A month or so ago I ordered a DivIDE board from Papaya Labs. The DivIDE board is an ATA interface for the ZX Spectrum, allowing IDE devices such as hard disks, CDROM drives and Compact Flash cards to be plugged into the Spectrum, which, through a special loader built into the board, allows .Z80, .TAP and .SNA images to be loaded into the Spectrum and run. The .Z80 and .SNA images are simply pushed into the Spectrum and it runs them with no need to reboot. The .TAP files are presented to the Spectrum as real tapes, and after typing ‘LOAD “”‘ they load in exactly as a tape would – only in a few seconds, rather than a few minutes.
This is a long post, with lots of information in, more after the break… Press it, you can watch a YouTube video at the end. More photos of the setup available on my photos website.
The board plugs into the expansion slot on the back of the Spectrum, and works with 48k, 128k and the + range. I first tried it on a 48K rubber key Speccy, but it didn’t seem to work properly, but worked fine on my Spectrum +3. Later I learnt this is due to a jumper on the board that needs removing for 48K Spectrums.
Operation is simple, turn on the Spectrum with the board and drive attached, press the NMI button and choose the image from a popup menu. If it’s a TAP image, type LOAD “” like usual. With Spectrum + models, the machine appears to boot up in 48K mode, however it still is running as a 128K Spectrum in USR0 mode so most 128K stuff works.
The other thing I have is an RGB cable for my Spectrum +3. This allows me to plug the Spectrum into a Commodore 1084s monitor (or one of the many many clones). I have three of these in my house and two of them contain a 9 pin D-Sub RGB port. Making the cable was fairly straight forward once I’d found the correct pinout for the monitor and the Spectrum. If you try and make one yourself, beware the +3 has a different RGB port pinout than the Spectrum +. Here are the pinouts for the connectors:
Commodore 1084d & 1084dS Analog/Digital Connector 9 PIN D-SUB FEMALE viewed at the monitor _____________ 5 4 3 2 1 / _9_8_7_6_/ Pin Name Analog Mode Digital Mode 1 GND Ground Ground 2 GND Ground Ground 3 R Red Red 4 G Green Green 5 B Blue Blue 6 I not used Intensity 7 CSYNC Composite Sync not used 8 HSYNC not used Horizontal Sync 9 VSYNC not used Vertical Sync
This was taken from this website here. The ZX Spectrum +3 RGB/Peritel port has the following pin configuration:
VDU Monitor The +3 can use a monochrome or colour VDU monitor (or a French standard PERITEL TV) instead of (or in addition to) an ordinary TV. If the monitor that you wish to use isn't quoted as being Spectrum +3 compatible, then the chances are you'll have to buy a lead for it (contact your Sinclair dealer). A VDU monitor (or PERITEL TV) should be plugged into the RGB/PERITEL socket at the back of the +3. PIN FUNCTION RGB/PERITEL socket 1 +12V __ __ 2 GND _- |___| -_ 3 audio out / 7 6 ______________ / o o 4 composite sync | 3 8 1 | 5 +12V | o o o | 6 green 5 4 / 7 red o 2 o / 8 blue -_ o _- `-----' When using a monitor, some provision may have to be made for sound (if required). If the monitor has an audio input, then this should be connected either to pin 3 of the RGB/PERITEL socket or to the TAPE/SOUND socket at the back of the +3. If the monitor is not capable of producing sound, then an external amplifier will have to be used.
All I did was connect the R,G,B pins in the Spectrum to their equivalents in the Commodore monitor’s 9-pin D-Sub, and then connect the Composite Sync from pin 4 of the Spectrum to pin 7 of the Commodore. On the back of the monitor are several buttons to choose the type of input signal, eventually I found a combination that produced an image.
The sound comes from pin 3 of the +3’s RGB port and I simply soldered a short RCA plug to the wire on that pin and brought it out the side of the plug. Since I didn’t have a suitable casing for the connector I used the hardware hacker’s favourite – hot melt glue, plus a few bent paperclips to act as strain relief on the soldered connectors.
Here is a short YouTube video of the finished setup. Yes, it’s sat on top of a Commodore Amiga 1500 (which does work). I hope you Amiga fans don’t have too much of a fit seeing a dirty Spectrum running on your fine monitor 😉