A Beautiful Raspberry Pi-Powered ZX Spectrum

Among retrocomputing hobbyists and collectors, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum is one of the most sought-after computers from the ’80s. As one of…

Cameron Coward
3 years ago

Among retrocomputing hobbyists and collectors, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum is one of the most sought-after computers from the ’80s. As one of the first mainstream home computers manufactured and sold in the UK, it holds a special place in the hearts of many Brits. Affection for the ZX Spectrum spread across the pond, and many Americans are eager to experience the classic computer for themselves.

Unfortunately, finding a working ZX Spectrum in the U.S. is difficult—and expensive. What’s a geek to do? Build your own, of course! ETA PRIME on YouTube explains exactly how he accomplished this, using a Bluetooth keyboard designed to look like the original ZX Spectrum.

While it’s expensive in the US, this keyboard can be purchased for £34.99 in the UK via Amazon. ETA PRIME had a friend buy one there and ship it to him. The device itself is just a standard Bluetooth keyboard, but the beautiful case is the real selling point.

The case has plenty of room to work with, so ETA PRIME did the natural thing and put a Raspberry Pi Zero W inside, along with a LiPo battery and an Adafruit Powerboost 1000c for charging and battery management. The Raspberry Pi is connected to the keyboard via USB, and an HDMI adapter was fitted to the case to provide video/audio out.

With RetroPie installed, the Raspberry Pi easily emulates the ZX Spectrum. The result is a high-quality recreation of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, with modern touches and portability thrown in for good measure. The advantage of having HDMI-out and all of the versatility of the Raspberry Pi is obvious. And, the 4,000 mAh LiPo battery is capable of powering the unit for up to 5 hours of retrogaming bliss.

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