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ZX Spectrum

The good old Speccy

Years and years ago, in my college days and up to the “old days” of Windows 3.1 / 95 machines, there were a few ZX Spectrum emulators available. The one I used the most was Z80 by Gerton Lunter. An amazing bit of coding, and a large supply of dodgy .Z80 and .TAP files, kept me going back in time to my youthful teenage years.

Roll forward over 25 years, and I find myself playing ‘catch up’ with all things related to the ZX Spectrum – the machine that kicked off my various hobbies and, in the long run, my career. I’ve delved into all manner of ZX Spectrum related groups on Facebook, esp. Spectrum for Everyone and Sinclair For Sale (got to pick up the bargains!).

Currently I have a (donated) 128K Plus 2B (the black model, not the grey one) along with the DivMMC Enjoy! (an SD card interface) and the older DivIDE (a CF card interface). But due to this machine’s curse, I seem to keep killing off interface cards, so that I’ve got to send both of these modern interfaces back to Holland for repair.

Update: they’ve arrived in Holland, Ben has fixed them both and now I’m just waiting their return. I will be selling the DivIDE off, along with the unneeded +2B machine that I have. This will help offset the cost of the +3e (see below).

Recently acquire new Speccy toys

So as a replacement, I’ve ordered a +3 (with +3e ROMs) from Mutant Caterpillar Games. I’ll also be ordering a ZX-MMC (from 8Bits4ever) which is a internal dual SD/Micro SD card interface. This will be installed into the +3 before it’s sent to me as I am not a hardware person and would probably end up breaking both the interface and killing off the +2b!

I have also taken delivery of an Arduitape. This is a Micro SD based system that emulates tapes (unprotected ones) so that I don’t have to use a tape deck with my +3e. You can buy a 4gb Micro SD card with the system (which I did) and the card is half-full of ZX Spectrum .TAP and .TZX files all ready to LOAD in and tinker with 🙂

However, initial inspections showed me that it doesn’t work with my +2b. After contacting the seller of the Arduitape, he confirmed that both the Spectrum +2a and +2b models need a hardware hack to make it accept incoming tape ‘sounds’ from anywhere but the tape deck.

When it’s all set up I plan to ..

The plan is to re-learn my Spectrum days of my youth which includes me using my technical authoring skills to create a list of tape-to-disk transfers for anyone to follow. Any other sections that appear under here will follow as and when I discover something else.

I used to, back in my teenage years, send backups of the latest titles to Lerm Software to help them to develop their Tape Copier tools. I’ve kept a letter which they sent me back in 1987 where they were thanking me for this. I’ll post up here at some point 🙂  I’m still on the lookout for any Lerm Software tools on 3″ disk though as I only have Kobrahsoft’s SC5 disk at present.

And in the future (2018 onwards)

Also with the impending release in early 2018 of the Spectrum Next machine – which I backed the dog’s doodah version with the Raspberry Pi inside – there’s some hope for ‘modern’ day hacking and coding on this machine too 🙂