Configuration of your ZX Spectrum Next computer can be done in two ways:
- Via the Boot Screen (by pressing <SPACEBAR> while booting and then entering the Editor Module with “E”)
- Via the config.ini file
The second method provides access to some settings not found on the regular ZX Spectrum Next Editor Module,
adding a machine personality, changing the machine type for said personality, provide alternate ROM images
and even more importantly setting your monitor if it doesn’t work out of the box.
Config.ini is a regular text file, located in the c:/tbblue/ folder of your boot SD Card and it’s read upon
first boot after an F1 reset or cold boot.
A sample configuration file is as follows:
scandoubler=1 50_60hz=1 timex=1 psgmode=0 stereomode=1 intsnd=1 turbosound=1 covox=1 divmmc=0 mf=0 joystick1=2 joystick2=0 ps2=0 lightpen=0 scanlines=0 dac=1 turbo=1 default=9 menu=Spectrum 48K,0,7,48.rom menu=Timex Sinclair TC2048,0,7,tc2048.rom menu=48K Gosh Wonderful ROM v3.3,0,7,gw03v33.rom menu=48K Looking Glass ROM v1.07,0,7,lg18v07.rom menu=Spectrum 128k,1,7,128.rom menu=Investronica Spectrum 128K,1,7,128es21.rom menu=Soviet Timings (128k),3,0,128.rom menu=ZX Spectrum +2,1,7,128-2.rom menu=ZX Spectrum +3e,2,7,128-3e.rom menu=Next (NextZXOS/Std. 48K),2,7,enNextZX.rom,EnNxtmmc.rom,EnNextMF.rom menu=Next (NextZXOS/LG v1.07),2,7,enNextLG.rom,EnNxtmmc.rom,EnNextMF.rom menu=ZX80 Emulator (c) Paul Farrow,1,7,zx80.rom menu=ZX81 Emulator (c) Paul Farrow,1,7,zx81.rom
There are two basic groups of settings in the config.ini each one with its own sections/parts:
- The global settings; or settings that apply to ALL the machine personalities -and-
- The per-personality settings; or settings that apply to each machine personality you have available. These settings also double as singular menu entries for each personality you setup
Global settings are set one-per-line with each setting’s name followed by an ‘=’ sign followed by the value of the setting.
Note: Starting with FW version 1.10b, if you modify the config.ini and enter non-acceptable values for each setting, the FW upon boot will replace these values with the nearest acceptable one.
This sets the scandoubler ON (1) or OFF (0). Scandoubler is needed for modern high resolution monitors but should be turned off for older monitors.
If you’re using a PS/2 keyboard this setting can also be changed on the fly by pressing F2 otherwise on a Spectrum membrane keyboard you’ll need to press M1 (on the side of the machine) + 2 (on your keyboard)
This sets the base vertical sync frequency of the display to 50Hz (0) or 60Hz (1). If you’re using a VGA monitor or are located in a country that uses 60Hz mains, chances are your monitor will lock at 60Hz. (But that’s not all you need… look further down in the per-personality settings section). If you’re using a PS/2 keyboard this setting can also be changed on the fly by pressing F3 (or M1+3)
This enables Timex modes (HiRes and Multicolour) if set to (1) or disables it (0)
psgmode sets the on board PSG mode to AY-8910 (0), YM2149 (1) or disabled (2)
stereomode changes the stereophonic positioning (Left-Center-Right) of the PSG channels from ABC (0) to ACB (1)
intsnd enables (1) or disables (0) the internal beeper.
Turbosound disables(0) or enables(1) the additional 2 AYs to give you either an option of 3 or 9 channels of PSG audio
The covox setting enables (1) or disables (0) the onboard SpecDRUM / Covox Soundrive compatible DAC hardware.
This enables (1) or disables (0) the onboard divMMC. This won’t affect boot but will make the divMMC hardware unavailable to the selected personality. If this is enabled, then if the setting is NOT overriden by the per-personality settings as outlined in the following section, then a ROM image file named esxmmc.rom is expected to be located in c:/tbblue/.
