass” heavy but the 6581 SID was a excellent sound chip and launched many careers and also pushed music composers to the forefront alongside the programmers and the importance of audio in games. So it has a important place in the 8-Bit story even if not everyone enjoys it’s actual aural output :)
     
  19. by Vyper68
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    As a update to the CPC story the 3” Drive has packed up and cannot read disks anymore and to date I haven’t been able to resolve the problem.
    This has accelerated my plans to remove the drive and fit a Gotek unit in it’s place. The Gotek lets you use and manipulate Amstrad disk images and most software is already archived. It also increases reliability as 3” Drives are the most unreliable of the old formats, even 5.25” are more reliable.
    I plan to eventually fit the Gotek internally but I am waiting on a 3D printed mount and an OLED screen. In the meantime it is connected via a ribbon cable out the back of the 6128.
    It does mean I can play the excellent Pinball Dreams on my CPC and Xalk which I did a video for.

     
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  20. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    Goteks, wonderful devices, I use one in my Amiga and one in my Super Wildcard (Snes system). Only downside is that its claimed you can have 999 slots on them but I've never been able to get any software to put games in the slots to recognise more than 100 slots. I've asked many people who say they have done it but they all say they can't remember how.

    Hey, that Pinball Dreams on the CPC isn't bad at all...Never tried it on any other machine than the Snes and of course the Amiga.
     
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  21. by M.D.Baker
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    I will be playing Spectrum Elite and Starglider, one day, hopefully this year. Via Spectrum emulation on my Atari, which is apparently very good, if you have a Rapidus 65816 board installed which I intend to do to my 1200XL. That's a secondary reason why the Spectrum has dropped off my wants list, when I see what machines like the CPC can do, since I'll be able to play Spectrum games on my Atari, at full speed and even faster if I want too, which I just might want too, with games like Starglider and Elite, since even if it's already faster than say the C64, I bet the Rapidus will make them run as fast or faster than Amiga or ST versions! I've already been dreaming of playing 3D games like Mercenary, Tomahawk, F-15 Strike Eagle, Lucasfilm games and other 3D games on the Atari with Rapidus.

    Rapidus is a bit pricey for an upgrade, at around $180 or a bit more, with shipping, to me, but I think it will be worth it with the high-speed for some games on the Atari, and full speed+ Apple II and Spectrum emulation. A better value for my money, IMHO, than spending $100 for the VBXE with only half a dozen games and demos out for it. I'm still waiting on better support for VBXE, which doesn't seem that likely since it's been out 15 years, or almost, with so little to show. I may get it, but Rapidus comes before anything else, including other micros.

    https://lotharek.pl/productdetail.php?id=130
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
  22. by Tharkanoid
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    That's a shame the drive packed in. Has it lost power? Or perhaps a disk left dirt all over heads.
    But you know your stuff so no doubt you've checked all that.

    I'm a bit behind the times, but Matt you say atari can emulate the spectrum! That's some accomplishment. Perhaphs you may of heard Atari emulating the Sid. Got a disk with the Sid tunes on. Almost perfect emulation of Sid. How's it even possible? Incredible.

    By the way I'm sorry if I seemed I was being a bit mean with the c64 - it's obviously a good capable machine, and it has many fans.
    And like other 8 bits - with modern software pushing it to it's limits - it's impressive enough.
     
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  23. by M.D.Baker
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    Yes, there is a Spectrum emulator, but either it requires the Rapidus accelorator, or it runs too slow to be of any use without it, but it seems, from what I have seen, to be excellent emulation for Spectrum. There's also an Apple emulator. I think they require expanded memory too, since you need room for the emulator and then the Spectrum/Apple computer. I'll do a write-up on both once I get the Rapidus upgrade (ordering soon) and get it all working.

    We make fun of all micros around here @Vyper68 , no worries, we all love multiple machines and we all have one or two we loath that others here might like, but as long as you like Atari too, it's all good. Just no trolls bashing Atari on an Atari forum, go to a C64 forum and do that!
     
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  24. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    There's some excellent Spectrum emulators on Windows, Fuse , Speculator are just two..

    Fuse is totally free but you have to but Speculator....I don't dabble in Speccieis too much but those emulators cover every model and almost every add on as well.

    Sadly as Matt says, the bog standard Atari just isn't up to emulating the Speccy, the Speccies 3D draw rate is higher than ours as it stands. Not looked at it on Altirra with the Rapidus but just upping the CPU rate on there would do it.
     
  25. by Graham
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    Hi Matt
    Funny I always thought you need both VBXE as well as Rapidus for sceccy emulation.
     

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