Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Project PI #3 - Introducing the NEW PI Spectrum ZX 3.14

Introducing the Spectrum ZX 3.14 (ZX+Pi)
This is how Clive Sinclair should have designed the ZX Spectrum of the future.

After a bit of grovelling and offering to do some more cooking my other half agreed to let me use one of his spare ZX Spectrums.

I wanted to use a keyboard but have no way of using the original Spectrum keys so I was going to have to go for something a bit drastic and remove these original keys and replace it with another keyboard preferable Bluetooth.
The main thing was to be able to find a keyboard that will be small enough to fit inside this Spectrum Case with enough room left over to squeeze in the Raspberry PI etc.

So after some Googling and reviewing I discovered the perfect size Bluetooth keyboard + mouse that would replace the old Spectrum's keys. So knowing this was going to take some brutality with a Dremel I did some more groveling... as my other half is a whizz with this and I know he would do a fab job on removing the keyboard as its solid plastic and could easily crack with the wrong pressure etc; and then Ive not only ruined my plans but a 31 year old case...eeep.

Keys removed from the case leaving the key framework underneath.

With a bit of fun along the way.

This took alot of time and careful etching and Dremeling to grind out this solid plastic keyboard. My other half made such a neat job, don't you think...thank you huny XxX.

Just look at how gorgeous the new Bluetooth keyboard fits into the newly ground out space; its as though it came out the factory like this.
This is how the ZX Spectrum should have looked...Im just in awe at how beautiful it looks.

Underneath its attached by Fixit bonding putty and the "original" keyboard clips.

  A black blutak-esk type putty that gives you approx 15mins to play and get it into place before it sets rock hard; perfect to secure the keyboard inside the case.

 While doing the case I made a Raspberry order or mini PI haul,
From left to right;
Raspberry PI GPIO Breakout board with paddle terminals.
2 x tank tracks and wheels+motors (future project).
Adafruit 2.8" LCD screen.
 5 x Micro switches.
Micro USB.

 Note; About the new Adafruit touch screen above as much as it was the perfect size; it needed to sit on top of the PI not enough space for inside this case inclusive of keyboard. So I have returned this one in replacement for a nice and easy USB Touchscreen (seen below on the latest image - The DFRobot touch display screen on order). This new version came out the week I bought this mini haul, it seems so much more polished and looks so much nicer...sorry Adafruit.

Included into the haul was an extra pressie from my other half.

Build a weevil and learn to solder.
He thought Id love this fun little kit to get me started as Ive never soldered before; so rather I kill off a weevil than my new PI...eeep!
Looking forward to putting this together...Ill add a video of how I do later on...I'm sure that will be exciting lol!

So where am I so far...well take a look at the image above...the bottom section of the case sits underneath the keyboard and as you can see everything squeezes in nicely.
The DFRobot touch display screen may fit where you see the white square in the image above; Im waiting for this to arrive and cant wait to see it, it has a great design and look to it.
Next to the screen will be the Raspberry PI attached by the Raspberry PI GPIO Breakout board with paddle terminals...note we chose this rainbow colour as it corresponds to the Spectrum rainbow logo...just a little thing but it blends Raspberry and Spectrum together a bit more don't you think.

I am now on the lookout for a rechargeable power-pack that puts out 5v/2A and will fit, I have my eye set on one that will possibly be able to charge and power at the same time like a UPS. (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

So what do you think of the new invented Spectrum ZX so far the new keyboard gives a sexier edge to the original. But still keeping the gorgeous vintage Speccy feel to it.

No ZX Spectrum's were harmed in the making of the new ZX 3.14  ..okay maybe the keys, but they are looking for new homes...so if you need any spare keys for your ZX Spectrum contact me!
p.s All the G's are gone ;-)

Project PI #1 Introduction.
Project PI #2 Choosing the case.
Project PI #3 Introducing the new ZX 3.14.
 Project PI #4 The Build
Project PI #5 Finished Build
 New PI Project idea coming soon...something fun....teaser.


  1. Hi,
    The new look spectrum looks amazing. Please can you advise on the make and model of the keyboard.

    1. Hi thanks for your comment; yes the keyboard was from Mod My PI and its a Compact Chiclet Wireless Keyboard & Optical Mouse £14.99
      It runs off a single 2.4ghz low power USB nano dongle - so no cluttered wires to trip over! I chose this as it had been tested already on all PI operating systems. Plus its so compact and works beautifully.
      Heres the link

  2. Love it but not sure where you are putting the screen?

    My temptation, just an idea, would be to fit the screen into an old ram or joystick add-on pak...;)

    Nice work this, the ZX Spectrum will live forever!

    1. Hi Artie thanks for the comments. I really love your ideas of where to put the screen; but the idea is to keep everything inside the Spectrum case. Its a bit of a squeeze but Ive done it.
      The screen sits at a nice viewable angle inside; I will be posting #4 next week so you will see what I mean.
      Its just nice to keep these vintage computers living on.
      Thanks again for your comments and ideas.

  3. What a fantastic project but I'm not sure why you are putting the screen on the inside?

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. Its all new and exciting to me as Ive always loved the Spectrum from teen days, so to try and combine the Raspberry PI 2 is a brilliant challenge.
      I understand your query which I will be able to show you more clearly in my next post as, the idea is that I wanted to keep everything inside the Spectrum case and the keyboard (which is infact the lid) simply slides down and rests on the edge giving a nice type-able angle allowing the breadboard to be accessed openly.
      The screen is set also at an angle inside the case so its viewable while typing.

      I hope this makes sense; Im hoping to post number #4 next week so you will see what I mean.


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