The Sinclair ZX81: a Raspberry Pi retro restyle @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrpi
Checkout this tutorial from smittytone on how to make a Raspberry Pi retro restyle using a Sinclair ZX81.
After some searching on eBay, I found an old ZX81 going cheap because it lacked cables, though when it arrived, I found the computer itself to be in excellent condition. Possibly it has never been used, though how if that were the case the cables were lost and the box got so tatty is a mystery I will probably never solve.
Opening up the Sinclair machine was the work of a moment. Some screws are located under the computer’s rubber feet, so remove the latter carefully so you can put them back afterward – as was unlatching the keyboard connector ribbon and removing the motherboard.
One particular sign of age was the keyboard ribbon, which seemed in good condition at first. Unfortunately, 30-odd years is beyond the life expectancy of the plastic from which it was formed, and it soon began to perish and crack open. Eventually it provided so little protection for the delicate wiring, one line broke. Fortunately, I had a modern replacement. With a little gentle prying, I was able to lift the original membrane keyboard off the casing – it was originally attached with a self-adhesive pad – and replace it with the new one, ready to be stuck down in its place.
That was a relatively easy process; rather more tricky was getting the Pi and its cabling to fit inside the ZX81 casing. Fit it does, but only just, and I have had to make a couple of compromises.
My goal was to expose as many of the Pi’s ports as possible, at least among those I use. The analogue audio and composite-video jacks, for instance, have never been used, so I was happy for these to be hidden. But the HDMI, Ethernet, USB, GPIO and – obviously – power jack needed to be accessible.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.