It provided an RS serial interface, as well as storage using Microdrives and networking capabilities through the Sinclair Networka proprietary interface of Sinclair's. From SinclairFAQ. Jump to: navigationsearch. Net Input is the value read from the Sinclair Network port. Bit 0 of port 0x7f is output to the serial port if Comms Data is setor to the network port if Comms Data is reset.
DTR signals that the remote station wishes to send data, CTS signals that the Spectrum wishes to send data Wait is used for network synchronisation. When Erase is reset the tape is erased and data is written, when set data is read. Comms Clock shifts the microdrive select bit along the chain. Write Protect is raised when a writeable cartridge is present in the selected microdrive. Gap and Sync are used to locate the correct block of data on the microdrive. External links Wikipedia's article on the ZX Interface 1.
Category : Peripherals. Navigation menu Personal tools Log in Request account. Namespaces Page Discussion. Views Read View source View history. This page was last modified on 3 Mayat The Sinclair Microdrive and Interface 1 A lot of hardware was developed for the ZX Spectrum, both by Sinclair themselves and any number of other manufacturers; you could find almost any add-on imaginable.
These Microdrives, slightly modified, were later used with the Sinclair QL. The drives are tape spoolers relying on the "stringy floppy" principle, driving a 6 meter loop of endless 1. The tape feeds by pulling from the middle of the spool and winding back to the outside. This type of handling put a lot of stress on the tape so the more robust magnetic tape used in video cassettes was used which probably explains why these cartridges still work very well 20 years later.
Other than that, keep them in their cases. It is a common problem to buy an Interface 1 and Microdrive and believe one or the other to be non-working usually when bought from separate sources.Как сделать компьютер? - Building ZX Spectrum 128k clone + Beta Disk Interface + AY-3-8910 (YM2149F)
Unfortunately though it is not always that clear - if you have what appear to be incompatibilities I will be happy to test them for you - it will only cost you the postage. This will give a "0" for the first ROM or "80" for later versions.
Version 3 if it was ever released improved compatibility with the Sinclair QL. This also added networking capabilities and an RS port non standard of course! However, its main use was without doubt with the microdrives and up to 8 of them could be chained together and controlled by the one Interface via a small edge connector on the left hand side. A flat ribbon cable connected the first drive, then small connector blocks fit between the other drives in the chain.
Problems and Issues. ROM Issues This subject is covered above in the Microdrive section, but another problem came along when trying to load a very large program written on a Spectrum without a Microdrive.
The Interface 1 moves the start of the BASIC program up by about half a K to make room for its workspace this leaving less room for the program.
vLA1 – A Sinclair Interface 1 ULA replacement
Sometimes the ULA will overheat spectacularly making a crater in the plastic above it - a more obvious sign that something is terminally wrong! Keep an eye out for photographs of Interface 1's on offer on eBay which show this tell tale crater - usually accompanied by the words "untested, but was working when packed away 25 years ago!
Interface 1 To use the microdrive you first needed the controller interface which was the Interface 1. Problems and Issues ROM Issues This subject is covered above in the Microdrive section, but another problem came along when trying to load a very large program written on a Spectrum without a Microdrive. This was a common problem caused usually by the Interface moving around or suddenly being disconnected. This was why Sinclair fitted the loose screws in the case of the Interface 1 which passed through and replaced two of the case screws in the base of the Spectrum allowing the the two units to be bolted together.
A Spectrum failing to initialise when connected to an Interface 1 is also usually indicative of the same fault. To create online store ShopFactory eCommerce software was used.Search this site. Navigation Introduction. Software download. Future Plans. Future plans. Loading software into your ZX81 using an MP3 player. Useful links. Installation Microsoft Windows. A binary version of the tool is available to download from here. Once downloaded, unpack into a suitable directory and then add that directory to your PATH environment.
ZX-Trans is a command-line client: instead of double-clicking the icon to start the program, you must run it from a command prompt, specifying options as detailed below. The download page also lists the prerequisites if you wish to build your own version of ZX-Trans. Please read the license before using, distributing or modifying the program. Create a snapshot using your favourite emulator. You should also ensure the sender program at the PC end is ready to transmit before you start the receiver program on the ZX Spectrum end.
You may also need to set the properties of the serial port on your PC. In particular, the parity bit should be set to 'off', the bit-count should be set to '8', and flow control should be set to 'hardware'.
