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Cambridge Z88 Link Kits

 Cambridge Z88 





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Z88 Link Kits - Join Your Z88 to another computer

A wide range of link kits is available to connect the Cambridge Z88 Computer to other computers, namely, Microsoft based PCs, the BBC Micro, Apple MACsSinclair QLs, Commodore Amigas, Acorn Archimedes and of course, other Z88s.  We are also able to supply an improved VT 100 Terminal Emulator for the Z88 supporting up to 38,400 baud.

All kits are supplied with a made up serial lead (normally a 9 to 25 pin adapter lead), software on EPROM for the Z88, software on 3.5" disk for the other computer and instruction manuals.

Microsoft Based PCs To Z88 Links

PCs have the widest range of options as to how to connect to a Z88, you can use PCLink 2 (supplied in the standard PC Link Kit), or the improved EazyLink.  PCLink 2 is for DOS or Windows 3.xx based machines - EazyLink is recommended for later versions of Windows.  There is also a further program which has recently been made available once again, RangerLink (another DOS based program), the original version of which does not work on machines with more than a 486 processor.  However, the latest RangerLink 2 software overcomes this problem.

Cambridge Z88 PC Link 2 (an invaluable serial link) PC Link 2

PC Link 2 is the Cambridge Computer PC link program. It allows you to transfer files from a Z88 to any true IBM PC based computer as ASCII, or translate them from Pipedream into Wordstar or Lotus 1-2-3. By downloading the correct filters, the Wordstar file may then be imported into Microsoft Word. Likewise Microsoft Excel can import Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet files.

Alternatively, you can download files from your fixed system as an ASCII file to the Z88, and then translate them into the PipeDream word-processor as plain text.

However, please note that PC Link 2 can only use COM 1 as the serial port.

Cambridge Z88 RangerLink 2 (an invaluable serial link) PC Link 2

RangerLink 2 is the Ranger Computers PC link program, written in DOS. As with PC Link 2, RangerLink 2 provides a wide range of options to allow you to transfer files from a Z88 to any true IBM PC based computer, including various options not included in PC Link 2, such as the ability to view files on the Z88 screen, mark multiple files, or transfer whole directories.  RangerLink 2 also allows you  to use any COM port and is around 4 times the speed of PC Link 2.

Eazylink - the easiest way of connecting a Cambridge Z88 to a PC Eazylink by Rakewell Limited

Eazylink is a new file transfer program that can send files to and from the Z88 and a PC that is running Windows NT or 98. It is fast, easy to use and copes with multiple files, and has a comprehensive on-line help..

Eazylink works with three devices. These are the:

  • Z88
  • PC
  • and Eazylink's Backup Device.

In any of these devices, you are able to delete, rename, send and receive files, create and remove directories. All devices and directories are displayed and managed using the familiar File Explorer Interface introduced in Windows 95.

Sending and receiving files
You can select the following to backup your Z88 (using Wild cards if required):

  • Select RAM Device (Multiple RAM devices are selected one at a time).
  • Select Directories at a defined path
  • Select Files in a defined path
  • Select a File (or several Files)

Eazylink can translate files whilst the file is being transferred from the Z88, using CR to CR/LF, ISO Latin 1 and IBM codepage 865 (Scandinavian) or with a user defined translation table.  Because PC Link 2 is included in the package, the Pipedream translations are also available.

A text file viewer is included to enable a quick look at files from the Backup Device. Also included is the ability to view PipeDream files in "PipeView," a shareware Windows program from Dennis Gröning and a utility which loads or view files straight into the PC PipeDream DOS program.

Backup Device
Eazylink stores all the Z88 files on the PC in a simple database which is transparent to the user. A record is made when a file is saved with its original filename and complete path.

Two windows are displayed. One is the Source and the other is the Destination Device.

A mirror image of your Z88's file and directory structure is created allowing files to fetched from the database when required. Additional mirror images may be copied, by using different database filenames, allowing different backup versions or backups from different Z88s to be retained.

Restoring of files from the Backup Device re-installs original Z88 Date stamps on up-loaded files. Directories are automatically created by the EazyLink ROM on the Z88 in the RAM filing system. 12 character file names are now supported (unlike PC Link II which only supported the DOS format of 8.3).

Using the Commands with the Source and Destination windows, files may be reorganised into different directories within the Backup Device itself. This powerful facility allows the Z88 user to organise files without using the Z88 for the first time. Combined with the Viewer, old files may be deleted or moved to different directories, clearing more space for new files to be created.

Other Features:

  • Use any free serial COM port that Windows can see.
  • To ensure that the latest files are backed up, Eazylink compares the time and date of the PC's and Z88's clock. If they are different Eazylink sets the time and date on the Z88 to the same as the PC.
  • EazyLink also contains a file transfer log facility which remembers every file transfer performed by the user with time of transfer, filename, file size, file date stamp, and a command message. This is very useful for validation of large backup performances and various other transfers whilst left unattended.
  • When the battery on the Z88 is low, Eazylink will stop sending files to and from the Z88 to ensure that the data does not get corrupted.
  • A report can be requested that lists all the files in the Backup Device. The report may be sorted in ascending/descending order choosing one of the sorting criteria;
      file size
      date transferred
      Z88 file date stamp.

    This report can then be printed and used as a hardcopy record of what files have been backed up for future reference.

EazyLink ROM

The EazyLink ROM emulates 100% and performs 25% faster than the original PC Link ROM. Further, with the PC-LINK II emulation, you get transparent linefeed conversion and ISO LATIN I/DOS codepage translation during transfer!In other words, you're still able to run the old PC-LINK II DOS program and PC PipeDream when using the EazyLink ROM in the Z88.

