Recommend-me-do - memory card devices

So, both myself (with a +3 that has a dodgy drive) and my friend (with a +2) are looking at the various options for loading from memory card.

What do people recommend as the easiest solution?
Where are they currently on sale?
And what would be the easiest way for a large collection of ZX games to find their way onto memory card?
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Comments

  • Seconded on the DivMMC EnJoy.

    B
    The Spectrum Resuscitation Thread - bringing dead Spectrums back to life
    zx-diagnostics - Fixing ZX Spectrums in the 21st Century (wiki)
    Sinclair FAQ Wiki
  • I have a DivMMC Enjoy fully cased version which I have tested just once . It is very well made . I have seen an uncased bare version as well so it is definitely worth getting a fully cased version .It has a sophisticated range of DIP switches to cover most settings. The unit is very well made and I am pleased with the build quality . I understand that it uses TAP file only but I do not know why TZX cannot be used as well . I think TAP is OK but TZX is better for me as that is the file system I have majored on . I need to use the unit more to find out about its full capabilities but what I have seen so far about it is good.So I think this is a good idea for it to be used in this way
  • edited September 2015
    The file format of TZX is significantly more complex than TAP. The TZX format is the result of emulator authors coming up with a way to save cassette files on a PC hard disk. TZX files include various fast loader data files in various versions and types. This data is not just the data that a Z80 CPU can read, but details the way the data is stored on a real tape. As such, a Z80 CPU is not powerful enough to decode a TZX file in any reasonable time frame.

    TAP files are based on data from a tape based on the standard Spectrum ROM tape routine. So a Z80 CPU can decode it.

    In addition, there are a couple of "snapshot" file formats (where a complete copy of all the RAM is made).

    All the different storage systems for the Spectrum offer various different features. Which one is best is hard to say. I have seven and am still very much undecided. Each one has plus points and not so good points...

    To load TZX files on a real ZX Spectrum, I use an emulator (Spectulator) running on my laptop to "play" them to the real ZX Spectrum.

    The storage devices I have, in no particular order are:
    Keep an eye on SellMyRetro for some of these that are currently sold out, or other interesting hardware ;-) Including some items not listed above.

    Mark
    Post edited by 1024MAK on
  • 1024MAK wrote: »
    The file format of TZX is significantly more complex than TAP. The TZX format is the result of emulator authors coming up with a way to save cassette files on a PC hard disk. TZX files include various fast loader data files in various versions and types. This data is not just the data that a Z80 CPU can read, but details the way the data is stored on a real tape. As such, a Z80 CPU is not powerful enough to decode a TZX file in any reasonable time frame...

    To load TZX files on a real ZX Spectrum, I use an emulator (Spectulator) running on my laptop to "play" them to the real ZX Spectrum.

    You may not be aware of the fact, but the 'Interface 1bis' can handle practically all TZX files.
    - Most TZX files that can be found in the WoS archive, contain only standard speed data blocks. For these, the 'Interface 1bis' operating system has built-in support, so they can be loaded directly, like any TAP file.
    - All the other can be loaded using the 'Interface 1bis' as a TZX player, instead of an emulator. This is possible due to the unique architecture of the 'Interface 1bis', featuring an on-board microcontroller, which can process data independently of the Spectrum.

    It is also strange how you forgot to mention that the 'Interface 1bis' is the only one which has, besides a standard Kempston joystick port:
    - full speed USB device port, for client-server networking
    - PS/2 mouse / keyboard port
    - 12 MHz SPI port, for connecting a third-party Ethernet module
    - 115200 baud asynchronous serial port with automatic handshake and a 256 bytes input buffer
    - optional adapter, for connecting an ESC/P parallel or serial printer
    - optional non-volatile 128KBytes RAM drive, for applications that need to store data frequently and fast
    all with built-in operating system support and automatic detection, except for the Ethernet port driver, which has still to be written.
    And, last but not least, at only GBP 19.50 ( + shipping cost ) the 'Interface 1bis' is, by far, the cheapest.


    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • I bought an Interface 1bis a while ago and it does seem very capable. My only gripe is that to make use of it, you need to watch videos as there doesn't appear to be any written manual - just lots of design files etc. While that probably does suit some people, I prefer to work through stuff with a printed guide, rather than trying to watch a video on one PC, while trying to work on another.
  • Graham wrote: »
    I bought an Interface 1bis a while ago and it does seem very capable. My only gripe is that to make use of it, you need to watch videos as there doesn't appear to be any written manual - just lots of design files etc. While that probably does suit some people, I prefer to work through stuff with a printed guide, rather than trying to watch a video on one PC, while trying to work on another.

