The first thing to do is open the Spectrum up, to remove the bit I don’t need; yep, that whole computer is on one PCB. Fitting then that the Raspberry Pi has been so popular in replacing it. Anyway, I bought mine for £20.00 off eBay in maybe / maybe-not working condition and without power adapter. All I need is the case so it really didn’t matter whether it worked.
Undoing the screws on the bottom is all you need to open it up. You can see how the Keyboard connects to the motherboard / entire computer.
At this point I had no idea if the keyboard worked because the films crack really easily. When you open yours, handle with great care and pull the connections out (vertically upwards) from the board with delicacy and patience. If it breaks you can get replacement keyboard films here but you have to get the lid apart to put the new one in, which it tricky!
Once I removed the keyboard membrane from the connector ports the lid came away. A few more screws later and I had the empty case. I marked the bottom for now with masking tape so I could see where the ports roughly were.
Since the ribbons are flat metal strips on tape – not exactly a standard connection these days, I decided to keep the original connectors, so unsoldered them from the board. When you turn your motherboard over, they’re about the only connections that are laterally oriented, so they are easy to tell apart from the surrounding components.
Once removed I had:
- A lower case
- An upper case with keyboard membrane
- Two keyboard connectors (note they are different lengths)
This is all you’ll need to harvest from your Spectrum. You can discard the motherboard as you wish. I’m saving mine for future projects. In the next post, I’ll talk about building the keyboard interface.