I have some ZX Spectrums, and in some of them I observe a kind of "disintegration" process of the main board. The connectors break away etc. During the tests one of the boards burned out :(.

How can I stop or slow down this ageing process?

This answer is not strictly related to your question: you can re-create PCB (nowadays PCB manufacturing is cheap) and then just resolder key components on the newer one (also replacing such things as electrolytic capacitors). If you already have a broken ZX, accurate soldering off of all components could be made, then the empty PCB could be both sides scanned -- like it is a piece of paper. After that, newer PCB drawing in some CAD would be next to trivial.

The ULA chip in the ZX Spectrum (48K version at least) has been completely (100%) reversed engineered by Chris Smith. He released the design to the public (look up his book...it's amazing) and since then, people have created new boards that will fit in a ZX Spectrum case. These boards (along with off-the-shelf components) can recreate the functionality of the ZX Spectrum.

Also, the keyboard membrane, keyboard connector and case have all been remade recently. You can literally build a new ZX Spectrum in all kinds of colors and run 100% of the software (or so I've read). All without emulation! This is pretty amazing in my opinion.

Those boards are on eBay. Look for "Harlequin".

One example is here:

http://www.malinov.com/Home/sergey-s-blog/buildingzxspectrumclone-harlequin-part1

That site uses a 3D printed case but since then, there have been professional cases made using the original molds.

Now, if creating a modern version of the ZX Spectrum is not your cup of tea, then there is no reason why you can't recap the board and "future proof" it as best you can. The ULA is about the only chip you need to worry about. The others can be replaced pretty easy and there are tons of new equipment made for it.

I suggest watching these videos on repairing ZX Spectrum's.

https://www.youtube.com/user/JoulesperCoulomb

He's pretty much the expert on repairing ZX Spectrum's. Also, he sales (or at least he used to) a modern SRAM replacement for 16K/48K Speccy's.

  • The videos at youtube.com/user/JoulesperCoulomb are just great. Thank you @cbmeeks for sharing this. – Adam Boczek Aug 12 at 7:39
  • @AdamBoczek my pleasure. Even though I'm more of a 6502 man, I love his videos. I wished he would make more. Also, I have purchased his ZX Spectrum RAM expansion board and it was very professionally built. Worked great. Took my 16K Speccy to 48K with modern chips. – cbmeeks 2 days ago
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    I don't understand which part of this answer addresses the question (How can I stop or slow down this ageing process?) - please can you remove the irrelevant parts and just keep the bit that explains how to reduce the rate of deterioration. – Toby Speight 2 days ago

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