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.
- I know nothing about collecting retro computers.
- I have no electronic engineering or electrical engineering skills, at all.
- 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.
- 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!