Redesigning a ZX Spectrum 128k - my childhood dream

stoptap

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
4,060
2,582
113
53
Leeds
Alias
Andy
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
Since I installed Winzip on my iPad, a nice little quirk has happened. Sometimes when I click on a file type that the iPad doesn't normally like, I now get a prompt to open the file type in a related app.
This happens when I click on a .TZX file. It prompts me if I want to open it in Speccytape. I click yes and it then drops the .TZX file directly into Speccytape just like it used to from WOS.

I'm currently using this site to get games.

http://www.oldgamesfinder.com/?
 

stoptap

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
4,060
2,582
113
53
Leeds
Alias
Andy
Replaced the capacitors in my Spectrum and removed the obsolete TV modulator and the picture is still wavy. :(

A couple more things to try yet.
 
OP
myPinballs

myPinballs

Site Supporter
Nov 19, 2011
4,325
4,205
113
45
Pudsey UK
mypinballs.com
Alias
Jim
Replaced the capacitors in my Spectrum and removed the obsolete TV modulator and the picture is still wavy. :(

A couple more things to try yet.

Most likely sync issues. Is the ULA a known good one? Also for reference, depending on what output you are using Analogue, Composite Video, RGB you will get varying degrees of picture improvement. This is why using the highest quality option available on my design was a must - RGB SCART.
 
OP
myPinballs

myPinballs

Site Supporter
Nov 19, 2011
4,325
4,205
113
45
Pudsey UK
mypinballs.com
Alias
Jim
Some final tests for the setup coming to the Play Expo event in a couple of weeks. 8th - 9th October over in Manchester. Bought a new 32" TV for the event and been playing about with the settings. The Zoom2 option seems to give a good full screen image especially for R-Type so will give that ago and also have the regular 4:3 option to.

IMG_7017.JPG IMG_7018.JPG
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nedreud

stoptap

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
4,060
2,582
113
53
Leeds
Alias
Andy
Most likely sync issues. Is the ULA a known good one? Also for reference, depending on what output you are using Analogue, Composite Video, RGB you will get varying degrees of picture improvement. This is why using the highest quality option available on my design was a must - RGB SCART.
I have a few scrap Spectrums that I can try the ULAs from.
There are a couple of transistors just below where the TV modulator was that could also be to blame apparently.
 
OP
myPinballs

myPinballs

Site Supporter
Nov 19, 2011
4,325
4,205
113
45
Pudsey UK
mypinballs.com
Alias
Jim
Wow, that looks fantastic.

I'd definitely be interested in one of these when they're available to buy. :)

Thanks, i'll add you to the list of interested people for when the first batch of boards is available. I'll be getting the first batch of pcb blanks ordered after Play Expo along with a couple of other new projects to.
 
Last edited:

Tucks

Registered
Sep 21, 2014
1,322
917
113
SW London
Wow pretty cool stuff!
Like others, I was a C64 man (er boy back then) and mates had a speccy. Remember all those games! Horace, Manic, Jet Pac, fond memories. One mate had a 'Dragon 32' - remember those? Commando was cool and I can remember the theme tune now. Ha Ha, I feel old.
 

Sgt GrizZ

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
10,091
7,912
113
40 clicks North of Saigon (or Brighton and Hove )
Alias
Ive
Wow pretty cool stuff!
Like others, I was a C64 man (er boy back then) and mates had a speccy. Remember all those games! Horace, Manic, Jet Pac, fond memories. One mate had a 'Dragon 32' - remember those? Commando was cool and I can remember the theme tune now. Ha Ha, I feel old.

The Playground hierarchy ....

Cool kids = C64 or Speccy
Secretly wishing they were cool kids but weren't = Amstrad
Posh kids = BBC or Electron
Unlucky kids = Dragon, Oric , MSX,
Token American kid in school = Texas TI 99 or Atari 400/800
Poor kids = ZX81 or Vic 20 *still* when everyone else had upgraded by Xmas 84
 

RudeDogg1

Registered
Dec 27, 2012
8,250
1,839
113
42
Barnstaple, Devon
Even tho amstrads graphics and games were no different than c64 hardly anyone had amstrad. We wanted an amiga but got the amstrad . And to make things worse it was the cpc 464 with the green monitor lol
 

Sgt GrizZ

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
10,091
7,912
113
40 clicks North of Saigon (or Brighton and Hove )
Alias
Ive
Even tho amstrads graphics and games were no different than c64 hardly anyone had amstrad. We wanted an amiga but got the amstrad . And to make things worse it was the cpc 464 with the green monitor lol

Disagree strongly ...the C64 handled graphics way better than the Amstrad. The Amstrad struggled with scrolling and couldn't handle too many colours at same time iirc, the sound was inferior and the 64 had a load more classic games that never made the Amstrad.

