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The ZX Spectrum reborn: a new machine, fully compatible with the original computer, and packed with improvements and expansions.
The ZX Spectrum reborn: a new machine, fully compatible with the original computer, and packed with improvements and expansions.
3,113 backers pledged £723,390 to help bring this project to life.

Hardware complete!

Posted by Henrique Olifiers (Creator)
195 likes

Last week we had the chance to spend a day at SMS testing the final 2B board as it came out of the assembly line, putting it through its paces with the latest firmware, all upgrades (Realtime clock, Wi-Fi, Accelerator and RAM), daughterboard and the keyboard matrix, ensuring everything worked as planned and no last-minute adjustments were required.

We’re happy to confirm the 2B board performs admirably, as planned! It just works, right out of the assembly, greenlit all the way!
 

I'm smiling now, but terrified a minute prior to turning it on for the first time...
I'm smiling now, but terrified a minute prior to turning it on for the first time...


 

Since then, the 2B has been burnt-in tested for 4 days non-stop, with no issues found. It was also the first opportunity to test it with our own SD cards, just shipped from China thanks to the help of Djordje Mitic, who has been battling bad cards and supplier traps for the past three months in the name of the project. We owe Djordje a huge thanks for his efforts.
 

I've never seen so many cards
I've never seen so many cards


 

You might think that it would be awesome if the SD cards were printed with the Next stripe colours. At least that’s what we thought ourselves! But it turns out that keeping all four stripes aligned through four different silkscreen passes (one for each colour) was a bit of a challenge for such an small item, thus white it was. We now say it’s because white it’s more elegant, but the truth is the partner couldn’t get the colours properly aligned… ;)
 

An attempt was made
An attempt was made

 
 

Keyboard progress

The keyboard matrix has been in stress-test for the past two weeks, ensuring the materials endure long-term usage without performance degradation. This week we should have its greenlight and move ahead with production. Still, the keyboard remains our last hurdle to shipping, our expectation is that we’ll finally have moving into production in the next few days. This has been progressing much slower than we anticipated, unfortunately.
 

The Next, now hardware-complete!
The Next, now hardware-complete!

 
 

Case updates and tweak

The case has been tampo-printed, which is plastics lingo for ‘we added words and colours to it’, meaning the Spectrum Next is red and the connectors are labelled (not that anyone needed the help, right?)
 

Better to know where you're sticking things into
Better to know where you're sticking things into

 
 

We got a very weird metallic-red applied to the logo, which was promptly corrected to a solid red, and the logo needs a bit more raising above the case (by 1-2mm tops). This has now been adjusted, and along with the rest of the labels, all is well. Speaking of red, we also got the proper colour for the stripe and buttons fixed after our snafu of choosing the wrong pantone (see in previous updates).
 

A bit... A bit... Too much.
A bit... A bit... Too much.

 
 

Now we're talking!
Now we're talking!

 
 

But… Phil picked up on something new. After a while (and some testing abuse), the left corner of the bottom part of the case developed a 3mm angle warping, coming slightly apart from the top case. We discussed this at length with the plastics partner, and the obvious solution was the addition of an extra screw.
 

I don't like the look of that warp factor, captain
I don't like the look of that warp factor, captain

 
 

Phil didn’t like the idea of an extra screw much, though -- so came up with a set of reinforcements that made the case sturdier all around, across all corners. These have been tested by Phil, and now added to the mould.
 

Let's make it sturdy...
Let's make it sturdy...

 
 

And ensure it all fits...
And ensure it all fits...

 
 

So the warp is gone!
So the warp is gone!

 
 

The little details…

Last week we received from SMS a small additional set of instructions for the PSU box. The thing is, the Next box is black -- but the PSUs were shipped in white boxes. Mike Cadwallader thought this unacceptable, thus we made thousands of new PSU boxes that are now waiting for the assembly and packaging to start. Yep, we’ll take them out of the white ones, put them into the black, and only then pack them into the Next box in all its glorious… Black. Thanks to Mike and Anita for such love for the little details that matter.
 

