Yum! This is the special sugar-frosted MGT SamBus. (a.k.a. The SAM Card Cage). It adds extra expansion ports, a real time clock, and special secret coating that will keep you full until lunchtime. #SAMCoupé

printer circuit board with euroconnectors and various components, most notably a leaking battery and corroded 3.5mm jack socketMGT SamBus on a wooden desk not connected to anything. an mostly flat oblong off-white computer accessory with three expansion ports on top and a connector on front

Good news, everyone. It’s mousin’ time!

retail packaging for a Trust "Ami" serial computer mouse still in its original cellophane seala black Labrador dog sniffs the box with suspicion

Oh no! I’ve been working on a fun little ZX Spectrum project using Microdrives and serial networking. That’s the end for this cartridge though. 😬

Come out to the coast… we’ll get together, have a few laughs.

boxes of Christmas decorations. a still from the movie Die Hard can be seen in one of the boxes

I was playing the SAM version of Prince of Persia for about 20 minutes before realising I was actually playing the demo! After looping around the same 6 screens a dozen times I managed to glitch through a gate and it turned into Frogger (well sort of)


Low voltage 🔋🧲

disassembled electric motor
disassembled electric motor
motor end cap and brushes
motor end cap and brushes

High voltage ⚠️

Cisco power supply refitted with a ZX Spectrum DIN-style power leadtesting the power connector using shrink tubing to temporarily isolate each pinthe Cisco PSU with both types of leadthe insides of the Spectrum +2A power supply

I noticed my SAM was prone to tape-loading errors, and particularly when the cable gets jostled. Well that was because the socket was cracked, so I replaced it with one harvested from a broken cassette recorder.

The user manual is a bit vague about this, but SAM actually uses a stereo socket although only the ring (normally the right channel in stereo audio) is used for both input and output. The tip is not connected to anything. The idea is you would leave the SAM end alone and only swap the cable between the cassette recorder’s MIC or EAR socket depending on whether you were SAVEing or LOADing.

The replacement socket is an old-school mono design but it makes a rock solid connection so loading is now much more reliable.

Most SAM software is on disk of course, but quite a few demos were put out on Spectrum magazine cover tapes (and originally the machine came with a demo tape from MGT). I don’t have any official SAM tapes, but it works well with the TZXDuino digital tape player that I use for Spectrum software. I do have a few of those magazine cover tapes though and they also load really reliably now.

And, of course, SAM can emulate a 48K Spectrum so it’s possible to load those via tape (or TZX file) as well.

SAM Coupé computercracked stereo audio socket removed from SAMexposed circuit board of a cassette recorder with the EAR socket removedanother view of the mono sockets showing the simple lever design that connects with the audio jack

I’d been hesitant to take a soldering iron to my SAM Coupé, despite its display output suffering badly from reflection (i.e. ghosting) artefacts. But the recommended fix (by Quazar, see SAM Revival #1) is so simple I couldn’t put it off any longer! A huge improvement. 🧑‍🔧👻

close up detail of SAM Coupé computer mainboardtelevision screen showing clear and sharp dark text on a light background

“Cobbled together” from some “spare¹ parts”—here’s my new ZX Spectrum +3 with a custom² Perspex™ sandwich³ style case, and external(ised) keyboard and floppy⁴ drive. 😁

  1. eBay boneyard
  2. “designed” and hand-drilled by me
  3. static electricity death trap
  4. Gotek floppy emulator

ZX Spectrum in a sandwich style clear case with open sidesZX Spectrum set up with screen and keyboardclose up of ZX Spectrum showing attached Gotek

It’s not Retr0brite, it’s SAMbathing.

SAM Coupé computer on a garden table in bright direct sunshine

Meanwhile, in the laboratory: floppy head alignment issues, some Olympic-level desoldering, a disk controller transplant, and a hasty Shugart-to-Citizen bodge-it, but eventually… Pang! ✌️🎈

💾 #SAMCoupé

disassembled computer components on a soldering matSAM Coupé computer with distended floppy disk driveCitizen ultra-slim floppy disk drivescreenshot of Pang level complete message

📚 Computer Projects for Railway Modellers by Roger Amos and Martin Cock, with program listings for Sinclair ZX Spectrum and BBC Microcomputer (Model B)!

Paperback book. Cover illustration shows a model railway close up, with a BBC Micro superimposed

Beta BASIC 4.0 (128K only)



ZX Spectrum with PlusDLite floppy disk interface and several 3.5" diskettesBlack 3.5" floppy disk labelled Beta Basic 4.0 by Beta Soft

I’m very happy to say my redesign of the Spectrum Computing logo to celebrate the Spectrum’s 40th Anniversary is now live! #zxspectrum


I’ve got some time to kill while my new Xbox game is Smart Delivering, so I’m just going to upgrade this here 3B’s DC–DC circuit while we wait. #zxspectrum #loadingtimes


Television set showing teletext (powered by Raspberry Pi)

Death’s Door is really good!

in-game screenshot of characters conversing

I think I might head into town. There’s an article about TELETEXT in the latest MagPi magazine! ❤️💚💛💙

Lemmings! On a ZX Spectrum!! With a mouse!!!

(It’s absolutely fine on keyboard, but this is the way it was meant to be played).

Lemmings played on ZX Spectrum with a mouse!

And speaking of Text Adventuring, here’s the CRASH Annual 2022 exclusive* game Saboteur: Deep Cover. A text adventure with real time combat??

KICK, PUNCH, it’s all in the mind! 🥷👊🤖🐆

(*Kickstarter only, but it’s out on Cronosoft later.)

ZX Spectrum with Boots cassette tape recorder and a copy of SABOTEUR: DEEP COVER

I’m currently reading: Twilight Inventory by Gareth Pitchford 📚 A collection of 1990s reviews/articles of “forgotten 8-bit adventure games”, it recounts the spirit of the latter years of the DIY-gaming cambrian-explosion brought about by tools The Quill and G.A.C.

Book cover: Twilight Inventory by Gareth Pitchford

Merry Specmas!


ZX Spectrum game "Snowed Under" on cassettescreenshot of level 4 showing a Christmas themed paltforming game

Playing Sable this morning has rekindled the awe and wonder I’ve not experienced in a game since I first played Panzer Dragoon Saga. Like the fascination (half-remembered, only having seen a snippet) of Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

Sable feels like rediscovering them again. 10/10

screenshot of Xbox game SABLE. the protagonist looks out over a rocky desert towards a small nomad camp