I first read about the Spectrum +3e replacement ROM’s, from Garry Lancaster, a while back. The ROM’s replace the existing chips, adding a number of features, including the ability to run .Z80 and .SNA snapshots from a Hard Disk drive(SPECTRUM command).
The intention of my RetroChallenge entry was to investigate alternate ways of loading software and in many ways the +3e should represent the perfect embodiment of that desire. Motivated by the ‘RetroChallenge rocket’, I got in touch with Garry and he was very kindly able to supply me with a set of pre-burnt ROM’s. A number of variations on the core enhanced ROM’s are available, depending on the intended hard drive interface to be used. Trying to keep with my original ethic of ‘cheap and simple’, I chose the version of the +3e ROM’s that could utilise the simple 8bit IDE interface, in the hope that I might be able to DIY build the interface rather than going to the added expense of a bought interface.
Installation was pretty straight forward. I carefully dismantled the +3 and levered out the existing ROMS, putting them to one-side in case I ever want to return the +3 to original, and fitted the replacement. Once reassembled, I was happy that the Spectrum powered up, giving the satisfying +3e boot loader screen (see rather poor quality photo below), without any bangs or flashes…
Success so far, but In order to test the SPECTRUM command, I next need to build the simple IDE interface.