March 1980 - March 2001: 21 years SINCLAIR ZX80
ZX80 Manual online
In march 1980 Clive Sinclair launched his first Personal Computer ZX80 - yes, turn your
ZX80 upside down and read the label!
It was the first computer in the world to be sold for less than 100 UK pounds.
50 000 of them were sold in the first year worldwide.
In the 20th Anniversary Special of "Personal Computer World" (May98), I have found the following informations:
"1980 April issue of PCW: April was a momentous month. PCW looked at the Acorn Atom, predecessor to the BBC Micro.
But the sensation was Sinclair's ZX80 which cost just £79.95 in kit form. It had 1Kb of RAM and BASIC in 4Kb ROM and it got kids across Britain programming.
In 1980 Clive Sinclair did what everyone said was impossible. With the Sinclair ZX80 he was the first man to make a computer that broke the psychological barrier of £100, finally making computing affordable for everyone who wanted to give it a go. If you were brave you could buy it in kit form for £79.95 and solder it together yourself, or you could save yourself £20 worth of heartache and get it ready-built for £99.95. It was based around an NEC Z80 processor running at 3.25 MHz, had 1Kb RAM (expandable to 16Kb), 4Kb ROM and used a TV and cassette drive to display and store programs. You could expand the memory to 16kB, but to buy the full amount would cost you £300.
It ran a form of BASIC that our first reviewer was a little scathing about:
"The software of the ZX80 comprises the BASIC interpreter, the editor and whatever else it is that does the rest of the work (Operating System seems too grand a title)", although he did go on to admit it was almost impossible to crash the system.
- ZX80 technical data in brief
- Z80A CPU 4k ROM (2332), 1k RAM ( 2* 2114), no special chip for the logic,only TTL
- Integer BASIC, only FAST-mode
- power supply 9V DC 500mA, 3.5mm Phono plug tip positive
- software tapes not compatible with ZX81
- - changed system variables
- - ZX80 uses two bytes for integer numbers, ZX81 uses five bytes for floating point numbers
- the ZX80 ROM could be replaced by the ZX81 ROM (FAST-mode only)
- additionally a "NMI-generator" could realize the SLOW-mode
For more information please visit Grant Searle's ZX80 page
- Magazines and books
- SYNTAX ZX80
- "The National ZX80 and ZX81 users' club" (Great Britain) past perfect
- "ZX80 Club Hameln" (Germany) past perfect
- "ZX-TEAM" (Germany) still alive with Sir Clive's ZX80 and ZX81 !!!!
- "TSNUG" (northern America) still alive
- SINCLAIR History: read more in the Planet Sinclair pages
- SINCLAIR collector: Enrico Tedeschi's pages present all SINCLAIR products from the first transistor-radio to the latest developements.
Are you sad now, that you didn't get one of these nice ZX80s???
Don't worry - be happy!
Here are some solutions to help you:
- If have have too much money, buy one.
Go to ebay and look for one, sometimes
there are ZX80s for auction. The prices are rising, you will have to pay 300 and more.
UK pounds or US dollars, can't remember, anyway I think that's far too much. And sad enough
I did never see / hear that one of these lucky auction winners supported the SINCLAIR
ZX80 users community with news about their activities with ZX80.
- If you like DIY-electronic projects and soldering: build one.
Grant Searle has done this and much better he has published all instructions on his
web-page for you. This is the best URL in WWW for ZX80 I have ever seen.
- If you have a spare ZX81, downgrade it to a ZX80.
Take the zx80.rom file and burn it into a 2532 EPROM (not 2732!). Replace the ZX81 ROM with this 2532 and disable the NMI signal from ZX81 ULA by cutting the connection from ULA to Z80A CPU.
- If you have neither too much money, nor a soldering iron, nor a spare ZX81:
use an emulator.
XTender2 from Carlo Delhez is DOS-shareware which is able to emulate ZX80, ZX81 with
different ROMs like ASZMIC, H-Forth and even ZX81 clones like PC8300.
ZX81 from Paul Robson is DOS-freeware