8bit Mid-life Crisis

I got out of bed one day last week and decided it was time.  Since then, I’ve bid on about 10 ZX Spectrums on e-bay, and have won four.  Two (same seller) have arrived, one is dispatched and on the last (the first I won) still no update, but I’m sure it’ll get here.  I’ve lost out on a bunch where I wasn’t prepared to bid over my own internal limit.

There are some important things to know.

  1. I know nothing about collecting retro computers.
  2. I have no electronic engineering or electrical engineering skills, at all.
  3. I’m pretty shoddy when it comes to manual actions like, oh I dunno, replacing a keyboard membrane or fixing the drive belt on a tape unit.
  4. I have no real idea what kinds of failures retro computers might experience and don’t have the faintest idea how to approach fixing them.

Other than that, I think it’s the ideal hobby for a 40+ over-weight geek who was born at the start of the 70’s and lived through the 80’s micro-computing revolution.

I do want to perhaps learn more about 1-4 as I go, and I’d love to use this to gain some skills with electronics and soldering and all that jazz, so you never know.  For that reason, I set myself a pretty low purchase point on e-bay, I don’t want to end up breaking anything decent, and there’s a lot of stuff on there so I don’t have to rush into it.

The two Speccy’s that have arrived (1 x 48k, 1 x 128k +2) don’t have any cables, and there’s no indication they even work.  The one en-route (1 x 48k) might or might not work, but it has a couple of joysticks, a thermal printer, and what might be a Kempston joystick interface.  The last one appears to work (1 x 48k), but I have no visibility of the actual Speccy itself, just the screen output.

I’m hoping out of the four I can get a decent looking working Speccy and learn a bit about restoring them, getting them working, and changing the output from RF to AV in the process.

Folk on Twitter and Facebook asked why.  It’s a good question, and my only answer is, mid-life crisis maybe.  So here we are, at the start of my 8bit mid-life crisis.

Here’s some pictures.

ZX Spectrum 48k (unless it turns out to be a 16k version)

There’s quite a bit of rust on the screws and on the RF output.

ZX Spectrum +2

The tape housing looks a bit scratched, and I’ve no idea if that’s a valid serial number, otherwise, looks in okay condition.

Once I have a power supply and an RF cable, I’ll let you know if they even work!

2 thoughts on “8bit Mid-life Crisis”

  1. Been reading your Speccy posts, I have also been having a bit of a 8 bit mid-life crisis and just bought a Speccy off ebay, it works too! I was an uber Speccy nerd when I were a lad and so sad that I sold it all when I hit my mid 20’s thinking “Why do I have all this shite?” – I will definitely write a blog article about my experience, it’s been brilliant reading your posts, brings back so many memories. 🙂 Thx!

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