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Timex 2068


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Anyone know anything about the Timex 2068? I finally got mine up and running, but I've noticed a few things:

 

1. The built in BASIC is kind of weird. It's very much like the TS1000's with minimal feedback and that weird inverted K for the prompt. Also the first key I hit when it starts is always interpreted as one of those commands that are mapped to the keyboard (RUN, PLOT, etc.). I'm guessing this is intentional as it doesn't do that for the shapes mapped to the number keys, but it's weird.

 

2. The composite out is TERRIBLE. It's full of noise and some static. Could be my cable, but I don't think so.

 

3. It's basically a ZX Spectrum with some extra memory and color. Too bad the changes to the ROM make it incompatible with 97% of the ZX Spectrum software. But...

 

4. You can make it a ZX Spectrum with a special board (or ROM swap). I managed to find one and I think it's now working in Spectrum mode since the Timex copyright doesn't appear on the screen at boot anymore. I need to find some ZX Spectrum software and test this. BTW how do you load ZX software?

 

Anyone else ever play with one of these?

 

 

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1. That is how Spectrum BASIC works. In the K mode, you have access to all keywords in white print. If you press Symbol Shift, you have access to the symbols and keywords in red print. If you press Caps Shift + Symbol Shift, you reach Extended mode with an E cursor that lets you access the keywords printed above the keys in green print. If you further press Symbol Shift in Extended mode, you get the red symbols printed below the keys. I don't know if there is any replacement ROM that will let you type in keywords manually, that is something introduced on the Spectrum 128.

 

(Colour references to the original ZX Spectrum. On the 2068, replace "white" with "black", replace "red" with "inverse video", "green above" with "black above" and "red below" with "black below")

 

3. Dunno if the 2068 has any extra colours compared to the ZX Spectrum. It has higher colour resolution allowing a change of colour on every row, plus a monochrome mode 512x192. I think rather the AY sound chip and the two joystick ports is what makes it stand out from the ZX Spectrum.

 

4. To load ZX Spectrum programs, try LOAD"". You find the LOAD keyword on J and the quotes on Symbol Shift P.

Edited by carlsson
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The 2068 has a few improvements over the Spectrum.
It sill supports the Speccy's 256 x 192 resolution with 32 x 24 color attributes so it's easy to port or run Speccy software, plus it supports a mode with greater color resolution (32 x 192 color attributes), a higher res 512×192 mode, and I believe it allows 2 graphics pages using the 256 x 192 32 x 24 color mode so it can use double buffering.
Not much software took advantage of the new modes, but games like Elite and Carrier Command might have been able to run faster on the 2068 due to not having to render to a buffer and then copy it to the screen. That would depend on the wait states accessing video RAM, so I'm not 100% sure on that.
The higher res color mode would allow the 2068 to run games written for the Speccy that change color attributes between scan lines without the CPU overhead.

One drawback is that the AY sound chip and joysticks aren't at the same I/O address as on the Spectrum 128

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I found some wav files on the net, but I can't get any of them to load. They start to load (it will say Program: and have the psychedelic colors on the boarders), but then it will give me an error like "Integer out of range" or "Out of Memory" or will just reset. I know the compatibility with the spectrum rom (on my Twister Board) isn't 100% but I can't believe the first 10 programs I picked are incompatible ones (Silkworm, HERO, Into the Eagles Nest, Hobbit, etc.).

 

Any ideas?

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Ok I figured it out. I must have had bad .wav files from a site or something. They were all really short (30 seconds or so) so I wonder if they were for some sort of special fast loader or something? Anyway I found some good ones and they seem to work, but there are still a few issues:

1. There are gray boxes and lines throughout many games. I know this is because the 2068 interprets one of the blacks as a light gray. It's really distracting though, is there a way to fix that?
2. The music at the beginning of Maniac Miner was screwed up. Are there audio differences between the two systems?
3. The noise in the signal is terrible. Is there an S-Video mod available for the system?

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Is the audio too fast? The spectrum ROM doesnt turn the 2068 into PAL, right? It is still NTSC. All the speccy games were PAL so that could be causing some of the issues they are running at 60hz instead of 50hz and with fewer scan lines. This will also mess up any timing tricks dependant upon the vertical blanking.

Edited by rpiguy9907
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  • 2 weeks later...

Video output of the 2068 is notoriously noisy. There's a word doc in the TS 2068 Yahoo Groups files area on improving the signal quality (requires opening the 2068 and soldering). I haven't tried it yet but it looks relatively simple. Here's a link to the group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ts2068

 

Is your twister board from Superfo? He's active on that list. Since you have the twister board, you may want to check out the Interface 1bis (https://sites.google.com/site/interface1bis/). I use it with Superfo's twister on my 2068 and it works great. You can put files on an SD card and load them using Interface 1 commands (the manual: http://www.sinclair.hu/speccyalista/konyvtar/kezikonyvek/ZXInterface1_Microdrive_Manual.pdf).

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Im concerned about the compatibility, the handful of games I tried all had some sort of color/sound issue. I need to find more games in .wav or .mp3 format and try them out.

 

Ugh, yahoo groups. I dont remember my yahoo account anymore.

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hi tempest here are a google drive link to two mp3 files i did from a zx81 tape see if you can

down load them from this link and try ithem with your timex 2068

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/my-drive

 

don't know if i did it right the tape is super programs 7, can someone try the link

and see if it works.. if not i will delete link later.

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Would ZX-81 / Timex Sinclair 1000/1500 programs run on a ZX Spectrum / Timex Sinclair 2068? I doubt not straight away, perhaps with some higher level of patching. While these were computers from the same manufacturer and shares a number of properties, they don't seem directly backwards compatible to me.

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Would ZX-81 / Timex Sinclair 1000/1500 programs run on a ZX Spectrum / Timex Sinclair 2068? I doubt not straight away, perhaps with some higher level of patching. While these were computers from the same manufacturer and shares a number of properties, they don't seem directly backwards compatible to me.

It's a bit like porting from the VCS to the Atari 8 bit. You might be able to keep some game logic, but everything else has to be rewritten.

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His original post noted that he modded the 2068 to use the spectrum rom. So it is very, very close to a Spectrum.

 

I think the main difference would be 50 vs 60 hz and PAL vs NTSC since the ROM reverts the memory map to the Spectrums and disables the cartridge slot and sound chip.

 

 

The analogy between the Atari 2600 and Atari 800 is a good one.

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His original post noted that he modded the 2068 to use the spectrum rom. So it is very, very close to a Spectrum.

 

I think the main difference would be 50 vs 60 hz and PAL vs NTSC since the ROM reverts the memory map to the Spectrums and disables the cartridge slot and sound chip.

 

 

Yeah, but the Spectrum isn't like the ZX-80 / ZX-81

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