ZX Spectrum +2 (RAM & keyboard)

I already own a Spectrum +2 (Grey) and a Spectrum +2A (Black), so I wasn’t actively looking for another. My ‘grey’ was one of the first I refurbished and has an intermittent startup issue that I haven’t managed to track down; it also has ‘long screw’ damage below the keyboard. So when I spotted another, very cheap, on eBay I took a punt and put in a bid – which was successful.

It didn’t look too bad in the pictures, but as you can see it had white paint ‘spotting’ over its left side and is generally grubby. I wasn’t too interested in the rest of the lot, although the manual and a couple of the original games are a nice extra.

eBay lot

It was described as working and included a screenshot displaying the normal memory failure garbage; a new definition of ‘working’. After testing the voltages, I plugged it into my bench power supply and installed the diagnostics cartridge.

Z70500 Issue 3 Spectrum +2 (1986)

I had a few strange errors displayed, so tried both Brendan Alford’s ROM v0.38 and the Retroleum DIAGROM 1.4 using my Dandanator mini cart – the consensus was that IC22 was at fault.

I’m an old hand at removing Spectrum RAM chips, so it didn’t take long to install a socket for the new chip. I also tested the original chip in my RAM tester, and yes, it was faulty. With a new chip installed I retried the diagnostics ROM.

All working

With the RAM fixed it became clear that there was a problem with the keyboard; the ‘P’ key was stuck; this had caused the original mixed results from the diagnostics ROMS. The +2 normally has a reliable membrane keyboard, much better than the original 48K and ‘+’ models. I assumed it just need a clean rather than a replacement, and removing the keycaps revealed lots of dust bunnies. Cleaning is straightforward, but be careful with the membrane, it’s good, but still fragile at 30+ years old.

With the keyboard reassembled It tested ok, next for the case clean. The paint spots were easily removed with a plastic scraper, then the case was cleaned with bicarbonate and warm water using a toothbrush. I also gave the tape deck heads a quick clean before trying a tape.

With it all back together I loaded Parabola from tape for testing – all working. The picture quality isn’t great which can usually be helped by a recap on these; that’s a job for future me.