Some Retro Computing YouTube channels

December 30, 2021

It’s true to say that devotees of retro computing like myself are well supported for media content on the web. After visiting personal blogs and archive sites, YouTube is somewhere I like to find new content.

Below is a list of the YouTube retro computing channels I like to follow.

If you have a favourite channel that’s not listed drop me a comment and I’ll update my list.

The 8bit Guy (1.35M subscribers 274 videos 228,694,318 views)
https://www.youtube.com/user/adric22

RMC – The Cave (134K subscribers 339 videos 15,642,539 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/RMCRetro

Jan Beta (43.6K subscribers 226 videos 4,823,519 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/JanBeta

Adrians Digital Basement (121K subscribers 379 videos 19,672,489 views)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE5dIscvDxrb7CD5uiJJOiw

Retro Recipes (112K subscribers 201 videos 10,067,350 views)
https://www.youtube.com/user/Perifractic

8-Bit Show And Tell (40.5K subscribers 121 videos 4,038,914 views)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3gRBswFkuteshdwMZAQafQ

Noel’s Retro Lab (27.5K subscribers 113 videos 1,939,882 views)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2-SP1bYi3ueKlVU7I75wFw

MindFlareRetro (12.2K subscribers 23 videos 230,434 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/MindFlareRetro

retrobits (8.34K subscribers 49 videos 355,803 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/retrobitstv

The 8-Bit Manshed (6.69K subscribers 398 videos 543,199 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/BGOllie

Retro Tech Repair (4.01K subscribers 43 videos 165,016 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroTechRepair

The Retro Shed (3.54K subscribers 177 videos 215,003 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/TheRetroShed

Arctic retro (3.42K subscribers 147 videos 325,814 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/Arcticretro

TJ Ferreira (3.35K subscribers 610 videos 706,543 views)
https://www.youtube.com/user/MacSociety

TheRetroChannel (2.85K subscribers 62 videos 82,303 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/TheRetroChannel

Retro Tech Ralph (2.54K subscribers 870 videos 671,005 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroTechRalph

ByteDelight (2.52K subscribers 364 videos 616,390 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/ByteDelight/about

8Bit Retro ReFix (414 subscribers 50 videos 12,669 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/8BitRetroReFix

DIYChris (373 subscribers 28 videos 17,705 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/DIYChris/about

Retro Ruminations (280 subscribers 5 videos 31,572 views)
https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroRuminations

bitfixer (68 subscribers 5 videos 1,072 views)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-bHBCI2JOCx95PAzoe-O8Q/featured


Elektor magazine is 60-years old this year.

November 30, 2021

I first encountered Elektor in the early 1980’s, probably around 1983. I remember going to our towns main library to read the latest edition (along with other electronic magazines of the time). I enjoyed reading it so much I would take out a subscription to it around 1986 and have been a subscriber ever since.

As well as Elektor I would also read Wireless World, Everyday Electronics, Practical Electronics, Electronics Today International and Electronics Magazine (from Maplin). I read all of them during those days and they definitely help educate me on electronics. I think I subscribed to most of them at one point or another. But one by one they stopped being published or merged and apart from Practical Electronics (which merged with Everyday Electronics) none of them exist today. Which is really sad.

Apart from being an avid reader of Elektor I also had the privilege of writing for the magazine on several occasions.

In 2005 I wrote three articles on the latest in microcontrollers, the arrival of the 32-bitters. In one these wrote about a design based on a NXP ARM and called it “ARMee”. I believe it was one of the very earliest articles, if not the first, on ARM microcontrollers to be published in a mainstream magazine.

The ARMee would go on to feature in other authors projects, a DCC model train controller project spings to mind. I would also go onto to write about the Raspberry Pi for the magazine.

The celebrate its 60th year, Elektor has published a special edition of the magazine which features articles about its 60 years and remembers many of the projects it published over the years. I very pleased to say my ARMee project got a mention on page 64.

The original ARMee article cam be found at

https://www.elektormagazine.com/magazine/elektor-200503/17921

Whilst the content of Elektor has changed with the times, it still features many quality and interesting articles and is still a great read. Here’s to another 60-years.


New Raspberry Pi Zero

October 29, 2021

TL;DR – The Raspberry Pi Zero gets a 1GHz quad-core, 64 bit CPU upgrade (and a price hike to $15)

I’ve been a big fan of the Raspberry Pi Zero since it first appeared in 2015 and the WIFI enabled Raspberry Pi Zero W in 2017. It’s small size, powerful processor and low cost made it a great choice for many of my projects.

