Jump to content
Nateo

Going price for ZX Spectrum?

Recommended Posts

Anyone know what a decent price would be to buy a rubber key 48k ZX Spectrum? I'd like to pick one up for some quarantine fun, but eBay's prices are all over the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in Europe it's ~100USD, +/-50 depending on condition and extras.

 

Spectrum games are all PAL, and unmodded rubber model has only RF, so you need to take that on board as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have one with a brand new keyboard and metal cover/plate, composite mod, a wafer drive, several games and books, and even one of the SD card solutions. I can dig it out and PM you if you are interested in a full setup like this.

 

Edited by R.Cade

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, R.Cade said:

I have one with a brand new keyboard and metal cover/plate, composite mod, a wafer drive, several games and books, and even one of the SD card solutions. I can dig it out and PM you if you are interested in a full setup like this.

 

I don't know if I could afford what that whole setup would be worth - $100 is about the most I can swing at the moment. But I really appreciate you offering! 

 

As for it being PAL, I already have a solution in place for that as I have a monitor that accepts both NTSC and PAL composite signals, and performing a composite mod looks really easy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, youxia said:

Here in Europe it's ~100USD, +/-50 depending on condition and extras.

 

Spectrum games are all PAL, and unmodded rubber model has only RF, so you need to take that on board as well.

I'm kind of surprised it goes for that much, considering how popular it was and how many were made. But I guess the prices on old computers have been skyrocketing in recent years...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's very easy to mod a Spectrum for composite out as that's exactly what's feeding the modulator. Personally I just gut the modulator and connect the centre pin to the composite out through a capacitor. Job done.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the composite mod is a quick one but it depends a little on your TV/monitor if it will accept the signal and how bright it will display it.

 

Regarding availability, Speccys break very easily (even moreso than Commodore computers) so even if a lot were sold back in the days, only a fraction are supposedly still working. People with the skills and patience to repair one can improve the supply, but then you probably want some compensation for the hours you spent on trouble shooting and repairing it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Yes, the composite mod is a quick one but it depends a little on your TV/monitor if it will accept the signal and how bright it will display it.

 

Regarding availability, Speccys break very easily (even moreso than Commodore computers) so even if a lot were sold back in the days, only a fraction are supposedly still working. People with the skills and patience to repair one can improve the supply, but then you probably want some compensation for the hours you spent on trouble shooting and repairing it.

Ahh, gotcha. That makes a lot of sense. 

 

Maybe if I save up a little more I can add to the quarantine fun and get one of those Harlequin kits?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose you've already tested out emulation so you know what you are longing for?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, carlsson said:

I suppose you've already tested out emulation so you know what you are longing for?

Oh yeah. Plus, that original model Spectrum just looks so dang cool. And loading computer programs from cassette tape never ceases to fascinate me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As indicated in another thread, I'm currently in the middle of a keyboard membrane replacement for the 48k rubber Speccy and one thing I'll say for it in terms of repairs is that the system is very accessible.  You remove the five screws and the motherboard is sitting right in front of you with all the chips and capacitors on display.  If I ever try and solder anything, the Spectrum is where I'm going to start.

 

By comparison, the Atari ST is a lot more complicated.  You've got about 40 minutes work of removing screws and RF shielding before you'll get anywhere near the motherboard.  That's one where I've been more than happy to pay other people to do the work.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Nateo said:

I don't know if I could afford what that whole setup would be worth - $100 is about the most I can swing at the moment. But I really appreciate you offering! 

 

As for it being PAL, I already have a solution in place for that as I have a monitor that accepts both NTSC and PAL composite signals, and performing a composite mod looks really easy.

Yeah sorry about that then. I couldn't do it that cheap with the work and parts gone into it already...

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, R.Cade said:

Yeah sorry about that then. I couldn't do it that cheap with the work and parts gone into it already...

 

No worries whatsoever! With the care you put into it, you deserve a fair price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, English Invader said:

As indicated in another thread, I'm currently in the middle of a keyboard membrane replacement for the 48k rubber Speccy and one thing I'll say for it in terms of repairs is that the system is very accessible.  You remove the five screws and the motherboard is sitting right in front of you with all the chips and capacitors on display.  If I ever try and solder anything, the Spectrum is where I'm going to start.

 

By comparison, the Atari ST is a lot more complicated.  You've got about 40 minutes work of removing screws and RF shielding before you'll get anywhere near the motherboard.  That's one where I've been more than happy to pay other people to do the work.

This is another reason I'm interested in picking up a Spectrum. I love how easy it is to get under the hood!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Nateo said:

This is another reason I'm interested in picking up a Spectrum. I love how easy it is to get under the hood!

It sounds like a fixer-upper might be more suited to you than a system where someone else has done all the work.  You should also get a better deal on eBay for a non-working system.

 

I'd recommend reading around about the various faults of the system and how they're fixed so you have an idea of what's repairable and what isn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out sellmyretro.com as well. Used spectrums show up there on a regular basis, as well as being a good place to find bits and bobs to fix them up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for quick access to the motherboard, the majority of home computers I've opened up are easy to get access. Perhaps the Atari ST sticks out as the opposite in this case?

