Using the ZX Spectrum computer in North America
Last updated on October 15, 2017, 10:30 by Sebastian Mihai
It's quite a hassle to run an unmodified ZX Spectrum computer in North America.

The easiest of the challenges is finding a suitable cassette tape player. There are several choices here, including walkmans, boomboxes, etc. I was able to find a personal tape recorder at a thrift shop and paid $5 for it.

Power was another issue to resolve. Two items were needed here: a $9 step-up transformer which outputs 220v and a $7 universal power adapter to allow the ZX Spectrum British-type plug to be used in a North American outlet.

Getting a picture was the hardest. Without modifying the machine, a TV that can receive UHF channel 35 (36 according to the computer's manual) and which has a PAL analog tuner. I bought a portable LED TV online for about $50.



Storage - $5 thrift shop personal recorder


Mono tape players work best. Thrift shops often have very interesting older electronics and I visit them regularly.


Power - $9 transformer and $7 power adapter


You can get these transformers at electronic hobby shops. There are far more expensive transformers to be found on online shopping sites, but these $9 ones do the job.

The power adapters are commonly found at Walmart, convenience stores, electronics chains, or electronic hobby shops.



Picture - $50 portable LED TV (PAL analog tuner)


Getting a suitable TV was the hardest part. Full-size LCD TVs often don't list whether they support PAL input or not. I bought this tiny portable TV from eBay because it has an analog tuner and because its specifications listed an acceptable UHF range.

I have not modified the Spectrum in any way to use it with this TV.


Miscellaneous ZX Spectrum+ photos


Click photos for higher-resolution versions.













If you use the materials on this page, or any other page on this web site, you do so at your own risk. They are provided "as is". No warranty is provided or implied. I neither guarantee that the materials will work, nor that they will not be harmful in any way.

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