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Console - Sinclair, Computer Model ZX81, United Kingdom, 1982 Object Reg. No: HT 21848

Summary:
Keyboard console of ZX81 computer.
Programs were loaded from a tape recorder.
Video output was to a television set, and saving and loading programs was via an ordinary home audio tape recorder to audio cassette.
The ZX81 used a membrane keyboard is a computer keyboard whose "keys" are not separate, moving parts, as with the majority of other keyboards, but rather are pressure pads that have only outlines and symbols printed on a flat, flexible surface. Very little, if any, tactile feedback is felt when using such a keyboard, and error-free blind typing can be difficult.

Also donated:
* a ZX 16K RAM expansion pack to increase memory capacity of the ZX81 home computer. It provided 16 KB of extra RAM. The built-in memory of the ZX81 did not go very far, so the pack plugged into the main circuit board expansion bus edge connector. Expansion packs were notorious for their loose and wobbly connection to the main board. A nudge or jolt usually resulted in a crash with the loss of hours of programming. People used Blu Tack, tape, and other adhesives to prevent wobble.
* Manual with listings of thirty programs that can be run on the ZX81 home computer. It is addressed to the person who also wants to learn how to program. It has a friendly inviting style.
It was published by Melbourne House of South Melbourne. There is a publisher's note signed by Alfred Milgrom. Alfred Milgrom has played a significant role in software development over the years.
* Basic Programming Manual dealing with all aspects of the ZX81 home computer - installation, programming and running programs. It is addressed to the novice but also caters for the initiated

The equipment was owned by an avid collector of personal computers and associated peripheral and technical data. The collector belonged to several computer clubs. He died unexpectedly after an illness so he made no arrangements for the disposal of his collection. Two friends were asked to dispose of the collection - it took them three days to clear it out of the house. Most items went to other collectors.
Description:
The case is black, with a membrane keyboard membrane keyboard. Sinclair logo impressed on panel.
Accompanying the computer are a manual with 30 Programs for the Sinclair ZX81, a Basic Programming Manual, a power adaptor, a connector and a Memory Expansion Pack.

Manual '30 Programs':Bound booklet with off-white front cover. ZX81 illustration on front cover below text.
Manual - Basic Programming: Ring bound booklet with bluish front cover.
Adaptor: Australian mains pins. Jack plug connector with long black/white cord.
Connector: Single lead with two jack pug connecotrs at each end. One lead has a yellow band around the end of the jack plug at each end.
Expansion Pack: Black almost rectangular box with blue circuit connector at front. Also moulded polystyrene packaging (Sinclair logo impressed on surface of one part) and plain brown cardboard box
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Helen Olsen, 2008
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 38 mm (Height), 165 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: computing, computers
Themes this item is part of: Information & Communication Collection
Primary Classification: COMPUTING & CALCULATING
Secondary Classification: Digital Computing
Tertiary Classification: microcomputers
Inscriptions: Console:
'ZX 16K RAM' printed in red just above QWERTY style keyboard.
Manual: '30 Programs':
Printed, cover, black ink: "NOT ONLY / 30 PROGRAMS FOR THE SINCLAIR / ZX81 . . . 1K"
Manual - Basic Programming:
Printed, front cover, red ink: "Sinclair / ZX81 Basic Programming'. Extensive text within.
Adaptor:
Metal label on top surface includes the words 'SINCLAIR ZX81'
Expansion Pack:
Sinclair logo impressed on front above 'ZX 16K RAM' printed in red.
Model Name/Number: ZX81
Manufacturer: Sinclair Research Ltd, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, Great Britain, 1981
Past Owner: Alfred Milgrom, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1980
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_ZX81 accessed 10 July 2008
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beam_Software accessed 10 July 2008
http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/computers/zx81/zx81_sst.htm accessed 15 July 2008

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