My 2012 RetroChallenge Entry – UPDATE


I admit it. I simply could not get my project done in the time allotted. Spare time is precious in my household these days. With work, family, school (my wife and I are taking college courses toward new degrees), I simply could not set aside any time to pursue the Retro Challenge project. Next year, I expect to be finished with school. Perhaps I can go into the 2013 RetroChallenge with more time, focus, and determination!

Original blog post follows….

This is the first time I ever entered the RetroChallenge competition. This competition is a somewhat informal challenge involving volunteers who are up to the daunting task of using, repairing, expanding, or simply repurposing retro computer and gaming equipment in this modern age.

You can go to the website at to see the current list of entrants, but for more details about the Retro Challenge, visit the now ended Winter 2011 Challenge page.

My challenge involves taking a newly acquired slice of “Pi” and putting it inside a Sinclair ZX81 (or Timex/Sinclair 1000) computer case, while preserving as many of the original case features as possible (using the same keyboard, 9V input, video out, etc.). For those in the know about geeky and cool microprocessor driven devices, you may have already realized I was referring to the Raspberry Pi microcomputer board, and not a slice of Grandma’s best dessert. LOL

Yes, when all of this is done, I will expect to have a working Linux system operating on a Raspberry Pi board, inside a ZX81, connected to a (remapped) original ZX81 keyboard, using an original 9V 1A ZX91 power supply, and providing composite output. Any bonus points to me if I manage to make it wifi, too?

OK, so I’m cheating on the video out part. The Raspberry Pi already has a color composite output (which works pretty well by the way!). Since I’m a glutton for punishment, and I like a good challenge, I went into this project armed ONLY with a wild idea. I have not even planned how I’m going to do it, and will simply rely on my general knowledge of the devices and expected interconnectability.

Here’s hoping I don’t bite off more (“pi”) than I can chew!!

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The way ELECTRONICS used to be!