SPECTRUM GENERATION

In 2013, after buying a working ZX Spectrum and successfully repairing another one, I decided it was time to commit myself to the preservation and study of the machine that was responsible for my academic and professional decision - I studied Computer Science, an area on which I work professionally since 2000. 

 

I was born in 78, so even though all the computers depicted here were created after that, I was only 4 when the ZX Spectrum was launched. I don’t remember the year I got my first Spectrum but I know I was very young. I was lucky to have an uncle – Carlos Oliveira – who is a passionate electronics hobbist and so I was incentivized by him to play and learn with this new object called the ZX Spectrum that was reaching Portugal in my childhood. Because of him (and other family members), I was able to get a ZX Spectrum and many, many peripherals that I preserved and would become the basis of this collection being presented.

 

Moving forward to the recent years, in 2009/2010 I gave an interview to a Portuguese newspaper and I said I was from the "Spectrum Generation", i.e., one of the lucky ones that had a ZX Spectrum on my childhood and learned how to program BASIC on such machine. Years later I went to the Portuguese Informatics Olympics final with what I had learned all by myself, reading books, experimenting, etc... 

 

At this stage in my life (in 2013), I saw no reason why I couldn't become one of the biggest collectors of such machines and so - as in everything that I do - I started working for that purpose.

 

Being Portuguese, there is even a bigger interest as part of what happened in the eighties also occurred from Portugal due to the presence of the TIMEX Corporation in Lisbon area. Timex played a very significant role to what happened in places such as USA, Portugal, Poland, Argentina, etc... We Portuguese people tend to look a lot to our past, so perhaps this is just another example of when we achieved great things. I believe this should not be forgotten as it helps to think big and globally.

 

What drives me is the preservation of these machines... It’s the opportunity to study and document my findings for others that may be interested in these matters.

 

A collection is something that may never end and I believe it is strategic to focus to accomplish some intermediate objectives which justifies our time and incentivizes us to continue. 

 

My main objectives are to:

  • get all the relevant computers and peripherals from the Sinclair brand
  • get any relevant objects from the Sinclair brand past and future (before and after the Spectrum).
  • get all the relevant computers and peripherals from the Timex (Timex-Sinclair and Timex Computer) brand which covers USA, Portugal and even Poland (under the Unipolbrit brand)
  • get all the relevant computers from Investrónica (the Spanish distributor), as Spain also was an important country to this technological revolution.
  • get any other relevant European variants (eg. French computers)
  • as Brazil is considered a brother Country to Portugal, I wish to collect and study at least the most relevant computers from there
  • as the first Argentinian Spectrum clones seems to have originated in Portugal (Timex), I wish to collect the most relevant computers from there.

 

As I write this in 2016, most of it is already achieved. Nowadays I am trying to get all the different boards (internals) used in the computers. Nevertheless, in the last 3 years, apart from adding things like Spain and Brazil, I can't say that I have changed much my aim, which I see as a good thing.

 

What I do know that I do not want to collect all the Soviet and Eastern Europe Spectrum clones... I have good friends doing that, but I don't feel the motivation to do it and that would jeopardize my focus.

I also do not want to evolve to collect other 8-bit consoles or computers - again, I have other good friends doing that and they can do it much better than myself.

 

I want to be one of the top Spectrum-related collectors worlwide and that is more than enough to me.

 

Hope you like the work presented here. Please get in touch and share your ideas, doubts, findings, etc... That's the purpose of sharing this information.

 

PS1 - Feel free to share any pictures or to refer the information anywhere, just be sure to state clearly this webpage. 
PS2 - I participate ocasionaly in exhibitions with the collection so, if you think you have the right conditions to reach a significant population, get in touch and we can discuss it.

Open Full Size Download

SPECTRUM GENERATION

In 2013, after buying a working ZX Spectrum and successfully repairing another one, I decided it was time to commit myself to the preservation and study of the machine that was responsible for my academic and professional decision - I studied Computer Science, an area on which I work professionally since 2000. 

