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Replacement Keyboards for The Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Because the Spectrum's keyboard was so abysmal several companies produced replacements using proper moving keys.

These were generally in a case larger than the Spectrum so that the Spectrum could be fitted entirely inside the new keyboard and connected to it by a ribbon cable.

Some of the models available were:

Lo Profile Keyboard

The Lo Profile keyboard was made by Advanced Memory Systems Ltd and retailed at £49.95.
It duplicated all the Spectrum keys, with a full size space bar, and also added a numeric keypad.

Saga 1 Emperor Keyboard

The Saga 1 Emperor cost £54.95 and was sold by SAGA Systems Ltd.
Although it did not have a numeric pad, it did have dedicated keys for common punctuation symbols such as = ; : , and separate cursor control keys. It had a recess at the top to rest a pen.

dK'tronics Keyboard

DK Tronics sold Spectrum software and hardware including a joystick and light pen, in addition to a replacement keyboard.
Their keyboard sold for £45.00 and consisted of the original 40 Spectrum keys, all the same size, plus a numeric keypad.
The dK'tronics (sic) keyboard could also be used for a ZX81 (with different key legends) since, like the Spectrum, the ZX81 had four rows of ten keys.
There was room inside the case to take the Sinclair power supply transformer, making a neat unit.

Stonechip Electronics Keyboard

The Stonechip Spectrum Keyboard was sold by Stonechip Electronics for £59.95.
It had some extra and enlarged keys for 'extended shift mode', delete and a full length space bar. There was also an amplifier for the Spectrum's otherwise rather faint sound output.

Memotech Keyboard

The Memotech model was actually for the Sinclair ZX81, which had an even worse keyboard than the Spectrum.
Memotech made a wide range of add-ons for the ZX81, including extra RAM up to 56KB, high resolution graphics, and a spreadsheet and word processor in ROM.
Memotech's products had a reputation for good quality. The keyboard featured an aluminium case and duplicated the 40 standard keys of the ZX81, for £34.95.

Spectrum Plus Keyboard

In October 1984 Sinclair themselves released a replacement keyboard for the Spectrum. All new machines eventually also used the new keyboard, becoming the 'Spectrum +'

As a fit-it-yourself kit the replacement keyboard cost just £20. It used the same design of keys as the recently launched Sinclair QL, these consisting of abutting square plastic keys pressing down onto a touch-sensitive membrane. The feel was a definite improvement over the Spectrum's rubber pads, but not as good as some of the more expensive keyboards available.

As the picture shows, the Spectrum's PCB fitted inside the new keyboard case, which was larger than the original and had 17 extra keys. These included dedicated cursor keys, unshifted punctuation symbols and an 'extended shift' key.

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