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scuzzBlog: Diaries September 2019

Entry 13th September 2019: Post 01: Amstrad CPC464 surprisingly successful.

Amstrad CPC464 surprisingly successful.

It is often forgotten in the UK and Europe just how successful the
Amstrad range of computers were. The CPC464 was actually one of
the most successful in terms of sales for its time, with numbers
of computers sold exceeding 2 million. Whilst it could be said
that the computer was pretty unremarkable, it stormed ahead mainly
cus of the low price and the package including monitor and tape
drive all inclusive. There was no messy PSU lying on the floor
and with a choice of colour and green screen monitor there was
no need to hog the TV for computer fun. And fun is where this
computer was aimed. With built in tape player the loading of
games and software generally made usage much easier than other
computers relying on tape machine compatibility.

The product was also supported with a very good product range and
most games were ported to the platform. For me what I love about
the machine is the support of the 3" floppy drive DDI-1 and the
use of CP/M 2.2 and Logo. Add to that Locomotive BASIC and you have
an all round computer that can play games and program and save to
disk, which is so easy to use.

Anyhoo.. the purpose of today was to check out the six CPC464
computers that I have to update myself on what was still needed
to get them all working. I was aware of problems with a couple.
I have two of these computers set up permanently with the DDI-1
drives connected via the rear interface. One of the units uses
the green screen and the other the full colour monitor.

The first of the computers has always had one button missing. It
also has a dodgy rear power connector which I can prop upward to
make work. The second of the machines suffered either in transit
or from abuse by a previous owner. I did repair quite a few of
the computers both to tape drive belts and power supplies. They
generally are pretty robust, though a bit annoying to store
given their length. For the most part they all worked though the
one with the broken plastic to the tape drive needs a new grommet
wheel to the one pulley. I'll get there in time.

I never used one of these in the day but if I had I would have
bought one immediately. Reflecting on matters now I have no idea
why I was so loyal to Sinclair and the Spectrum. Even the +2 is
poor in comparison to this computer.

Kinda scratching my head as to why I got six of these computers.
I really can't even recall buying any one of them. I do recall
sourcing software and disks plus tapes for the computer and I
know I was very interested in the DDI drive. I have always been
fascinated by the 3" disk and I guess I may have been trying to
get something to read my PCW9512 disks. Sadly that was never
going to be possible. The DDI was also problematic and I even
sent one away to get repaired.

The computer is very easy to take apart though it is wise to fold
out the case right to left and hinge on the keyboard connector.
The cassette drive can be removed quite easily and worked on.
Takes a while to fathom out the drive cogs and belt arrangement.
I have provided blogs in the past on making the repairs.

One aspect of the computer which I do like is the way it loads in
sequential blocks of data. The tape makes a definitive click at
various point in the data loading and then progresses. It all is
very comforting especially when you have been use to the hit and
miss loading of the Spectrum. Do note the colour arrangement of
the keys as they are key to operating various functions of the

Job done and all back in storage and all laid out horizontal
and under cover.

Amstrad CPC464.

CPC464 Number 1

Working but missing key and dodgy power connector

CPC464 Number 2

Working but broken plastic and faulty tape drive

CPC464 Number 3

Working without any problems

CPC464 Number 4

Working perfectly and boxed

CPC464 Number 5

Working perfectly and set up with DDI-1

The computer always defaults to the floppy
drive with the DDI attached. To make the computer
use the tape the special key is used '|tape' [RETURN].

Mini Office refuses to work with the interface

CPC464 Number 6

Working perfectly and set up with DDI-1
This is my Amstrad games machine.

Mini Office refuses to work with the interface

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Last updated 13th September 2019

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