Soldering Irons and Beginnings

A coleague at work mentioned he got himself a soldering iron. Another mentioned that they had not done any soldering before. These two statements left me a little O_o to be fair as I tried to imagine doing what we do and not having either a choice, or experience of. Odd.

Reminded by the recent outpouring on the Usborne programming books and the ZX81 Manual - it got me thinking about my first computer - a hand me down from my uncle.

My ZX81 was a hand-me-down from an uncle - at the time working in the Dark Ages in terms of IT - and a keen Radio Ham (his father my grandfather a background in military comms) he built it up from the kit for option - all hand soldered.

By the time I got it - it had a wooden box, and a proper keyboard on it (actually better than any I had on a Spectrum - take that Sir Clive)... along with the issue of the wobbling Kayide 16KB RAM pack resetting the unit being bypassed with it being directly soldered into place. It was in effect - like no other.

So here we are - the first real milestone in the home computer market - 8K ROM, 1K RAM (expanded to 16K) - and a state of the art Zilog Z80A (based on an improved, but cheaper version of the Intel 8080 chip we are all still running the great great great grandson of today) running the show, delivered by coax to a TV screen in any home. This really was ground breaking.... yet it was simple enough to trace your finger around a cirtcuit diagram of the links between the legs on the IC's and you could SOLDER IT TOGETHER YOURSELF.

Technological milestones are not always the Saturn5's.... they can just be arranging the simple in a different way.

Hello ZX81 - and Sir Clive Sinclair - this pints for you.


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