03/21/2001: First edition of page. >>>

timex/sinclair 1000:

Timex/Sinclair 1000.

quick facts

Overview Photograph
Timex/Sinclair 1000 keyboard closeup
Model or Part # 1000
My unit's vintage Serial #T164865
CPU Z-80A (actually an NEC 780-1, which is a pin-compatible part).
Memory 2K SRAM, 8K ROM
Operating System Sinclair floating-point BASIC.
Ports Standard 3.5mm mono jacks for tape recorder microphone and earphone connections, and an expansion edge connector at the rear of the machine.
Video/audio output The TS1000 has essentially text-only, black and white video, and no sound output capability. Primitive block graphics are available (four pixels per character space).

Although the character set is reprogrammable, and could in theory be used to generate high-resolution graphics, due to a hardware quirk the character set must be fetched from ROM and therefore can't be usefully altered.
Available peripherals The most popular - practically mandatory - peripheral is the ZX 16K RAM Pack, rebadged by Timex as the Timex/Sinclair 1016. (The unit in the photograph has the TS1016 fitted).

Sinclair also released a discharge-type printer (it requires metallized thermal paper, and isn't easy to resupply in this day and age), and third parties released various other peripherals. I know of a UK-built I/O device for robotics control; it had several I/O terminals on top and 4K of expansion RAM internally. Third-party memory expansions went as high as 48K, but these needed special handling because the hardware and BASIC don't properly support RAM above $8000 in the memory map.

The TS1000 is an American version of the Sinclair ZX81. The only technical difference is that the ZX81 has only 1K of RAM as standard, versus the TS1000's 2K. Please read the ZX81 review for more information on this slightly unusual hardware platform. Note that the TS1000's manual is descended from the US version of the ZX81 BASIC Programming manual. I have scanned the TS1000's instruction manual and put it online in PDF format. Click the image below to download it (or right-click and choose Save As). My original scan is at 200dpi, but to make the download reasonable I have downsampled it to 72dpi. I suggest you don't zoom in on it - the text is most legible at 1:1 zoom./P>

TS1000 instruction manual cover

For your interest, I have also scanned the motherboard of the TS1000, the circuit inside the TS1016, and the keyboard of the computer. Clicking the small versions of these images below will open a new window containing the full-size 300dpi scan.

TS1000 motherboard

TS1000 keyboard

TS1016 circuit boards

For some time, Sinclair had sold the ZX81 in the US via mail-order (ZX81 units sold in the US are labeled slightly differently from the UK edition). However, when Sinclair subcontracted their manufacturing to Timex in 1982, the US market "domestic" version of the machine became the Timex-badged TS1000. Timex presumably did the first-ever FCC certification on this hardware, because the import models of the ZX81 have a "fake" FCC ID on them whereas the TS1000 has a real, catalogued ID. The UK edition is already fairly heavily RF shielded (the entire interior of the case is metallized), and I doubt that any significant modifications were made to gain FCC approval.

The TS1000 is a fairly common item still on ebay; as of the time of writing (August 2000), you should expect to pay no more than US$50 for a mint-condition TS1000 and RAM pack, and probably some software too.

Timex/Sinclair 1000 with manual


Please see the ZX81's emulator section for information on emulating the TS1000. and all original content herein is © Copyright 2001 by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards. "" is a trademark protected under U.S. and international law. Infringement or attempted dilution of the intellectual property rights held by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards will be prosecuted to the fullest possible extent.