You may also need to disable any UART buffer that the serial port at the PC end has--for example, set the buffer length to 0. Modern serial interfaces and standard serial-transfer programs may not respect hardware control at the per-byte level. If you suspect this to be the case for your serial adaptor, try transfer mode 0.
Installation Microsoft Windows A binary version of the tool is available to download from here. Wait for the snapshot to load and have fun. You may set a lower baud rate that is, a slower transfer rate if you encounter transfer problems: the program supports the same baud rates as the ZX Spectrum - that is 50,and ZX Interace 1 only. All going well, you'll see the screen of the ZX Spectrum fill with pixels from the snapsot except for a few rows of apparently random data near to the top and, after around one-to-two minutes the snapshot will be loaded and will start automatically.
Only include this option if using the ZX Interface 1. Mode 0 byte-by-byte mode is the default and should be the most reliable. Creating a boot-strap program Only the ZX Interface 1 has built-in support for loading programs over the serial interface. However, if your Spectrum has a disk drive e. Hints, tips, and troubleshooting If possible, match the host for the snapshot to the target ZX Spectrum.
If a snapshot consistently crashes when loaded into a real Spectrum, try creating a snapshot at a different point in the program. If transfers are unreliable, try reducing the baud rate or try switching to mode 0 -f0.
ZX Interface 1
However, to make a 16k snapshot, you need to set your emulator to 16k mode. If you cannot transfer any bytes at all, there may be an issue with your serial cable. Please note that the schematic for the cable presented in the "Sinclair Microdrive and Interface 1" manual is not standard -- the TX port is the input port and the RX port is the output port.
If you have any questions, comments, or encounter problems, feel free to get in touch - markgbeckett gmail.Privacy Terms. Quick links. ZX Interface 1 For experts to discuss very technical stuff and newbies to ask why the Spectrum they bought off ebay doesn't work. I have two questions related to them. One is working ok, but there is a small sign of heating just above the ULA chip which is visible on the case.
Is this normal?
ZX Interface 1
Should I expect that the ULA will be fried soon? Should I try to cool it with a heatsink? The second one is not working. I've checked the voltages, changed the capacitors.
Clock signal is ok. Symptoms are that any Microdrive related commands lead to system freeze. Should I modify something on the board?
I want to check if the ROM is faulty for this interface and I suppose that in case it works, this is the best way to check it. Thanks a lot.
Unfortunately the ULA chips in Interface 1 units are known for becoming faulty, overheating, self destructing and melting the case. Fitting a heatsink may help reduce the temperature of the ULA, but only if enough free air can flow over the heatsink to remove the heat from the heatsink. And unfortunately there is not a lot of room inside the Interface 1 case But I suspect that the ULA is not the problem in this case.
The thing is that it is not happening. Even after running microdrive commands, pin 3 on the ULA is not low. So this is why I want to check if the ROM is in good condition. If I run CAT 1, computer freezes. But if I leave it for quite a while running minthe screen starts to fill up from the bottom to the top with a pattern of vertical lines.
It looks like loading a screen but in a reversed way, from bottom to top.Originally intended as a local area network interface for use in school classrooms, it was revised before launch to also act as the controller for up to eight ZX Microdrive high-speed tape-loop cartridge drives.
It also included a DE-9 RS interface capable of operating at up to At hardware level it was fundamentally a voltage adaptor, the serial protocol being implemented in software by bit-banging. This led to problems when receiving data, but not when transmitting.
As this became an official standard, other developers quickly used this mechanism to create language extensions to Sinclair BASIC. Two further revisions of the device's firmware were made following launch. Machine code software which used the officially documented entry points 'hook codes' would experience few incompatibility issues; however, programs using non-standard entry points risked incompatibility due to the presence of revised entry points.
This was intended to be interoperable with ZX Net, but due to timing differences interoperability was found to be problematic.Data roaming
It was therefore impossible to connect and use the Microdrive units with these later models. Station number 0 is used to indicate broadcast. Data is transmitted in packets, each a maximum of bytes long; the packet and the header are protected by a checksum. Character transmission uses 1 start bit, 8 data bits and 1 stop bit the common 8-N-1 configuration. Main commands: .Nuxt vuetify a la carte
Select for example 1 as the address of the first computer station number : . Select 2 for the second computer address: . Other commands: .Ingoshima raw 79
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Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Sinclair computers, derivatives, and clones.What is it?