The playground arguments that never die :rofl:
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigIan

BigIan

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
4,035
2,115
113
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Alias
ZIG
My School mate made his fortune from Writing Spectrum games... before moving on to bigger and better platforms.

He worked for Mikrogen for a while before moving to Virgin and then forming his own companies etc. I did the graphics for one of his first games, did i stick at it ? ho hum....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sgt GrizZ

Wiredworm

Registered
Apr 7, 2013
2,372
723
113
46
Grimsby
Who was your school mate then BigIan? Come on, here's your chance to regale us with tales of the famous people you knew (well, famour to nerds like us).

Amstrad and Speccy weren't actually that dissimilar as both were based on the Z80 chipset. We had both the speccy and the C64 and although the C64 lacked the higher resolution graphics of the spectrum it did have hardware sprites and scrolling and the audio chip was just superb.

I still prefer the Speccy though, although that's more likely because it was the first computer we had and the one we spent most time playing.
 

BigIan

Site Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
4,035
2,115
113
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Alias
ZIG
Who was your school mate then BigIan? Come on, here's your chance to regale us with tales of the famous people you knew (well, famour to nerds like us).

.

A guy called Dave Perry. He was responsible for some good games like MDK and Earthworm Jim etc.
Also helped start up Gaikai before selling it to Sony a few years ago.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Wizcat

RudeDogg1

Registered
Dec 27, 2012
8,250
1,839
113
42
Barnstaple, Devon
Who was your school mate then BigIan? Come on, here's your chance to regale us with tales of the famous people you knew (well, famour to nerds like us).

Amstrad and Speccy weren't actually that dissimilar as both were based on the Z80 chipset. We had both the speccy and the C64 and although the C64 lacked the higher resolution graphics of the spectrum it did have hardware sprites and scrolling and the audio chip was just superb.

I still prefer the Speccy though, although that's more likely because it was the first computer we had and the one we spent most time playing.

See @Sgt GrizZ
 
OP
myPinballs

myPinballs

Site Supporter
Nov 19, 2011
4,325
4,205
113
45
Pudsey UK
mypinballs.com
Alias
Jim
Disagree strongly ...the C64 handled graphics way better than the Amstrad. The Amstrad struggled with scrolling and couldn't handle too many colours at same time iirc, the sound was inferior and the 64 had a load more classic games that never made the Amstrad.

The playground arguments that never die :rofl:

Most of the amstrad titles were just speccy ports because of the shared cpu chip. Still annoyed about the Amstrad take over of the Sinclair range of computers and the fact they stopped production of the +3 as it was still selling too well for their own amstrad models to compete. Thanks a lot sugar you tool!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: RudeDogg1
OP
myPinballs

myPinballs

Site Supporter
Nov 19, 2011
4,325
4,205
113
45
Pudsey UK
mypinballs.com
Alias
Jim
What sort of ballpark price are you thinking of for this @myPinballs?

Looking at the £100 mark (inc vat plus postage) for assembled and tested boards.

Self assembly kits will also be available also for those inclined for less. There may be a supplement for the custom ULA chip if you don't have one to provide, i haven't confirmed this yet though as looking at sources and options on replacements.
 
OP
myPinballs

myPinballs

Site Supporter
Nov 19, 2011
4,325
4,205
113
45
Pudsey UK
mypinballs.com
Alias
Jim
Can u not put hdmi on your version?

I was addicted to the dizzy games on my old amstrad think I had them all

In a word No. There is no benefit from changing from RGB scart. The resolution of the ZX spectrum's video output is fixed by the hardware design of the custom chip sinclair created right at the start. In fact it is this design that enabled the whole computer to be produced for the low cost and get it into so many homes and programmers at a time when other machines sold for 1000's
 
  • Like
Reactions: ronsplooter

RudeDogg1

Registered
Dec 27, 2012
8,250
1,839
113
42
Barnstaple, Devon
In a word No. There is no benefit from changing from RGB scart. The resolution of the ZX spectrum's video output is fixed by the hardware design of the custom chip sinclair created right at the start. In fact it is this design that enabled the whole computer to be produced for the low cost and get it into so many homes and programmers at a time when other machines sold for 1000's

Was only because I'm sure they will start phasing out scart sockets on TVs shortly if they haven't started already
 

Arv

Registered
Jul 21, 2011
2,623
1,513
113
Alias
.
I have a few scrap Spectrums that I can try the ULAs from.
There are a couple of transistors just below where the TV modulator was that could also be to blame apparently.

What cap you got on your composite?
 
OP
myPinballs

myPinballs

Site Supporter
Nov 19, 2011
4,325
4,205
113
45
Pudsey UK
mypinballs.com
Alias
Jim
Is this for just the board or do you get the case thing to?

Just the assembled pcb. You'll need to use your old plus case or source one. I am thinking about possibly making some new bottom half cases so that you don't need to get the dremel out on an original one, but thats for the future. I'll also be offering power supplies and scart cables as options to.