Sinclair ZX Spectrum
The Spectrum 128 can be used to run programs which you have bought for it, or programs which you have written yourself and saved on tape, Microdrive or disk. It will load all programs which were specially written for the Spectrum 128, as well as many programs which were written for the Spectrum +, Spectrum 48K and 16K. However, you must use a different loading method for these programs, and it is extremely unlikely that a program will run if you use the wrong method.

Loading problems can be minimised by running the special Tape Tester program to ensure that the tape player is set to the ideal volume.

Loading checklist

The different loading methods are explained in detail below. This checklist shows when to use each one.
  • 128K programs on tape
    Most programs will load automatically by using the Tape Loader option. A very few may need special loading instructions entered in 128 BASIC.
  • 128K programs on Microdrive or disk
    The loading instructions must be entered from 128 BASIC.
  • Spectrum +, 48K or 16K programs on tape, Microdrive, or disk
    The loading instructions must be entered from 48 BASIC.

Loading a 128K program

The Tape Loader option on the main menu can be used for any cassette-based 128K program which accepts a LOAD "" command (almost all commercial programs do this). It cannot be used for Microdrive-based or disk-based software, nor the very small number of taped programs which require special loading instructions.

To use the Tape Loader, ensure that your cassette player is connected correctly (see page 3), then select the Tape Loader option on the main menu. If this is the first time you have used the program with your Spectrum 128, you may wish to use the Tape Tester option first (see below). Otherwise, just press PLAY on your cassette player and loading is then automatic.

If the program is on Microdrive or disk, or the cassette is one of the very few which requires a special loading command, you will need to select 128 BASIC from the main menu. Now check the loading instructions given with the software and type in the command given there (see 128 BASIC for further details).

Loading a 48 or 16K program

Select 48 BASIC then follow the software loading instructions given in the ZX Spectrum + User Guide.

Loading problems?

Most tape loading problems are not due to a fault with the software or the computer. If you have problems loading a program from tape, first check that you have used the right method. Have you tried to load a 128K program in 48K BASIC, or vice versa?

Then check that your cassette player is set to the optimum volume (see below). You may also find it useful to check the Software loading troubleshooter chart on page 16 of the ZX Spectrum + User Guide.

Using the Tape Tester

The Tape Tester provides a means of checking that your cassette player is set to the best volume for any given tape. This will minimise loading problems, but if your cassette player is faulty or you have a badly recorded tape, it does not guarantee loading.

Connect up your cassette player and insert the program tape which you wish to test. Wind it on a little so that you have a signal on the tape. Now select Tape Tester from the menu. You will see a horizontal blue bar on the screen with a light blue square to the left of it. Start the tape and you should see the light blue square move to the right.

Now adjust the volume control up or down until the light blue square fails as far to the right as possible.

Leave the volume control in this position and rewind the tape. You can now load it as normal. It is worth marking the volume setting on the tape label for future reference.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

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