October 1, 2022


Your Partner in the Digital Era

An individual managed to in shape an whole Raspberry Pi laptop within the entire body of a cassette

This isn’t a throwback. If nothing, it is truly a throw-forward. Made to present how far we have come in a span of 4 a long time, this cassette has a thoroughly-operating Raspberry Pi pc inside it running a ZX Spectrum emulator within it. Hacked with each other by Stuart Brand, the cassette pays tribute to his to start with-ever computer system, the ZX Spectrum. The ZX Spectrum was an 8-bit personalized residence pc created by Sinclair Exploration. Ironically enough, Stuart would compose programs on the ZX Spectrum and keep them on cassette tapes. 40 yrs later on, the whole ZX Spectrum laptop or computer can almost fit inside of the very same cassette’s plastic system, with a handful of slight changes created to permit the components and ports to line up perfectly.

Designer: Stuart Brand

Creating use of his time in between work, Brand name decided to head down to his garage and brush up on his tinkering and coding capabilities. “I would not have had a clue how to establish any of this things prior to lockdown,” he claimed. “It goes to confirm that you under no circumstances know what you are able of until finally you give it a go.”

Confronted with a place constraint, Stuart chose the Raspberry Pi Zero W for the job. “Cassette shells make for a good sort aspect,” he stated, “I started with a plain black spare cassette shell and used a little hand file and side cutters to get rid of the plastic supports in preparation for fitting the heatsink.” The heatsink (revealed at the leading of the report) was produced from scratch way too, employing a sheet of scrap steel and a bandsaw to vogue the crude shape of the metal heatsink. A Dremel, needle documents, and fine-grit sandpaper were being applied to finesse the form.

The 5mm inside of the cassette intended Stuart experienced to hack together his remedy. To assure that the PCB of the Raspberry Pi Zero W didn’t conclude up peeking out by way of the cassette’s two holes, he finished up carving out a part of the PCB, guaranteeing the illusion was finish. Fortunately, this didn’t have an affect on the features of his computer. “I dropped some GPIO ports, but it was well worthy of it to get the tape hunting ideal.” Stuart then cleverly applied the best and the base of the cassette to residence his ports, allowing you to quickly connect cables to the unit and get it performing. That necessary a bit of slicing and sanding also, even though it did not do anything at all to the cassette’s entrance profile, leaving it seeking precisely the way it should really. In simple fact, to entire his construct, Stuart even printed labels that he would then adhere on top of the cassette! He now employs his ZX Spectrum Pi Cassette as a ‘pick up and play’ system every time he fancies “a swift bash at some previous university gaming.”

Sadly, nevertheless, there are not any schematics for many others to construct their own ZX Spectrum Pi Cassettes. Describing himself as a haphazard tinkerer with tiny electronics working experience, Stuart went into the task headfirst, with small scheduling or detailing, and with the complete approach successfully mapped out in his head. “I really do not have any schematics to share,” he apologizes, “and never measure something.” His only standing advice to persons searching to emulate his make is to “leave much more home for cables than you feel you’ll have to have.”

Stuart’s create was featured in this month’s formal Raspberry Pi journal MagPi difficulty 116.