ZX Spectrum Angst.

A place to chat about anything else, not already covered!
It might be advisable to avoid religion & politics though!

Moderators: David A Harvey, Pags

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:44 pm

It's an update!

I've been informed that my Issue 2 board is on its way back to me. What's more. I haven't been charged for the parts!

I should explain that the deal is: £30, plus parts. The £30 is for the labour of repairing the board and the return Postage. The parts are extra. It is known that one RAM chip was changed (It was the RAM chip that that caused the board to need repair in the first place) and the capacitors were changed. He also added a heatsink to the ULA (To add the heatsink. He had to remove the ULA. Unsolder the socket that the ULA sat in. Then solder the new ULA directly onto the circuit board. This would lower the ULA and give the space for the heatsink, so the board would fit back into the case). This adds up to about £15 worth of parts. Now. I previously mentioned that I had a ULA chip on the board that was only fitted for 4 weeks before it was changed. I also mentioned that this guy wanted this chip for his collection and that he would fit a better one. At this moment. It would seem that the guy has waived the price of the parts for the value of a rare ULA.
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:49 pm

Update.

My Issue 2 board is back! I was right. The repair guy has indeed waived the cost of parts. The composite mod has been completed and an initial test has been done. Everything works! This isn't the end of this story though. I have to perform a set of tests to ensure that everything that connects to the Speccy works with an Issue 2 board (I have no reason to think that it won't). Those tests should be completed by the end of the weekend.

Things are certainly looking good!
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:48 pm

Testing has been completed. I had to make sure that my Interface 1 and Microdrives worked with my Issue 2 board. I had to jiggle things around a bit (grotty tracks), but everything works perfectly (Although my Microdrives can be a bit twitchy). The only thing that won't work with the Interface 1 fitted, is the DivMMC device. Annoying that. I wanted to create back-up copies of everything I have on the Microdrive carts. Looks like I'll need a Multiface to create back-ups.

I've added a couple of games to the Requests category. One of which is: Advanced Lawnmower Simulator, as it's possibly the first (deliberately written) crap game for the Spectrum. I really wanted to add a few entries into this years Comp.sys.sinclair Crap Game Competition (I sooooo wanted to play Advanced Squawking Seagull Torture Simulator), but something is wrong with the Downloads section of their Website.

That just about wraps things up until after the Con. The Issue 3 Spectrum has been added to the Charity Auction list (Along with the Star Trek Wrist Communicator). With just under a week to go. It won't be long until we all see how everything works out.
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:14 pm

Some potentially bad news folks.

My Issue 2 Speccy has developed a fault. It has a intermittent keyboard problem. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. It's been like this ever since the repaired board came back at the end of last week. Thankfully, I've found the fault and I've ordered up the replacement parts. However. I don't know if they'll arrive in time for me to fix the Issue 2 Speccy and test it. In no way will this effect gaming at the Con. But it may effect putting in a Speccy (The one with the Issue 3 board) into the Charity Auction.

This is having to go right to the wire!
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:53 pm

Update ish.

Just to expand on last nights report. The fault is with the keyboard membrane. For those who don't know. The circuit tracks are printed on using conductive ink. This layer of conductive ink (The same sort of silver loaded paint that's used to repair the elements on a cars rear window demister) is very thin. The slightest mis-print or crack will stop parts or all of the keyboard working. What doesn't help is the location of one of the tabs that fits into the circuit board. It rests on top of the power regulator heatsink. This gets hot. I think you can pretty much guess the rest. At this time, my Issue 2 Speccy is working perfectly. I've repositioned the tab so it leans away from the heatsink. The membrane is still damaged though. The Speccy currently is sat here with the facia plate removed. This has given the membrane a little slack, so it keeps working. I'm hopeful that the new membrane will arrive tomorrow or Thursday. I think I would've left for Plymouth before the Post arrives on the Friday. I don't quite fancy repairing the Speccy whilst I'm at the Hotel. It's an option though.

I've managed to blag another unavailable (On the World of Spectrum Website) game from Ebay. It arrived today. Lemmings! I honestly didn't know that this game was ever released for the Spectrum. I've been playing it for the past hour or so and have completed the first 11 levels (and I've taken snapshots of each). Would there be any interest out there to play this well known game on an unusual machine?
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

David A Harvey
Site Admin
Posts: 3236
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:20 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by David A Harvey » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:00 pm

Lemmings? Oh NO! <clutches head and explodes> POP!

