TROJAN PEN MAKES LIGHT WORK
TROJAN PRODUCTS specialises in making light pens for a range of computers, one being the 48K Spectrum. The pen is supplied with driving software on tape which allows you to draw pictures or to choose from a menu.
Once the software has loaded, the pen plugs into the EAR socket of the Spectrum. It takes its power from a PP3 battery which is also supplied. On-screen you are given the option of drawing or instructions. The instructions show you how to use the pen and also how to modify it if you want to use it in your programs as a menu chooser.
All that needs is about 20 lines of Basic and 200 bytes of machine code, both of which are given. When using it that way the code gives a number which corresponds to the line number to which the pen is pointing. In that way it is easy to choose from a list of options.
The drawing program has two movable points and by using them you can draw lines, circles and boxes, fill areas with colour or even draw free-hand. It takes time to grow accustomed to the last option. It's very good with horizontal lines but not so good at vertical ones - they tend to 'wiggle' slightly. Other options allow you to load and save pictures, change colours, insert characters or copy the screen to a Sinclair printer.
The pen worked well and was easy to use - overall a well-thought-out product. The only difficulty which might arise is that due to changes in the Spectrum, older versions of the pen might not work with the latest version of Issue 3s. Trojan will exchange software if you experience difficulties.
The pen is reasonably priced at £17.25 inc. VAT and p&p and is available direct from Trojan Products, 166 Derlwyn, Dunvant, Swansea SA2 7PF or local computer shops.