ZXSpeccy.com is a dedication to the most popular computer during the 80's. Its appeal -even today- is a testament to its creator & genius: Sir Clive Sinclair.


zx hardware


Common Name: ZX81
Memory: 1k
Manufacturer: Sinclair
Type: Home Computer
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: April 1981 - 1982

The Sinclair ZX81 home computer, released by Sinclair Research in 1981, was the follow-up to the company's ZX80.
The case was black, with a membrane keyboard; the machine's distinctive appearance was the work of industrial designer Rick Dickinson.
Video output, as in the ZX80, was to a television set, and saving and loading programs was via an ordinary cassette recorder to compact audio cassettes.

Common Name: Speccy
Memory: 16~48k
Manufacturer: Sinclair
Type: Home Computer
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: April 1981 - 1982
Keyboard: QWERTY-
Rubber keyboard (40 keys) with up to 6 functions each!
CPU Zilog Z80 A
RAM 16k or 48k (42k left for programming)
ROM 16k (Basic & OS)
TEXT MODES 32 x 24
COLORS 8 with two tones each (normal and bright)
SOUND 1 voice / 10 octaves (Beeper)
SIZE / WEIGHT 23 x 14,4 x 3 cm / 550g
I/O PORTS Expansion port, tape-recorder (1200 bauds), RF video out
POWER SUPPLY External PSU, 9v DC, 1.4A (centre polarity = -ve)
PERIPHERALS ZX printer, ZX microdrives, Interface
Sinclair Spectrum 16/48k

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a small home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research. Based on a Zilog Z80 CPU running at 3.50 MHz, the Spectrum came with either 16KB or 48KB of RAM (an expansion pack was also available to upgrade the former). The hardware designer was Richard Altwasser of Sinclair Research and the software was written by Steve Vickers (on contract from Nine Tiles Ltd, the authors of Sinclair BASIC). Sinclair's industrial designer Rick Dickinson was responsible for the machine's appearance.
Released by Sinclair in 1982 and available with either 16KB (£125, later £99) or 48KB (£175, later £129) of RAM and 16KB ROM. Remembered for its rubber keyboard and diminutive size.
The rubber keyboard (on top of a membrane, similar to calculator keys) was marked with Sinclair BASIC programming language keywords, so that pressing, say, "G" when in programming mode would insert the BASIC command GOTO. Programs and data were stored using a normal cassette recorder.


Name: Spectrum+ /+2
Memory: 128k
Manufacturer: Sinclair
Type: Home Computer
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1986
Sinclair Spectrum +/+2

The 48K Spectrum gets a much needed solid keyboard and reset button, retailing for £180.
Shortly after Amstrad's buyout of Sinclair Research in 1986 came the ZX Spectrum +2 with an all-new keyboard, a built-in cassette recorder (like the Amstrad CPC 464) and dual joystick ports. Production cost cutting saw the retail price drop to £139-£149. Aside from the tape drive, revised keyboard and casing the +2 was essentially the same as the 128 model.
The initial version of the +2 departed from the traditional black plastics of other Spectrum models to favour grey. Subsequent models were in fact based on the +3 model with the unnecessary disk circuitry removed, easily distinguishable with the casing having returned to black (unofficially dubbed the +2A). A final revision purely for cost cutting saw the chip count reduced and manufacturing relocated for the final revision (unofficially dubbed the +2B).


Name: Spectrum 128
Memory: 128k
Manufacturer: Amstrad
Type: Home Computer
Origin: UK/Spain
Year: 1987
Sinclair Spectrum 128 +2 +3

The last Spectrum to be produced by Sinclair (although developed by Investronica of Spain) and based on the Spectrum+. New features included three-channel audio via the AY-3-8912 chip, MIDI compatibility, 128 KB of paging RAM, an RS232 serial port and an RGB monitor output.

ZX Spectrum +3 (1987)zxdrive

Amstrad produced disk version based on the +2 but featuring a built-in 3-inch floppy disk drive (like the Amstrad CPC 6128). Most models featured distorted sound thanks to a design fault later rectified in the "4.1 ROM" model. Retailed for £249 then later £199 and the only model capable of running CP/M.

Sinclair Printer with interface connection
Sinclair Thermal Printer

Ol' Sparky -
Several peripherals for the Spectrum were marketed by Sinclair: the printer was already on the market, as the Spectrum had retained the protocol for the ZX81's printer.

The printer was more of a novelty rather than having any real practical use as such. The print was poor and the size was very limiting. On top of that, it required its own special paper which was expensive considering the small size of the rolls. I remember buying this little printer many years ago during my early programming days and i loved it- even with its drawbacks!


Sinclair Interface II
Sinclair Interface II

Sinclair also released the Interface 2 which added two joystick ports and a ROM Cartridge port. The interface connection was notoriously unstable - a small knock or movement could result in a crash.


Compatible Joysticks

Popular joysticks during the Speccy's reign: Kempston Joysticks were by far the most common, however the Sinclair joystick was widely in use at the time.

Both joysticks were connect a rear interface -which had to be purchased seperately at the time for the 16k and 48k models.