Help with my new Spectrum

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Dosman94
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Help with my new Spectrum

Post by Dosman94 » Mon May 07, 2018 8:06 am

Hello. I Just recently purchased a Rubber Key model 48k spectrum (Motherboard Issue 3) off of ebay and imported it to the states.
I got a power supply that worked, and already had a TV capable of displaying PAL. So I replaced the capacitors once it arrived to be safe. And When I plugged it in it worked! Except that I could not load any games, have a cable and everything. But IT will not load any Tape. Whether through the PC or old school with an actual Tape Drive. And It won't even display Loading bars at all either. Any ideas as to what is going on?

Plus, has anyone ever ordered from retroradionics? I got my membrane and stuff, and all was good. Especially the new faceplate. But alas, the membrane won't work and they never got back to me. Is this a fault with the spectrum? Or are they just not good at service? (The old one works.)

RWAP
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Re: Help with my new Spectrum

Post by RWAP » Mon May 07, 2018 10:31 am

The simplest and most obvious question is to check that you have connected the ear lead correctly - it needs to be on the output from the cassette and plugged into the EAR socket on the Spectrum.

Volume on a cassette player needs to be around 80% of max - you should be able to hear the loading sound through the Spectrum if the volume is high enough. You might also need to clean the tape heads on the recorder!

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1024MAK
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Re: Help with my new Spectrum

Post by 1024MAK » Mon May 07, 2018 10:48 am

Things to remember: the tape sockets on the Spectrum are labelled with the name of the matching connector on the cassette tape recorder, so Ear on the tape recorder goes to Ear on the Spectrum.

The Ear socket on the Spectrum is a 3.5mm mono connector. A 3.5mm stereo plug will not work, as the contacts are in different places compared to a mono plug. So use mono cables.

Back in the 1980s, the ear peace that was supplied for use with cassette tape decks was not very sensitive. The volume available from the cassette tape decks was therefore fairly loud. So the Spectrum is expecting a loud volume level on it's Ear input socket.

Modern computers and MP3 players etc. often have power output limiting, and are often not able to produce a high enough volume level for the Spectrum. If you wish to use a computer, use a cheap PC powered amplifier speaker set with an headphone output. Connect the Spectrum to this output.

When using a computer, you will need a stereo plug for the computer end, but a mono 3.5mm plug for the Spectrum. As it is difficult to find such cables, use adaptors or leads that break out to phono/RCA plugs or sockets.

After the LOAD command, if the sound level is too low, the Spectrum will wait, while waiting you will have a white border. When it hears some sound (that has sufficient volume), the border will slowly alternate between red and cyan colours. Once it detects data, the border will become horizontal coloured stripes. See this YouTube video or this video.

I'm not sure what is going wrong with the keyboard membrane. Did the old one break when you were removing it? Are any bits of it left in the sockets?

Mark

Dosman94
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Re: Help with my new Spectrum

Post by Dosman94 » Mon May 07, 2018 6:21 pm

RWAP wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:31 am
The simplest and most obvious question is to check that you have connected the ear lead correctly - it needs to be on the output from the cassette and plugged into the EAR socket on the Spectrum.

Volume on a cassette player needs to be around 80% of max - you should be able to hear the loading sound through the Spectrum if the volume is high enough. You might also need to clean the tape heads on the recorder!
I have made sure all of this was in order. 80% and also that it was plugged into my EAR socket.
I also Have tried it on my simple cassete deck, and also my Glass head professional Akai deck. (Though I did re clean them to be safe. No change.)
Never heard it through my Spectrum though, so I will keep trying with volume.

Dosman94
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Re: Help with my new Spectrum

Post by Dosman94 » Mon May 07, 2018 6:40 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:48 am
Things to remember: the tape sockets on the Spectrum are labelled with the name of the matching connector on the cassette tape recorder, so Ear on the tape recorder goes to Ear on the Spectrum.

The Ear socket on the Spectrum is a 3.5mm mono connector. A 3.5mm stereo plug will not work, as the contacts are in different places compared to a mono plug. So use mono cables.

Back in the 1980s, the ear peace that was supplied for use with cassette tape decks was not very sensitive. The volume available from the cassette tape decks was therefore fairly loud. So the Spectrum is expecting a loud volume level on it's Ear input socket.

Modern computers and MP3 players etc. often have power output limiting, and are often not able to produce a high enough volume level for the Spectrum. If you wish to use a computer, use a cheap PC powered amplifier speaker set with an headphone output. Connect the Spectrum to this output.

When using a computer, you will need a stereo plug for the computer end, but a mono 3.5mm plug for the Spectrum. As it is difficult to find such cables, use adaptors or leads that break out to phono/RCA plugs or sockets.

After the LOAD command, if the sound level is too low, the Spectrum will wait, while waiting you will have a white border. When it hears some sound (that has sufficient volume), the border will slowly alternate between red and cyan colours. Once it detects data, the border will become horizontal coloured stripes. See this YouTube video or this video.

I'm not sure what is going wrong with the keyboard membrane. Did the old one break when you were removing it? Are any bits of it left in the sockets?

Mark
I've got that.

Mono eh? I think I'm using Stereo jacks. So I will check that.

So It needs it quite loud.

I have a fairly decent set of speakers like that. Should work.

Thanks for an explanation of this, I didn't understand what any of that meant originally and really couldn't find info on line that was easy to find.
So thanks for explaining to me.

The new membrane from Retroradionics does not work, it keeps repeating the number 9 and the right side (Enter, Print, Space,) won't work, But the rest of the keyboard is fine. The original, though fragile. Works perfect. (Will double check my connectors though.)

Dosman94
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Re: Help with my new Spectrum

Post by Dosman94 » Mon May 07, 2018 9:17 pm

Okay, with some volume adjustment and a mono adapter, I've got it to recognize a tape.
Didn't load right, but it said it found Manic Miner.

Also, there was nothing in the keyboard connectors.

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gammaray
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Re: Help with my new Spectrum

Post by gammaray » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:26 am

Pictures of the keyboard membrane would help. I have purchased two of these and had no problems.

Used on Spectrum retro cases and TS1500's

UPDATE: My original membranes had cracks right where they neck down to ribbon shape. I couldn't perceive it upon cursory examination. But bending slightly showed it was broken clean through. New ones are more flexible.

Charles
Finish what you start. Truth is over the mountaintop or six feet under.
4 x TS1000, 2 x TS1500 , 2 x timex 2040 printer, 1/2 x timex 2020 cassette deck, ZXPAND+AY, ZeddyNET, ZXBlast..., unfinished Spectrum...Still no life!

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