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A > AMSTRAD  > PPC 512 / 640


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Amstrad  PPC 512 / 640 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Monday 13rd December 2010
Jack Ungerleider (USA)

I had one of these and have to agree that the screen wasn''t that bad when compared to others of the era. I had used it with an adapter for Shortwave radios that allowed you to decode various types of transmissions. I sold it to a guy at a swap meet who was going to use it for a packet radio terminal. He liked the full keyboard and the "convenient" size. :-)

Tuesday 19th October 2010
Curtis Burisch (Johannesburg)

I had one of these things, and it really was a truly horrible piece of hardware.

The screen was so bad that even with an anglepoise lamp positioned directly over it, you could barely read it. Who came up with the idea of a non-backlit black-on-dark-green LCD?? It''s just nuts.

And yes, it will run on 8 D-cell batteries. Good luck getting an hour''s use out of them! Running on batteries is a hideously expensive proposition.

I ran MS-DOS 3.3 happily on this machine. I bought it second-hand with no software, if I remember correctly.

If you have one of these, just toss it in the bin. It really doesn''t deserve to be remembered.

Wednesday 20th November 2019
David Frith (United Kingdom)

I remember a 640 coming into our company''s possession in the late 80''s. We ran our business systems on an IBM S/36, and our month end processing took all week-end. I had to drive to the factory 2 or 3 times every month-end weekend to check the processing was OK, and fix any errors if necessary and prod it along again. We had a PC in the systems office with a S/36 terminal emulator in it, and it also had a modem (for sending BACS payments).
So, when we got the PPC640, I was able to transfer the S/36 console to the systems office PC, and take the PPC home, and dial in and use PCAnywhere to run the PC which had the S/36 Console. Absolutely brilliant for its day. What used to take a few hours out of my weekends now took a few minutes. I don''t remember any complaints about the screen.

Tuesday 4th June 2019
Dmitry  (Russia)

I have one in my collection - it’s Amstrad PPC512DD with two floppy drives. Unfortunately my PC does not have a cover for battery compartment. Could you please help me to get this item without buying the whole machine? Is there either a source of spare parts for Amstrad PPC? I love my vintage laptop and going to set it in the best condition possible. Would be very grateful for any assistance.

Friday 26th April 2019
Cameron (Canada)

I still have one.In case with books and all cords.Except for the slew of D cell batteries one needs to have on hand if no plugs or 12v car holes are around it worked like a charm. And you can play some basic games on it.Reaaaaal basic.It is next to me right now. I like to take it to cyber cafes and plop it on a table just to see what people do and how they

Friday 30th March 2018
Jes Woodland (United Kingdom)

I actually have a fully functional PPC640 complete with original power supply,manuals and discs in the ''handy'' carry case!

Thursday 11th January 2018

I have the "User Instructions" book if anyone wants it.
Free as long as you pay the postage.

Tuesday 31st January 2017
Jeff Joseph (VA USA)

LCD screen was par for the era. Was useable. This Amstrad had a full-size keyboard with a numeric keypad, an unusual feature for a portable. Also outstanding was that the modem was 1200 baud. Every other portable from this era only had 300 baud.

The 8 Mhz V30 was a fast chip for the day, and ran CP/M-80 2.2 with a software package like 22nice. I use it to run KAMAS, Out-Think, Supercalc, and Wordstar on the Amstrad. Download 22nice and 22disk from

Wednesday 9th March 2016

I bought one of these (the 640) when they first came out. We used it almost entirely to drive an lcd panel that sat on an overhead projector and let you project onto a standard screen. For us it was a great buy, about six hundred pounds less than a standalone modem that could do the same speed, for remote demonstrations to potential customers. And no fan meant it was silent. That unit and the lcd panel made a teriffic sales tool and really helped convince customers we were a state of the art ncompany. It was cheaply made - but the tosh 486 laptop i had later cost six thousand pounds...

Tuesday 20th October 2015
sarah langan (United Kingdom)

anyone know what power lead this requires and where I can get one?
I have a PPC512 but no lead so can''t tell if it works (want to sell it)

Thursday 8th January 2015
Drwh0 (Spain)

For Nigel Ferguson (UK), the problem with keyboard is solved doing this:

Unmount keyboard, separate the 2 plastic keyboard membranes (with your problem both seems one), try to separate from each other (don´t worry both are independent in spite that it seems glued), after that clean both with alcohol or something equivalent, after that mount again and problem solved.

