ZX Vega+ Discussion

For experts to discuss very technical stuff and newbies to ask why the Spectrum they bought off ebay doesn't work.
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1024MAK
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by 1024MAK » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:41 am

The dongle on the first QL machines may well have been a publicity stunt really. The real problem was that Clive wanted an advanced OS and an advanced BASIC in ROM and have a ROM cartridge slot. All in a 64K byte memory area. Once the design of the custom chips had been finalised, the size of this memory area was fixed.

But the development of the OS and BASIC did not go the way Sinclair expected. So Sinclair arranged for another OS to be developed. Because the combined size of the OS and BASIC was greater than intended, it did not fit in the 32K byte space that had been planned to be used. The first QLs were supplied with two 16K byte ROMs on the main board, with one 16K byte ROM in the dongle. A total of 48K bytes of ROM.

Sinclair could have fitted two 32k byte EPROM chips in the QL. On the issue 5 boards there are two sockets that can take a variety of different ROMs/EPROMs, but both have to be same type. Later a modification was done so that a 32K EPROM and a 16K EPROM could be fitted. The final ROMs were mask programmed ROM chips, one 32K bytes in size and one 16K bytes in size.

The intended memory map was this:

Code: Select all

FFFFF
      Reserved - expansion I/O
C0000
      Reserved - add on RAM
40000
      Main RAM (96K bytes)
28000
      Screen RAM (32K bytes)
20000
      I/O devices
18000
     Reserved (I/O devices)
10000
      ROM cartridge slot (32K bytes)
08000
      ROM (system ROM containing OS and SuperBASIC) (32K bytes)
00000 
This is how it ended up:-

Code: Select all

FFFFF
      Reserved - expansion I/O
C0000
      Reserved - add on RAM
40000
      Main RAM (96K bytes)
28000
      Screen RAM (32K bytes)
20000
      I/O devices
18000
      Reserved (I/O devices)
10000
      ROM cartridge slot (16K bytes)
0C000
      ROM (system ROM containing OS and SuperBASIC) (48K bytes)
00000 
The cartridge slot at only 16K bytes capacity was of no practical use as a way of software distribution. So in reality, it was a waste of time. Was used for some "toolkit" software and some hardware interfaces though. I don't think it being its original intended size of 32K bytes would have made any difference.

I don't have an early version of the QL. They are rare, as Sinclair either replaced the whole machine or the PCBs after the owners returned the first QLs (Sinclair had a general recall for all the first QLs).

Anyway, a while ago, someone in the Retro community got hold of an early QL complete with dongle. They were expecting no end of problems when they powered it up. But to their surprise, it worked. They could load and run software off the microdrives. The machine was usable. See this QL Forum post.

You are right though that it was very common in the fledgling home computer industry for products to be late to market. In fact, this was not limited to the home computer industry, but was the typical way that a lot of small businesses operated.

That's why consumer TV programmes always advised viewers to be careful when ordering from mail order companies.

So the Vega+ / Retro computers is no different to any other company that has failed it's customers. That's not unique to the computer boom in the early 1980's in my opinion.

Sinclair may have got in trouble for late delivery of machines. But their customers did get a working machine eventually.

Mark
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chinnyhill10
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by chinnyhill10 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:50 am

PeterJ wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:30 am
Ralf wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:22 am
I didn't knew about Levy's involvement with Enterprise machine.

Enterprise was technically a good machine, yet it turned out to be a commercial failure. Maker your own conclusions but for me it speaks about business skills of guys in charge. And now the history repeats.
It arrived at a similar time to the 16Bit machines, so was just too late. Sad. The Sam had similar issues
The 16 bits had next to no impact in 1985. Yes the ST and Amiga were announced and technically speaking out there towards the end of the year but they were pretty much made of unobtainium as far as the end users were concerned. Expensive, niche and no software support. It's only '88/89 that they start to have much bearing on things with the price drops and the retail packs with games.