That's how you do it in Nextown.
That's how you do it in Nextown.

 
 

Up and onwards

Now it’s all focus on the keyboard. Fingers crossed the next update will finally feature it in all its glory! Stay tuned...

Graeme Nattress, Elias B.C., and 193 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Gary Plowman on

      Looks super can't wait to get mine and do some coding with BASIC :)

    2. Missing avatar

      Rui Manuel Silva Martins on

      Great update as usual.
      Keep up the excelent work.

    3. Adam Lee Astles on

      So excited! Can't wait to mess about with it.

    4. Omar Ramon on

      I will miss this days, waiting for my Next! Never had a brand new ZX Spectrum (I started with a new TS 1500), but a used one bought after selling my bike when I was 14. So take your time, let us enjoy this 80's feeling and thanks for all the great job! Greetings from Lima, Perú :)

    5. Missing avatar

      Chris Moore on

      I Second (or third...?) comment by B DICKINSON about SD cards. If selling those adds funds I'd be interested too.

    6. Missing avatar

      B DICKINSON on

      Another highly detailed and very informative update (highlighting just how deeply everyone involved in this project obviously cares about the end result). It's almost getting to the teasing, taunting, torturing stage ;-) with every update, but with updates like this then I'm sure we're all more than happy to wait for delivery.

      re The SD cards with mismatched colour stripes. Is there any chance of them being made available to backers? As imperfect as you may think they are, to some (incurable collectors*) they would still be of great interest. Do they still exist or have they been discarded (ie nothing less than absolute perfection will be sent out to backers)?

      *I speak as one of the aforementioned incurable collectors. It started with a 48K 'dead flesh' Spectrum received as a present and then I worked my way through the other variations (including the Amstrad years). Still don't have a working 16k version though.

      To everyone involved in putting all the individual elements of this together (and those that thought up the ideas and brought them together) many many thanks.

    7. Missing avatar

      Tony Preston on

      I bet Sinclair didn't originally place this much emphasis on quality control (which is probably why I had 13 Spectrums in the day - well, that and my soldering skills ;) ) - really looking forward to the finished, delivered product - a happy Xmas me thinks?

    8. Stuart Carrier on

      I forgot to say thanks to Djordje's I put too. Thanks Fella.

    9. Stuart Carrier on

      This project just gets better and better. The standard of updates is magnificent, and the Next is becoming a sexy sexy machine inside and out. A worthy successor to the Computer we know and Love. Thanks Guys. And I continue to wish I’d pledged for two now. But never mind. Thanks to all of you for this wonderful project. Long Live the next !

    10. Missing avatar

      Antonis Slicher on

      Another great update, thanks to everyone involved! So good to see the attention to detail that will ensure we get a great product. Really looking forward to the day it arrives!

    11. Missing avatar

      jatmundua on

      This whole process is going to be as deliciously unforgettable as the 80s and my Spectrum were. Do not hurry. I prefer to have my new jewel perfectly finished.

      Todo este proceso va a ser tan deliciosamente inolvidable como lo fueron los 80 y mi Spectrum. No tengáis prisa. Prefiero tener mi nueva joya perfectamente acabada.

    12. Rob on

      Many thanks for the update. Looking forward to the unboxing. When my original spectrum came in 1982, my parents hid it on top of their wardrobe, to this day they didn’t know I knew where it was and would sneak to take a look while they were out as I couldn’t wait until December 25th. My old Dad’s 84 now, but I might get him to hide it once again for nostalgias sake, and that’s what this project has been for me, and I feel as excited about it now as when I was 13 😀 This has been such a great journey, thank you

    13. M Hutton on

      Wow!

      I am so glad I backed this project, well done to all concerned, it looks stunning

    14. Stephen D Storr on

      Burnt by RCL, but the NEXT team have restored my faith in Sinclair related crowd funding !!

