I started both my computing journeys with the ZX Spectrum – I started coding at the age of 12, and my learned how to fix and refurb retro computers – many years apart. As I have quite a few Spectrums I haven’t bought one for a while; but while scanning eBay I came across a cheap ‘untested’ listing and couldn’t resist. I was hoping for a complex repair that would stretch my diagnostics and repair skills.
On arrival it was very well packed and looked in pretty good shape. Opening it up, I found an immaculate Issue 3 board with no signs of previous repairs – how disappointing. Powering it up with a diagnostics card showed no errors, although I couldn’t get the RF output working; this is not unusual, the RF module frequently doesn’t work.
For the first update I did the standard capacitor video composite mod – this sorted the lack of a display, although it suffered from lots of interference. Again, this is not unusual and is usually fixed by changing the capacitors. You sometimes need to change a couple of transistors as well.
With the mods complete the picture problems disappeared – one of the cleanest video displays of all my Spectrums.
The only thing left was a good clean – even the keyboard membrane worked. I decided to keep this unit as close to standard as possible so didn’t change the regulator and remove the heat sync, which I would normally do.
I already have issue 2,4 and 6 versions of the Spectrum, so this adds nicely to the collection, even if it didn’t need any fixes.