Help & Technical Support for

AMSTRAD PCW

WORD PROCESSORS

Original PCW8256                PCW9512

The original PCW 8256 (left) and the later PCW 9512 

 

 Some quick links ...

PCW to PC Disc Conversions

PCW FAQs, Help & Tips

External Printers

How to run DiscKit

Finding Ribbons on the Internet

Discs & Spares

    Site Map      

       

.... or a bit of Background History first ....

 

The humble PCW has been around since 1985 and over 200,000 were sold in the UK alone. Though superseded by PC's for most applications these days, the good old PCW is still favoured by many people, especially authors and those who for health reasons find it difficult to handle a mouse. Its easy to use LocoScript word processor (or LocaScript to those in the USA) and user-friendly keyboard layout continue to have some appeal . . . . and it's not affected by nasty viruses!

The PCW is ideal for the job for which it was intended - a pretty flexible word processor - so it's a shame that when they do go wrong and a visit for advice is made to the local computer store, the average assistant ( having been born long after the PCW ceased production !) has never heard of them so recommends a sexy new PC and the local tip for the poor PCW ... all for the want of a rubber band or a bit of oil in so many cases. With sales staff also being totally ignorant of the possibility of converting LocoScript files on "those funny little discs" for use on said new PC, we shudder to think how many autobiographies, how much valuable research work, and how many literary masterpieces have already been lost for ever. 

LuxSoft was based in the heart of the Cornish village of Luxulyan - hence the name - but re-located during Summer 2008 to the southern edge of Luxulyan parish, less than half a mile from the renowned Eden Project. We acquired one of the first Amstrad PCW 8256's in Autumn 1985 and soon released a series of Basic programs for PCW enthusiasts. Sales of this software raised over 500 each for the Cornwall Air Ambulance and the RNLI (Lifeboats). LuxSoft became an Authorised Amstrad Business Dealer supplying new Amstrad computers until Amstrad pulled out of this market in the mid-1990's.

While so many PCW orientated businesses have ceased to trade in recent years or moved to newer PC pastures, our PCW business has been steadfastly maintained against the odds but as it cannot hope to pay for itself these days, it has to be funded by other business ventures. However, due to lack of demand and the high cost of postage, the supply of consumables, most spares and software sadly has now ceased, but we remain committed to continue support for venerable PCWs in the form of our Help, Tips and Tutorial web pages as well as through our renowned Disc Conversions to suit PC or Mac. 

We are pleased to still be able to offer you the following for your Amstrad PCW:

Discs

Spare Parts

Disc Conversions to PC / Mac

Please note that we are no longer able to supply PCW printer ribbons 
or offer a PCW repair service. 

For advice on obtaining ribbons, please click here

 

   

Amstrad PCW Discs - 3" and 3.5"

- CF2 3" discs for the Amstrad PCW8256, PCW8512 and PCW9512

  • Brand NEW 3" CF2 discs by Maxell & original Amsoft (not the cheap imports illegally being sold as Amsoft's) at 3.00 each. 

  • Fully tested second user Amsoft or Maxell ones at 1.50 each. Please specify single density format (to suit 8256 & 8512 'A' drive) or double density (8512 'B' drive & 9512) when ordering so that we can reformat them ready for immediate use on your PCW.

- 3.5" 720k (MF2DD) for PCW9512+, PCW9256, PCW10 and 3.5" replacement drives

  • Brand new at 10.00 for box of ten. Sorry - now sold out 

  • Second user, reformatted for PCW use and fully tested at 5.00 for ten.

Above prices exclude postage as this depends on quantity.

Please e-mail first to check availability and accepted payment methods - 
We can accept payments via
 

 


Amstrad PC & PCW Printer Ribbons

We regret that we no longer stock ribbons. 

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to previous customers.

However all is not lost as there are several suppliers still advertising ribbons at reasonable prices on the Internet, including on E-Bay.

    Search Tips .....

  • Amstrad referred to their ribbons by their own in house part numbers (060070 etc) but most 3rd party manufacturers used instead an international standard reference system for ribbons - CARMA numbers. Using these avoids wading through heaps of irrelevant search results as well as guarding against buying the wrong item.

  • CARMAs define the ribbon width, orientation and cassette size but, due to rationalisations in manufacturing over the years, each ribbon suitable for an Amstrad PCW has amassed two or three different references, so it is important to search for all variants - see below.

  • If the right CARMA ref (from below) is shown as being (say) a Seikosha or Juki ribbon, worry not as many ribbon cassette shapes were used by several different printer and typewriter manufacturers (and the 8256/8512 printer was effectively a Seikosha in disguise).