    That's strange, to say the least.
    The 'Interface 1bis' is the only Spectrum add-on that is fully documented in the tiniest detail, from the development history, going back 20 years, to the shipping box template, totalling hundreds of files, all released in the public domain, plus video tutorials, for users with limited reading .. appetite, while other devices, have practically no documentation at all, but still it is only the 'Interface 1bis' that gets blamed exactly for ... lack of documentation.
    Not only that all documents are freely available at the 'Interface 1bis' site, which, by the way, has built-in search facilities, but links to the most important ones are automatically created in the 'Start Menu' when the 'ZXS_setup' installer is run on the server machine.
    doc.jpg

    This is simply mind-boggling.



    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • This is simply mind-boggling.

    Thanks for your sarcastic comment. As I said in my post, I'm not talking about the technical documents - I'm talking about instructions as a USER. Your website links to several videos showing the usage, but I was unable to find an actual manual. If your idea of how to treat your customers is like your previous post, then I won't be recommending you and am not surprised people are buying alternative products.
  • I have the DivIDE (with a compact flash card), DivMMC Enjoy! with case, and Interface 1bis. Of the three, I'd probably recommend the DivMMC as the easiest solution, there are TAP files for pretty much every game you want to play, and Z80 snapshots for the gaps.

    As Graham says, the documentation for the 1bis lets it down as a new user. It really needs a getting started wiki (sorry Dan, not a fan of videos either!) more suited to someone who has never used microdrives before.
  • edited September 2015
    For the price the Retroleum Smart card is great. Built in Kempston too
    Post edited by beanz on
  • Dear Sir,

    You actually stated that
    "Graham wrote: »
    ..there doesn't appear to be any written manual..

    which is patently untrue, because there is, among others, a detailed
    - 'Getting started guide' containing absolutely all information on how to USE the 'Interface 1bis', including an introduction to the 'Extended BASIC', as well as the
    - 'Game Launcher specification', describing a USER interface, with mouse support, which not only allows launching games from the SD card, the server machine or from the WoS archive, via the server's internet connection, with advanced snapshot facilities, but also performs the entire range of file management functions at file and directory level, like no other device can.
    Therefor I beg your understanding for not letting your remark go unchallenged, no matter how much you dislike it, because having bought an 'Interface 1bis' doesn't confer an exemption from telling the truth. Then again, you always have the remedy to trample your 'Interface 1bis' unit to pieces, in revenge.

    Yours truthfully,
    Dan Antohi

    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • I don't know if you are just an arrogant a******, or if you are ill, but I resent your talking to me in that way. I said that there didn't appear to be a written maunual - if there is one, then why not just correct me and perhaps provide a link? And why on earth would I want 'revenge' or want to damage anything?

    You should probably try and get help.
  • Graham wrote: »
    I don't know if you are just an arrogant a******, or if you are ill, but I resent your talking to me in that way. I said that there didn't appear to be a written maunual - if there is one, then why not just correct me and perhaps provide a link? And why on earth would I want 'revenge' or want to damage anything?

    You should probably try and get help.

    Dear Sir,

    Resorting to insults doesn't necessarily make your case look more plausible and may even go against the forum's rules and regulations.

    Yours truthfully,
    Dan Antohi
    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • I don't have a case to 'look more plausible'. And I'm not insulting you. I merely stated that you are over-reacting to such an extent that you may be ill. I have no wish to extend this conversation. I can only say that I will try again and look at your site to try and find these manuals (as I would like to get the Interface set-up properly, despite your comments). I'll either find them or not. Either way, I won't be responding to you again.
  • Graham wrote: »
    I'm not insulting you.

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you so much for your kind understanding. And If I may reciprocate the compliment:
    Graham wrote: »
    I don't know if you are just an arrogant a******, or if you are ill..
    You should probably try and get help.

    Yours truthfully
    Dan Antohi
    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • Oi! Stop arguing in my thread!

    Thanks for the recommendations so far.
  • Dan

    I'm not interested in debating which is best, which is worst, or the price in this thread.
    I did not talk in any detail about the features of any of the devices/interfaces in my post. I did not knock or recommend any of them. I simply listed the devices/interfaces that I have bought. I included links where I could. I was trying to stay neutral. Then if a potential buyer is interested they can follow the links, or search for more information. Then decide for themselves. As I said in the post, there was no intentional order to the list.

    If you have a more suitable link for the Interface 1bis, I would have no problem using that instead.

    If you think that I am biased against the Interface 1bis, you need to ask yourself, why on earth did I (as in me) buy one?

    Yes, I did forget about the all the features it has regarding TZX files. It was not intentional . But I don't actually load many TZX files.