 

I was born in 78, so even though all the computers depicted here were created after that, I was only 4 when the ZX Spectrum was launched. I don’t remember the year I got my first Spectrum but I know I was very young. I was lucky to have an uncle – Carlos Oliveira – who is a passionate electronics hobbist and so I was incentivized by him to play and learn with this new object called the ZX Spectrum that was reaching Portugal in my childhood. Because of him (and other family members), I was able to get a ZX Spectrum and many, many peripherals that I preserved and would become the basis of this collection being presented.

 

Moving forward to the recent years, in 2009/2010 I gave an interview to a Portuguese newspaper and I said I was from the "Spectrum Generation", i.e., one of the lucky ones that had a ZX Spectrum on my childhood and learned how to program BASIC on such machine. Years later I went to the Portuguese Informatics Olympics final with what I had learned all by myself, reading books, experimenting, etc... 

 

At this stage in my life (in 2013), I saw no reason why I couldn't become one of the biggest collectors of such machines and so - as in everything that I do - I started working for that purpose.

 

Being Portuguese, there is even a bigger interest as part of what happened in the eighties also occurred from Portugal due to the presence of the TIMEX Corporation in Lisbon area. Timex played a very significant role to what happened in places such as USA, Portugal, Poland, Argentina, etc... We Portuguese people tend to look a lot to our past, so perhaps this is just another example of when we achieved great things. I believe this should not be forgotten as it helps to think big and globally.

 

What drives me is the preservation of these machines... It’s the opportunity to study and document my findings for others that may be interested in these matters.

 

A collection is something that may never end and I believe it is strategic to focus to accomplish some intermediate objectives which justifies our time and incentivizes us to continue. 

 

My main objectives are to:

  • get all the relevant computers and peripherals from the Sinclair brand
  • get any relevant objects from the Sinclair brand past and future (before and after the Spectrum).
  • get all the relevant computers and peripherals from the Timex (Timex-Sinclair and Timex Computer) brand which covers USA, Portugal and even Poland (under the Unipolbrit brand)
  • get all the relevant computers from Investrónica (the Spanish distributor), as Spain also was an important country to this technological revolution.
  • get any other relevant European variants (eg. French computers)
  • as Brazil is considered a brother Country to Portugal, I wish to collect and study at least the most relevant computers from there
  • as the first Argentinian Spectrum clones seems to have originated in Portugal (Timex), I wish to collect the most relevant computers from there.

 

As I write this in 2016, most of it is already achieved. Nowadays I am trying to get all the different boards (internals) used in the computers. Nevertheless, in the last 3 years, apart from adding things like Spain and Brazil, I can't say that I have changed much my aim, which I see as a good thing.

 

What I do know that I do not want to collect all the Soviet and Eastern Europe Spectrum clones... I have good friends doing that, but I don't feel the motivation to do it and that would jeopardize my focus.

I also do not want to evolve to collect other 8-bit consoles or computers - again, I have other good friends doing that and they can do it much better than myself.

 

I want to be one of the top Spectrum-related collectors worlwide and that is more than enough to me.

 

Hope you like the work presented here. Please get in touch and share your ideas, doubts, findings, etc... That's the purpose of sharing this information.

 

PS1 - Feel free to share any pictures or to refer the information anywhere, just be sure to state clearly this webpage. 
PS2 - I participate ocasionaly in exhibitions with the collection so, if you think you have the right conditions to reach a significant population, get in touch and we can discuss it.

TIMEX Sinclair 1000 (TS1000) (NTSC)

The Timex Sinclair 1000 (TS1000) was the first computer produced by Timex Sinclair, a joint-venture between Timex Corporation and Sinclair Research. It was launched in July 1982.

The TS1000 was a slightly-modified Sinclair ZX81 with an NTSC RF modulator instead of a UK PAL (Units sold in Portugal have a PAL RF modulator) device and the onboard RAM doubled to 2K.

The TS1000's casing had slightly more internal shielding but remained the same as Sinclair's, including the membrane keyboard. It had black-and-white graphics and no sound. It was followed by an improved version, the Timex Sinclair 1500.