    15. Missing avatar

      Paul brown on

      Massive thanks to the team for making sure they deliver a quality product and the regular updates .

    16. Missing avatar

      Luis Alberto Marcos Peón on

      E.T.A. to have in our hands: ends of November - First week December, maybe....

    17. Missing avatar

      Sean Mellor on

      WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW

    18. Paul Tansom on

      This is how a project should be handled. Enough updates that reassure you things are progressing, and detail and photos to show that it really is. Thank you for managing this so well; I'm looking forward to getting my Next in the not too distant future :-)

    19. Missing avatar

      Steven Raynham on

      It's one the most beautiful computers I've seen since... well the original Speccy, well done everyone, well worth the wait!

    20. Missing avatar

      Duncan Stott on

      Thanks for the regular updates. I am brimming with excitement at reading this! Good luck with the keyboard guys.

    21. Brendan on

      The (no doubt) painful attention to detail is fantastic. Frequent enough updates keep us in the loop. I'm starting to get a little excited. Not long now.

      Nice.

    22. Lord Arse! on

      Superb update. I can almost taste it now!

    23. Paul Heald on

      Loving all this attention to detail that you guys are making. So excited to receive my Spectrum Next, will be a worthy addition to my Sinclair Collection.

    24. Missing avatar

      Szabo Duffy Atilla on

      Wow, what a result. so close to keep them in my hands. just an idea...after you success this project, maybe you take over the "other" spectrum project, and make it happen? :)

    25. Franck Moutarlier on

      Bravo, thank you for the hard work and your commitment to the details!
      Great update!

    26. Scott Fleming on

      Another great update. I approve of the case reinforcement method and glad you did this rather than force in another screw.

      Looking forward to completion. It must be close now.

      I want to see that bloody keyboard 😉

      Keep it up, cold nights are coming to the UK soon so perfect timing to get my Next.

      Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    27. Steven Leicester on

      Looks amazing guys, you can tell from each update what a labour of love this is.

    28. Missing avatar

      Russell Glover on

      Honestly, you guys are absolutely superb. I cannot believe, but also totally appreciate, the case, love & attention to detail you’re all putting in.

      The anticipation builds :)

    29. Marc M. Kloosterman on

      I've seen Sinclair branded machines lately that were just thrown together instead of so painstakingly (nitpickingly if that's a word ;) checked, reworked, rechecked and then some!

      Also nice to see Djordje's input here! The man is just awesome with his Chinese manufacturer contacts!

    30. Elba Stevenson
      Superbacker
      on

      Thanks for the update

    31. Tom Kirby-Green on

      Awesome update. Can’t wait, thank you to all involved.

    32. Simon Sorlie-Pring on

      Excitement level reaching critical mass 😮😮😮😁😁😁🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪 Such an amazing effort. Thank you all so much for the regular and awesome updates! Truly bursting with anticipation.

    33. Missing avatar

      Artur Poldan on

      Truly fantastic work and dedication! Thank you guys for making this possible.

    34. Adrian Cummings on

      Best update ever - good stuff!

    35. Missing avatar

      Miika Suominen on

      Holy, Moly!
      That looks... Beautiful!
      AMAZING WORK EVERYONE!

    36. Mike Smith on

      Thank you for this exciting update. What amazing attention to detail - and swapping the PSU boxes! Wow - you really are making this a special project.

    37. Missing avatar

      Anthony Jarvis on

      Agreed, great update. Such good news, looking forward to it.

    38. Missing avatar

      Matthew Stroud on

      This is amazing to see guys!!! The attention to detail that has gone into every aspect is amazing to see!

      Looks truly amazing!

    39. Missing avatar

      Anthony Smith on

      Fantastic update - thanks! :-)

      I've tried not to get too excited as it always seems ages away but I was grinning just a little reading that - keep it up, you're doing a great job and I for one, can't wait to get my hands on it :-) Cheers!