Use the Spectrum 128 style menu below to navigate to the various sections detailing the keypad.

Keypad Main Menu Title
View History Of The Keypad
View Appearance Of The Keypad
View Editing Functions Available Via The Keypad
View Method Of Operation
View Communication Details
View Timing Details
View Hardware Details
View Software Details
View Details About Building A Compatible Keypad


History

Amidst the hype and speculation prior to the UK launch in 1986 of the Spectrum 128, reports described a plug-in keypad that would be available for the machine which would provide additional editing capabilities. This keypad was to retail for 19.95. Unfortunately Sinclair Research did not launch it along with the Spectrum 128 and so after Amstrad had purchased the rights to the Spectrum later that year the fate of the keypad was sealed. Amstrad's Spectrum +2 did in fact retain the keypad routines and so can support one but Amstrad did not release the keypad. With the Spectrum +2A and +3, Amstrad totally redesigned the Spectrum hardware and the ROM code to match and as a consequence the keypad routines were discarded. Amstrad were definitely not going to produce any keypads.

However, back in late 1985 the decision was taken to launch the Spectrum 128 in Spain prior to its UK release and to package the plug-in keypad with the new machine. It seems the UK had a large stock of unsold Spectrum+s and the delay was intended to allow time for these to be sold. Not too surprisingly the Spanish keypad is fully compatible with the UK Spectrum 128 and this web site describe my findings after studying the protocol used to communicate with such a keypad. The detail is sufficient to enable the design of a compatible keypad for use with a Spectrum 128 or Spectrum +2.