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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 24th Sep 2014, 2:54 pm   #1
coling1
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Default Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

Hi
I'm new to this forum and a novice "teccy" so please bear with me if I'm asking a stupid question.
I've just discovered a 1983 ZX Spectrum at the top of a wardrobe and want to get it up and running. It displays the copyright message on a digital TV so I know it's working. However, using it on the home TV isn't convenient. Is there any (simple) way I can connect it to a PC monitor using off the shelf components or possibly by cannibalising an analogue tuner from somewhere please?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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Old 24th Sep 2014, 3:07 pm   #2
julie_m
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Default Re: Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

It won't work with a modern PC monitor. The Spectrum's video timings are too slow.

You may be able to pick up the "red", "green", "blue" and "bright" signals from the Spectrum motherboard, though, and use them to drive an old CGA monitor ..... the line rate should be close enough for the picture to lock.

Alternatively, you could use a USB video capture device plugged into a PC .....

I know this isn't what you really wanted to hear; but the Spectrum really was meant to work only with a System I TV set.
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Old 24th Sep 2014, 3:35 pm   #3
coling1
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Default Re: Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

Thanks AJS.
Apologies for my lack of knowledge but would the co-ax cable from the Spectrum plug into the USB device which in turn would plug into the PC? Also, would any USB device work or would it have to be a specific type and would it require any sort of tuning in?
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Old 24th Sep 2014, 4:04 pm   #4
richrussell
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Default Re: Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

If you have an analogue TV tuner USB device for your PC, then you can plug the Spectrum's aerial lead (ie that would normally go to a TV) into that, then use whatever TV software came with the USB tuner to tune to it. Effectively all you're doing it making the PC act like an analogue TV.

The Spectrum uses quite non-standard timings, so often newer (eg LCD) TVs struggle to produce a steady picture. As AJS said - it was designed for a PAL CRT TV set. If it's any consolation, the ZX80 and ZX81 were often a pain to get working even on a 1980s CRT TV (as I remember well).
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Old 24th Sep 2014, 8:27 pm   #5
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

Not quite what you were looking for, but this:-

http://www.fruitcake.plus.com/Sincla...aInterface.htm

-Provides SCART RGB output from the standard Spectrum, adds a joystick interface and RS232 interface and even some higher-than-original colour resolution video modes as well. (The Spectrum's original colour display only allowed two colours per character square, a major limitation).

To use this, though, you'd still need a standard-definition RGB video monitor like the rebadged Philips CMxxxx ones commonly used with the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, or a TV with RGB inputs available on the SCART socket.

People practically give working TVs away these days, especially CRT ones, but I can understand you wanting to try to use a PC monitor which you already have. Problem is, the majority of PC monitors operate at higher line / frame frequencies than the standard definition output from the Spectrum.
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Old 24th Sep 2014, 11:21 pm   #6
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Default Re: Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

You can buy purpose made converters that will accept composite video and convert it to VGA for a modern PC lcd or crt monitor...expect to pay 40 upwards.

The proviso is that you'll need to do a little mod to provide your spectrum with composite video out...it comes as standard with only RF. Various computer forums will show you how to modify the spectrum for composite video, this is a popular mod as the original RF (TV) output from the spectrum is poor. You will need to remove the circuit board from the spectrum and do a bit of soldering.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 7:12 am   #7
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

Easiest option would be an obsolete portable CRT colour TV. There are millions around and ever time I go to the tip there are a lot being dumped. Some people still use them with a digi box to receive digital TV - Freeview etc, but with flat screen LED TVs now costing under 100, many CRT portables/digi-boxes are being pensioned off and are just kicking around in lofts, sheds, garages and are destined to be dumped. I tried to give two away last year - no takers so with reluctance, I took them to the tip.

If you have a Freecycle group in your area, as you most certainy will have, if you put a wanted advert on, you're almost certain to get a response, or you might see one offered. Someone on the forum might come to your rescue too.

Good luck in your quest, and with the Speccy, which I guess most of us will have fond memories of!
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 2:11 pm   #8
coling1
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Default Re: Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time and trouble to post helpful replies to my query. One way or another I shall try to get the Speccy to perform.
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Old 29th Sep 2014, 7:08 am   #9
Dillen_de
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Default Re: Connect ZX Spectrum to PC monitor

A composite video output can be taken from the input of the RF modulator box.

Martin
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