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ScuzzBlog: Diaries November 2018

Entry 12th November 2018: Post 01: Spectrum 128 - Toast Rack


Spectrum 128 - Toast Rack

Seems that each time I forage around for C64 games tapes I kick
over these Sinclair Spectrum 128s that are propped up against one
of the boxes. There are four units plus a tatty Spectrum+. They
have been somewhat ignored and neglected since I found they were
all faulty. So I set myself a challenge to get at least one these
babies working.

The Sinclair 128 has an odd history. Code named Derby and nicknamed
the Toast Rack it was a joint development with a Spanish company in
1985 to overcome tax issues in Spain regarding computers with less
than 64K of memory.

The computer is called the 'Toast Rack' because of the large external
heat-sink connected to the 7805 voltage regulator. You can identify
where the units where sold because the Spanish version has the
white Sinclair emblem.

The computer has the QL injection moulded keyboard and came with
a connector for external keyboard. It has 128KB RAM the AY-3-8912
three channel audio, MIDI compatibility, RS-232 serial port, RGB
monitor port, 32KB ROM and improved BASIC editor.

It was released at a trade show in Spain in Sept 1985 and then in
the UK in Jan 1986. Sinclair had a surplus of the Sectrum+ machines
they wanted to shift first.

The computer does not have an internal speaker and uses the sound
from the TV for that. In its day it cost 179 which is around 400
in today's money.

OK I set to taking stuff apart testing it and even attempted a clean
on the keyboard. I sensed I was having some success and so in the
next post I demonstrate what happened. The keyboard is a pig on this
unit. It is quite easy to do a basic clean but sadly grime and dirt
stick like solid to the inner corner to all the buttons and I was
in the end scraping it out with a tooth pick. I decided to take the
pics in the end though I have spent a lot of time of late cleaning
the keyboard. I tried taking apart and scrubbing but that didn't
work either.

The internal workings of the computer are interesting and these too
were thoroughly cleaned. I include pictures for you to look at.

I still have three of the Toast Racks to deal with. For now I have
actually boxed them all up so I avoid kicking them in the future.

Spectrum 128 - The Toast Rack


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Last updated 12th November 2018

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