comp.sys.sinclair FAQ


Some of the most popular peripherals produced for the ZX Spectrum are introduced in the sections below. Many of the items listed are supported by several modern emulators. Brief details of virtually every expansion developed for the original ZX Spectrum are available from the Sinclair Hardware Index.

Sinclair Interfaces:
Sinclair Research produced 2 official interfaces for use with the ZX Spectrum, both of which are documented below. Of these, the ZX Interface II is the simpler, being essentially a Joystick interface and ROM cartridge slot. The ZX Interface I is much more complex, and is discussed in more detail. Please refer to the '48K Reference' page for additional information.

Adding a printer to a ZX81 or ZX Spectrum is very easy; the most popular models simply attached to the edge connector and could be accessed immediately using Sinclair BASIC. The most common printers are listed below, with links to additional information where this is available. Please see the emulators page for details of those available on your platform that include printer emulation.

Mass Storage Devices:
The primary storage medium for the ZX Spectrum (and earlier models) was traditional cassette tape. As programs became more complex, and as both programmers and users became increasingly frustrated at the poor reliability and slow loading times associated with tape, several alternatives were developed. The ZX Microdrive from Sinclair Research was widely anticipated, and sold extremely well; the Sinclair QL (and ICL One-Per-Desk variant) has 2 microdrives built-in.

Various disk-drives and improved tape-based systems were also introduced - the ZX Spectrum pre-dates affordable floppy disk drives, although these became increasingly popular options throughout the mid 1980s as prices fell. The ZX Spectrum +3 includes a 3in disk drive as standard, as do competing models from other vendors. Please refer to the disk reference page for details of disk-based systems.