Sunday, 20 April 2014

ZX Spectrum 'Compact'

ZX Class with reduced Alan Sugar.

My latest project is something I have always wanted to try, I have a ZX Spectrum +2A with Divide interface.
I have no need for the Tape deck, and I am not ashamed to admit that I always thought the deck added by Amstrad was rather ugly, the new owners of the Sinclair brand bolted stuff to things on all their products.
The Computer itself was purchased online as a non-worker in need of some repair, so I got it going and used it as is. 
I saw this blog last year describing how this Blogger had sawn off a +2 and I was very impressed. 
My +2A has more breakout ports than the original, the printer port on the PCB is in fact wider than the cut down size so this has to be sacrificed.

 I used a Hacksaw and clamped a straight edge to cut away the far edge, this will be needed to cap off the cut that removes the tape deck.
With some filing and sanding, I clamped the edges together and bonded with compound adhesive.

 The bottom half was bonded with Grip fill, it served to fill the edges that did not meet.

 Filling and sanding to hide the edge as best as I could, I then sanded the whole unit with P600 glass paper and washed the unit down with Methylated spirits to get years of furniture polish from it. If this was not done you would get an effect called fish eye, its somthing to do with silicon in the polish not bonding to the spray paint.

 The case gets primed inside and out.

The area circled is the printer port that is sacrificed to fit the PCB into the new size case.

Here is it with its tops coat, fully assembled with a DiVide interface in the I/O Port.

rear view, you can make the join out, this could have been eliminated with proper bench equipment, but I think I got the best I could for a hacksaw.

The whole project was 20 hours start to finish, the only additional costs were for paint and primer.

I am please the I have removed some of the Sugar from my Spectrum. :-)


  1. Lovely job. I might have tried to save the printer port (although, who ever used it). If carefully cut the PCB could have fitted in the lower right corner and a carefully cut slot in the right side made it accessible. Then some careful soldering wires connected it up again...

    1. Thanks, the printer could easily be kept in as you described, but figured that I could print screen grabs from my emulator in the PC as I don't have a dot matrix printer anymore.

  2. Great job. Most envious. Just one suggestion. Maybe some Sinclair Spectrum stripes at the bottom right?

    1. Thank you, that's a good suggestion, one day maybe!

  3. I wonder if you could somehow attach a MP3 player to the connector where the tape drive was. that way you could use a SD card to load programs and save data.

    1. This would be very easy to do, I would think a first gen I-pod would fill the hole nicely. I do infact use the Divide interface to load programmes as you ask, the new type is indeed a SD card and not CF like mine. <<< but I puchased mine from a good sellr on eBay

  4. Good job. I myself wondered if I did the "right thing" cutting a +2. But as you say, this merely removes an atrocity (Amstrocity?) that shouldn't have been there in the first place...

    1. Thankyou Tero, this was my thought process too, how easy could it have been for AMS to produce this in the first place?
      Also thank you for inspiring me on your very own blog.