My new (old) Speccy – First look

So, as part of my 8 bit Mid-life crisis, I bought this 48K Sinclair Spectrum off ebay:


Listed as untested but was working last time it was used (probably 30 years ago!). Anyway, bugger it, I went for it and won it.

So, this is what arrived a few days later…



Box a bit battered, but I’m more interested in what’s inside…


Ok, so no polystyrene packaging, and the Spectrum is a little tatty, so can’t really sell this on in the future as a collectable, the manual is present though. Let’s take a closer look…


The keys look quite light and grey in this pic but that is the flash, in reality the colour is quite dark, this is definitely not a rare issue 1 Spectrum. It is a bit battered and dented, a big dent between E, R, D and F, hope these keys still work. I think the dent may be due to the power plug on the PSU as the whole lot really wasn’t packed very well. Sad smile The metal cover is peeling away in the top left hand corner (you can see the 1 key is almost flush with the cover where it is lifting up). It does look like someone has tried to peel the metal cover off, maybe they have replaced the keyboard membrane.


One of the feet is missing, not a big deal, serial no. is 001-318623, looking at the serial number database here it’s looking like a relatively early one.


Ok, so now if I remember, I had an issue 3 Spectrum, which had a heatsink across the edge connector and was viewable from this angle. There is no heatsink on this one so I reckon it is probably an issue 2 Spectrum. There’s a good article here that explains the differences between the different issues.

Ok let’s take a peek inside, but being careful not to break the keyboard ribbon connectors:


A-ha, (my favourite 80’s pop group by the way), see the transistor mounted across the CPU, this is definitely looking like an issue 2 Speccy…


Indeed, zigzag heatsink and here is confirmation, “ISSUE TWO”. So this Speccy is actually older and rarer than the one I had as a kid. Apparently there were about 60,000 issue 1’s produced, approx. 500,000 issue 2’s but over 3 million issue 3’s. I am so used to looking at modern surface mount PCB’s these days that it is quite refreshing to see a board festooned with traditional resistors, diodes, capacitors and potentiometers, looks really old school! Just look at all those old resistors!

Now, does it actually work…?

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