In this article, I would like to tell you about the PCWIO card. my dear friend Feandreu helps me a lot in this regard. because this card is an Open Soure project shared by habisoft with everything from gerber files to its BOM. In fact, the purpose of this card is not to have a broken monitor or even a keyboard with only a PCW card, it is a card made for the Amstrad PCW 8xxx series. Only PCW 8xxx motherboards can be found in Europe and unfortunately these PCW 8xxx motherboards are useless without a special keyboard and monitor.
These cards allow you to connect USB/PS2 Keyboard, USB/PS2 Mouse, Joystick and VGA monitor to PCW motherboard. Frankly, if I only had a PCW 8xxx motherboard, the PCWIO card would have provided me with the complete solution. But it must be used with an Amstrad PCW real monitor, 3″ floppy drive.
but as the owner of a PCW 8xxx in great and very good condition, why am I getting this card made? There is actually a fundamental reason. existing PCW software CPM and Locoscript meet all my needs. the primary floppy drive is still a 3” floppy drive and I boot the computer with these floppy disks. I’m just installing Gotek as the 2nd drive. The reason for this is to be able to quickly move my files to PC or Amiga. Gotek is a very successful transfer tool for this. frankly i have 3” floppy drive for the rest of my life. A lover of Amstrad CPC and Amstrad PCW can never give up on 3″ floppy disks. These 30-year-old floppy disks are still as expensive as these floppy disks were when I was a kid. yes, all my transactions seem to be solved with the Gotek upgrade.
But the problem is that I bought this device specifically to write my next books. The software in it and all the software of PCW serve my purpose. but the existing custom Amstrad PCW 8256 is in good condition but unfortunately not suitable for fast typing. because my hands don’t move fast and the keys don’t bounce back immediately due to the keyboard structure. That’s why I was able to write an article that I could write in 10 seconds in exactly 2 minutes. In this case, I definitely had to find a keyboard solution. That’s where I came across the PCWIO board solution. I won’t be using this card’s VGA monitor solution and I’m not going to dislodge the PCW motherboard. By simply connecting the existing keyboard and mouse ports to the motherboard, I will be able to connect a USB or PS2 mouse very comfortably with the PCW, which will gain the ability to write fast using a USB mechanical keyboard. normal software does not require a mouse. but when you want to experience Symbos, a mouse is a must.
The upgrade I’m currently doing is PCWIO card and Gotek upgrades. there is one more chance to upgrade. He can also have a wonderful Symbos experience including internet by installing SymbifaceIII. Currently I have no such request because I am getting RSymbifaceIII for my Amstrad CPC device. existing Locoscript and other software with CPM is more than enough for me. I don’t want to be distracted while writing. But even if I want to buy it, new symbiface devices will come out exactly 1 year later. As you know, we are experiencing a global chip shortage in 2021.
I mentioned that the PCWIO board did my job wonderfully. so I want to share the resources, Gerber file and BOM file related to this card. You can also find the link of the original project below…
Gerber files for PCB:
Materials, BOM, Firmware and others: