Cambridge Z88

This web space has been created by and for the 'die-hard' users of the Cambridge Z88, the iPad of the 80's, launched in September 1987 at the PCW computer show in London. The company behind it was Cambridge Computer, a spring-off company of Sinclair Research, founded by Clive Sinclair. The Z88 was the final computer in the Z80 CPU "series" that Clive Sinclair created with the team of designers and engineers that also were famous for the ZX-80, ZX-81 and ZX Spectrum.

The object of this project is to streamline the operating system, OZ and to build new applications by replacing the built-in ROM with a larger device. All the software and documents here, is provided for free, ready to be downloaded in source code, or as ready-made binaries - all GPL V2 licensed.

This project started in 1989, when the Z88 was still commercially supported by Cambridge Computer - the manufacturer of the Z88. The idea behind this was to identify low cost tools (ideally for free) to develop applications, in the hope that a broader software base would prolong the life of the portable; tools that could be used by both professionals and enthusiasts. Cambridge Computer supported the software with very expensive compiler tools. This, and the cost of the incomplete 'Z88 Developer Notes,' took software development beyond the reach of the hobbyist.

The Z88 project was formed on Sourceforge in 2002, where a group of people uploaded source code and tools, that had been produced since 1989. After the launch of the public project on Sourceforge, a lot of more work has been achieved from valued contributions made during those years by the community, for the community. In 2006 Richard Russell (author of BBC BASIC) released a new version for Z88 which incorporated "the patch" (*EDIT, MODE, CLG, DRAW, MOVE, PLOT and POINT commands), now integrated as part of the Z88 ROM.

Clive Sinclair

30/07/40 - 16/09/21

Doing software development on a real Z88 is possible, but it is very cumbersome and inefficient. A Z88 emulator was built (OZvm) and is still being improved, so that tools could be used to develop, compile, execute and test the software seamlessly on one computer. A small, dedicated team got together, disassembled the original code and provided a full source listing of the "OZ" v4 ROM. This version was then worked on, improving its operation and fixing bugs. Whilst understanding what the software was doing, the 'Z88 Developer Notes' were expanded and updated with this knowledge. You can now upload the completed version of OZ and use it on your own Z88.

Many ideas and suggestions were expressed by individual users at that time in the only public forum available, "Z88 EPROM," a bi-monthly magazine published by Roy Woodward. Many of these ideas from that publication have been implemented into this project.

Years later, long after Cambridge Computer had closed, a small company remained to support the Z88 commercially, Rakewell Ltd - and still does today. The internet has now become a useful way to get support for the Z88.

Latest project news are written in the BLOG.

  • Available documentation:

Space: BBC BASIC (Z80) Reference Guide for Cambridge Z88
The 2nd edition of the original BBC BASIC Reference Guide, updated with many new details.
Space: Cambridge Z88 User Guide
Z88 User Guide 6th edition. The user guide reflects the OZ ROM V4.5 and later releases, developed by the Z88 Community.
Space: CPU Assembler - Mpm
This crossassembler command line tool currently supports compilation of Cambridge Z88 ROM (Zilog Z80) source code and Ca…
Space: EazyLink Client
Documentation about the EazyLink Client that runs on a desktop operating system like Linux, Mac OSX or Windows and conne…
Space: EazyLink Client User Guide V1.0
The online User Guide that is accessed through the browser from the EazyLink II Desktop Client
Space: EazyLink Popdown
The EazyLink popdown is run on the Z88, and is the server part which listens to commands sent to it through the serial p…
Space: FlashStore (Z88 popdown)
Flashstore is a dedicated file manager for Rakewell flash cards and is also able to fetch & store files on EPROM cards. …
Space: OZvm User Guide V1.1
The online user guide that is referred, when clicking the "User Guide" menu.
Space: PC PipeDream
Space: RomCombiner (Z88 BBC BASIC)
RomCombiner is a BASIC program which allows you to combine several ROM images onto a single card, thus enabling you to u…
Space: RomUpdate (Z88 application & BBC BASIC)
Space: UnZip (Z88 Application)
Space: Welcome
This is the Home Page
Space: Z88 Developers' Notes
These notes provides a comprehensive description of the hardware and software of the Z88 portable. The machine has a pow…
Space: Z88 Emulator - "OZvm"
The "OZ" virtual machine is the hardware emulation of the Cambridge Z88 portable computer and periphial cards, whose mai…
Space: Z88 EPROM Magazines
All the Z88 EPROM Club Magazines in PDF format
Space: Z88 Leaflets, Applications & Projects
Z88 Applications need to be written. Projects need to be built. This section is a central resource for them both, to ac…
Space: Z88MAGIC
This book will help all users of the Z88 to reach an understanding of how to use it with the minimum of hassle. Topics c…
Space: Z88 Quick Guide & Help
This section is for users who have acquired a Z88 and want to know either how to get it working, or what they need to ge…
Space: Z88 ROM
All documentation and information about the Z88 ROM development
Space: Z88 Service Manual
The service manual includes a description of the circuit together with test routines. It also describes details of Z88 T…
Space: Z88 User Guide V4.0
The original Z88 User Guide 4th edition as it was supplied with the Z88 computer, edited with updated screenshots and gr…
Space: ZipUp

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