Spares, Software, Manuals and
Technical Support for
PCW 8256 (left) and the later PCW 9512
.... or a bit of
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Though superseded by PC's for most applications these days, the good old PCW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 find
difficulty handling a mouse, for its
easy to use LocoScript word processor (or LocaScript to those in the
USA) and its friendly keyboard
layout . . . . and it's not affected by nasty viruses!
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.
LuxSoft 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 for the Cornwall Air Ambulance and the RNLI
(Lifeboats). LuxSoft was an Authorised
Amstrad Business Dealer supplying new Amstrad computers until Amstrad pulled out of
in the mid-1990's.
While so many PCW orientated
businesses have ceased to trade or moved to newer pastures, our PCW
business has actually grown year on year as it becomes more and more
difficult for dedicated users to source consumables, spares, software and support for the
The Achilles Heel of the
original PCW's was their belt-driven 3" disc drives.
Unfortunately, simply fitting a new drive belt is neither easy nor a
panacea for all drive ills as stiffness or even complete seizure of the
centre bearing of the drive may be the root cause of belt failure ....
or the disc reading problems may be down to another cause, such as the
sled motor. Hence we regularly receive PCW drives (by post) or even complete
PCW's (personally delivered) for repair and servicing.
It's strange that in a world
where PC's go out of date within a month, if not a week, and the
computer pundits sounded the PCW's death knell in the press as early as
1986, here we are - well over 20 years after the PCW's debut - with
people actually going back to PCW's because they are heartily sick of
the complexity of Windows Vista and the constant threat of
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 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 in this way.
We are committed to
supporting the PCW for as long as is humanly possible - and at this rate
we'll peg out before the PCW's do ! - but please note that we do not
purchase redundant machines.
For active PCW users, there's a Help
& Tips page which gives answers to "Frequently Asked
Questions" and problems we find that folks have been having with
both LocoScript and CP/M.
We are pleased
to be able to offer you the
following for your Amstrad PCW:
Please note that we are no longer able to supply
PCW printer ribbons
or offer a PCW repair
on obtaining ribbons, please click here
PCW Discs - 3" and 3.5"
CF2 3" discs for the Amstrad PCW8256, PCW8512 and PCW9512
3" CF2 discs by
Maxell & original Amsoft (not
the cheap imports illegally being sold as Amsoft's) at £3.00
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
user, reformatted for PCW use and fully tested at £5.00 for ten.
prices exclude postage as this depends on quantity.
first to check availability and accepted payment methods -
We can accept
PC & PCW
We regret that we are no longer stocking ribbons. We apologise for
any inconvenience this may cause to previous customers.
all is not lost as there are
several suppliers still advertising ribbons at reasonable prices on the
Internet, including on E-Bay.
Search Tips .....
(naturally) referred to their ribbons by their own part numbers
(060070 etc) but most 3rd party manufacturers equally used 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.
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.
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
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)
- 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
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 !
We have the following in stock
& ready to ship :
See below for
individual spare parts or click here to find out
about running instead a more modern inkjet printer from your PCW.
you are having problems with text alignment or even the PCW reporting
printer", it may just be in need of a drop or two of oil on
the silver bar along which the print head runs. Don't ditch the printer
- e-mail us with the symptoms.
it is missing out letters and the Daisy Wheel itself is intact, then
the armature (the plastic arm that does all the hard work driving the
daisy wheel hammer) has probably cracked or broken.
left shows a more modern grey plastic 'armature' (original ones were
black) in position against the solenoid (electro-magnet).
armatures are no longer manufactured and stocks nationwide are almost
totally exhausted but ......
currently have one brand new armature
left in stock
- sensible offers invited.
Don't bin the PCW, see below about
running an alternative DOS-compatible inkjet or laser printer from your 9512
instead eg HP Deskjet or Laserjet.
Front & rear
paper feed trays for the 9512 Daisy Wheel printer at £4.00
each plus post.
Dot Matrix printer
Bail Arm spring broken ? We have both A and C types in
stock at £2.50 each plus a 40p 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
not firing ? We have brand new 'A'
and 'C' series print heads.
Serial/Parallel Interface - these enable PCW8256 and
8512's to talk to DOS compatible external PC printers like dot
matrix, inkjet, deskjet, bubblejet and laser printers ... but
you'll need Loco2 or later (with which we can also help). In
original box £25, unboxed £20 excl post.
e-mail first to check availability and accepted payment methods
We can accept
Software & Manuals
LocoScript & CP/M program discs
etc upgrade discs
3 Printer Support Pack
Manuals for PCW 8256, PCW 8512 and PCW 9512
Basic Manual (Ring Bound Edition)
Program Discs are £6 each including 2nd class postage to UK
Official manuals are £8.50
incl 2nd class post (they're heavy!).
not run an Inkjet or Laser printer from your PCW ?
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.
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
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
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
.... 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
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.
info. please call or e-mail
PCW disc conversions to PC & Mac
you want to ....
that book you still have on old LocoScript discs
what's on those funny-looking CF2 discs you have inherited from a relative
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
your latest poems or articles written on your PCW to your publisher
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 Open
Office) from under £5
click here for full details about
our PCW disc conversions
Technology's Guard's Van rather than the Vanguard"
Tel (01726) 81
1986 - This page last amended 22nd December 2012
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
can now also accept payments via
All text strictly Copyright LuxSoft
of Luxulyan 2000-2012