Redesigning a ZX Spectrum 128k - my childhood dream

Discussion in 'Other Games General Discussion' started by myPinballs, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. myPinballs

    myPinballs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2011
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Location:
    Pudsey UK
    The ZX Spectrum was my favourite thing in the whole world when i was 8. It's what led me into a world of software and hardware design. Every since i first got a rubber keyed 48k, i always thought one day i'll make my own, never really thinking that it would be possible. However with my lifetime of 8-bit pinball hardware repair knowledge always expanding and with me developing my own range of replacement cpu and sound board hardware for various pinball systems over the last few years the thought reappeared in my mind and now didn't feel to far away :)

    If you would like to read more about this project i have created an article on my blog page describing the last 18months development of it :) blog.mypinballs.com This project will be part of my NLP stand this year, so we should all be able to have a go on some classic games including the advanced pinball simulator :D

    Also here are some pics of how its looking now :) Do you remember the 'Advanced Pinball Simulator'??

    IMG_6582.JPG

    IMG_6429.JPG IMG_6560.JPG IMG_6562.JPG
    IMG_6389.JPG IMG_6390.JPG IMG_6394.JPG IMG_6398.JPG IMG_6399.JPG IMG_6403.JPG IMG_6422.JPG IMG_6423.JPG IMG_6426.JPG IMG_6430.JPG IMG_6433.JPG IMG_6447.JPG IMG_6452.JPG IMG_6454.JPG IMG_6463.JPG IMG_6466.JPG IMG_6469.JPG IMG_6471.JPG IMG_6560.JPG IMG_6562.JPG IMG_6582.JPG
    The board is now working lovely, has been a major learning curve with some tricky moments, but has been so rewarding. I'll be making my first batch of assembled boards and kits soon so you to can have a new 128k Spectrum in and old case :) The boards will be available like all my other pcbs and products on my web store here.

    http://mypinballs.co.uk/electronics/store.jsp


    The new boards will feature:

    • Reduced chip count and power consumption
    • Reduced custom chip usage
    • Fully spectrum 128k compatible
    • 8 pages of 16k ram 128k total
    • High quality picture - RGB scart socket with proper tv identification capability.
    • Standard female 21 pin socket for use with stock fully wired scart cables
    • Built in kempston joystick port
    • Built in IDE 40 pin connection
    • Uses the 128k ULA IC - Ferranti 7K010E/Amstrad 40056
    • Full set of test pads
    • Power leds
    • Low power 5v regulator
    • Single 12v supply power in
    • Modern reset chip and on board reset button
    • AY-8912 sound generator on board for retro 80s music
    • AY-8912 expansion connector for 3rd party dev
    • Sound line in for Tape loading or loading wav files
    • Sound line out for connection to amps and playing music
    • Fully compatible card extension port
    • Full plate through design, no SMD
    • Designed and assembled in UK

    Finally some videos with classic 128k music (similar to the wonderful gottleib 80b games from the same era :))



     
    #1 myPinballs, Aug 17, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
    Wizcat, stoptap, ronsplooter and 2 others like this.
  2. Pharo

    Pharo Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Irvine Ayrshire Scotland
    Think I might still have one of these still kicking about up the loft my favourite games were head over heals,jack the nipper,rick dangerous and underwurld.
     
    myPinballs likes this.
  3. Courtney Blush

    Courtney Blush Never enough space.

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2016
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    239
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Wow, I will need one of these for the museum. It should be on display next to the ZX80, ZX81, 16k Rubber Key, 48k Rubber Key, 48k +, +2, +3, Vega Handheld and Micro TV, missing the toast rack 128 k and the MK14.

    I am opening a museum here in Birmingham (The Midlands Retro Museum) which will have displays (interctive) of vintage audio, gaming, computer, console, home life items from 1900 thru present day.
     
    stoptap, tyke, JT. and 2 others like this.
  4. Big Phil

    Big Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    444
    Location:
    County Durham
    Great work, Jim!
     
    myPinballs likes this.
  5. Nedreud

    Nedreud Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,037
    Likes Received:
    1,316
    Location:
    Aldershot, UK
    Jim, you're f****** mental. I doth tip my hat to you, Sir! Nice one.
     
