THE PICKARD controller is a plastic box through which you can connect an Atari-type joystick to the Spectrum or ZX-81 key board. That allows you to specify which key the joystick will operate by a set of plugs on the top of the unit which represent the joystick position.
They plug into a socket - just like a MIC socket - which represents the key you want to operate. That permits you to work a program through the joystick now, or in the future. It also provides you with other uses such as quick editing, having the computer react to outside events by plugging-in a switch instead of the joystick plug, and many other things.
The unit plugs into the keyboard sockets of the computer and into the power socket of the ZX-81 or Spectrum - you must state which when ordering. The power unit then plugs into the joystick box. The keyboard leads plug into a keyboard socket on the top the keyboard plug but that may be changed so that you do not have to remove the keyboard leads.
Difficulties with the unit were caused by what appeared to be careless construction.
According to the supplier those checks will be tightened and the review unit appeared to be a rogue one. The unit is also being changed to make it easier to construct, which at present is a time-consuming operation. It is a very good idea; once the unit was soldered-up it worked perfectly. Once the construction problems have been solved, it should be a winner.
The unit is marketed by Success Services, 154 High Street, Bloxwich, Walsall, West Midlands WS13 3JT and costs £20.45 for the controller and £7.50 for the joystick. You must state on which machine you want to use it.