Yesterday (28th October 2021) Raspberry Pi announced a new improved Raspberry Pi Zero, the “Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W”.

Here are its key features:

  • 1GHz quad-core, 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU
  • VideoCore IV GPU
  • 512MB LPDDR2 DRAM
  • 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.2 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Mini HDMI and USB 2.0 OTG ports
  • Micro USB power
  • HAT-compatible 40-pin header
  • Composite video and reset pins via solder test points
  • CSI camera connector

The extra processing power comes at a monetary cost. While the original Raspberry Pi Zero cost $5 and WIFI enabled Raspberry Pi Zero W cost $10, the new Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W will cost you $15.

Gareth Halfacree across at Hackser.io has a more in depth review

Now here is an interesting question. As the Raspberry Pi team created the IC, will we see the RP3A0 IC being offered for sale alongside their other creation the RP2040? From the comments made on the announcement page it would seem no. But one can hope.


Yet another ZX Spectrum Hardware book

September 30, 2021

Following on from an earlier post which featured the book “Spectrum Hardware Manual” by Adrian Dickens, another book from the period I owned/still own was “Spectrum Interfacing and Projects” by Graham Bishop. This book was more project orientated than the “Spectrum Hardware Manual”.

Today its out of print but it does show up on auction sites and Amazon every now and again and is a interesting read of anyone looking to build their own Spectrum connected circuits.


Keeping your ZX Spectrum going

August 31, 2021

Like classic cars or motorbikes, old computers often need a little TLC and need to be repaired. The ZX Spectrum has a great online following and here are a few useful guides:

Guides
https://www.retroleum.co.uk/troubleshooting
https://spectrumforeveryone.com/technical/
https://worldofspectrum.net/documentation/
http://www.breakintoprogram.co.uk/computers/zx-spectrum/hardware
https://github.com/evolutional/zxhardware/tree/main/zxspectrum/lower-ram-replacement
http://retro.hansotten.nl/other-retro-articles/cpu-nop-testers/
https://github.com/brendanalford/zx-diagnostics
https://k1.spdns.de/Vintage/Sinclair/82/Sinclair%20ZX%20Spectrum/Repair/ZX%2048k%20repair%20guide%20(ian%20worsley)/rep_spec.html
https://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/sinclair/zxspectrum/sm/service.asp
https://worldofspectrum.org/faq/reference/48kreference.htm
https://worldofspectrum.org/hardware/rep2.html
https://shred.zone/cilla/page/459/zx-spectrum-chrome.html
https://www.markmorton.co.uk/zxMaintCaps.html
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/hardware/rep4.html
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/hardware/rep5.html
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/hardware/rep6.html
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/hardware/rep7.html
https://www.retrotechlab.com/zx-spectrum-common-faults/
http://blog.retroleum.co.uk/electronics-articles/repairing-a-zx-spectrum/
https://spectrumforeveryone.com/2017/04/quickly-diagnose-48k-ram-failures-ninja-style/

Videos Guides
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_tHUv5Xn-E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTCRfspWEeI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WFevJQaUng
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4pWab1MWC4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSOoMbGLseI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tsuocTfq78
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98_BN5zZZqc
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeE-nhnRiCIktoH7N8p9a7g

Replacement parts
https://zxrenew.co.uk/ZX-Spectrum-Replacement-Cases-only-c22752627
https://zxrenew.co.uk/ZX-Spectrum-Faceplates-c20672680
https://zxrenew.co.uk/ZX-Spectrum-Keyboard-Mats-c20672679
https://zxrenew.co.uk/Keyboard-Membranes-c20672681
https://zxrenew.co.uk/ULAs-c67455115
https://www.retroleum.co.uk/zx-spectrum-capacitors
https://sinclair.wiki.zxnet.co.uk/wiki/Replacement_Components
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-x-TRACO-Switching-Regulator-TSR-1-2450-6-5-36V-dc-Input-5V-Output-1A-7805/322978975793
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pure-Copper-Heatsink-Cooler-Heat-Sink-SSD-Thermal-Pads-for-M-2-2280-PCI-E-NVME/264981150361
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ZX-Spectrum-16-48K-Refurb-Kit-Vishay-Capacitors-ULA-Heatsink/333184544938

https://shred.zone/cilla/page/458/zx-spectrum-recoiled.html

https://www.mutant-caterpillar.co.uk/shop/product_info.php?products_id=4394

https://zxrenew.co.uk/ZX-DIAG-CART-%E2%80%93-DIY-KIT-p240405414

https://www.evolutional.co.uk/post/zxspectrum-4116-ram-board/
https://www.evolutional.co.uk/post/zxspectrum-4116-ram-board-2/

