The vDriveZX delivers hardware emulation for up to eight Sinclair MicrodrivesDesigned by Charlie Ingley in New Zealand
What is it? The vDriveZX delivers hardware emulation for up to eight Microdrives and includes a comprehensive toolkit for managing Microdrive Cartridge images which are stored on SD Card. The vDriveZ…Read More…
The vDriveZX delivers hardware emulation for up to eight Microdrives and includes a comprehensive toolkit for managing Microdrive Cartridge images which are stored on SD Card. The vDriveZX is simply connected to your Interface 1, either with your existing Microdrives or by itself. An existing Microdrive case (not included) is used to house the vDriveZX (the installation manual can be downloaded).
The SD Card file system implementation is DOS based and is compatible with systems which can read or write to FAT16 or FAT32 media. The vDriveZX supports SD Cards with a capacity of up to 32GB.
The vDriveZX adopts the MDR image format. This format is supported by popular emulators such as Spectaculator and FUSE, and in general, images created with these emulators will be compatible with the vDriveZX and vice versa. MDR images can be formatted, saved to, read from and erased by standard Interface 1 commands on real Spectrum hardware. The write protect flag is fully supported.
As well as the standard 16K and 48K Spectrum ROM the vDriveZX supports the following:
Spectrum 16K/48K standard, Gosh Wonderful and Beckman ROM
Spectrum + standard and Spanish ROM
128K Spectrum (Toast rack) standard, Spanish and French ROM
128K Spectrum +2 (Grey) standard and Spanish ROM
ZX Interface 1 version 1 and version 2 ROM.
Multiface Multiface 1 and Multiface 128
Any combination of Spectrum and Interface 1 ROM listed above are supported. For the 128K systems listed, both the 128K and 48K Basic modes are supported.
The User Manual is available for download
The Sinclair ZX81 was my first computer and was quickly followed by a Spectrum 48K (and much more recently, a QL). The technology was fascinating, very accessible, and provided a great training ground for the years that were to come.
When the Microdrives were announced I couldn’t wait to get hold of one (I only ever had one) and, contrary to their reputation, I found the combination of Interface 1 and Microdrive reliable and certainly cheaper than the alternatives of the day.
Sadly, time has taken its toll and although the drives themselves hold up well with a bit of care, the remaining cartridges will probably not see another decade or so out before they become unusable.
This is where the vDriveZX comes in. As with other devices such as floppy emulators, the vDriveZX provides an analogue of the original hardware performance. I’ve resisted the urge to provide any kind of ‘turbo’ mode as there are a host of devices that already do this. The focus was on faithful emulation and compatibility.
The vDriveZX aims to take the hassle out using Microdrives and replicate what the original hardware set out to do.
The vDriveZX can also provide a simple way of preserving existing cartridge contents, ensuring that future cartridge wear and tear is kept to a minimum.
The result is a unique solution that will hopefully go some way to provide the original Microdrive experience for the Spectrum.
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