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ZX Spectrum Omni

Iain Metcalf
in Hardware
May 16, 2020

This is a recreated ZX Spectrum based on what is known as a Harlequin board. It looks like the original 48k Spectrum with rubber keyboard that feels like prodding dead flesh (all Ike an old rubber key calculator)

It has a DivideMMC built into the machine which is basically an SD Card reader for digital files so stuff loads nice and quick. This can be disabled if you want to if having problems loading something in from tape. However you can enter cheats with it if you keep it enabled which is handy given loads of these old games can be overly tough.

Finally it has Dio switches on the side so you can select the machine you want it set as (48k, 128k Toastrack, 128k +2 etc) and it has a power switch and reset button uime the original 48k models.

I love this machine and have been playing on it a fair bit since the lockdown started

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Corey Buckner @cbuckner
May 26, 2020

I still think the ZX Spectrum is one of the best-looking gaming PCs.

Iain Metcalf @IainM
May 27, 2020

I love the original 48k Spectrum's (There were earlier models that look exactly the same but with only 16k).

This picture is quite deceiving as it is hiding a lot of stuff. This isn't an official Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k even though it looks like it. This is a Spectrum equivalent of the old Famiclone systems that were NES copies but played all the carts. The Omni is based on a Harlequin board designed by someone called Don Superfo.

The original didn't have the following

This has a power button on it, a reset button, 2 joystick ports (1 Sinclair & 1 Kempston - Atari standard), Divide MMC SD Card reader & the 8 dip switches.

The original machine you had to buy an interface - Sinclair standard or Kempston which connected to the edge connector on the back to allow a joystick to be connected as it didn't have ports like the Commodore machines. You would also hook up a cassette player (usually the reporter style) to load in your games on tape.

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Iain Metcalf @IainM
May 27, 2020

The Omni you can load stuff from tape which I do regularly and I also have a device called a TZXDuino which plays the TZX emulator files as if a proper tape. The built in Divide MMC runs the various disc files and also the tap tape files (but not TZX format). Another great thing with having the Divide MMC enabled is that you press the menu button and can enter pokes to hack the games for infinite lives and so on.

Finally those dip switches you adjust to enable and disable features and also allow you to select the machine you want the Omni to mimic. It covers everything from original 48k upto the 128k 2 machines. I have it set to the more compatible 128k Toastrack which was the last true Sinclair machine before Amstrad bought them out and released the said 2 line.

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