References
https://worldofspectrum.org/faq/reference/reference.htm

Tapes
https://shred.zone/cilla/page/440/r-tape-loading-error.html
https://shred.zone/cilla/page/441/r-tape-loading-error-part-2.html

https://shred.zone/cilla/page/390/recovering-old-zx-spectrum-tapes.html
https://shred.zone/cilla/page/393/recovering-old-zx-spectrum-tapes-part-2.html

Video Hardware Upgrade
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LAws3_BfLY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsNaEcWbMoo
https://github.com/c0pperdragon/ZX-Spectrum-Component-Video


ZX Spectrum – more storage options

July 31, 2021

Following on from my post from 2019, I’ve compiled a few more interesting modern data storage / retrieval solutions for the ZX Spectrum

Emulating old computer cassette tapes
https://github.com/evolutional/TZX-Cassette-Mod
https://www.hackster.io/news/build-a-tzxduino-reloaded-to-load-games-on-your-vintage-computer-f877085cd485
https://github.com/arananet/TzxDuino-Reloaded
https://github.com/rcmolina/MaxDuino_v1.67
http://projectavr.com/TZXDuino/
https://www.projectavr.com/old-skool-tape-loading/
https://github.com/tebl/8BIT-Wave
https://github.com/rickyelqasem/TZX_Tools
https://github.com/rickyelqasem/TZXDuino-Uploader

ZX Spectrum
https://github.com/alvaroalea/DandanatorAMIE
http://www.dandare.es/Proyectos_Dandare/Proyectos.html
https://github.com/mad3001/Multiply

Cartridges
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Interface_2
http://www.fruitcake.plus.com/Sinclair/Interface2/Cartridges/Interface2_RC_Custom.htm
https://github.com/mosaicmap/ZXS_I2_kartridz
http://trastero.speccy.org/cosas/droy/cartuchos/cartuchos_s.htm
https://github.com/tebl/ZX-Interface-2.021


Technical preservation of Vintage Computers #2

June 30, 2021

As I delve down deeper into retro computer clones / reproductions I find more interesting examples of lesser know designs (or lesser well known examples of popular designs 😉 )

Here is a short list I’ve compiled of less well know retro computer clones or replicas

https://github.com/alvaroalea/all-spectrum-clones
https://github.com/flypie/NewBrain
https://github.com/ricaflops/Jupiter-II
https://github.com/konkotgit/ZX-48-Spider
https://github.com/SukkoPera/Raemixx500
https://github.com/flypie/Ace-2019
https://github.com/evolutional/zxhardware


Technical preservation of Vintage Software

May 31, 2021

Following on from my post on the Technical preservation of Vintage Computers

I thought I would follow up with a post on the preservation of vintage software, more spectifically preservation examples of video games for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

The most popular games such as Manic Miner and Jetset Willy have many dedicate web sites but others not so well followed. Here’s a few gems to check out:

ZX Spectrum Game Disassemblies
https://github.com/mrcook/zx-spectrum-games

JETPAC cartridge ROM disassembly
https://github.com/mrcook/jetpac-disassembly

The Great Escape
https://github.com/dpt/The-Great-Escape


Big box of PCB’s #5

April 30, 2021

Another big box of PCB’s arrived from jlcpcb this week.

In this box are my first add-on designs for the Raspberry Pi RP2040 based PICO module and also the Raspberry Pi 400 computer. So hopefully I will write about these in the next few posts.

As well as the Raspberry Pi stuff there where also some RC2014 boards as well.

As always, I’ll put them up to my Tindie shop


Technical preservation of Vintage Computers

March 31, 2021

I love my retro computers and the Internet does too, given the massive number of web sites out there dedicated to them.

A recent great find of mine is James Lewis’s Bit Preserve site on github. Unlike most retro sites which try to preserve an old computers operation manuals, service manuals and programs verbatim, Jame’s site goes further and is trying to preserve their technical designs by “recreating classic computer schematics. Let’s convert all those random scanned PDFs into a modern, editable and re-usable format”, to quote him directly. James gives an excellent video introduction to the preservation project.

The preservation project has picked KiCad as the primary schematic capture tool.

Whilst many of the directories are empty, the current system wish list is:

Amiga

Amstrad

Apple
    Apple II
    Apple II+
    Apple IIe
    Apple IIc
    Apple III

Commodore
    PET
    VIC 20
    C64
    C64C
    C128

Sinclair
    ZX 80
    ZX 81

Spectrum ZX

Tandy / Radio Shack
    TRS-80 Model I
    TRS-80 Model II
    TRS-80 Model III