Investronica Spectrum 48K+

This Spectrum was sitting unloved and forgotten about in a dark cupboard for so long, I don’t even know where I got it from. It’s been sitting there since before I even started to care about Spectrums – dark unfocused days, back when my life had little meaning…
Initially I was going to sell it but as soon as I looked at it again after all those years, I knew it was a keeper.

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You will never know but this was proper dirty before I cleaned it.

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Doesn’t show in the photo but the white plate is actually shiny!

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In case you wonder if it’s normal to find small cardboard bits inside the keyboard – no, it’s not. But it is common to have Speccy+ keyboard not working as it should, maybe this could fix it?

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Nothing to see here, keep going…

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So the surface below the keys is of the same texture as the rest of the case – as in not polished like most are.

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Issue 6A. (The ULA is by Ferranti, not SAGA)

Yellow caps, like on a Toastrack! And fairly late lower RAM datecodes, too.

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The Eprom is the Spanish version of the Spectrum ROM

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That bit of wire probably doesn’t belong on a beeper but I noticed it after taking the photo.

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This photo is just a filler.

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Bottom of the case

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If illegible, the serial number is “113721”

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Made in Spain

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Old foam pads have disintegrated so I took the liberty of fitting new ones. You can get them here

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Spectrum 48K from Bulgaria

I’ve always (since earlier on this year) wanted a rubber keyed Speccy with an AR sticker.
The first one I’ve seen came to me from Poland as a repair so I couldn’t keep it. But as unusual as the AR stickers are on 48K Spectrums, I knew one day I was going to get one and I felt it would come with another serial number in blue, an adjustment hole and shielded top part of the case, just like the other one I saw.
I was surprised to find an issue 6A in it, having been expecting an issue 2. But that’s the wonder of AR stickers, you never know what you will find inside.

Polish Speccy

SAMSUNG CSC

I found this Spectrum on a polish version of Ebay. I wanted to get it to satisfy my curiosity about what could be inside a Speccy with such an odd serial number (004-509995 in blue). I have messaged the seller in his native language and asked politely if he’d ship abroad. I received a short message containing one word: “Nie” (which as you have probably worked out, means “No”). Luckily I have kind friends who helped me obtain the object of my desires. And I could finally see what’s inside the Spectrum, and it was good.

You’re probably wondering what’s the deal with the sticker – me too! Probably just some kid stuck it on their computer (we’ve all been there).
The Spectrum came with a weird 3rd party Sinclair power supply, which had written “Made in W.Germany” at the back and”BOSS” is a German company so that is entirely coincidental.

SAMSUNG CSC

A close look at the motherboard reveals that the board had been repaired at some point. What interests me though, is that upper RAM is all factory socketed. Implying either that the board has been upgraded from 16K to 48K (which would make it an unusually late 16K appearing on an issue 6A board) or that at the time of manufacturing they’ve temporarily run out of RAM chips and fitted the sockets so that chips could be easily inserted at a later date when stocks were replenished – that theory is more likely.

SAMSUNG CSC

Yes, this is exactly what it looks like. Someone has sprayed some orange paint (?) in through the expansion port. I’m sure it seemed like a logical thing to do at the time.

 

SAGA ULA made by AMI

Experimental ULA prototype that was never used officially.
This one was used for Quality Assurance testing.

SAGA ULA

The main differences between standard ULAs and the SAGA ULA  are that it contains much of the extra display circuitry which is normally present on the motherboard, so much of the boards have empty spaces for the display components. Also it cannot provide a powerful enough video signal to give a direct composite video output straight to a TV.
The ULA is a CMOS chip and unlike the other types does not get at all hot, it also uses less power than a regular ULA.
There is only one example known in existence which was discovered in Issue 6A in Spectrum+ in 2015.

 

Spectrum Reset Button

There is one thing the rubber key Speccy is missing in its design.
A reset switch.
Many have tried to incorporate one in by hacking up the case to fit a rather ugly-looking button in, effectively ruining the beauty of a rubber key chum.
But this Speccy shows that it can be done elegantly, and not “in your face”.
Just look at it. So cute!