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:21 pm

Well. I've got the first 15 levels as snapshots. Fitting each level into 48K does mean that a few sacrifices were made. The biggest sacrifice was the sound. There's no background music (There is in 128K mode) and no Lemming goes 'Oh no' (Clutches head) and goes 'pop'. The animation is identical to other platforms. Just with fewer colours (The Speccy is an 8 bit machine after all). Another headache is that each level has to be loaded individually. Due to time constraints (Less than 48 hours before the Con starts), I'm not able to 'daisy chain' the levels so that they automatically load in sequence. The downside is: Once you've completed a level. The Speccy will ask you to start the tape, so you can load the next level (You'll have to press the blue button on the DivMMC and select it manually). The upside is: You can jump in and select a level without having to play the ones before it. In other news....

The replacement keyboard membrane is in the Post. Fingers crossed. It'll be here tomorrow.
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:26 pm

I thought I'd do an aside, just for Dave.

I previously mentioned that the 48K Lemmings doesn't have much in the way of sound, but the 128K does have the background music. However. I didn't know if the 128K game had any additional sound. There was only one way to find out.....

I pulled out my 128K+2B, fitted the DivMMC (So I could take some level snapshots) and loaded up the first level. Oh dear. No background music and no additional sound effects. I should remind everyone that the DivMMC puts a 128K Speccy into USR0 mode. That is: 48K mode, but with an extended memory (Making 128K in total) and using the AY sound chip. However. Because Amstrad 'fiddled' around with the ROM. Some games aren't as compatible as others. So I removed the DivMMC and loaded the game again. Hey presto. I had the background music. Sorry Dave. The Lemmings don't go "Oh no" and then pop!

The buggy Amstrad ROMs can be replaced with new EPROMs. They're about £10 a set and come from Germany. These make the 128K+2A, B and +3 completely compatible with a DivMMC. I'm not going to worry about this at the moment. There's the Con and Chrimbo to get out of the way first.
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:39 pm

The replacement keyboard membrane hasn't arrived. Damm! I'm not disheartened though. The Issue 2 Speccy has been working perfectly for the past couple of days, so it may not be a problem over the weekend. However, a Plan B is required as a back-up. If the Issue 2 Speccy goes 'belly up'. I can withdraw the Issue 3 Speccy from the Charity Auction and carry on. OR. I can 'borrow' the Issue 3 Speccy until the end of the Con.

The show must go on!

See you all tomorrow.
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

Spudgun
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Re: ZX Spectrum Angst.

Post by Spudgun » Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:39 pm

With Con 27 out of the way. I can pass comment on the Speccys performance.

I'm kinda gobsmacked that the Issue 2 Speccy didn't throw a wobbly. It performed faultlessly for the entire weekend. Mind you. It did get very hot! Having the heatsink just under the keyboard doesn't help. The power regulator moved to the rear (Where there's a opening at the back of the case) for the Issue 3 board onwards. Now. The question is: Why did I buy back my own Issue 3 Speccy in the Charity Auction?

Firstly. I could've withdrawn it. However. I did promise to enter it. Secondly. The DivMMC device won't work with the Interface 1 fitted. Since the Interface 1 is held to the Speccy with a pair of screws. It makes sense to have two machines. Sorted.

As far as the gaming was concerned. My personal high point was watching some 10 year old kid playing Donkey Kong on the Speccy. That made my entire weekend. The only mistake that I made was I didn't put any beat-en-ups on the SD card. The kids were happily playing them on the 16 bit machines. I did look on the World of Spectrum website for Street Fighter (It was what the 16 bit machines had loaded), but the game for the Speccy wasn't available (Distribution Denied). I'll have to get the tape and correct that.

All on all. I'm pleased with the reception that the Speccy got (One comment from a 16 bit owner was that my Speccy was in mint condition and better than his). I can now move on and work on a 128K project.

Thanks to Dave Harvey, I now have some disks. All I need now is a 128K +3. Watch this space.....
Frau Nydor is watching YOU!

Post Reply