Sinclair ZX Spectrum  Page

A fresh new ZX Spectrum!

My ZX Spectrum comes fresh and new from the box. I use to say that my computers should be in good shape and working but this one is an exception - it is a virgin! It has never been connected, it just sitting there in the original box waiting to be used for the first time! I will let it stay that way for a while, a long while I think... All accessories are there, never used, the horizons cassette still has its plastic wrap unbroken.

This is a Swedish version of the computer modified by the Swedish importer (Beckman) to display the special Swedish characters , and . The Spectrum comes in a 16 k model and a 48 k model, this is the 48 k model.

I bought this computer on a flea market in Sweden for 30 . The seller purchased it from a Radio & TV shop who went bankrupt a couple of years ago. This was part of their remaining stock. .

The Spectrum has eight colors, a built-in sound generator and loudspeaker, and the closest Sinclair Research has come to a "real" keyboard. Its specifications exceed those of the Model A BBC machine, and come close to the Model B in many areas. At just 125 for the 16K model, the Spectrum is the same price as a ZX-81 with 16K pack when first launched. With 48K the Spectrum costs 175.

 The Spectrum uses a "superset" of ZX-81 Basic, and any ZX-81 program can be typed in with the minimum of changes; ZX-81 tapes cannot be loaded into the Spectrum. The new computer loads and saves much more quickly than does the ZX-81, at 1,500 baud as against around 250, and the upward compatibility of listings should mean a lot to organizations like Muse which are building up a library of educational ZX software. Publishers of ZX literature or ZX software breathed a sigh of relief on hearing that ZX-81 listings could be entered directly.

The Spectrum works in upper- and lower-case letters, and does so like a typewriter: capital letters appear only when you use the shift key. The computer does not differentiate between upper and lower case when naming variables - so A$ is the same as a$ - and will ignore spaces in variable names.

The range of characters is standard, and symbols such as ! and # are available on a ZX machine for the first time. There is a range of three different curly brackets and a cute little copyright sign.

The sign, and the words "Sinclair Research Ltd" appear on the screen in black letters on a white ground when you first turn it on. Pressing New LList or Copy produces some remarkable flashing-border displays, and in Save and Load you are treated to a lollypop-striped screen in reds, blues and yellows.

The error codes are fascinating, and in English rather than the odd little numbers and letters of the ZX-80 and ZX-81. If all goes well in a Load, a Save, a program execution or whatever, the computer prints "OK" at the bottom of the screen. If you manage to make it swallow an incorrect line or parameter - which is difficult to do, because all lines are checked for syntax before being accepted into the main body of the program - the computer prints the delightful line

Nonsense in BASIC.

Whoever wrote the ROM had a sense of humor.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum was replaced in 1984 by the Spectrum + and in 1985 by the Spectrum 128.

Technical Data
Model ZX Spectrum
Manufacturer Sinclair, United Kingdom
Year 1982 - 1984
CPU Z80 at 3.5 MHz
RAM/ROM 16 or 48k / 16 k
Keyboard Rubber keys
Characters 32 x 24
Graphic 256 x 192 (8 colors)
Mass storage Cassette recorder

Today many people build their own computers with ordinary tools stored in their tool bench. A proper workspace is needed for the building project, but it does not have to be a heavy duty workbench or tool cabinet.