    My hobby includes other makes of 1980's and 1990's retro computers and on the other forums that cover these machines people are respectful when talking about other peoples designs / devices and interfaces.

    So by all means promote the Interface 1bis. But stand back and stop for a moment. Try and think about what all this nonsense looks like to potential customers. I think posting comments like you have done in this thread may not be the best way to promote the Interface 1bis.

    Mark



  • I have a DivIDE that uses a Compact Flash card. I'd prefer an SD version but I couldn't get an IDE-based SD card reader to ever work (I have a CF-SD adaptor I got off eBay, but haven't tried it in the CF slot yet).

    I also hand-grafted a Kempston/Sinclair joystick interface onto my DivIDE and set it in a box from Maplin. Annoyingly though, I can't now fit this hybrid device to a +2A next to the chunkier power connector!

    At some point I might get a dedicated SD device but I'll stick with what I know works for now. Having said that, the USB device I use to write to the CF card from my PC is well dodgy...


    As for the Interface 1bis, I have to agree with Graham that the web presence for it comes across as hopelessly impenetrable. This looks like a hardware hacker's project log, not a product presentation. I see so many open-source projects that are doomed to failure because of similar presentation that just shows no consideration whatsoever for the typical amateur user.

    The 'Documents' section, where one might expect to see a manual or getting-started guide, is just bogged down with technnical information which is totally irrelevant to the end-user. The 'Software' section lacks an overall guide to what anyone might want to download or how to use it.

    And I can't stand projects that expect you to download, unpack and install the software just to read a guide to getting started with it. Firstly it's putting an obstacle in the way of reading the manual, and secondly it comes across as arrogant to assume that someone is going to want the product by default rather than allowing them to read up on it and make up their own mind.

    But the aggressive response to someone trying to point this out has simply put me right off. It just gives me the impression that if I ever need any help with this product I'm going to be treated like an idiot who hasn't 'RTFM'.
    Joefish
    - IONIAN-GAMES.com -
  • Merman, regarding my recoomendation of the Smart card...note from the website:

    It will not physically fit the Spectrum 128 +2, or +3 as their cases are much taller. It is electrically compatible however, and can be used as a diagnostic cartridge when the upper case of these machines is removed – for details see the documentation in the link above.

    I guess if you have a Currah Uslot or extender cable it might work but probably better going with one of the other suggestions if not.
  • Dear Sir,

    First of all I would like to mention that I hold you and your contribution to this forum in the highest regard, which is why, for example, you are one of the very few persons that I asked for their opinion on the 'Interface 1bis', without receiving an answer though.
    Far from me the thought of accusing you of anything and definitely not of bias. Your post on this subject was exemplary in every respect. So please accept my sincere apologies if, not intentionally, but through sheer clumsiness, I might have created a different impression.

    Of course, you are perfectly right: controversy deters buyers, which are more inclined to give credence to unqualified admiration, without any factual support:
    majikeyric wrote: »
    It is a great device ! :-)
    or the unbeatably political correct:
    1024MAK wrote: »
    Each one has plus points and not so good points...
    Well, in reality, if we dare say it or not, some devices offer a lot more features, for a lot less money than others do and people should be perhaps faced with this cruel and unjust fact, once they grow up and stop believing in Father Christmas.
    1024MAK wrote: »
    people are respectful when talking about other peoples designs / devices and interfaces.
    While I never openly express, or at least try hard not to, my true opinions on other people's devices, which would be unethical, given the nature of those opinions, everyone seems to be fully entitled to spread false information and publicly bash the 'Interface 1bis', and, interestingly enough, only the 'Interface 1bis', on no other grounds than ignorance of the facts, like the now famous final decree:
    RobeeeJay wrote: »
    the documentation for the 1bis lets it down
    instead of just asking a polite question, for which I am always receptive.
    Even more, every attempt to clarify the matter is immediately and furiously condemned ( insults included ) as unacceptable behaviour. Well, at my age, one doesn't get anymore really exited about this, but that a person like yourself, which I sincerely respect, finds it necessary to incriminate me, and me alone, saddens me a little bit. Please don't say that I am provoking this type of reaction myself, as I have long ago learned to use language that can withstand scrutiny in any court of law.

