vRetro Design is taking a short break from making stuff and will be back near the end of March 2023. After making around 2500 vLAs/vDrives and other retro goodies over the past two years it’s time for a well earned rest
The vLA82 gets an upgrade
Ever wanted RGB quality video from a humble Speccy?
Getting decent a quality video output has always been a must have for most Speccy enthisiasts. From the simple composiste video mod to addons providing HDMI or VGA there is certainly quite a choice.
That’s where the upgraded vLA82 comes in. An RGB interface as well as an AY sound emulator have been shoe-horned into the original 40 pin DIP footprint to provide an upgrade that is simple to do as well cost effective compared to other options providing similar features.
The vLA82S+ (+ for RGB and S for AY sound) is installed in the existing ULA socket and connects to either an external (no Spectrum modification necessary) or an internal interface (replacing the RF modulator).
Units are now available on the vRetro Design online shop as well as occasionally on Sell My Retro.
Please see the vLA82S+ product page for more information.
Where to buy…
It has certainly been a challenging time for a micro business such as vRetro Design to try and navigate the various import rule changes in Europe and the UK over the past 9 months. We’re too small to justify directly selling to the EU due to the punitive compliance charges and handling VAT for the UK has added yet more work.
I have found no single solution so far and so, for customers, where you buy online will depend on your geographical location. vRetro Design now has an online shop which specifically caters for the EU and another which handles the rest of the world.
VAT collection at checkout, for those countries that require it, is now supported by both these shops leading to more transparency for import taxes and duty as well as a more hassle free import process.
If you’re in the EU then please visit : https://www.etsy.com/shop/vRetroDesign
Otherwise please visit :https://www.vretrodesign.com
I still sell on Tindie, but please be aware that VAT/GST is not collected at checkout (the main reason why I’ll be dropping Tindie soon) and further costs may be applied at the border.
vDriveQL Firmware Update 004 + MGG ROM support
Firmware release 004 is now available for the vDriveQL
This fixes a small problem with format. Also updated is the user manual which has instructions for troubleshooting the ‘vDrive not responding’ error.
At the request from a few of my German customers I’m providing a special build of the firmware to support the MGG ROM. This enables image formatting which was not supported when the MGG ROM was installed.
Please check out the downloads page for more information.
New Product: QL Power Converter
Been a while but have had a busy year. Amongst the odd projects that I’ve been working on is a power converter for the Sinclair QL. The original power supply is fairly hard to get and its unique power connector means that there hasn’t been an off the shelf alternative – until now.
The converter takes a nominal 12V input from a customer supplied power supply (plug pack or other suitable power source with a 2.1mm DC plug) and converts this single voltage into the DC and AC voltages the QL requires. The converter comes with a custom 3D printed case and QL power plug.
Protection is provided with the converter returning to standby if excessive power draw is detected or if the external power supply is of insufficient power rating.
A user guide can be found here
If you want to grab one please check out my new store 🙂
Coming soon will be a similar product for the +2A/B and +3 Spectrum computers.
Enclosures for ZX and QL vDrives
Finally, an enclosure* to go with your vDriveQL or vDriveZX!
No need to dismantle an existing Microdrive for the case, you can now buy a custom 3D printed enclosure designed specifically for the vDriveQL or vDriveZX (there are two case styles to choose from).
Case includes a LED upgrade kit (rectangular LED + resistor). Please check out my new store for the case by itself or bundled with a vDrive and other options.
Acknowledgements: Michele Perini for the original 3D case model
*Note the enclosure is 3D printed and although the visible surface finish has been optimized there are still some minor surface imperfections due to the printing process.
Installation instructions for the QL case can be found here, and for the ZX case here
Updated vLA81 User Manual
An updated vLA81 user manual is available. Only minor corections this time (had omitted to mention that WRX support [Mode 2] needed A13 to be connected to the vLA81). Thanks for all who have provided feedback.
Updated vLA1 install Guide
Have updated the install guide to include a more comprehensive troubleshooting guide. You can get the updated version here.
vLA1 – IF1 ULA replacement info
I finally got around to placing the vLA1 info (plus a few pix) on the website. Only taken me around 6 months 🙂
You can find the new page here.
vDrive QL Firmware Update
Update 003 is now available for the vDrive QL. This provides better support for Super Gold Cards. See the downloads section for more details.