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The AOA Computer Museum - 1982 - ZX Spectrum 16K/48K
Written by danrok   
Sunday, 03 April 2005 11:07
Article Index
The AOA Computer Museum
1975 - Altair 8800
1975 - IBM 5100
1976 - Apple I
1977 - Apple II
1977 - Commodore Pet 2001
1981 - Osborne 1
1981 - IBM 5150, The IBM PC
1982 - ZX Spectrum 16K/48K
1982 - Commodore 64
1983 - Oric 1
1984 - Amstrad CPC 464
1986 - Compaq Portable 286
1986 - Amstrad PC 1640 / PC 6400
1989 - Acorn Archimedes 3000
1991 - Dubna 48K (Soviet)
1992 - Commodore Amiga 1200
1992 - Dell Precision 386SX/25
1993 - HP 9000 Model 712 workstation
1998 - Dell Precision WorkStation 410
2000 - Compaq DeskPro PIII EXD
All Pages

ZX Spectrum 16K/48K 

The first incarnation of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer was launched in April 1982. Two models were made available, one with 16K of RAM and the other with 48K. The processor was a Zilog Z80A running at 3.5 MHz. The Sinclair BASIC programming language was built-in to the machine.

The 48K version initially sold for £175 in the UK. The price later dropped to £129.

The most obvious features of the ZX Spectrum were its rubber keyboard and small size. Despite its name, display of colour graphics was quite limited. It could display 8 colours on a TV set. 

ZX Spectrum

(Photo by: Bill Bertram)

Software and Games 

Some popular games for the ZX Spectrum include:

  • 3D Ant Attack by Quicksilva
  • Alien 8 by Ultimate Play The Game
  • Donkey Kong by Nintendo
  • Jet Set Willy by Software Projects
  • Manic Miner by Matthew Smith / Bug Byte
  • Out Run by Sega
  • Tau Ceti by CRL Group PLC
Elite game
Elite running on the Spectrum 

Sofware tools and applications include:

  • VU-3D by Psion
  • Forth (programming language)
  • Small Business Accounts 

Virtually all games for the original ZX Spectrum were provided on tape cassettes.

selection of spectrum game boxes
A selection of some of the original Sinclair games and software

Peripherals for the ZX Spectrum

ZX Interface 1

Given that the computer only had one limited expansion slot, in 1983 Sinclair made a new interface for connecting other devices. It was also designed to allow Spectrums to work on a local area network. An RS 232 interface was included to allow conection to a printer.

ZX Interface 1
The ZX Interface 1 hooked up to a ZX Microdrive 

ZX Microdrives 

In 1983, Sinclair produced the ZX Microdrive units as an alternative to the standard audio tape drive. They had to be connected via an add-on interface known as the ZX Interface 1. Two drives could be linked together for duplicating the removable data loop-tapes.

ZX Microdrives
Two ZX Microdrives linked together 

ZX Printer

The ZX Printer, launched in 1981, was a spark printer which used special paper which was coated with a layer of aluminium. It sold for £49.95, considerably less than the larger printers of the time.

The printer also worked with the older ZX81. 

ZX Printer
The ZX Printer loaded with aluminium paper

Kempston Joystick Interface

The Kempston Interface allow connection of an Atari 2600 type joystick to the ZX Spectrum. This soon became a standard piece of kit for most Spectrum owners. 

Kempston Joystick Interface
The Kempston Interface 

Crash  Magazine

Crash was a magazine for ZX Spectrum owners, published between 1984 to 1991. Link:

Crash magazine 
Crash, issue 1 February 1984. Cover illustration by Oliver Frey.


See also

None found.

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