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Although I own several Spectrum tapes from the old days, there are files available online in TAP and TZX formats which can be played as if you had the original tapes. These are redily loaded into Spectrum emulators but not so easily into the real thing. However, a couple of very clever guys, Duncan Edwards and Andrew Beer came up with a device to do just that. The TAP or TZX files are copied onto a Micro SD Card and placed in the device which, via a menu, you can play the files into a real Spectrum machine. The device can be used with several other 8-bit micro computers but I will be concentrating on the TZXDuino for Sinclair Spectrum.

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As per normal with building any project, start with the low profile components first, Resistor, Diode, Crystal etc. And gradually build up to the higher components. The only difficult part to solder is the USB Mini port, in this application it is there just to supply power. You can use the two header connections directly behind the SMD pads if you prefer. The diode is for polarity protection.

The SD-Card module I purchased had a straight header already soldered on so it required de-soldering and replacing with a strip facing down, under the board. The display came without a header strip installed so it was an easy case to add one.

Programming the ATMEGA328 is made easier if you have an Arduino Uno. I extracted my Uno’s ATMEGA328 and temporarily installed a new one. I then programmed it with the ICSP header on the Uno’s board. If you have an ATMEGA328 with a bootloader, you can use the USB input as normal. If neither of these options is available, you will need to make a small adaptor board for ICSP programming, use a breadboard or perhaps, use a minDUINO as a base.


Dec 06,2019
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