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

RP2040 Pico – some useful websites

February 28, 2021

It was a pleasant surprise to see the Raspberry Pi foundation bring out their own microcontroller, the RP2040 and also a dev board for it, the Pico.

I’ve bought a few and I can say its a really good device but what makes it standout is the quality of its documentation, it is really excellent. Never the less, there are a number of great website posts popped up for those wanting to quickly get started. There are also some gerat projects as well. I’ve listed a few of both below:

Getting started:

Official Pico Datasheet
https://datasheets.raspberrypi.org/pico/pico-datasheet.pdf

Official Getting Started
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/rp2040/getting-started/

Pi Pico Pinout and Power Pins
https://www.raspberrypi-spy.co.uk/2021/01/pi-pico-pinout-and-power-pins/

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi Pico using MicroPython and C
https://www.cnx-software.com/2021/01/24/getting-started-with-raspberry-pi-pico-using-micropython-and-c/

A closer look at Raspberry Pi RP2040 Programmable IOs (PIO)
https://www.cnx-software.com/2021/01/27/a-closer-look-at-raspberry-pi-rp2040-programmable-ios-pio/

How to blink an LED with Raspberry Pi Pico in C
https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/how-to-blink-an-led-with-raspberry-pi-pico-in-c/

Raspberry Pi Pico: Tutorials, Pinout, Everything You Need to Know
https://www.tomshardware.com/news/raspberry-pi-pico-tutorials-pinout-everything-you-need-to-know

Scripting electronic components with Raspberry Pi Pico and MicroPython
https://rk.edu.pl/en/scripting-electronic-components-raspberry-pi-pico/

Playing with the Pico Part 1 – Getting Started
https://gregchadwick.co.uk/blog/playing-with-the-pico-pt1/

Raspberry Pi Pico: First Impressions
https://01001000.xyz/2021-01-25-Raspberry-Pi-Pico-first-impressions/

Raspberry Pi goes MCU with open-spec Pico
https://linuxgizmos.com/raspberry-pi-goes-mcu-with-open-spec-pico/

Pico setup for Windows
https://github.com/ndabas/pico-setup-windows

Getting Started with the Raspberry Pi Pico
https://www.hackster.io/gatoninja236/getting-started-with-the-raspberry-pi-pico-7fa1b4

Getting Start with Raspberry Pi Pico
https://www.hackster.io/ashokr/getting-start-with-raspberry-pi-pico-87e4f9

Debugging the Raspberry Pi Pico on Windows 10
https://www.element14.com/community/community/raspberry-pi/blog/2021/02/07/debugging-the-raspberry-pi-pico-on-windows-10

Coding on Raspberry Pi remotely with Visual Studio Cod
https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coding-on-raspberry-pi-remotely-with-visual-studio-code/

Pico projects:

Bitbanged DVI on the RP2040 Microcontroller
https://github.com/Wren6991/picodvi

Adafruit-Feather-RP2040-PCB
https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-Feather-RP2040-PCB

PicoPythonHub75
https://github.com/benevpi/PicoPythonHub75

USB-Host-Wing-RP2040
https://github.com/ATMakersOrg/USB-Host-Wing-RP2040

How to Connect an Analog Joystick to Raspberry Pi Pico
https://www.tomshardware.com/how-to/raspberry-pi-pico-joystick

Pi Pico, PicoProbe and VS Code
https://hackaday.io/project/177198-pi-pico-picoprobe-and-vs-code


Raspberry Pi announce its own microcontroller and Pico dev board

January 28, 2021

It looks like the good people at Raspberry Pi are getting into the silicon business. They have announced their own microcontroller and a development board for it, the Pico.

Meet Raspberry Silicon: Raspberry Pi Pico now on sale at $4
https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-silicon-pico-now-on-sale/


ZX Spectrum Prototyping boards

December 31, 2020

After a what can only be described as a very strange year, I find myself working on a project inspired from yesteryear.

The ZX Spectrum from Sinclair Research was the first computer that I owned, getting it 1982. One of the books I bought back then was the Spectrum Hardware Manual by Adrian Dickens. I remember building many of the circuits described in it, both temporary on breadboard and also permanently on Vero board.

Now fast forward to today, December 2020. Inspired by those early days I have designed a couple of PCB’s to make building circuits for ZX Spectrum a little easier than back then.

There’s a quartet of boards: starting with a breadboard PCB, next we have a prototyping board, another more advanced prototyping board with decoding IC’s and finally a bus extender PCB with vertical and horizontal signal expansions.

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


Blog pings and nice write ups

November 30, 2020

It’s always very heart warming when other people take an interest in what you’ve been making or what you are up to.

My recent blog entry for prototyping Feather boards got a nice write up from Gareth Halfacree across at Hackster.io. It also appeared in the Adafruit blog.

Thanks guys !!


Yet More Feather boards

October 31, 2020

Following on from the Feather boards and Feather prototyping board I showed last time, I’ve finished a few more Feather module designs.