+++Image of the ZX81 keyboard+++ ZX81 Home Page!

OK, so it's not much of a home page really. In fact it's hardly a home page at all, but when I built it back in about '93 I couldn't find a better one, or indeed one at all. So I built this, and it's still here!


Even though the ZX81 was released behind schedule (in true Sinclair Research style) it was at least a couple of years ahead of it's time. Unfortunately this now makes it about 11 years out of date. But never mind, it was revolutionary at the time, being not only a calculator, but a calculator which was capable of displaying graphics! Apparently you could use it to run a power station (or so Uncle Clive told us), but I'm not sure that I'd want to live next door to that sort of an operation these days.

When Timex got in on the act, the ZX81 became the Timex Sinclair 1000 (or TS1000 for short) and the screen colours changed from black on white to black on cyan.

Technical Details

The CPU for the ZX81 is a Zilog Z80. This is what the inside of the ZX81 looks like. I wanted to put more technical stuff here; maybe one day...

Touching Personal Story

When I bought my second hand ZX81 it was in working order and I had no problems with it (aparts from the frequent white-outs and the fact that my digital watch probably has more powerful technology). As time went by though, the keyboard (for want of a better name) died on me. This was because I liked the computer (again, for want of a better name), and I used it. So, not wishing to retire the whole computer just because the keyboard had conked out I set to with the back of an old cornflakes pack, some aluminium foil and some sticky tape, and I built myself a new keyboard. Imagine my surprise then when the thing actually worked! At last I had found a working use for all those hours I had spent watching Blue Peter when I was younger. This thing may not be as cunning as today's computers, but you could build your own accessories! I still have the odd trouble with the SHIFT key, but maybe one day I'll complete the repair job, and my old ZX81 will be fully functional again.

Stuff on the net

"So, where can I go for this nostalgia?" I hear you cry (because I've got a good imagination :-). Well, best is if you can get hold of the real thing, but it's slow, and those white outs... I found some emulators out there, but they keep moving! In anycase, you'd do well to check out the ZX81 page on Planet Sinclair. I use Jeff Vavasour ts1000-2 emulator (not least because it's free!) The Planet Sinclair page also has a link to snapshots available for downloading.

The emulators Xtender and Xtricator apparently share save-formats, and zx81 files can be converted to Xt*r format simply by renaming file.81 to file.p. Apparently however the reverse conversion doesn't work.

You can download Nick Joslin's programs for converting between .SND files of ZX81 programs and .P files. There's a bit of documentation...

Aparts from that... I suppose there's always the newsgroup comp.sys.sinclair, but they seem to be more interested in the ZX-Spectrum. I suppose you can't really blame them...

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