To do this from the command prompt in Windows, type in:
FORMAT A: /t:80 /n:9 /fs:fatAdditional notes for non-NT Windows versions (95, 98 etc):
The next stage can be slightly trickier. I'm unable to document the whole process step by step but I've made a few pointers to help avoid the pitfalls I made:
If like me you started off without the software for the unit, an internet search should reveal some download locations for the software. Here's a couple of links at the time of writing:-
Installing a ULA heatsink into a ZX81 is a quick and easy project that should reduce the internal temperature of one of the key chips that is prone to getting hot, and therefore extending the life of your ZX81.
I bought mine from The Sinclair Shop but they may be available elsewhere.
Once you've have the back off the ZX81 don't loose those screws and rubber feet!
You'll need to unscrew the circuit board from the other half of the casing. Be very careful of the attached ribbon cables to the keyboard - they are likely to be very brittle!
Board's out! The ULA should be clearly visible - it should be marked as so and is the nearest chip to the video out. The heatsink should fit comfortably over the chip, covering it's entire surface. Job done, now to find those screws!
Here's my ZX81 happily running after its small modification!
It's official - cassette decks are finally obsolete! With nearly all ZX81 games now available on-line you can use most ZX81 emulators like EightyOne to play the wave file through your computer's sound card and straight into the ZX81. Of course you'll still need to experiment with sound levels but you've got it right it should work well as you'll have a clean input unlike fuzzy old tapes. Providing you have an emulator, some downloaded programs and a soundcard in your computer, the only extra thing you'll probably need is a stereo to mono adapter. A suitable adapter should have a stereo male end to plug into your sound card and a female mono input to plug your ZX81 cassette lead into.You don't need a particularly powerful sound card - I'm just using the built in sound on my Dell laptop and it works just fine. The adapters should be cheap enough to pick up from electronics stores or somewhere like eBay. You shouldn't need to pay more than a couple of pounds for one, but don't forget to get the right size jack sockets for your soundcard / ZX81!
Unfortunately I carried this out some time ago and didn't take any photos of the procedure :(
There's similar drive belts available for Spectrum +3 and Einstein computers too.
If you've dusted off your CPC6128 or have bought a second hand machine there's a strong chance the computer cannot read the floppy disks. You'll notice power to the drive but it simply cannot read the disks and returns a read failure. It's a very common problem and just down to the fact the rubber drive belt looses it's tension after a number of years.Opening up the 6128 casing is very straight-forward via the screws on the underside. Once you open it up be careful of the connected cables - they are likely to be brittle. Looking at the disk drive unit you should be able to see the drive belt and although a little fiddly it can be gently removed and replaced with your replacement belt. Check the belt turns ok before putting your 6128 back together.
(c)1997-2020 Tony Kingsmill