vDrive ZX Upgrade available

You asked for it, and I (eventually) made it. The sound upgrade to the vDrive ZX is done.

For a mere ~GBP5 (plus postage, packaging and tax, dependent on location) you can now hear the authentic sounds of the original Microdrive issue forth from your vDrive ZX.

As well as providing the only true emulated Microdrive experience, the upgrade also has a few extra features:

  • 10 selectable themes:
    • 0   the original (classic) beeper
    • 1 – 2 are two alternative Microdrive motor sound themes
      • Each drive has a unique play and empty cart sound (sampled from real Microdrives).
    • 3 is the floppy theme (pretend the Microdrives are floppy drives 🙂
    • 4 – 9 are reserved for user custom themes
  • Extended audio feedback for errors – even voice if desired.
  • Boot sound (Windows 7 anyone?)
  • Massive 1000mW amplifier. Not so massive 20x14mm speaker.
  • Three new vDrive ZX dot commands:
    • .SFX – select themes.
    • .VOL – sets the player volume (0 = mute)
    • .PLAY – play any .MP3 file present in the flash memory.
  • The additional storage is dedicated to the sound player and appears as a flash drive to a PC. Files associated with vDrive ZX sound triggers can be changed according to taste.

The upgrade requires the soldering of 4 wires to the existing vDrive ZX PCB and the replacement of the cosmetic 3D printed cover.

If you’re intending to purchase a new vDrive ZX then the sound upgrade will be an option (will cost an additional ~GBP5).

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.

QL Power Converter

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

vDrive QL now on Tindie

As well as the vDrive ZX, I now sell the vDrive QL on Tindie. You can check out all I have available here: https://www.tindie.com/stores/CharlieIngley/

Although not featured directly in products, I also have available Microdrive cables and the vMap (if you’re buying a vDrive QL) which can be selected as options while making a purchase.

Products are still available through SellMyRetro if you prefer.