  6. Wiredworm

    Wiredworm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    2,138
    Likes Received:
    647
    Location:
    Grimsby
    Absolutely amazing work Jim. :)

    The ZX Spectrum was my first computer and I think I must have been about 8 when we got it as it was close to launch and I was born in 1974. I spent many many many hours playing games on it and hammering in listings from Input magazine. My parents were highly amused that i'd sit for hours typing in hex DATA statements, only to run the program at the end and find it reboot the machine due to an errant value i'd mistyped. I'd simply sit down and start over again; it's probably the reason why i'm so determined and patient nowadays.

    Like you, it's probably also the reason why I have a fascination with electronics, although my skills are far more modest than yours. And despite working as a Server Tech I still dabble a fair bit with Z80 assembler, C# and a few other languages too. :)

    I'd definitely be up for buying one of these once they come available. If you have a 'pre-orders' list then please stick me on it.
     
    myPinballs and Nedreud like this.
  7. ronsplooter

    ronsplooter Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Messages:
    4,617
    Likes Received:
    2,233
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Awesome work mate :D The Speccy was my first computer too :thumbs:

    Just so I understand, the board is designed so it can be retro-fitted into an empty 128K case? Will it support game loading from an SD card?
     
  8. RudeDogg1

    RudeDogg1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    6,471
    Likes Received:
    1,048
    Location:
    Barnstaple, Devon
    Awesome never had a specky we had a amstrad cpc 464 pretty much the same really. I used to be into the dizzy games. Lost count how many joysticks we broke on daily thomsons decathlon
     
    Rus121 likes this.
  9. OP
    myPinballs

    myPinballs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2011
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Location:
    Pudsey UK
    Yes, the board will fit into any ZX Spectrum + case or ZX Spectrum 128k ' toastrack' case

    The pcb has a fully compatible extension port card slot so you can use any number of 3rd party sd card extensions such as divIDE. Also there is an IDE connector included which can allow Compact Flash memory cards to be plugged in via adapters. I currently load games using the sound in route with WAV files directly on a usb drive played through an amplified speaker.

    Plenty of choices :)
     
    ronsplooter likes this.
  10. OP
    myPinballs

    myPinballs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2011
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Location:
    Pudsey UK
    Currently addicted to COMMANDO :D
     
  11. Spandangler

    Spandangler Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,802
    Likes Received:
    1,779
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Awesome. I was always a C64 kid but all my mates had the speccy. Jet set willy was my fave.
     
  12. stoptap

    stoptap Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,102
    Likes Received:
    1,627
    Location:
    Leeds
    Have you tried Speccy Tape Jim ?
    It's an IOS app that lets you load games into a Spectrum from an iPhone. You can even download the games directly into the app from World Of Spectrum.
    I still occasionally fire up my old rubber key 48k for some Jetpac, Chuckie Egg and Manic Miner fun. Although the picture is starting to get a little wavy now so I will need to replace the caps in it at some point.
     
  13. OP
    myPinballs

    myPinballs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2011
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Location:
    Pudsey UK
    Yes Speccy tape is a nice app but the wos database integration isn't working currently and iOS volume outputs seems a little low on loads
     
    #13 myPinballs, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  14. RudeDogg1

    RudeDogg1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    6,471
    Likes Received:
    1,048
    Location:
    Barnstaple, Devon
    Not gonna redesign the BBC acorn then? Lol
     
  15. Arv

    Arv Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Messages:
    1,190
    Likes Received:
    415
    Can you not plumb in an rj45 like the spectranet board that would be cool.

    What about support for those Russian clones?
     
  16. OP
    myPinballs

    myPinballs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2011
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Location:
    Pudsey UK
    Erm, No!
     
    RudeDogg1 likes this.
  17. RudeDogg1

    RudeDogg1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    6,471
    Likes Received:
    1,048
    Location:
    Barnstaple, Devon
    Bet it would look well **** now
     
  18. cooldan

    cooldan i like pizza

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Messages:
    6,130
    Likes Received:
    3,606
    Location:
    Ealing, London
    My best mate had a Speccy, I was so jealous as I had a BBC that my dad thought was more 'serious' and that therefore I'd learn programming etc. Did I ********, I played games on it and there were loads of good ones but I still looked forward to going round Alex Charawani's house to play on his Spectrum.

    My favourite games were Penetrator, Attic Attack, Jetpac, Zaxxon, Scramble, and of course the Daley Thompson pound-the-keyboard-as-fast-as-you-can Olympic Decathlon one.
     
