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Timex Sinclair/ZX Spectrum compatibility questions


VicViper
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i'm really interested in checking out the ZX Spectrum, especially the homebrew scene. Alas, I am in the US, and all of the options seem daunting. Right now I am considering getting a Timex Sinclair 2056 with a ZX Spectrum ROM chip in it, and run a divMMC device like this https://www.thefuturewas8bit.com/index.php/divmmcfuture. But from what i understand, the pin connection on the back of the Timex isn't the same as the ZX. And im also unsure of what type of joysticks work with the TImex. I know it is all pretty obscure, but does any one have any experience with this?

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If you have a display that can take PAL composite video, you could import a real ZX Spectrum and do a 5 minute surgery to bypass the RF modulator. Input power 9V DC is the same even if you feed it from a 115V supply, so no need for step-up transformers etc.

I don't have anything that takes PAL video, plus i really like the styling of the Timex. OFcourse, if the SD Drive wont work on it all is for naught...

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VicViper, it's interesting that you bring this up. I just ordered a small batch of Harlequin 48k boards about a week ago. I really only need one, and will likely offer the others on my website. But there are also several ebay sellers out there for the 48k and the 128k variants. If you're not familiar with the Harlequin, you might check it out. It has NTSC compatibility. It can be a little expensive to build one, since they have quite a large BOM. But are a good option for us in the US who need an NTSC option.

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VicViper, it's interesting that you bring this up. I just ordered a small batch of Harlequin 48k boards about a week ago. I really only need one, and will likely offer the others on my website. But there are also several ebay sellers out there for the 48k and the 128k variants. If you're not familiar with the Harlequin, you might check it out. It has NTSC compatibility. It can be a little expensive to build one, since they have quite a large BOM. But are a good option for us in the US who need an NTSC option.

It is basically a bare board ZX? i would need to source and install all the components?

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Thats correct, its just the PCB. But the I also ordered the two most expensive components from overseas ( The ADC was $15, and the voltage regulator was $5 from US sources) which substantially lowered the cost of the BOM. I will have extras if you are interested. But youre still looking at about $60-80 in BOM cost. But youll have a working NTSC PCB. But if youve never built a kit computer, this might not be for you.

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It is basically a bare board ZX? i would need to source and install all the components?

The Harlequin is a bare PCB, but it does fit inside an original ZX Spectrum shell/keyboard and is the same dimensions as the original 48K, so once it is assembled, you can have an NTSC Speccy inside a ZX Spectrum. Some people prefer keeping the board bare, but I got an old 48K keyboard for mine along with a new membrane.

 

I was in the same boat as you Vic, being in the US and wanting a Spectrum. I'm very happy with how it works, but it did take some time assembling and I'm not sure if you're into that. Also, you might want to go with the S-Video mod as it clears up the video in a major way.

 

I have covered my assembly along with a post on modding for S-Video in the blog link above.

 

Cent

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Centurion, I didnt realize that was another members blog. I read over that a while back. Good read.

 

I plan on 3D printing my own case. Though Im not sure if I will use the original keyboard, one of the new tactile keyboards, or just stick with my idea of using a custom mechanical keyboard. Ive already got the PCB layed out....leaning that way....

 

As for the boards I ordered, I just got notification this morning that the boards are done and being shipped. I should have them in a few days. Here is what the board house sent by email.

post-41787-0-44074400-1514957820_thumb.jpeg

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Centurion, I didnt realize that was another members blog. I read over that a while back. Good read.

 

I plan on 3D printing my own case. Though Im not sure if I will use the original keyboard, one of the new tactile keyboards, or just stick with my idea of using a custom mechanical keyboard. Ive already got the PCB layed out....leaning that way....

 

As for the boards I ordered, I just got notification this morning that the boards are done and being shipped. I should have them in a few days. Here is what the board house sent by email.

3A71487C-6088-429C-B667-A8F2D08DC377.jpeg

Sounds fun JD! :)

 

Glad you enjoyed the blog post. I was hoping it might be helpful to people in the US who were interested in ZX Spectrum's.

 

This shop makes cases, membranes and keymats, in case anyone hasn't heard of them: http://www.retroradionics.co.uk/

 

I think their stuff looks really cool!

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