Back in the early days of the QL in the mid 1980s, companies such as Transform made some vinyl dust covers for the QL. If I remember correctly, they were black and yellow and cost about £2.50. Nowadays, of course, expect to pay four to five times that much!
Anyway, liking the look of the ones shown in the pictures posted by vanpeebles on QL Forum, I duly ordered one. In fact, they come in two styles, a simple four sided cover at £12.00 and a version with an open flap at the back for access to cables and connectors at £15.00. Postage is an extra pound.
I opted for the version with the open flap at the back, shown in the photo above. The open flap is shown in the picture below, where you can see that it easily allows access to the EPROM slot to plug in an EPROM cartridge, serial, joystick, network, video and power cables.
It covers the QL well, just loose enough to cover the Gold Card expander heatsink just visible on the left of the first picture, and to allow the disk drive cables to emerge unhindered. If you use a 4-drive adaptor board for Gold Card to allow two dual drive cables to be connected, the dust cover would not cover that. Similarly, it would not cover expansion cards such as Trump Card, although most disk interfaces are sufficiently low profile that the dust cover will simply rest on top of them as shown in the picture on QL Forum.
The colour is a pleasant very dark grey, almost black (the power supply unit behind it in the photo in the first picture is black, for comparison), with red edging sewn on.
The dust cover itself in made of a fabric material, not plastic or vinyl. At first, it felt to me as if it would attract a lot of dust, but that hasn’t been the case. The red ‘Sinclair QL’ logo is done in the square Sinclair lettering and the original ‘QL’ typeface – it looks as though the logo is done on a transfer material and glued onto the fabric. The logo backing is slightly darker than the rest of the dustcover and looks really nice.
I corresponded briefly with Daniel Rigley about this dust cover, as the Sinclair QL cover is not really advertised anywhere yet. You can get the Amiga ones through Amibay and Spectrum ones via World of Spectrum but at the moment the only way to get the QL ones is to contact Daniel Rigley (also known as Riggz) at Retro-Protect direct via email to riggz101 AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk (obviously replace the AT and DOT with @ and . respectively for email). I’m pleased to say he was extremely helpful and always responded within 24 hours. I paid by Paypal – you will need to ask him for exact price including postage to your country and for the payment details of where to send money to.
I did try to persuade him to make them available for QL users somewhere (e.g. on SellMyRetro.com), although I don’t think I was successful in that. He did, however, say that although most of their dust covers are made for Sinclair and Commodore computers they will consider making custom ones if given measurements and may consider discounting for multiple items – an opening for a QL trader, perhaps?
My first impression was that fifteen pounds plus postage was a lot of money to pay just for a dust cover, but it’s been worth it. Had I wanted to order more than one it may have resulted in a discount, so in the end I’m reasonably happy to have paid that much for a one-off item of this quality. It keeps the QL clean and tidy when not in use and it looks good too.
One minor point is that you should not leave the QL switched on while covered, as I did during an absent minded moment, as it seems to get much warmer than usual.