Timex/Sinclair 1000 and ZX-81

What is it?

This was the first computer I ever bought - I remember my dad reading about it at the book store before we bought it. It was so cheap (less than $100 CDN, I believe) that something he read called it "The world's first disposable computer." He mentioned that to the sales person when we went and bought it - and buying it was strange too. We went to Kalax computers (still around in business) and the owner sat us down in his office and treated it like it was some big consultation or something.

We bought it, and took it home, and I used it non-stop for the next week, maybe two. My Mom bought me a book called "101 Tricks and Tips for the Timex/Sinclair" (I still have it) and I just typed in these programs and played with them - it was hooked up to a crummy black and white 13" TV we still have in my dad's basement. I got extremely sick during this, and I remember Mom thinking that the computer had made me sick - but she couldn't get the doctor to agree with her that I shouldn't touch the computer for a few days. I couldn't get the computer to save or load anything though - it was supposed to just hook up to any old tape deck with line in and out. I remember even going over to my Aunt Judy's boyfriend at the time, Bill, and he couldn't get it to work either. He had a VIC-20, and showed me a bunch of BASIC programs that he had made (I think). Anyway, we eventually took the computer back, and got our money back. I remember looking through the Consumer's Distributing catalogue shortly afterwards, and seeing that they were selling these computers now, and they had an official cassette deck for it - for a little while, I actually regretted returning it, thinking that this deck might have solved my save/load problems. Shortly afterwards, we went to Duluth, Minnesota, and almost bought a VIC-20, but instead bought the C-64. I was a lot happier with that computer than the Sinclair.

When I was in Florida in 1992, I found a couple more Sinclairs at a table at a big flea market (the lady was very cool, and had loads of cool old computer stuff, even helped give me some addresses of places still supporting the Commodore at that time.)

What do you have in your collection?

So, I have one working, and one non-working Sinclair 1000. I also have a ZX-81 I picked up somewhere. I have a few official programs on cassette (I don't think I've ever tried loading any of them). I also have the 16K RAM expansion pack.

I've also collected (what I think is) a pretty impressive book collection regarding these computers, including quite a few assembly books for it. I've also got the ROM disassembly books.

What are you doing with it?

Pretty much nothing. In the past I had written quite a few programs for it, quickly being limited by having only 2K of RAM available. I especially remember a few text adventure games Shroom and I made for it. None of these could be saved, so they're all lost.


None right now.

Back to computer page

Last Update: 2001.03.11
Robin Harbron - macbeth@tbaytel.net