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Opening the reissued Speak & Spell, what’s inside #SpeaknSpell #VintageComputing #Toys #Teardown

The Speak & Spell toy from the 1980’s was a popular classic. With its distinctive voice, children learned how to spell common words. The device was also a fixture in the Steven Spielberg classic movie “E.T. the Extraterrestrial”.

Over the years, people have hacked with the devices including circuit bending for pitch blending and downloading the voices.

Found this weekend at Target

The classic has been reissued in 2019, spotted in Target by Dan for US $24.99 this weekend along with some other classic toys. The box has logos for “Basic Fun” and “Kahootz” brands.

Looking Inside

Working at Adafruit, Dan couldn’t help but looking inside to see what makes the new Speak & Spell work – does it have the same classic circuit board? Here is the first look:

and that circuit board? Here it is close up:

There are only 4 wires, 2 for the speaker, and two for power. The brains are on an integrated circuit (IC) under the squarish black blob of epoxy. So the prior “classic” circuit bending instructions will not work. The display is on the other side of the circuit board and is keyboard is connected by a ribbon cable (pictured at bottom). The chip in the upper-left might be a flash chip with the voices – that may be easy to read.

There is plenty of space in that case (best if some case screw standoffs are cut out). A Raspberry Pi Zero W may fit, maybe more.

Amazon lists the measurements as 1.5 x 7 x 10 inches and weight at 1.34 pounds. It takes 3xAA batteries (included). with availability August 12th.

We’ll see if we can get additional details. If you have details on this device, please post them in the comments below.

More Adafruit coverage of Speak & Spell:

 

 


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