BBC Micro Computer to Cambridge Z88 link kit BBC Micro Computer to Z88 Links

The BBC Micro Computer was produced by Acorn and was one of the most successful computers in the 1980s.  It was designed to allow a series of expansions to be added inside the computer, and with a built in BASIC, graphics, sound and assembler, proved to be extremely popular - the BBC still has a large following today.  For £25 we can supply the original Cambridge Computer software to transfer files between the BBC and the Z88 on disk and EPROM for the Z88 and a made-up cable.

Cambridge Z88 to Apple Mac Link Kit Apple Macintosh to Z88 Links

The Cambridge Computers Mac Link program allows you to transfer files from a Z88 to a Macintosh Plus, Macintosh SE or Macintosh II (as well as the later models) as ASCII, or translate them into MacWrite files which are accepted by Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, WriteNow, Fullwrite Professional and Lotus 1-2-3, and can be imported into Pagemaker, Quark Xpress and Ready Set Go!

Standard Sinclair QL to Cambridge Z88 Link Kit Sinclair QL to Z88 Links

The Sinclair QL was one of the brainchilds of Sir Clive Sinclair aimed at the small business market. It forms a useful complement to the Cambridge Z88 and files can be easily transferred between the two computers with the use of a suitable serial lead.  For £15, we can supply a set of programs by Ivan Hall (Impex95) and Dilwyn Jones (Archive to Pipedream) to transfer files between the Sinclair QL and the Z88, together with the appropriate lead (BT style connector on QL end). 

Otherwise, you may prefer to use the Sector Software Program, Q-Link

Impex95 allows you to store Z88 files on a Sinclair QL disk and then transfer them back to the Z88 at some time in the future.  You can also convert Pipedream files to plain text files for editing or importing into the Quill word processor, as well as send files directly through the QL to a printer connected to it.  Impex95 can even handle the files provided on QL formatted disk by the Z88 user group, to allow you to import them onto the Z88.  Plain text files can also be sent from the Sinclair QL to the Z88 for importing into Pipedream.  This package also includes Dilwyn Jones' Archive to Pipedream program which converts database files between the two formats.

Amstrad PCW  to Cambridge Z88 Link Kit Amstrad PCW to Z88 Links

The Amstrad PCW was one of the most popular early business computers.  For £20, we can supply a package consisting of the leads and a Sector Software program to connect the Amstrad PCW8256, PCW8512 or PCW9512 with a CPS8256 serial interfacee  to the Z88 and transferring files between the two computers.

Commodore Amiga to Cambridge Z88 Link Kit Commodore Amiga to Z88 Links

The Commodore Amiga was one of the most popular computers ever produced amongst early gaming enthusiasts (probably only second the Sinclair ZX Spectrum) and still retains quite a large following.  For £30, we can supply a package consisting of the leads and a Sector Software program to connect the Commodore Amiga to the Z88 and transferring files between the two computers.

Acorn Archimedes to Cambridge Z88 Link Kit Acorn Archimedes to Z88 Links

The Acorn Archimedes was launched in 1987 and was innovative to use a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set) processor and had some compatibility with the BBC Micro. In 1988, RISC OS was released, which is a multitasking operating system and graphical user interface, supporting anti-aliased fonts and laser printers.  There is a Lindis International program for connecting the Acorn Archimedes to the Z88 and transferring files between the two.

You might also like to consider Z-Link II from the Really Good Software Company which enables you to connect a Z88 to any Acorn RISC OS computer.

Cambridge Z88 to Z88 Links

The Cambridge Z88 lacks a built-in network port, but can use its serial port to link to other Z88s. You just need the appropriate lead and the in-built software


Vision/L - the VT-100 terminal emulator for the Cambridge Z88Vision/L by Ranger Computers is a VT-100 terminal emulator designed to replace the one provided built into the Z88 computer.  Vision/L provides an RS-232-C interface and supports communication speeds up to 38,400 baud.


Data is displayed on the Z88 screen (80 character 8 line) which acts as a 'window' into an internal 24-line VT100 screen. The user can move the 'window' using the cursor keys, and also choose whether the window automatically follows incoming data or remains fixed at a constant point in the internal screen. The full 24 line screen is constantly visible as a 'pixel map' (a miniature representation of the full 24-line screen complete with a cursor showing the current window position).


The full size VT100 terminal has more keys than are available on the Z88. Vision/L emulates these extra keys by using the Z88 <> and [] keys.  Function keys are obtained by using the [] key. This displays the Z88 keyboard layout with the function name for each key. Pressing any key then emulates the selected function. The VT100 keypad keys are also available to the user at any time by pressing the <> key in conjunction with the relevant keypad key.

Emulation Features

The DEC VT100 terminal represents a de-facto standard for screen formatting and keyboard interpretation and is available as an interface option on a vast number of mainframe, mini and micro-computer hosts. The standard is also used widely in specialised electronic equipment where external interrogation is required.

The VT100 interface consists of commands, or 'escape code sequences,' that are inserted into the normal data stream in order to instruct the terminal on how and where to display data. These sequences also control other functions in the terminal, for instance the character codes to be returned when certain keyboard keys are pressed.

Wherever practical, Vision/L behaves in response to these commands exactly as a VT100 terminal would. In cases where a particular command is not supported, Vision/L recognises, but does not respond to, the command. Commands are only unsupported where they are impractical in the Z88 hardware (such as smooth scroll).

RAM required

Vision/L will only run on an EXPANDED Z88, so you need at least a 128K RAM pack installed.

Please note that due to difficulties in obtaining copies of this program on its own at a reasonable cost, it is only available on one of Rakewell Limited's compilation Flash EPROMs, Application 99 or Application 2000.