Like the Sinclair ZX81, the TS1000 used a form of BASIC as its primary interface and programming language. To make the membrane keyboard less cumbersome for program entry, the TS1000 used a shortcut system of one-letter "keywords" for most commands (e.g. pressing "P" while the cursor was in "keyword mode" would generate the keyword "PRINT"). Some keywords required a short sequence of keystrokes (e.g. SHIFT-ENTER S would generate the keyword "LPRINT"). The TS1000 clued the user in on what to expect by changing the cursor to reflect the current input mode.

The TS1000 sold for $99.95 in the US when it debuted, making it the cheapest home computer to date at the time of its launch (its advertising angle was "the first computer under $100".) This pricing initiated a price war with Commodore International, who quickly reduced the price of its VIC-20 to match and later announced a trade-in program offering $100 for any competing computer toward the purchase of a Commodore 64. Since the TS1000 was selling for $49 by this time, many customers bought them for the sole purpose of trading it in to Commodore.

The black-and-white display showed 32 columns and 24 lines, 22 of which were normally accessible for display, with 2 reserved for data entry and error messages. The limited graphics were based on geometric shapes contained within the operating system's non-ASCII character set. The only form of long-term storage was a home tape cassette recorder.

The 16K memory expansion sold for $49.95. A shortage of the memory expansions coupled with a lack of software that would run within 2K meant that the system had little use for anything other than an introduction to programming. Home computer magazines of the era such as Compute! showed enthusiasts how to interface the computer with various kinds of equipment, providing the opportunity for learning about early speech synthesis technology through a Speak & Spell, robotics control through the memory port, and scrolling text displays for advertising.

Over time, the TS1000 spawned a cottage industry of third-party add-ons designed to help remedy its limitations. Full-size keyboards, speech synthesizers, sound generators, disk drives, and memory expansions (up to 64K) were a few of the options available. Languages such as Forth and Pascal, as well as BASIC compilers and assemblers augmented the TS1000's programming possibilities. Microcomputing magazine published an article in April 1983 decrying the membrane keyboard ("The designers of the Timex-Sinclair 1000 ... reduced this important programming tool to a fraction of the required size") and describing how to wire up external full-size keyboards.

TIMEX Sinclair 1000 (TS1000) (PAL)

The Timex Sinclair 1000 (TS1000) was the first computer produced by Timex Sinclair, a joint-venture between Timex Corporation and Sinclair Research. It was launched in July 1982.

The TS1000 was a slightly-modified Sinclair ZX81 with an NTSC RF modulator instead of a UK PAL (Units sold in Portugal have a PAL RF modulator - and this is precisely one of those units) device and the onboard RAM doubled to 2K.

The TS1000's casing had slightly more internal shielding but remained the same as Sinclair's, including the membrane keyboard. It had black-and-white graphics and no sound. It was followed by an improved version, the Timex Sinclair 1500.

Like the Sinclair ZX81, the TS1000 used a form of BASIC as its primary interface and programming language. To make the membrane keyboard less cumbersome for program entry, the TS1000 used a shortcut system of one-letter "keywords" for most commands (e.g. pressing "P" while the cursor was in "keyword mode" would generate the keyword "PRINT"). Some keywords required a short sequence of keystrokes (e.g. SHIFT-ENTER S would generate the keyword "LPRINT"). The TS1000 clued the user in on what to expect by changing the cursor to reflect the current input mode.

The TS1000 sold for $99.95 in the US when it debuted, making it the cheapest home computer to date at the time of its launch (its advertising angle was "the first computer under $100".) This pricing initiated a price war with Commodore International, who quickly reduced the price of its VIC-20 to match and later announced a trade-in program offering $100 for any competing computer toward the purchase of a Commodore 64. Since the TS1000 was selling for $49 by this time, many customers bought them for the sole purpose of trading it in to Commodore.

The black-and-white display showed 32 columns and 24 lines, 22 of which were normally accessible for display, with 2 reserved for data entry and error messages. The limited graphics were based on geometric shapes contained within the operating system's non-ASCII character set. The only form of long-term storage was a home tape cassette recorder.

The 16K memory expansion sold for $49.95. A shortage of the memory expansions coupled with a lack of software that would run within 2K meant that the system had little use for anything other than an introduction to programming. Home computer magazines of the era such as Compute! showed enthusiasts how to interface the computer with various kinds of equipment, providing the opportunity for learning about early speech synthesis technology through a Speak & Spell, robotics control through the memory port, and scrolling text displays for advertising.

