ZX82? No, it’s called ZX Spectrum

Released in 1982 by Sinclair Research Ltd. and following on from the huge success of his previous home micros the ZX80 and ZX81 was Sir Clive Sinclair’s first colour computer the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (code-named ZX82 during development). Gone was the black and white, the Spectrum now boasted an 8 colour palette and 2 brightness modes. Gone was the silence, some might say this was not a good thing, early Spectrums could quite literally BEEP and that was it. Gone was the touch sensitive keyboard, now replaced by the (in)famous ‘dead flesh’ rubber keys but still retaining the innovative Sinclair one touch-one word programming system implementing Sinclair BASIC. This system not only saved time (once you got used to the key combinations) but also reduced the amount of memory needed as each word only took up one byte in memory.
The fact this was retained is a clue as to what Sir Clive originally intended his first colour computer to be, not the games machine as we all now remember it, but instead (and like the ZX81) a multi-use hobbyists machine which could also be used as a tool for programming. The design of the internal hardware was by Richard Altwasser and the external design of the unit was undertaken by Rick Dickinson.

ZX Spectrum 16K and 48K (1982)

Spectrum 16K                          

Released in 1982, the 16K and 48K ZX Spectrum continued Sinclair’s trend for affordable computing and cost only £125 (later reduced to £99) and £175 (later reduced to £129) respectively. An extra 32K of RAM could be added to the 16K Spectrum in the form of a daughter board on Issue 1 machines or by way of extra chips on subsequent machines. You had two choices of how this was accomplished, the first being a postal option whereby you mailed your Spectrum off to Sinclair Research and it was returned to you upgraded. The second option was in the true spirit of Sinclair and was in the form of a kit which you soldered in yourself.

Issue 1 machines (left picture) could be distinguished by their lighter grey keys as opposed to later darker blue/grey keys of later issues (six altogether up to the release of the 128K). The famous keyboard itself was of membrane type with a rubber overlay and was designed this way to keep cost down but resulting in it becoming the Spectrum’s greatest weakness with membrane failure being a major fault on these machines. Data transfer was via audio in/out via cassette deck or by way of attaching an Interface 1 and Microdrive(s) (pictured below) to the rear I/O expansion port (edge connector). You could also purchase Interface 2 (pictured below) which had two joystick ports and a port which allowed you to play the limited range of ten ROM cartridges released.

Only 60,000 Issue 1’s were ever produced making it the most sought after rubber keyed ZX Spectrum. Spectrums came with a bundled starter cassette called ‘Horizons’ which could be used in conjunction with the superb instruction manual in order to learn various programming techniques. Various other software bundles were produced for this machine (depending on the vendor) but the famous Sinclair ‘Software Six Pack’ comprising of ‘Horace Goes Skiing’, ‘Make-a-Chip’, ‘Computer Scrabble’, ‘Chess’, ‘Chequered Flag’ and ‘Survival’ was bundled with all original 48K Spectrums ( right picture).



Speed: 3.5MHz
ROM: 16K
RAM: 16KB or 48KB
Sound: (1 channel, 10 octaves)
Ports: Expansion I/O, RF, Ear, Mic
Price at launch: £125 (16K), £175 (48K)


 Source:( Retro Games Collector)