Original ZX Spectrum +3, drive repair drive

One of the September days, I came across a post with a description of my native Sinclair ZX Spectrum and thought. But this is a great idea! Of course, I knew about the existence of emulators on PC, IPhone and even in browsers, but all this was not pleasant. It seems that the games are the same, but the soul does not lie. And then I realized that I personally have this connected with my childhood and that what was released after 92-93 on this topic no longer hurts me. It was at this time in my life that Speccy was replaced by 8-bit Dendy consoles, and a little later, the first own 386th IBM PC.


Therefore, I went to http://ebay.co.uk and immediately found some very decent lots with the original British ZX.

I asked the price and chose a kit from the ZX Spectrum +3 with a built-in drive (a childhood dream!), A tape recorder for cassettes, native instructions, a pair of joysticks, a gun and a scattering of cassettes. Without thinking twice, he made the first bid of 30 pounds. As a result, I won the whole kit for 97 pounds, plus I gave another 50 pounds for shipping to the USA (a very heavy power supply, all together weighed about 8 kg). The seller joyfully invested several native floppy disks and a couple of games for free.

The parcel flew in just three days, I didn’t even feel sorry for the money given for it. The exciting process of unpacking ended with an awareness of the problems that arise.

  • Firstly, the power supply with a British plug supported the voltage strictly 220-240 volts. And in our USA the standard is 110 volts.
  • Secondly, when you turn on the drive made strange sounds.
  • Thirdly, the easiest way to display an image on TV using the UHF connector did not suit me either, for one simple reason - even in this the Americans are ahead of the rest and use a completely different connector.

The first problem was solved very simply by purchasing an adapter and a 110v -> 220v converter in the nearest store.

The second problem turned out to be a bit more complicated. After studying English-language sites, I suggested that I have a typical problem with a worn drive belt of the drive motor. 99% of the original ZX Spectrum +3 wears out this rubber belt very quickly. I ordered it from Dataserve-retro.co.uk for 3 pounds with delivery.

Then he proceeded to open the patient:


First, you need to unscrew the two screws on the side of the drive. Five more screws from the bottom. After that, carefully lift the keyboard and disconnect the LED wire from the board. Keyboard loops do not advise touching, they are often fragile and easily damaged.


This is what the LED wire looks like:


My copy is quite well preserved and has an Amstrad serial number (as we recall, Sir Clive Sinclair sold all production rights to Amstrad).


We unscrew one bolt on the left, which fastens the drive to the board. Carefully disconnect the cables from the drive. As a result, we get a free drive for our manipulations. The next step is to disconnect the side loops inside the drive. It is more convenient to do this either with tweezers or long narrow pliers. I just picked them up with a small answer and gently extended them with my fingers. This action is optional, but will give us much more room to replace the belt.



Next, unscrew the three bolts that secure the board to the drive enclosure (indicated by green arrows): The


location of these bolts may differ on some drives, but this is the most common model.
We slightly shift the board to the side, just to remove the read / write indicator from the drive enclosure and raise the board by the back. Most likely you do not need to completely disconnect the board. We study in what condition the old drive belt. Most likely you will see the remains of it inside, or wound on a small golden spire in the back right (if you look from the face of the drive). My old belt looked like this:


Carefully remove all residues and clean the spire with a cotton swab. I moistened with alcohol and carefully rolled the cotton wool several times on the roller. Next, take a new belt and carefully put it on a spire and a round black thing under the board.


During manipulations with the drive card, do not turn it over. Otherwise, a stub may appear that blocks writing to floppy disks. In this case, it must be returned to the place near the bottom screw under the board. The cap in this photo is the second in the right row (by the way, all the screws that appear after disassembly):


We assemble everything in the reverse order and hopefully turn on Speccy. Hurrah! The drive stopped making strange sounds and started working. Rather, insert the original 3-inch floppy disk and check the operation. By the way, the original ZX Spectrum +3 comes with built-in support for the operating system + 3DOS. Verification of work:


Instructions from the manufacturer of the belt for the drive can be read here: www.dataserve-retro.co.uk/contents/en-uk/d33.html

As a result, I only had a third problem - displaying images on a modern LCD / LED TV.
This turned out to be the most difficult. I didn’t succeed with the UHF wire, the TV does not see the signal even through the adapters. And according to reviews, this is the most low-quality option.

I bought a wire from British manufacturers:


Plus I ordered an adapter Scart -> RCA (tulip) on Amazon:


As a result, I got a black and white image with a cropped bottom. As I understand it, the color problem is due to the incompatibility of my TV with PAL (99% of TVs in the USA only support NTSC). And what causes cropping of about one fourth of the screen from the bottom? Any ideas?

UPDATE:Received the PAL -> NTSC converter. The result is strange - the image now completely fits on the screen, but still black and white. At the same time, a significant delay (> 1 second) appeared when displaying the image. I will send this converter back to the manufacturer, it will be impossible to play with such a delay.

What conclusions can be drawn from this? Bad converter or do you need a fundamentally different solution?

I see such options for myself so far:
  1. Order another PAL -> NTSC converter, see the result.
  2. Try the Tulips Converter -> VGA. For example, this:
  3. There is a way to make a composite output from the standard RF output to the ZX Spectrum. Described in detail here . But apparently, the output will still be PAL, and I already achieved this.
  4. Bring a TV from Russia that will support PAL :) The option is extreme, but it also has the right to life.

Which option do you think will work?

UPDATE 2: I tried the converter on VGA. As a result, I got again a black and white picture, only it is completely static, the image does not change.

I don’t even know what to think now.

UPDATE 3: I carefully studied my Scart -> tulips converter and found (suddenly!) That it turns out to be converting into the YPbPr component signal, and not at all into the composite one, as I expected. In theory, having stuck into the correct entrance on my TV, I should have got a picture without any adapters. But unfortunately my TV does not support 240p resolution on component input. As I finally check it out, I will unsubscribe.

I found a description of exactly the same case: www.retro-otaku.com
And here is a detailed description of my converter with a photo:www.gamesx.com

Thanks andrewsh , sent thoughts in the right direction.

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