The ZX Spectrum started me down the path as a maker in the 80’s, it was my first computer, and I had so much fun and learning with it. I always wanted to build a spectrum clone when I was young, but I don’t have the skills and resources.
Originally I wanted to make a retropie emulator but was quite turned off with the long loading time and navigation. So my idea was to have it much closer to the original experience with the machine when I was young.
While researching for a better Spectrum emulator, I stumbled on a RasPi bare metal emulator, the “ZXBaremulator” it boots at without going into the Linux screens. I have an old RasPi 1 Model B to hack with, and without thinking much, I ordered a recreated casing, keyboard membrane and faceplate from ZX Renew and waited patiently for it. I was disappointed when It came two weeks later in the mail; I did not order the rubber mat (I thought it was a mouse pad or something). So I placed another order for the mat (paid another £15 for shipping)
Another two weeks passed, and I finally got the recreated case and started hacking the RasPi to fit the case.
Everything works fine except for one crucial part that doesn’t work for me; I cannot load tape the slow and regular way; that takes away the ’80s experience.
So I started looking for other solutions, and I decided to design and build a clone from scratch.
As part of my research, I ordered the book that everyone recommends for building a spectrum clone, “The ZX Spectrum ULA” by Chris Smith; it is a very well-written and informative book. I spent many nights reading and pondering my approach to building a Spectrum clone.
While researching, I found several open-source ZX Spectrum projects, like the Harlequin 48K / 128K, ZX Uno, and many more. And of course, I lust over the Spectrum Next, hoping to support the 3rd issue in the future if there is one.
In the end, I decided not the reinvent the wheel and pick a project to work on; I chose the “sizif 512K” as it is the closest to what I wanted and more. I wanted a clone that uses as many real parts as possible, especially a real Z80. The only problem I have is there is little guidance in building this clone; I will have to spend some time figuring everything out and sourcing for parts.