Double ZX Spectrum 128K +3 refurb

… or just another ZX refurb job

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A small announcement this time. Since I am slowly running out of badly damaged computers I am open to accepting broken retro computer donations so If you have a broken/rusty/muddy/post shotgun meeting/car accident/burned/in pieces/Hulks console or simply not working retro computer, I am happy to accept it and will attempt to repair it. Best repairs will be covered here.

I know, I know what you want to say – MAKE A VIDEO out of it!!! – Naaaah, I am not a youtube kind of person and I prefer writing about things that I am trying to fix … but who knows … as they say – never say never 😉

Anyway, if you have a broken piece of retro hardware and would like me to repair and cover it on this blog just drop me an email with some details to [email protected] or contact me through the Facebook page.

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Always remember that you have to have…

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Two times ZX Spectrum 128K +3

This is rather a standard (and short) story of a refurb job that I’ve done the other day. I’ve managed to get ahold of two slightly worn-out +3s.

I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t attempt to bring ’em to a proper state.

Both computers mostly required visual repairs. I’ve received a few 3″ diskettes along with these two machines and I’ve quickly discovered that floppy drives just acted a bit weird so it all kinda turned into a small repair in addition to refurb job:)

Below pics of them.

The repairs

I’ve started with standard stuff – disassembly and cleaning.

Someone who tried to work on these machines before me, used screws from PC PSU ….. neat lol… It resulted in damaged screw studs and widened screw holes.

Floppy drives

First, I wanted to fix floppy drives. In my secret hardware stash, I’ve found another two 3″ drives from Amstrad 6128 that needed fixing too. After removing a top PCB, it became obvious what is the problem. All four floppy drives had totally destroyed belts. I’ve quickly ordered replacement belts and started working on other parts.

Below an example showing how a drive with broken belt behaves.

Mandatory cleaning revealed that the plastic cases seen better days.

Both cases had a faded ZX Spectrum logo and that had to be fixed before moving on. I’ve fixed it with a cotton ear tip soaked in the paint from a silver marker pen. This paint has a perfect viscosity so it covers plastic very nicely. You may ask why I didn’t use a marker pen itself lol. Well, this cotton trick gives me more control while applying a layer of paint and I don’t have to worry that too much of it might spill on a case.

However, to get the desired effect, I had to paint it twice.

First pass

Second pass

To restore the original color of the case, I usually use silicon oil. Silicon oil is often used in precision mechanics but you can also use baby oil or Teflon oil. You only need a few drops of it on a paper towel and gently smear it on all surfaces. Later, wipe it with a fresh paper towel. Here is how it looks.

The same method was applied to keyboards.

Results of such treatment.

Bottom part

The next thing on a list was the bottom part of both cases – plastic screw studs to be more specific.

These were also in pretty bad shape. Most of the studs were broken by using screws of the wrong type. I’ve used hotair set to 150 C to release tensions that were made by screws. After that, I’ve dropped cyano-acrylic glue between cracks and used a copper wire to strengthen a stud from the outside.

Below a picture of a stud before hotair treatment.

After hotair

With copper wire reinforcement

Another example.

I didn’t have to work a lot on the electronic part. The only thing I did except ultrasonic cleaning was cleaning edge connectors and covering ’em with a thin layer of solder to extend its life.

In the meantime, brand new drive belts arrived so I’ve installed them right away in all four drives and tested them.

That’s it! Another happy end. Another two ZX Spectrum 128K +3 are back to life 😀

OUTRO

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I am looking for more retro computers to repair so feel free to send me a machine that is totally dead. Moreover! Extreme cases are welcome 🙂

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