ZX Spectrum 48k

 My Retro  Comments Off on ZX Spectrum 48k
Oct 302015
 

I’ve been looking to get hold of a ZX Spectrum 48k for some time now, and finally came across someone selling an untested one local to me the other week with some original games and joystick interface. I spent most of the early 80’s playing on my Spectrum with its rubber keys, and was looking forward to seeing the original hardware in action yet again.

I had a couple of issues. No power supply, tape deck, audio cable or joystick.

However I managed to find a reconditioned PSU on eBay that was perfect and this allowed me to power up the unit to see if it actually worked or not. I managed to find an RF cable that was suitable, but no amount of tweaking allowed me to get a picture on either an LCD or CRT TV. One good thing was that I was getting noise from the Spectrum when the keys were pressed!

I started looking at what I could do to rectify the picture issue, and came across an article about converting the ZX Spectrum to composite. The website can be found here:

http://www.retrogamescollector.com/simple-zx-spectrum-composite-mod

I carried out the mod, which was very simple, and it gave me a perfect picture on an LCD screen of the operating system 🙂 I also managed to find a mono audio lead in my box of spares, so I was getting to a position where I could start to think about loading tapes.

As I did not have access to an original tape player, I looked at options of playing tapes as MP3 files from my phone. I tried various pieces of software but the best one seemed to be an application called WinTZX which can be found here:

http://www.wintzx.fr/webStart.html

A very cool piece of software that can convert .TAP ot .TZX files (essentially tape files) to MP3 files that can be played from a phone or MP3 player

So I downloaded a couple of games from the World of Spectrum archives http://www.worldofspectrum.org/games and converted the games to MP3. The software seems to ramp the output volume of the files to make them have a better chance of loading unlike other software that I used. So I stuck the MP3 on my phone, connected it via the mono lead, and turned the volume up to max. The tape started to load, and I sat back and waited for 5-10 minutes like I did back in the 80’s praying that an “R Tape loading error” message would not appear. Luckily all went well and I was soon remembering the game I used to play called “Back to Skool”. The only thing I need to do now is test out a joystick and the joystick interface. I have a joystick with a C64 which I’m fairly sure will work on the Spectrum aswell.