Vintage & Retro Computer Project
Rescue, Repair & Relive Yesterdays Technology

Todays Date: April 23, 2024

RETRO DATE: Late 80’s Early 90’s

AMSTRAD PCW8256

The Amstrad PCW series is a range of personal computers produced by British company Amstrad from 1985 to 1998, and also sold under licence in Europe as the “Joyce” by the German electronics company Schneider in the early years of the series’ life.

The PCW, short for Personal Computer Word-processor, was targeted at the wordprocessing and home office markets. When it was launched the cost of a PCW system was under 25% of the cost of almost all IBM-compatible PC systems in the UK, and as a result the machine was very popular both in the UK and in Europe, persuading many technophobes to venture into using computers. 

Amstrad

PCW8256

History

I first saw the Amstrad PCW8256 in my commerce class at Elgar Hight School while in the 3rd year of secondary school.

This machine was also responsible for a couple of milestones in my computer development history. Both these things were instrumental on my computer career development and how I function even to this day.

The first thing that had a major impact on my life was when I first saw the machine. I was in the class on my own and was this glowing green screen in the corner and was instantly attracted and had to see what it was. I went up to the machine and pressed a couple of buttons and it beeped and then the whole screen was blank and I was instantly taken over by panic. I thought I had broken it, and when the teacher arrived to take the class, I would be in for it.

This was awful, I felt like most people where technology is concerned, I was afraid of breaking such an expensive computer, so I quickly started to focus on the problem and try and get the machine back to the state it was before I touched it so no one would notice anything had happened. I am not sure how I did it, but 5 minutes later after trying this and that, I got the machine back to the state it was just before the teacher turned up. The effect his had on me was that I never wanted to feel like that again where computers or technology was concerned, and from that moment, I vowed I would learn everything I could and never be afraid of technolgy. I still mess things up, but now its all part of the process and every failure teaches me something. I look back and I am glad of that first horrible experience, as it shaped who I am today.

For the second milestone, this was a plan from the teacher to keep me ocupied and out of trouble during class. I was a high spirited student and was easily bored during class making me disruptive to the teacher and other students. This is where the teacher hatched her plan. She came up with this story of some students being ill and missing class, and it would be useful to have notes taken during the class to give them on their return.

I was tasked to type as the teacher taught the class, and quickly my touch typing speed increased, and my proficiency using this computer grew and grew. It was a good plan from the teacher, as it certainly kept me out of trouble, and did me yet another huge favour in my career. Both learning not to be afraid of new technology or situations and helping a hgh amount with my typing.

As with the BBC Model B improving my mathematics skills and experience, the Amstrad PCW8256 helped with me with my grammar, spelling and typing. Both key skills I continue to use today. 

EBAY LISTING:

Vintage 1980s Amstrad PCW8256 Green Screen Personal Computer Word processor.

In good overall condition. Has a few minor marks/scratches/yellowing etc
In good working order.
Complete with keyboard and boot disks.
Disk drive has been serviced with a new belt fitted, motor bearings lubed etc.
CRT is nice and bright. 

After my Ebay purchase arrived, I took the computer apart to check the components and clean the case as much as possible.

The case is a bit yellow as is expected for a machine of this age.

ACCESSORIES & UPGRADES

ACCESSORIES
&
UPGRADES

MANUAL

Amstrad PCW 8256 / 8512 Personal Computer Word Processor User Guide Manual.

Good used condition

Sections include:

Setting Up
Your first 20 minutes
A Guide to LocoScript

MANUAL

Amstrad PCW 8256 / 8512 Personal Computer Word Processor User Guide Manual.

Good used condition

Sections include:

Setting Up
Your first 20 minutes
A Guide to LocoScript

AMSTRAD PCW8256 PRINTER

Vintage AMSTRAD PCW 8256 Printer.

It will need a new ink ribbon. Not been used in years, any questions please ask before buying.

When the printer arrived, I took it apart and cleaned all the plastic coverings and components.

I also purchased a new printer ribbon and now the printer works perfectly. 

AMSTRAD PCW8256 PRINTER

Vintage AMSTRAD PCW 8256 Printer.

It will need a new ink ribbon. Not been used in years, any questions please ask before buying.

When the printer arrived, I took it apart and cleaned all the plastic coverings and components.

I also purchased a new printer ribbon and now the printer works perfectly. 

GOTEK FLOPPY EMULATOR

The Gotek drive replaces the standard Amstrad PCW 3” floppy A or B drive.

Just remove the old drive, screw in the Gotek
(using 2 of the original drive screws) and connect the 2 cables.

The Gotek has also been kitted out with an OLED screen, green LED, disk eject button and a small speaker to simulate the drive loading noise.

GOTEK FLOPPY EMULATOR

The Gotek drive replaces the standard Amstrad PCW 3” floppy A or B drive.

Just remove the old drive, screw in the Gotek
(using 2 of the original drive screws) and connect the 2 cables.

The Gotek has also been kitted out with an OLED screen, green LED, disk eject button and a small speaker to simulate the drive loading noise.

512K MEMORY UPGRADE

Amstrad PCW8256 RAM Upgrade To 512K. Condition is New.

High quality made in Japan Amstrad PCW8256 RAM chips to bring yoir Amstrad PCW8256 up to 512k memory!

Inlcudes 8x RAM modules required for the upgrade, easy installation by plugging these in your PCW empty motherboard sockets 🙂

Simply set the motherboard DIP switches to B and D up, A and C down to then use the full RAM.

512K MEMORY UPGRADE

Amstrad PCW8256 RAM Upgrade To 512K. Condition is New.

High quality made in Japan Amstrad PCW8256 RAM chips to bring yoir Amstrad PCW8256 up to 512k memory!

Inlcudes 8x RAM modules required for the upgrade, easy installation by plugging these in your PCW empty motherboard sockets 🙂

Simply set the motherboard DIP switches to B and D up, A and C down to then use the full RAM.

Summary

I credit the Amstrad PCW 8256 with 2 major things in my life.

Firstly, it helped my overcome my fear of technology and secondly it helped improve my grammar, spelling and typing skills. 

PCW8256 Printer

PCW8256/8512 Manual

Printer Ribbon

512 Ram Upgrade

Cleaned throughout

Summary

I credit the Amstrad PCW 8256 with 2 major things in my life.

Firstly, it helped my overcome my fear of technology and secondly it helped improve my grammar, spelling and typing skills.

PCW8256 Printer

PCW8256/8512 Manual

Printer Ribbon

512 Ram Upgrade

Cleaned throughout