Thursday, April 30, 2009


BBC clip: Launch of the Toastrack

BBC Programme from a fortnight after the launch of the Spectrum 128k.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Cronosoft on the BBC!

Jonathan Cauldwell and Simon (from Cronosoft) have been interviewed by the BBC.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009


Happy 27th, Speccy

27 years. Blimey...

An article.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Spectrum 128 (toastrack) RGB cable

Click an image for a larger version.

Fortunately I remembered before I went to Maplin this morning that the circuit I was thinking of yesterday was for the +2, not the toastrack 128. Basically, instead of 330 ohm resistors, I needed six 150ohm, one 15ohm, and three diodes (1N4148).

I will add in the MIC feed tomorrow, but it was nice that the cable worked first time

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


ZX Spectrum+ 128 - Toastrack!

My first ever toastrack arrived today.

It needs a new membrane as keys A-G and Q-T don't work, although I originally got them to work via WD-40 and a cotton bud.

The modulator seems kakked out too - will go to Maplin tomorrow for:

  • 8-pin DIN plug

  • SCART plug

  • shielded cable

  • some 330ohm resistors

and then hopefully I will be able to both see and hear the output instead of one or the other.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Note to self: changing the Mac OS X PATH

When you want modify the PATH, do not edit .bashrc - instead amend .profile

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Thursday, April 09, 2009


Spectrum+ keyboard & new membrane

Some of the keys were intermittent. For example, the " key took a minute or two before it would work.

I noticed that SYMBOL SHIFT + A did not give me the STOP command while I was writing a simple BASIC program to monitor the Kempston joystick on port 31 which is what jogged my memory (i.e. not getting the STOP command!)

Then, I remembered something about a 22K resistor from the Spectrum+ upgrade manual so downloaded the PDF, saw I was right and the keyboard is now OK after putting a 22k resistor in parallel with R68 on the motherboard.

The resistor calculator was useful to make sure I had the right resistor to hand - it's been a LONG time since university!

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Email from Fergus McNeill !

I loved Bored of the Rings when I was at school - and it is one of the few games I have ever completed, especially when it comes to adventure games.

I probably stuck at it so long not just because J.R.R. Tolkien's works were very popular at my school at the time, but also because I found the game very funny.

I bought the game, but my Mum chucked all my stuff out years ago so today I had to resort to getting the TZX file from World of Spectrum and trying to get the three parts of the adventure and the bonus "Telextext"-style program out of it. This led to a bug being identified in fuse-util's tape2wav program.

ANYWAY - got it downloaded from my Mac to my "new" Spectrum+ and finished the game with help from The TipShop - sending save games every so often back to my Mac.

The end screen of the game mentions phoning the software house Delta 4, so out of curiosity I found Fergus McNeill's email address and cheekily asked him if there was an automated message! Here is his reply:

I'd forgotten about that. No, not an automated message - in the 1980s that number would have got you through to my desk whereupon I could have lavished congratulatory words upon the caller "live from Delta 4 HQ". Don't recall many people calling though... ;-)

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More stuff on eBay

I've also recently won a replacement Spectrum+ case and my first 128K (toastrack) so they should be here soon to add to the collection.

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Sinclair Spectrum+

I've been in a bit of a retro mood again recently.

I picked up a Spectrum+ (48k Issue 2) recently on eBay with a few faults:

  1. Monochrome display - fixed by adjusting a few pots on the motherboard

  2. Some keys not working - bought a new keyboard membrane from RWAP

  3. A memory fault somewhere in the upper 32K - will get round to this some time with my Dad

In the meantime, I've transplanted an Issue 3 board into it and have been having fun...

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