Monday, March 12, 2012

Amstrad Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2 128K

Finally, here's the post about my Spectrum +2:
I discovered it when I was a child and I didn't know what it was. Later, I connected it to the TV and switched it on, and after discovering it wasn't a games console, I started to learn how it worked. Now, I know it was a good experience, and to my mind, with it you can program in a very similar way as current programming.

Some technical information:

- CPU Zilog Z80 8-bits. 3.5 MHz.
- 128 Kb RAM memory.
- Resolution: 256x192 pixels.
- Sound chip: Yamaha AY-3-8912.

The machine has a keyboard quite similar to Qwerty one, but there are lots of differences with a full modern keyboard. On the right, we can see a cassette unit with the typical buttons of a cassette player. In the left side there's the reset button and two joysticks plugs.

The Spectrum is fed by this power supply:

I forgot to weigh it, but I assure you that it's quite heavy.
Here's a picture of the plugs and slots of the Spectrum:

As you can see if zoom it in, there are a slot for the printer, a the power supply connector, an expansion slot, an old MIDI plug, one aux. plug, an RGB out, the TV out and the sound out. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any USB port.

There is a detail that I'd like to emphasize: This computer has it own user manual which was included when it was bought:
It is really a good help for beginners.
I counted with some cassettes to make tests: Video games "Tetris" and "Bubble Bubble".

And now here are some snapshots:

This is the main menu. There are so many options that I don't know what to choose.
The first one is the Program Loader:

This is how it looks while the Spectrum is loading from the cassette.

For a test I put the"Tetris" game in, but the cassette was overwritten, so I set it fire and caught other one.
I don't know how years affect to cassettes, but the thing is that any side of that cassette worked. After 5 minutes 15 seconds waiting while the game finished it load, I just got the main screen::

Well, I'll leave the second option for the end. Now, the third one is the calculator:

I didn't be able to work out great operations, although the user manual said that the computer could calculate functions.

I'm sure it can solve some equations, but I didn't get it.
The last option is the 48 BASIC editor which, if I'm right, let you program in BASIC with 48 Kb of RAM memory, as with it predecessor:

Very simple screen.
The second option is the +3 BASIC editor, and it's the most interesting one. 

This programming language is very easy to use if you want to write simple programs, but with heavy applications it becomes too complex.
In this video, I load a program which I found in the user manual and run it; it's for converting Celsius degrees in Fahrenheit degrees. (Sorry for the awful quality).


Finally, to end this post, I did this simple program which shows in the screen the next sentence:
Thanks for reading.

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