A word of caution, however, due to a lack of room within the Interface 1 case, the original ULA will need to be desoldered and the vLA1 installed in its place. There is simply not enough room for a socket. Note that the Interface 1 is not included in this offer. The original ULA has an unfortunate history of being prone to spectacularly overheat and fail without warning, leaving an unsightly crater in the Interface 1 plastic case.
Learn more. Log in with Facebook. Register with Facebook. First name. Last name. Join our mailing list and stay updated about pioneering hardware and Tindie community activities. New Zealand Post: Airpost.An enduring memory for most who used the 8-bit home computers of the early s is the use of cassette tapes for program storage. If you had a Sinclair Spectrum though, by you had another option in the form of the unique Sinclair ZX Microdrive.
This was a format developed in-house by Sinclair Research that was essentially a miniaturized version of the endless-loop tape carts which had appeared as 8-track Hi-Fi cartridges in the previous decade, and promised lightning fast load times of within a few seconds along with a relatively huge storage capacity of over 80 kB. Sinclair owners could take their place alongside the Big Boys of the home computer world, and they could do so without breaking the bank too much.
Idly chatting about the Microdrive, she bought out examples of not only some of the drives and software, but also the interface system and an original boxed Microdrive kit. This gives me the opportunity to examine and tear down the system, and provide a fascinating insight for readers into this most unusual of peripherals. On the front is an opening about 32 mm by 7 mm for the Microdrive cartridges, and on each side at the rear is a way PCB edge connector for connecting to the Spectrum and daisy-chaining to another Microdrive via a custom serial bus over supplied ribbon cables and connectors.
A maximum of eight drives could be connected in this way. The Spectrum was an amazing machine for its price in the early s, but this was achieved at the expense of very little in the way of built-in hardware interfaces beyond its video and cassette ports.
A typical Spectrum owner would probably own a Kempston joystick adapter in this manner, to name the most obvious example. The Sinclair ZX Interface 1 was a wedge-shaped unit that engaged with the edge connector on the Spectrum and screwed to the bottom of the computer, providing the Microdrive interface, an RS serial port, a simple LAN interface that used 3. Just like the Spectrum, the top of the unit is covered by a stuck-on black aluminium sheet bearing the iconic Spectrum logo, this has to be carefully teased away against the remaining force of s adhesive to reveal the two screws securing the top half of the case.
Lifting the top half clear and disengaging the drive LED, the mechanism and board come into view. Immediately the seasoned reader will notice that resemblance to the much larger 8-track audio cartridgesand though this is not a derivative of that system it works in a very similar way. The mechanism itself is extremely simple, on the right is a microswitch to sense when a cartridge has its write-protect tab removed and on the left is the motor shaft with a capstan roller.
At the business end of the cartridge is a tape head that looks very similar to that you might find in a cassette deck but with narrower tape guides. There are two PCBs, on the back of the tape head is one holding a pin custom ULA Uncommitted Logic Array, in effect a s precursor to CPLDs and thus FPGAs that selects and operates the drive, and another attached to the bottom half of the case that holds the two interface connectors and motor switching electronics.
The cartridges are 43 mm by 7 mm by 30 mm, containing 5 metres of 1. Immediately the resemblance to the 8-track cartridges becomes apparent, the capstan roller may be to one side but the same loop of tape feeds back into the center of the single reel.
The ZX microdrive manual optimistically claims that each cartridge could hold kB of data, but the reality was that they held about 85 kB rising to over 90 kB once they had stretched a little with some use. The final component of the system to receive the teardown treatment is the Interface 1 itself. Sinclair ULAs are notorious for overheating and cooking themselves, and this is one of the most vulnerable.
A last word in this teardown should go to the manual, a characteristically well-written slim volume which gives an insight into the system and how it integrated into the BASIC interpreter.
The networking ability is particularly fascinating as it was rare to see it in use, it relied on each Spectrum in the network issuing a command to assign itself a number upon start-up because there was no Flash or similar memory onboard.
Sinclair did sell their own thermal printer, but even the most starry-eyed Sinclair enthusiast would find it difficult to claim the ZX printer as anything but a novelty. The Microdrive was completely developed in-house at Sinclair, but perhaps it was just too little, too unreliable, and too late. I am heavily indebted to Claire for the use of the hardware featured here. In case you are wondering, the photographs above show a variety of different components both working and non-functional, in particular the Microdrive unit subjected to the full teardown is one that has failed.
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