Linking the Z88

Most people don't use their Z88 as their main computer, but rather as a portable complement to their desktop system. So, one of the most important features of the Z88 is its ability to transfer data with those other computers.

There are a variety of ways of going about setting up a link to another computer, some of which are detailed below.


Commercially-produced solutions

The easiest (although costliest) way to connect your Z88 with your desktop computer is to buy a complete kit (cable & software for both ends) from one of the dwindling Z88 suppliers.

Kits for many different computers are available. For example, Rakewell can provide software and cables suitable for the following computers:

Prices are generally between £10 and £30.


D.I.Y.

If you're handy with a soldering iron, or know someone who is, you can easily make up your own cable to connect to your computer's serial port. Here are ones which are know to work:

Once you have the cable, you'll need some software to perform the file transfers.

Plain text files, including PipeDream and CLI files can be transferred in a variety of ways, without the need for extra software on your Z88 - although you may need a terminal program for your other computer. Follow this link for details.

Binary files (such as BASIC programs) are more problematic. You could either write a program for your computer to support the Import/Export popdown protocol (details on p93 of the user guide), or make use of standard terminal software at each end. Two good Z88 terminal software packages are Z88COM and ZCP - follow these links for the software & details of how to use it.

Alternatively, a freeware PC application (by Anton Bialecki) which links directly to the Import/Export popdown is available, called (originally enough) Z88.COM. Instructions are now available in both French and English.


EazyLink

If you already have a working cable, the best solution is Interlogic's excellent EazyLink program. Previously only available commercially, the server program (which resides in a ROM, or installed in RAM, on the Z88) is now downloadable free from this site and offers far superior performance and features to the standard transfer packages

Transfer speeds are up to twice that of the standard packages such as PC Link 2 and the client software is much easier to use, allowing full backups to be made with a single command.

The software required on your desktop computer can either be the excellent Windows-based EazyLink software (available from Rakewell at additional cost) or the free command-line client link which is available for a variety of platforms and can be downloaded here.

The link software is currently provided for use with DOS (IBM PCs and compatibles), QDOS (QLs and compatibles), UNIX and Amiga. It provides a vast range of options, from simply sending and receiving files, to querying all sorts of Z88 information, deleting and renaming Z88 files, and even setting the system clock!

You can download the client software directly, or view the documentation. Turn to the EazyLink ROM page to download the software for the Z88 end.


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