Today in 1981: the Sinclair ZX81 Issue One was released #Sinclair #VintageComputing #RetroComputing

Sinclair ZX81 Issue One

Via the Centre for Computing History – The ZX81 was launched on March 5th 1981 by Clive Sinclair.

It is commonly considered to be the machine that brought computing to the general public in the United Kingdom as it was affordable at £69.95 and it was the first computer to be available to buy in high street shops like W.H. Smiths.
The computer was physically quite small measuring 167mm deep by 40mm high. The slim plastic case included a membrane keyboard and a single circuit board. The entire machine weighs just 350 grams.
With only 1Kb of RAM, and 8Kb of ROM the ZX81 was not capable of colour graphics. However, it didn’t stop the sales of this machine which sold over 1.5 million units.
Technical Info 
The ZX81 came with 1 kB of on-board memory that could be expanded externally to 16 kB. The memory is provided by either a single 4118 (1024 Bit × 8) or two 2114 (1024 Bit × 4) RAM chips. There are only three other chips on board: a 3.5 MHz Z80A 8-bit microprocessor from Nippon Electric (now NEC), an uncommitted logic array (ULA) chip from Ferranti and a 8 kB ROM providing a simple BASIC interpreter. The memory can be expanded externally to a maximum 64 kB, although this replaces rather than supplements the on-board memory.


Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

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.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.