Nobody is sitting around in '85 going "I won't get an Enterprise as I'll get an ST instead". The Enterprise failed because it was late, overpriced and consumers and retailers had been burnt by multiple new systems failing. Amstrad already had established links with major retailers and a brandname so had no trouble getting their units on shelves and then getting the punters to trust them. Enterprise, by their own admission, struggled.
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PeterJ
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by PeterJ » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:32 pm

@chinnyhill10, It was just too late, the market was already saturated by then. It went the same way as many of the other machines of the time. Spectrums, CPCs and C64s ruled the roost. Nothing was going to change that. It was late in terms of the 8bit machines, and whilst it may have not had a big impact (agree with you), I think it was part of the issue with new more powerful machines being discussed.

I still wish I purchased a load before they were shipped abroad, I could have retired on the profits!
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PeterJ
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by PeterJ » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:29 pm

Sir Clive is no longer a director of RCL. Poor health has been given as the reason.
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Mike Davies
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by Mike Davies » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:38 pm

PeterJ wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:29 pm
Sir Clive is no longer a director of RCL. Poor health has been given as the reason.
There's some misdirection going on in RCL's statement.

Sir Clive never was a Director or Shareholder of RCL. The Companies House records show that it's Sinclair Research Ltd as the Shareholder (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/comp ... 5/officers), which Sir Clive controls. However, the duties as Director and Shareholder fell to a representative nominated by Sinclair Research. That person was Lady Angie Sinclair (Angie Bowness), she signed the Shareholders Agreement in November 2014 as the nominated representative in both capacities.

What I'm a little fuzzy about is that Lady Sinclair resigned the SRL Directorship of RCL in early 2017 (I can't remember what the source is for that), before the acrimonious/public divorce apparently initiated by Sir Clive while he was hospitalised (as reported by the Daily Mail in April 2017). Perhaps that resignation was rescinded by another representative of SRL thereafter, and that's why the Companies House records weren't updated.

As far as I can tell Sir Clive has not been involved in RCL, except to receive a £10k payment, and to weigh in that RCL have no interest/scope in Commodore 64 retro devices.
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bob_fossil
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by bob_fossil » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:41 pm

Just when you thought this all running out of puff, a load of newly leaked documents have appeared on the 'unofficial Vega news web site'* over the last few days, which cast doubt on whether Vega can even preceded by the letters Z and X and whether more than 10 were produced.

* Not linked to as I'm not sure whether it's OK to link to from here. Typing the first two words of this topic's title into your favourite search engine will get you there.
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by 5MinuteRetro » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:02 pm

bob_fossil wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:41 pm
Just when you thought this all running out of puff, a load of newly leaked documents have appeared on the 'unofficial Vega news web site'* over the last few days, which cast doubt on whether Vega can even preceded by the letters Z and X and whether more than 10 were produced.

* Not linked to as I'm not sure whether it's OK to link to from here. Typing the first two words of this topic's title into your favourite search engine will get you there.
I've followed this whole debacle closely, if mostly quietly, but... I'm as far away as ever tonight from understanding Levy and Martin's motivation and/or end game here. I'm hoping tomorrow will at the very least be satisfying; but I'm hoping more that the weeks and months following will at last be truly revealing,
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by Ralf » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:52 am

Yes, it's probably true that they just built only a few prototypes and these prototypes had a lot of faults and they never corrected these faults as they were losing all their energy for legal battles.
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by druellan » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:02 pm

Review & Overview:

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Un buen día me puse a probar juegos de ZX Spectrum a ciegas en Youtube, terminó siendo:
📺 Retroarqueología en Youtube

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PeterJ
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Re: ZX Vega+ Discussion

Post by PeterJ » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:27 pm

Mine has not yet arrived, but it does not look as though I'm missing much!

It looks as though RCL have lost the rights to use the Sinclair brand from August 7

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-45024267
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