Amstrad Mega PC

scrappysphinx

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Hi all, tonight i recieved a great bonus.
After applying on my local Freecycle group for some older AT & ATX PSU's for use with my Amiga i went to collect a couple tonight.
While collecting i got talking to the guy and mentioned i was planning on using them with my A1200 to which he replied that he had an A500 sat in his cupboard that i could also have too which i gladly accepted.
After some more talking he offered me an Amstrad CPC464 with original monitor, a second CPC464 base unit that he couldn't get working and an Amstrad Mega PC with original monitor mouse and keyboard and then he even loaded them all into his car and bought me home too!
I was amazed at his generosity.
I told me that he'd replaced the battery on the Mega PC with a new barrel type and although he had it working once it no longer worked.
Anyway i've powered it up and all seems to be working fine on the pc side connected to my TFT monitor but the megadrive side says mode not supported.
Anyway i'll stop rabbiting on and get to the point.

The PC is a 386SX so i can gather with max 16mb ram and a 40mb XT HDD.

I am wondering as the HDD as the same cable as an IDE HDD if i can upgrade the HDD to a 2gb i have spare and install windows 95?

Will the machine be powerfull enough and is it compatible with standard ATA IDE drives or are they XT only?

Thanks

Mike
 

moijk

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The PC is a 386SX so i can gather with max 16mb ram and a 40mb XT HDD.

I am wondering as the HDD as the same cable as an IDE HDD if i can upgrade the HDD to a 2gb i have spare and install windows 95?

Will the machine be powerfull enough and is it compatible with standard ATA IDE drives or are they XT only?

You can't install Win95 on a 386SX, you need a 386DX at least. And 16 mb is also veeery little for win95 to function to any standard.

I'd say go for linux, an older slackware (or maybe debian?) would probably work well. Maybe even X with a very lightweight WM like TWM or maybe even AmiWM would work :) ( http://www.lysator.liu.se/~marcus/amiwm.html - ran that on my 486dx4-100 yeeears ago)

But unless you fit a math coprocessor, you won't get win95 there in any way. not that I understand why anyone want either.

---------- Post added at 19:00 ---------- Previous post was at 18:59 ----------

oh, and I doubt your bios support anything bigger than 500-ish MB.
 

commodorejohn

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What a find! True, weird story: I saw either this or the similar Sega TeraDrive computer on sale in a Wal-Mart in Mexico...in 2000. Sadly, I had neither the spare change nor the luggage space to purchase it, but I've always wondered what on earth it was even doing there.
 

rkauer

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If the machine uses XT drives, it will not accept anything 16bit IDE HD, period.

Sorry to inform bad news.
 

status

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Anyway i've powered it up and all seems to be working fine on the pc side connected to my TFT monitor but the megadrive side says mode not supported.

The PC side is 31khz, but the megadrive is 15khz output

What he said, i saw once a video on youtube and the guy had a multisync monitor for that porpose, an acorn monitor to be exact!
 

keropi

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damn, I had one too!!! got it from eBay some years ago...

you DO NEED a 31/15khz monitor for it.... the pc part needs the standar VGA monitor and when you switch to the megadrive part the output siglnal is 15khz. The monitor Amstard gave with MEGA-PC's was a dual-sync one. I am certain that if you use a modern lcd/tv monitor you will be fine!
 

scrappysphinx

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Thanks for all the replies guys, well i've got the original Amstrad multisync monitor, mouse & keyboard with the system too but i connected it to the tft as it was already set up.
I'll connect the proper monitor tomorrow, but developments for tonight have been setting the bios settings correctly to see the 40mb hdd and i've installed ms-dos. Hopefully i can install windows 3.1 tomorrow.
It seems a lovely little system and i'm so glad to have met the guy.
 

tokyoracer

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Damn you are VERY lucky, I have wanted one of these for a long time indeed. Nice job getting all that stuff for free.

Just to note, the megadrive part only powers on when you insert a cartridge, just so you know. :)
 

keropi

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also you can use a bios overlay (like OnTrack DiskManager) to istall a way bigger hdd!
 

matt020

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WHERE ARE THE PICS? :eek:

Come on!!! Hardware Pr0n!! :p
 

keropi

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I have an old pic of the ISA megadrive board:

k-mdpc.jpg


in pc mode it functions as an AdLib sound card :D
 

scrappysphinx

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i can take pics later today when i've got everything working perfectly.

@Keropi, what is that expansion with the red plastic cover for?
 

keropi

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that's the megadrive expansion port, you can connect the megaCD there
 

AndyLandy

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OK, so if the Megadrive bit of the Mega PC is an XT card, does that mean you could plug it in to any PC with an ISA slot?

That'd be pretty awesome if you could use something like a P3 with the card!
 

keropi

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not without some serious hacking... the small card with the cartridge/pad/switches on it clips on the isa card in a sideways "T" manner so that those ports are accesibble to the pc's front like floppy/cdroms

also did you notice the ribbon on the left? that is actually the 15khz video and sound data, on the mega-pc it gets feeded to the motherboard and then to the monitor via the VGA-out connector. The slide switch on the front panel is used to choose display: megadrive or pc (there is a slide cover in the front that either covers the megadrive ports or the pc ones - moving it activates the switch)

What you would actually get by connecting all that into a normal pc is just a megadrive that gets power from the ISA bus and needs lots of hacking... if it could output 31khz vga signal it would worth the hack, but as it is you may as well just get a normal megadrive and stick it inside a pc...
 

scrappysphinx

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ok new question,

I've looked inside and the guy has replaced the battery but he's used another barrel battery.
I have a CR232 battery holder that i bought for an amiga but i was wondering if i can use it with the Mega PC and if so do i need to place a diode in with it or can i just solder the battery holder directly to the motherboard?

Thanks

Mike
 

AndyLandy

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ok new question,

I've looked inside and the guy has replaced the battery but he's used another barrel battery.
I have a CR232 battery holder that i bought for an amiga but i was wondering if i can use it with the Mega PC and if so do i need to place a diode in with it or can i just solder the battery holder directly to the motherboard?

Thanks

Mike

If it's the same sort of NiCd cell that an Amiga uses, one would assume that the fix would be the same. If I were you, I'd definitely stick the diode in, it won't do any harm if the cell isn't rechargeable, but will save you a lot of pain if it is!
 

RedDaemonFox

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not without some serious hacking... the small card with the cartridge/pad/switches on it clips on the isa card in a sideways "T" manner so that those ports are accesibble to the pc's front like floppy/cdroms

also did you notice the ribbon on the left? that is actually the 15khz video and sound data, on the mega-pc it gets feeded to the motherboard and then to the monitor via the VGA-out connector. The slide switch on the front panel is used to choose display: megadrive or pc (there is a slide cover in the front that either covers the megadrive ports or the pc ones - moving it activates the switch)

What you would actually get by connecting all that into a normal pc is just a megadrive that gets power from the ISA bus and needs lots of hacking... if it could output 31khz vga signal it would worth the hack, but as it is you may as well just get a normal megadrive and stick it inside a pc...

Well if anyone manages or has managed to hack it, I'll search for one of these and maybe do a mega drive (or genesis)/miggy setup some day :)?

Is there a similar setup in a Tera Drive? If so, we may be in luck as there are some on ebay every so often :)
 
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