    You may not know it, but all major improvements to the 'Interface 1bis', in both software and hardware, were implemented, within days or week, rather than months, at the specific request of (polite) users:
    - the .DVO video player
    - support for 128k .Z80 snapshots
    - the asynchronous serial port
    - parallel and serial printer support
    - support for loading .TZX files
    - support for servers running 32 and 64-bit Windows 8 or 10
    - the 'LDC' logical disk copier, providing access to 'Interface 1bis' formatted SD cards under Windows
    - the simplified setup and update procedure, requiring just one file that needs to be run on the server machine, followed by entering the BASIC command CONTINUE on the Spectrum.
    1024MAK wrote: »
    I think posting comments like you have done in this thread may not be the best way to promote the Interface 1bis.
    Thank you very much for your concern, but allow me to present my point of view:
    Over the past 20 years I managed to design, build and constantly improve, for my own pleasure, a little toy, with a fundamentally different architecture, defying comparison with 'traditional' devices, which I am all too glad to make available to knowledgeable Spectrum users, for the lowest possible price that would spare me the accusation of unfair competition.
    By explicitly publishing it under the CC01 "Public domain dedication" licence I also voluntarily renounced all rights on the entire project, allowing thus anyone to take ownership of it, including for financial gain, which I would actually welcome, because, as fascinating it is to build a prototype, as boring can series production be. The only motivation for not giving up just yet is the firm commitment not the disappoint the handful of users waiting for the Ethernet port driver, which I promised to write. What I haven't promised yet is connecting the much famed ESP8266 WIFI chip to the 'Interface 1bis', but I am considering it.

    So, dear Sir, please excuse the excessive length of this rant and rest assured that I shall try my best to follow your kind advice.

    Yours truthfully,
    Dan Antohi
    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • Dan, I'm sure you are a lovely guy who has put an awful lot of time into your interface over the years, and is not aware of how you sometimes come across, and I'm sure Graham is also a nice guy who perhaps over reacted to your comment. It's probably entirely down to living in different countries with different cultures.

    It can be very easy when you are close to a project and very familiar with it to not realise how it looks from someone new to it. One thing a lot of Ben's projects (like the DivMMC) have in common, is the really well written friendly guides he includes (printed out!) which give you everything you need to know to get started.

    I know you have done the same thing with videos, but they really aren't what we want as 1bis noobs. The 1bis is your product and you can do with it as you wish, it's incredible value and well made, I'm glad I have one (even if I can't get the tape pause to work on my modified cable as per the docs). Documentation wise, it's right up there with Arch Linux and Angular.js for having all of the information you need presented in a way that makes it difficult for those new to the product.

    Sorry merman for continuing to argue in your thread!
  • RobeeeJay wrote: »
    I can't get the tape pause to work on my modified cable

    Just update the MCU firmware. Support for stopping the tape was added at a later stage. The current version is dated 16.07.2015.
    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • Easy guys!!!

    This is the hardware forum!!!
    I wanna tell you a story 'bout a woman I know...
  • edited September 2015
    joefish wrote: »
    The 'Documents' section, where one might expect to see a manual or getting-started guide, is just bogged down with technnical information which is totally irrelevant to the end-user.

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you very much for your input.
    A "Quick Reference" box with inks for the "Getting Started Guide" and "Game Browser/Launcher Manual" has been added to the sidebar. It was indeed necessary.
    I am also considering adding some porn scenes to the video tutorials, to make them more palatable for the general public

    Yours truthfully,
    Dan Antohi
    Post edited by Dan Antohi on
    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • A "Quick Reference" box with inks for the "Getting Started Guide" and "Game Browser/Launcher Manual" has been added to the sidebar. It was indeed necessary.

    And that makes all the difference :)

    Please accept my apologies if you thought I was getting too personal. Your response to my first comment, I felt was far too aggressive, when I wasn't actually criticizing you at all. You are obviously a very clever person - certainly I wouldn't be able to design anything like this. Your website certainly gave the impression that videos were all that were on offer for users who didn't have the time or knowledge to plough through the masses of technical information provided, and I was merely stating that as my personal experience. I subsequently found the guides by searching for the titles on your site - and have no complaints at their content
  • Graham wrote: »
    clever person

    No offence taken, especially because you had a valid point: I am indeed not a "nice guy". But then, I also have a weakness: I cannot resist flattery. So now, having said that I am clever, you are my friend.
    'Interface 1bis' for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • RobeeeJay wrote: »
    Documentation wise, it's right up there with Arch Linux and Angular.js for having all of the information you need presented in a way that makes it difficult for those new to the product.
    I just feel the need to point out that Angular.js has excellent documentation.

  • lunarul wrote: »
    I just feel the need to point out that Angular.js has excellent documentation.

    It's awful! They spend far too much of it on tests, the docs for writing custom directives is weak, and some things like ng-if-start are not documented at all! Thank god for Ben Nadel.

    But yeah, if you want to write TDD front end code or something with the complexity of a todo list app, it's great. :p
  • RobeeeJay wrote: »
    But yeah, if you want to write TDD front end code or something with the complexity of a todo list app, it's great. :p

    Then we agree, cause I write TDD front end code :)
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