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

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