  • The four figure CARMA numbers are followed by a two-letter code for the ribbon type: FN (Fabric Nylon), DN (Double density Nylon), MS (MultiStrike - the shiny-backed type like a videotape) and SC (Self-Correcting)  

  • PCW8256/8512/10/9256 - 2741 (try first) plus also 2888 & 2944. These were originally available in both MS and DN flavours but MS - the highdays & holidays good quality species - was dropped many years ago so are best avoided if offered as they are bound to be old stock ... and prone to mould. The original distinction between DN and FN seems now to be less important so try both 2741DN and 2741FN

  • PCW9512/9512+ Daisy Wheel - 2746 (try first) and 2949. Similarly originally available as both FN and MS but conversely it was the FN that was dropped many years ago so now it's just MS. BEWARE the 2746SC - this type fits a 9512 but gives a poor print as it is actually a typewriter ribbon. Always check the ribbon spec & CARMA ref carefully as some E-Bayers are unaware of the relevance of the ribbon type suffix.    

    We do hope that this helps !

 


Amstrad PCW Spare Parts 

We are sorry that due to postal cost & difficulty, we are no longer able to supply complete printers or manuals but the following are still available, while stocks last :

  • Keyboards -   
    Second user keyboards (8000 or 9512 style - both sorts suit all PCW's excl PcW16), clean & fully tested at 7.50 plus postage & packing (by parcel post within UK is 6.95).

 

  • Printers - 

  • Dot Matrix printer Bail Arm springs  We have both A and C types in stock at 2.50 each plus a large letter sae. Don't forget to say which type of printer you have (there's a small circular sticker on the underside of the printer with an A or C on it - if not there, tell us what colour your paper thickness lever is - red or blue).

  • Dot matrix pins misfiring ? We have brand new 'A' and 'C' series print heads.

. . . or click here to find out about running instead a more modern inkjet or laser printer from your PCW.

 

 

Please e-mail first to check availability and accepted payment methods - 
We can accept payments via
 

 


External Printers -
Why not run an Inkjet or Laser printer from your PCW ? 

In a nutshell, if a printer is DOS compatible on a PC and you have the relevant printer driver for it on your Loco SoD disc, LocoScript 2, 3 or 4 could drive it direct from a PCW. 

The PCW 9512/9512+ is fitted with a standard PC-type parallel port so, with the relevant "printer driver" file(s) on your Loco SoD, you can print to:

  • most older Canon Bubblejets eg BJ10, BJ/BJC2xx and BJ/BJC4xxx

  • many early Epson Stylus inkjets eg Stylus 200, 500, 600, 740 but not 400/440

  • most old HP Deskjet printers eg 5xx. 6xx, 7xx, 8xx, 3820, & 6122

  • any HP Laserjet DOS compatible laser printer eg HP Laserjet 1200, Panasonic 44xx,  Brother HL6xx, 7xx, 2070n, 5240 & 5250dn; Samsung 1750 and 2250. We also understand the Dell 1710 to be Laserjet compatible.

.... so at last you can have bold, italics, and a variety of type sizes as well as the luxury of auto sheet feeding ... even from Loco2.

The same applies to Amstrad 8256 and 8512's that are fitted with a CPS8256 serial/parallel interface or equivalent, but if you are still running the original LocoScript 1, you will need to upgrade to Loco2.28 or higher.

Please note :

  • We believe that there are now very few DOS compatible printers still being manufactured and sold for under 250. In fact we believe the Brother 5240 laser printer to be the only one around but we have yet to try one out ... and things do have a habit of changing in this industry. (if anybody has tried one, please let us know !). Meanwhile, remaindered merchants and second hand are now the only realistic options. 

  • whilst 'external' printers work OK in LocoScript, they cannot necessarily be driven by other programs you run from CP/M. Your program's documentation should indicate the types of external printed supported.

For more info. please e-mail  


Amstrad PCW disc conversions to PC & Mac

If you want to ....

  • publish that book you still have on old LocoScript discs

  • know what's on those funny-looking CF2 discs you have inherited from a relative 

  • re-visit your university thesis but no longer have a PCW 

  • take a security copy on CD of all the work you have saved on your PCW

  • e-mail your latest poems or articles written on your PCW to your publisher or magazine

........ we offer a range of conversions from 3" CF2 or 3.5" LocoScript discs to a variety of PC & Mac formats (incl MS Word, MS Works and Kingsoft Office) from around 5 per disc. 

click here for full details about our PCW disc conversions

        

 

 "In Technology's Guard's Van rather than the Vanguard"

Tel (01726) 81 2257 

e-mail malc@luxsoft.demon.co.uk

All prices quoted are correct as at time of posting this page but prices can and do fluctuate
 so please call or e-mail for latest prices and availabilities.

 

We can now also accept payments via  

Established 1986 - This page last amended 7th April 2014

 All material Copyright LuxSoft 2000-2014