    DRD likes this.
  19. RudeDogg1

    RudeDogg1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    6,471
    Likes Received:
    1,048
    Location:
    Barnstaple, Devon
    Did you have grannies garden and Geordie racer? That's the only BBC ones I can remember that we played to death at primary school
     
  20. cooldan

    cooldan i like pizza

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Messages:
    6,130
    Likes Received:
    3,606
    Location:
    Ealing, London
    Don't ring any bells. Those games I listed are all Speccy games, on my BBC my best games were Elite, Chucky Egg, Defender, Galaga, Pengo.
     
  21. Monkeyboypaul

    Monkeyboypaul Site Supporter

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,092
    Likes Received:
    818
    Location:
    Riccall, North Yorkshire
    You can get Granny's garden on the iPad!
     
  22. RudeDogg1

    RudeDogg1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    6,471
    Likes Received:
    1,048
    Location:
    Barnstaple, Devon
    Lol quality bet it's poo
     
  23. Wizcat

    Wizcat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    573
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Been following on Facebook and well impressed with this project.

    C64 was my first though. Begged my Mum and Dad for a while and also did the 'good for my education' bit too. Funnily enough though I *did* start programming on it, and never looked back since :)

    I'm hoping Jim had a C64 at one point and has plans for a DIY Commodore project!
     
    myPinballs likes this.
  24. DRD

    DRD Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2014
    Messages:
    2,332
    Likes Received:
    1,160
    Location:
    Newark
    Like @cooldan , i had a bbc model b. For similar reasons too.

    Zalaga was a good one, a very faithful arcade copy for those days ....

    image.jpg

    Knight lore was my favourite, originally written for the speccy

    image.jpg

    A niche game called dogfight where two could play at once flying planes doing loop the loops.....

    image.jpg

    The spectrum had masses more software available, with much greater sharing opportunities. So saddos with bbc computers had far less fun.

    This is a useful site that will help the nostalgia flow ...

    http://everygamegoing.com/index.html
     
  25. Pharo

    Pharo Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Irvine Ayrshire Scotland
    Knight lore forgot about that one cracking game back then can any body remember the games you got free when you bought a spectrum I don't know if it was the 48k or 128k but I remember playing games called punchy and treasure island is that right.
     
  26. ianw

    ianw Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,123
    Likes Received:
    543
    Location:
    Kingsbridge, Devon
    Never owned a speccy, started on the zx81, moved to the acorn as was a cheap bbc for school, then a vic 20 and finally a c64. Shame kids don't learn to code from a young age any longer.
     
  27. Wiredworm

    Wiredworm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    2,138
    Likes Received:
    647
    Location:
    Grimsby
    Kids coding is making a comeback as my daughter did Scratch at primary school and I'm hoping to get her started with Unity soon as well.

    I've been replaying a few of the mentioned classics from the Speccy thanks to Rare Replay on the Xbox One, but Jim's post has reminded me of so many more classics. Really fancy one of these now.
     
  28. Nickbs

    Nickbs Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    148
    Location:
    Sunny Exeter
    I was at one of the few schools back in the 70's that offered O level computing. With the help of a very enthusiastic. Maths teacher the school acquired the original Commodore Pet & then a Research Machines 380z back in 1977.

    I then acquired by own ZX80 when it cam out before upgrading to a ZX81. Acquired A much sought after BBC model B whilst at Uni and managed to be able to do my final year degree project developing software for it. happy days indeed!
     
    cooldan likes this.
  29. OP
    myPinballs

    myPinballs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2011
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Location:
    Pudsey UK
    Thanks for all the comments people. Great to hear so many have a speccy story. Be sure to visit me at NLP and check out the prototype :D

    Ultimate Play the game wrote arcade games before switching to the speccy hence why their early games were so much better than others. Jetpac and Knightlore are 2 seriously impressive games. Jet Pac was for the 16k speccy to :D

    R-type remains my all time favourite and this will be the game playing at NLP along with the advanced pinball simulator mostly i think. The graphics and game play on r-type is almost better than the arcade original. Wonderful stuff. Just wish they had released an extra special version for the 128k.

    Next up on the prototype journey is to populate the kempston joystick parts and test out some zipstiks that i picked up off ebay recently.
     
  30. Wiredworm

    Wiredworm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    2,138
    Likes Received:
    647
    Location:
    Grimsby
    Will be sure to stop by at NLP.

    On a related note i've got a little project on the go where i'm reverse engineering the ASM code for Manic Miner as a means to learn Z80 assembler. It makes you realise just how much effort it took to get things moving in the old days. Developers are spoilt nowadays.
     

Share This Page