Is the very same problem that suffers CPC+ machines

Hope it helps you

Tuesday 8th July 2014
Nigel Ferguson (UK)

I recently purchased a PPC 640. When it starts up it displays "Check Keyboard" and stops. Looking at the manual shows that this occurs when the PPC thinks a key is pressed during startup. I have checked the keyboard and all the keys appear to be not pressed. If any of you have any ideas please email me on

Friday 9th August 2013
chris (uk)

Hi i just fired up my one which i had in the loft from about 1990 when i bought it new , it still works perfectly!! they built these babies to last )

Saturday 10th November 2012
Tristan Mumford (Australia)

I have one of these, along with its backpack case. Still worked last time I tried it. Wasn''t masochistic enough to try the modem. Plays Prince of Persia just fine though.

Tuesday 4th September 2012

I bought one of these back in 89 along with some cheap word processing software and a 9 dot matrix printer. Piece of crap setup, but soooo much better than using a typewriter. It got me through my first couple of years of college.

Monday 23rd July 2012
James Khoury (Atlanta, GA, USA)

Back in early June, a friend of mine gave me a PPC640 and some floppies. Indoors, the screen is nothing to phone home about but it at least offers proper aspect ratio. Also, outdoors in sunlight the screen is very nice to look at. The computer serves mainly as a conversation piece. I love the styling and keyboard so maybe I''ll find a use for the machine one day.

Saturday 25th February 2012
Ken (United Kingdom)

I was given one of these when I worked for ICL over 22 years ago. OK, it was primitive, and the LCD screen was dire, but it had a full-size keyboard and I was able to work from home with the internal modem. It ran Windows 2, though this required 3 floppies - boot, then overlay, then program and data files - shutting down involved swapping floppies in the reverse order! I was the first person in our team to get MS Word 5 (for DOS) working, ahead of the rest of the guys with their ICL desktop PCs. When I customised mine (with my company''s agreement) with a 20Mb HDD in place of one of the FDDs, and added a CRT monitor it became a useful PC.

Monday 28th November 2011
neonblade (Northern NSW, Australia)
neonblade computers

Look for one of these in the movie "The eternal sunshine of the spotless mind"

First computer I ever owned!

Wednesday 6th April 2011
Gordon McIntosh (UK)

I used one of these to develop and run a purchasing system in DBASE IV for a company I did my degree placement year with. I had no problem with the screen - the company did buy an external hard disc for it which made it much easier to use.

Tuesday 22nd February 2011
Mike Blais (Canada)

I had one of these laptop also. I created a boot disk with just MS-DOS 6.2 and the driver for a zip-100 on the printer port, I stored everything on zip disk including Word Perfect V5.1. It only had 1 720 k 3.5" floppy because the other drive gave me problem so I try to repair with no luck. It also had 640 kB of memory with v20 cpu, equal to 8088. No hard was found on the one I had. I miss that computer.

Friday 15th October 2004
John Elliott (UK)
Amstrad XT pages

James: The PPC boot floppies are at

Saturday 15th January 2011
JoenDave (England)

This is gonna sound stupid but where are the dip switches located on the amstrad PPC 512? Everywhere i can find says "they are located at the back" but i can''t seem to find them at all. any help would be greatly appreciated :)

Thursday 25th November 2010
Brett G (Australia)

This was my first computer when i was a kid. We used it as a fixed desktop with an external monitor. My dad won it in a comp at work which was the only reason we had a computer.

I have fond memories because I bashed out my first code on this machine running DOS 6.0.

The screen was useless, near unreadable so as a "portable" computer it sucked and the batteries lasted minutes but still nostalgia plus for me.

Sunday 23rd May 2010

I have a portable computer ppc 640 who belonged to my dad. I would like to sell. I kear offers. Tahnsk you. Bye

Saturday 7th February 2009
John (UK)

Still got one with an 85Mb hard disk. I seem to remember that up to 120Mb was available at the time. It has worked under MS-DOS 6.0 without any problems, but mine stays with reliable v3.3 and the necessary virtual drives C, D, AND E. Try Google for disk availability.