 

But yes, often you need to replace a couple of 74 series chips, perhaps bad RAM, sometimes bad ROM, perhaps a voltage regulator etc on the Spectrum. The ULA is custom but in my experience isn't one of the first chips to break, same about the Z80 CPU. Bad keyboard and/or the cable attaching it to the motherboard of course are common issues too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, carlsson said:

Regarding availability, Speccys break very easily (even moreso than Commodore computers) so even if a lot were sold back in the days, only a fraction are supposedly still working. People with the skills and patience to repair one can improve the supply, but then you probably want some compensation for the hours you spent on trouble shooting and repairing it.

A fraction? I'm not sure where this opinion comes from. In Europe you can't swing a digital cat without hitting one, there are heaps of auctions going on everywhere, for all the models (same like C64C btw, one of the most common micros, hence the low price). The only reasonably rare one is 128K model.

 

It's the same about their alleged breakability, my experince is totally contrary. They can obviously give up a ghost like any other electronics device, but I had a lot of modern electronic devices which failed earlier than the few 30+ years old Spectrums I have (smartphones especially). The mainboards are dead simple and don't really need recapping like eg Amiga. Most common failures would be the power brick and keyboard membrane, tape deck on later models - but in many auctions these are already sorted out (like AV mod too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, a friend of mine is a dedicated ZX Spectrum collector and has several models and variations. A couple years ago we tried to find 1 specimen from his collection - both loose and boxed machines - that would 1) display a picture 2) have a working keyboard and 3) was able to load programs from tape. I can't recall how many machines we went through, but it was close to a dozen until we found one that fit all three criteria. Personally I've had two ZX Spectrum of which one was DOA and the other broke down when I plugged in a newly manufactured joystick interface. The one that was DOA, I gave away to someone who managed to fix it, the other I'm keeping for future troubleshooting.

 

Also back in the 80's it was rather common with ZX Spectrum broken down, and the dealers didn't even have spare units to loan to their customers so in the mean time while waiting for your computer to be repaired under warranty, customers may get to loan some lesser sold machine like e.g. Dragon 32.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your friend must've been extremely unlucky - or built his collection by buying at flea markets or "found in the loft, untested!" ebay auctions. Seriously, I have three, two of which are working perfectly - as advertised - and third needs new membrane, which was also advertised, but then I got it for a fraction of the price.

 

Similar with your DOA unit. Joystick thing could be down to the joystick itself, or having some static on you when plugging it - but that's why I'm extra careful and try to discharge myself beforehand.

 

These days it's pretty safe to buy them, seeing as sellers with good feedback are unlikely to sell duds. And in most countries in Europe there are dedicated repair people, easily found via forums. In States it might be a bit trickier thou.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, youxia said:

These days it's pretty safe to buy them, seeing as sellers with good feedback are unlikely to sell duds. And in most countries in Europe there are dedicated repair people, easily found via forums. In States it might be a bit trickier thou.

That's been my trouble so far - finding someone who will ship to the states and not have the shipping cost be astronomical. This seems to be an issue unique to the UK so far, with shipping costs from the rest of the EU often being about 30 - 40% less than what the UK is offering.

Damn it, I just want a bog standard Speccy! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Nateo said:

finding someone who will ship to the states and not have the shipping cost be astronomical

 

The guy who sells Harlequin boards is based out of the USA. He often lists kits and completed built boards on sellmyretro.com as the seller superfo. If you get one of those and a repro case, you can have a brand new clone spectrum. And those boards support both PAL and NTSC.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, fimbulvetr said:

 

The guy who sells Harlequin boards is based out of the USA. He often lists kits and completed built boards on sellmyretro.com as the seller superfo. If you get one of those and a repro case, you can have a brand new clone spectrum. And those boards support both PAL and NTSC.

I currently have a low bid winning on a Spectrum, but if I'm outbid on it (and I'm likely to), I'll probably just go the Harlequin route. I like soldering stuff anyways 🤷‍♂️

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked a boxed Spectrum 48k in London back in fall 2018 for about 100 pounds (with a copy of Chequered Flag thrown in). I had to do the composite mod (which was very easy) and replace the membrane for the keyboard, which was a little more annoying but not too difficult. It did need a little extra work that i took it to a shop to deal with - one of the RAM chips wasn't picking up correctly so anything that needed more than 16k wasn't working, but it turned out to be a bad solder joint rather than a bad IC. Still, even the RAM chips are pretty bog standard and not too difficult to get replacements. While I had it opened I also had the tech do a few other longevity mods - replacing the caps, replacing the heat sink with one that runs much cooler - and also ordered an American power supply and a flash cart for the thing. So it did end up costing more than the 100 pounds I paid up front, but it's quite a solidly functioning machine now. I've even brought it to conventions for their museum spaces to let it run for large chunks of the weekend and it's done just fine.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...