This enables (1) or disables (0) the onboard MF-compatible hardware and instructs the firmware to seek and load upon boot a predetermined MF rom image file. It, too can be overridden by the per-personality setting as outlined in the following section. If it is however enabled and the ROM filename is NOT overriden, then it can be one of the following according to selected machine type. If machine type is 0 (48K) then the rom filename expected is mf.rom, if machine type is 1 (128K) then the rom filename expected is mf128.rom and if it’s 2 (+2/+3) then the expected rom filename is mf3.rom. These rom image files must be user provided and then placed in the c:/tbblue/ folder.
joystick1 (and joystick2 that follows) sets the first port joystick type to one of the following options:
0 = Sinclair 2 (67890),
1 = Kempston 1 (port 0x1F),
2 = Cursor (56780),
3 = Sinclair 1 (12345),
4 = Kempston 2 (port 0x37),
5 = MD 1 (3 or 6 button joystick port 0x1F) or
6 = MD 2 (3 or 6 button joystick port 0x37)
This setting is as the previous one and accepts the same options (some of which are mutually exclusive i.e. if you select a Kempston 1 for joystick1 you cannot select a Kempston 1 for the second port as well)
This setting rewires internally the PS/2 port to have the mouse connector as first PS/2 device (1) rather than the default which is keyboard (0). This facilitates plugging in a PS/2 mouse without a Y-splitter cable if you already have a membrane keyboard attached or a regular cased Next.
This allows the use of a Microdigital lightpen interface. It’s unavailable on ZX Spectrum Next boards and can be safely disregarded
This setting produces a cosmetic scanline-like effect of variable intensity from totally disabled (0), to 75% (1), 50% (2) and 25% (3). Scanlines are also controlled on the fly with the F8 key on the PS/2 keyboard (or M1+8)
The dac setting only applies to the Vtrucco development board and can be safely disregarded as it doesn’t apply to the ZX Spectrum Next.
turbo, enables(1) or disables (0) access to speeds over the standard 3.58Mhz. If enabled, speed can be also overriden on the fly with the F7 key on a PS/2 keyboard (or M1+7)
this setting bridges the global configuration section with the per-personality configuration section/menu and selects which of the machine personalities that follow will be the one that boots by default. Entries are 0-based so the default (9) actually means the 10th entry in the list
The per-personality settings group serves three functions:
- Create a boot menu entry per-line
- Describe each machine personality’s type as well as the display that’s connected to it
- Override -if required- some global settings specifically for that personality
You will need one line starting with menu= per-personality up to a maximum of 15 lines as follows:
menu=Name of machine,Type,Display,Main_ROM_Image_File,divMMC_ROM_Image_File,MF_ROM_Image_File
- Name of machine is a meaninful (to you) name describing what this machine-personality is.
Note: Make sure that the name is 32 characters long or shorter as specifically for the Boot menu/Editor modules only standard Spectrum resolution (256 x 192 px) and fonts (8 x 8 px) are supportede.g. ZX Spectrum 128K UK
- Type can be one of the following: 0 (48K Spectrum), 1 (128K/+2 -grey- Spectrum), 2 (+2A/+3/Next), 3 (Soviet clone-style timings 128K Spectrum)
The type affects the available memory, paging mechanism as well as the ULA type and timings of the specific machine personality. This setting can also be further modified after boot by modifying the appropriate Next hardware registers
- Display can be a number from 0 to 6 for VGA or 7 for HDMI. This takes as a base the 50_60hz setting in the Global settings group and modifies the vertical sync frequency in steps of approximately 1Hz to facilitate screen “lock” according to your monitor. The higher the number the more the machine will speed-up although timings of all peripherals stay constant relative to one another. Setting 7 (HDMI) completely modifies the timings to make the display compatible with modern HDMI monitors as well as changing the aspect ratio and border size (Especially for the 60Hz HDMI setting 7).
Many HDMI monitors will work with a setting of 0 to 6 however ALL HDMI monitors will work with a setting of 7.
- Main_ROM_Image_File is a ROM image file that’s appropriate for the machine type you’ve selected in the previous setting e.g. 48.rom for a standard 48K ZX Spectrum and which MUST be located in c:/tbblue/
- divMMC_ROM_Image_File. If this is set, then the global divMMC setting is overriden and the filename defined is used in lieu of the default esxmmc.rom. This rom image file is also expected to be found in c:/tbblue/ and lastly,
- MF_ROM_Image_File, if this is set then the Global configuration for MF hardware is overriden, the hardware is enabled and the rom image file used is the one you specify. This file should also be located in c:/tbblue/
As an example:
menu=ZX Spectrum 128K,1,7,128Kalt.rom
will add a boot menu entry that’s enabling the 128K toastrack or Amstrad grey +2 type with a bug fixed rom named 128Kalt.rom and HDMI display type. If divMMC is enabled in global settings this will require the presence of an esxDOS rom and if MF is enabled then it will require the presence of MF128.ROM in c:/tbblue/