Over time, the TS1000 spawned a cottage industry of third-party add-ons designed to help remedy its limitations. Full-size keyboards, speech synthesizers, sound generators, disk drives, and memory expansions (up to 64K) were a few of the options available. Languages such as Forth and Pascal, as well as BASIC compilers and assemblers augmented the TS1000's programming possibilities. Microcomputing magazine published an article in April 1983 decrying the membrane keyboard ("The designers of the Timex-Sinclair 1000 ... reduced this important programming tool to a fraction of the required size") and describing how to wire up external full-size keyboards.

Timex Sinclair TS1500 (PAL)

The TS1500 was the solution of Timex of Portugal offered to Timex Corporation to solve the TS1000 problems in the US. It is also 100% compativel with the ZX81.

TS1500 was a 16K RAM version of the TS1000 with a new case design (like a silver ZX Spectrum), new board design (ULA made by Timex) and raised rubber chiclet keys, like the ZX Spectrum. 

Introduced: July 1983
Price: US $79.95
CPU: Zilog Z80A, 3.25MHz
RAM: 16K, 64K max
Display: 22 X 32 text (B&W) hooks to TV
Ports: expansion, cassette
Peripherals: Cassette recorder T/S printer
OS: ROM BASIC

 

Adapted from TIMEX Computer World.

TS1050 Carry Case / Educational Package with Timex Sinclair TS1500 (NTSC)

This particular TS 1500 computer system was sold as part of an educational package (called the TS1050) - complete with carrying case, TS 2020 cassette recorder, hook-up wires and non-Timex specific training materials - all for only $295.

Distributed by the National Education Corporation, this Technical Literacy Series includes: -The Magic of Computers -An "Inside" View -The System and the Software -Program Design -The Game Plan -Putting Your Microcomputer to Work -A Lesson in BASIC Programming -Computer Logic -The Limits of Computer Intelligence -Control Breaks - Taking Intermediate Totals -Tables and Arrays - Lists of Similar Data -Merging -Functions -Advanced Printing and Graphics Techniques
 

Introduced: July 1983
Price: US $79.95
CPU: Zilog Z80A, 3.25MHz
RAM: 16K, 64K max
Display: 22 X 32 text (B&W) hooks to TV
Ports: expansion, cassette
Peripherals: Cassette recorder T/S printer
OS: ROM BASIC
 

 Comments (9)

Marcio Antunes

Espetacular. Também sou um entusiasta do Spectrum, da aventura empresarial portuguesa da Timex (muito bem relatada num trabalho universitário há uns anos) e da história da computação na era da micro informática. Muitos parabéns. Pena não poder ir à abertura da exposição em Cantanhede

Reply

João Diogo Ramos

Fica até final do ano. Aparece.

Tony Pascoal

Estava a folhear a revista Clube do Coleccionador Nr. 2dos CTT e dou de caras com a entrevista.
Que memórias se avivaram.
A primeira o desejo de querer ter e andar anos a "poupar" para finalmente (mais ou menos em 1985 com 16/17 anos) comprar um em segunda mão que ainda hoje tenho na embalagem original... as tardes de domingo a carregar jogos, as primeiras linhas de programação e ver aquilo tomar forma.. Muito bom :D
Parabéns João pela colecção..
Hoje aprendi mais umas quantas coisas: afinal ZX Spectrum há muitos :D

Reply

João Diogo Ramos

Thanks Simone

Reply

Simone Voltolini

Great collection!!!

Reply

Jacinto

A example of a outstanding machine! Even today, there are many zx spectrum games more playable, and with lots of more fun than today's megaproductions for PSP and Xbox...

Reply

Mmm

espectacular!!

Reply

Paulo

A minha primeira maquina: ZX Spectrum 48K. Coleçao incrivel. Tantas recordaçoes......Parabens.

Reply

Délio Almeida

Bolas, tanta coisa Diogo, és um coleccionador à grande :-)

Reply

Helder Santos

Fantástica colecção Diogo, parabéns!

Reply