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The Black Sinclair ZX Spectrum+2 128K

Sinclair ZX Spectrum+2A 128K

ZX+2A.png When the black ZX Spectrum+3 with built-in disc drive was launched, the old grey ZX Spectrum+2 with tape recorder was also replaced with a black version. This is officially still named +2, but typically denoted as +2A and later +2B to distinguish them from the grey version.

Internally the +2A was derived from the +3. It had a truncated +3 PCB omitting the floppy controller circuitry, and of course the disc drive was replaced with a cassette recorder. It also had the same new 64K ROM including +3DOS as the +3 had, but in order to use a disc drive with the +2A you would have needed an expansion bus interface with a floppy controller, but i don't know whether such an interface was ever produced.

Like Amstrad's CPC computers, the +3 and the +2A had the voltage regulator moved into the power supply unit. The connector now had more pins and supplied +5V, +12V and -12V. The +3 and +2A PSUs differ in respect to the power they can supply on the +12V line, as the +3 needed more current for the disc drives. Beyond that the ±12V are used for the serial ports.

The +3 and +2A had a slightly reworked system bus connector, making many extensions incompatible. Among other modifications the pin with +9V unregulated power from the PSU was removed, because this voltage was simply no longer present in the machine. Therefore e.g. the ZX Printer cannot be used with the +2A and +3. But good news, a Centronics-style printer port were added. The two serial ports were preserved, but the keypad handling routine for the Spanish Spectrum+ 128K's keypad were removed from the Rom.

Like the previous 128K models, the +3 and +2A incorporated two Basic versions: The original 48K Basic for compatibility with games and an enhanced Basic with letter-by-letter keyword typing. The additional Rom space contained the disc operating system +3DOS, written by Locomotive Software Ltd., who also wrote Basic and DOS for the CPC line.

The black +2A and the grey +2 are often confused on images, because photos are frequently overexposed (too light) or too dark. But you can shurely tell a +2A from a +2 by a look on the tape recorder keys: The older, grey +2 had the icons printed on the keys and the +2A had them printed on the cover above the keys.

Besides the UK English version, there were also localized Spanish versions. You can distingish images of the Spanish from the English versions by a look at the shift keys: Either they are titled "CAPS SHIFT" (two words!) or "MAYUSCULAS" (one word!).

Sinclair ZX Spectrum+2B 128K

After some time the production of the +2 and +3 was moved from Taiwan to China. These models are now labeled +2B and +3B on the bottom side. While the +2A and +2B are frequently distinguished in ebay adds, the +3 and +3B models are typically not.


Leaving out the +2A and +2B, which replaced the grey +2, the ZX Spectrum +3 was the last model produced by Amstrad. When it was launched it was already doomed by the 16 bit competitors sold by Commodore and Atari.


Name              Sinclair ZX Spectrum+2 128K
  two variants: +2A (Taiwan) and +2B (China)
Manufacturer Amstrad plc.
Production 1986, 1987
Built-in language 48K Basic (compatibility), 128K Basic
Keyboard Full-stroke keyboard, 58 keys
Storage device Built-in compact cassette player
CPU Zilog Z80A, 3.5469 MHz
RAM 128K (8 pages à 16K)
ROM 64K (4 pages à 16K)
Text modes 32 characters x 24 lines (22 lines available for PRINT)
Graphics 256 x 192 pixel; 1 color attribute per character
Colors 8 colors with 2 steps of brightness
Sound 3 channel AY-3-8912
Size, weight 34.0 x 17.4 x 5.0 cm / 1.65 kg
I/O ports TV, RGB Monitor/Scart/Peritel, tape/audio i/o,
  parallel printer, serial-1 (RS232, Midi), serial-2 (aux, keypad)
  2x joystick, expansion bus (ZX Spectrum compatible)
Power supply 5V 2A, +12V 50 mA, -12V 50 mA (to be verified)


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