3.5" Disc-drive

Adding a second, more standard, disc drive to a PCW is not a complicated affair but you do need a lot of time, especialy if you are not used to soldering. The picture shows a DIY sample, just to prove that it works... Note the way the power supply connector has been isolated: by means of (isolated) BISON glue... Pattex will do too!

The lay-out for the cable is a fairly simple scheme:

Power supply.

The PCW power supply cable and the 3.5" connector look like a perfect match: they are NOT! Locate the connector as if you were intending to connect with the drive (as shown) and then change the following cables:

Do check for short circuiting thoroughly. When in doubt, do not try: serious damage to the PCW will occur! For about NLG 35 you can buy an external, stabilised, power supply and save yourself the fears. Checking with an electrician is also a good idea...

Check this out for tested models!

Check this out for required materials!

After both cables are ready and tested they can be plugged in: the PCW does not require additional software. Even DISCKIT and LocoScript will continue to function, the fact that the drive is not a 3" remains completely unknown to the PCW. If you're interested in improving performance though, you should check out Ian's remarks on FID files. You should visit his site anyway, if you're interested in the Amstrad PCW...

The PCW will not keep you waiting for long. Immediately after the boot it will report

CP/M Plus Amstrad Consumers Electronics plc v 1.x, 61K TPA, 2 disc drives ...

or something similar. If it does not report the presence of the second disc drive, switch off and check the cables. If the drive made a protesting sound: check if you did'nt connect it the other way around. You should use a Volt meter in order to test the cable (disconnect first). It can be a bit of searching I'am afraid. You will notice a short circuit in the power supply immediately, however! Do check this connection up front, because a short circuit will damage the PCW severly! The 3.5" drives normally do no use 12 volts, only 5 volts: Amstrad reversed the default power connections.


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