Friday 18th July 2008
Ean (Canada)
Welcome to My World

My mother owned one of these with a version of WordPerfect running from floppy disks.

I used to play with it sometimes as I was always programming or fiddling with things and one day I made it stop working.

I didn't have the instructions so I thought I bricked it and it ended up in a closet for a long time.

Now that I read the wiki article on it I think I simply turned the LCD off. :C

D'oh! Stupid bastards making it a 6-switch dip switch! XD

Okay, so I changed the setting... now which of !6 settings is it again?

Tuesday 1st April 2008
Jaume Von Vega

I forgot it, but i checked the Tech. information and seen some things off of the reality.

The keyboard is described as mechanic, but the feedback feels more membrane than mech...
Battery life : 1 hour happens only with hard disk models, floppy only's lasts about 6-8 hours. The sound is handled via a true loud speaker, no a beeper

Thursday 20th March 2008
Jaume Von Vega (Catalonia)

The LCD screen is not (that) poor, at lest isn't worst to other LCD's of the era... You just need to adjust the contrast to get a crisp and pretty fast image (You can play PC Man whitout ghosting!)

Sunday 5th September 2004
James Tramm (Flagstaff, AZ, USA)


I just picked up an Amstrad ppc512, and need a boot disk. If anyone can help me out finding one it would be much appreciated.


Sunday 29th February 2004
A Hodson (uk)

I have a PPC640. I + a 2nd floppy drive & mono monitor. I learned to use the LetterPerfect word proccesor on it. Any1 have GEM for it?

Thursday 12th February 2004
Jaume von vega (catalonia)

i have a 512 with 640 Kb and when i opened it for put a second floppy drive i found a: ˇHARD DISK! of 20 Mb

Monday 9th February 2004
Jaume von Vega (Catalonia)

I recently bought a ppc 512 at ebay, and i want to know if the 3.5 drives heritages the rubber belt problems common to the 3" microdrives and if i cant switch it for a standard 3.5" drive.

Wednesday 23rd July 2003
Nigel  (Shropshire)

I have read elsewhere that the centre "pin" is the positive and the outer ring the negative. Spec of13.8v 1.9a. However I should think an approximate 12v would work.

Now does anyone know if I can power the PPC from an Amstrad PC1512 monitor - the type with a power-supply built in? It appears to have a DIN plug which matches that on the back of the PPC. If so, this sounds a good option of use at home etc!

Monday 12th May 2003
TuX (France)

I'd like to know if someone knows the polarity of the power supply cause i've got a ppc512 without original power supply and a 12v ac adaptator.


Friday 27th December 2002
JaC (Poland)

MSDOS v. 3.30 was distributed with PPC512, contained on single 360kB 3.5'' disc (can e-mail).
Later I used MSDOS 4.01, but that was on three separate diskettes. The biggest software I was using: Framework III, preparing my master thesis

Saturday 7th December 2002
salvador (Spain)

I've recently moved and have rediscovered in a corner my old amstrad ppc 512. I'd be happy to sell it with all its accessories. It works perfectly.

Tuesday 17th September 2002
Lucie Maycock (England)

I have a friend who has one of these portable computers, he wants to know where he can get some disc's for it? Can anybody help me?

Saturday 31st August 2002
parkan (NYC)

I have one of these as well, although it is not a very interesting piece of hardware and it is stashed away in the closet. I have two boot disks and I would be happy to make an image of one and send it over to you, just email me at the above addres (remove the brackets areound the @ first, of course).

Wednesday 26th June 2002
Roy (Netherlands)
Roy's Website

I have one to. I think it is important to use DD disks. You can make them easily by putting tape over the right hole on your boot disk. It might work.
If you have tried other ways, I would like to hear them.



Sunday 5th May 2002
nico (france)

I have one here with carrying case, boot disk, power supply, cords,etc... that is available for sale or trade. Mail me if interested...

Wednesday 10th April 2002
severine (????)

je suis a la recherche des drivers PPC 512 / 640 je l'est ai perdu cela fait trois jour que je fait des recherches sur internet mais pas de reponse pourriez vous me conseil ou me dire ou trouver ces drivers

Sunday 3rd February 2002
PdR (UK)

To my shame I have one, and to my shame I'm trying to get it to work (and failing). Was there a specific type of MS-DOS that the PPC needed to use to get the very nasty looking screen to work?

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