Ever wanted to play with Sinclair Microdrives but had trouble getting them to work ? What not try the vDrive ZX (available now) – https://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/details/vdrive-zx-28835
Some months ago (it’s been more than three I know) I mentioned that the Interface 1 replacement (vLA-1) that I had been working on would be available in limited numbers.
I’ve received valuable feedback from testers (thanks in particular to Brendan Alford) and finally everything looks ready to go.
The vLA-1 is a pin-for-pin functional equivalent of the Interface 1 ULA and is suitable for both V1 and V2 versions of the Interface. As most know, the original ULA is prone to overheating spectacularly, melting an unsightly crater in the plastic casing. Note that due to the lack of space in the original Interface 1 case, the original ULA will need to be removed and the vLA-1 soldered in its place.
The vLA-1 will be sold on SellMyRetro in a choice of the following deals:
- One vLA-1 – £24.50 each + £5 shipping
- Two vLA-1 – £22.50 each + £5 shipping
- Three or more (up a maximum of five) vLA-1 – £20.00 each + £5 shipping.
To keep the cost down the shipping option is untracked. This has proved reliable in the past but if you have other shipping requirements then please contact me directly on email@example.com and I’ll provide a quote.
To get alerts when the vLA-1 is available just set a keyword watch in SellMyRetro for ‘vLA-1’. I’ll also let you know through this website, some of the FB sites, and twitter (Charlie@vdrivezx).
The vLA-1 will also be available to preorder but there may be a short wait as I’m set up to supply in batches rather than making to order.
And, of course, I’ll continue to make vDrives.
Another batch fresh off the production line (well, my workshop bench actually). About 5 ZX and 4 QL units still available.
Firmware update version 002 is now available for download. This update provides several improvements and bug fixes.
Full patch notes are available vDriveQL Firmware Update 002
The zip file containing the binary update file can be found in the downloads section.
Please refer to the user manual for the firmware update procedure.
Next batch built and tested. Up on SellMyRetro now.
Just to let you know, I’ve another (reasonably sized) batch of vDrives (ZX and QL) almost ready for sale on SellMyRetro(SMR). They’ll be done in time for the weekend. If you’ve got alerts set on SMR (you’ll need to register) then you’ll know straight away when they’re available.
For several months now I’ve been working through how to reverse engineer the IF1 ULA. I’m pleased to say that the design work is now complete and the prototype works as expected. Early indications are that it performs slightly better than the original in reading cartridges (to be confirmed with further testing). The best I’ve managed so far is 122K off a real cartridge (there is a bit a a trick to this – the motor was at its slowest setting). Using the original IF1 I could only manage 114K with the same IF1 v2 rom, Microdrive and cartridge. On standard settings I consistently get about a 5% improvement but I’d be happy with the same as the original TBH.
The vLA-1 (as it will be called) will be a drop in service replacement for the 40-pin IF1 ULA. IF1 ULA functionality is replicated 100% including Shadow ROM switching, Microdrive, RS232 and NET functionality. The real item should be available in about 3 months after I’ve completed field testing, corrected any defects, and move to a limited production run.
Will keep you posted on further developments.