Dumping/reverse engineering MSX models thread

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By bsittler

Expert (79)

bsittler's picture

18-10-2020, 04:29

Cx5miif will take even longer, but in the meantime I re-discovered trivia likely long known to better-informed MSX fans:

First: the Victor CX-101 TV (related to CX-101M monitor but including speaker and tuner) has a 270 degree 8 pin DIN input labelled RGB, but sadly it's just TTL-level "D8A" and can't be combined with audio input. It can only produce 8 distinct colors. The dual RCA composite video+mono audio inputs on this TV work fine however for NTSC MSX machines, and the RF input works for at least some Japanese MSX'es. The TTL RGB input apparently combines HSYNC and VSYNC internally, so plain CSYNC works on either pin too (or both!)

Second: the CX5MU (US model of CX5M) has a 5 pin DIN A/V jack which is compatible with A/V cables made for the Commodore ViC-20 and C= 64. Of course an 8-pin Y/C (S-Video like) Commodore 64 video cable won't fit

By enribar

Paragon (1102)

enribar's picture

28-11-2020, 19:17

First of all, I own the Fenner DD-300. Second thing, in the 90s I scanned that photo showing the Fenner DD-40 published on this page https://www.msx.org/wiki/Fenner_DD-300
Obviously they are 2 distinct products and the double mention on the photo has this meaning: we sell the new model DD-400 floppy drive, but we have DD-300s in stock, too.
DD-400 model comes after the DD-300. I should open the DD-300 to search for some production date (maybe 1985?).
I think Fenner sold MSXs very good in Italy, so could anyone add these MSXs to the international amount? ;-)
Same story for the Frael Bruc 100...

By enribar

Paragon (1102)

enribar's picture

28-11-2020, 19:27

About the Frael Bruc 100, we have to thank this special guy: Alessandro Liberalato.
Since he was 13, he has been interested in retrocomputing and MSX has a special place in his heart and mind!
We have done a great job in inheriting this passion to the new generations. :-)
Alessandro finally dumped the COMPLETE Frael Bruc 100 System ROMs v.1.1 and v1.2 with and EPROM reader/programmer.
Now we publish them for study and emulation, you can find them here:
http://www.msxit.org
Please mention Alessandro Liberalato into emulators' credits, thankyou.

By Manuel

Ascended (17341)

Manuel's picture

28-11-2020, 22:15

Thanks, that V1.0 firmware wasn't dumped at all yet! It looks very similar to the V1.2 firmware dump we already had (which is also 8kB).

And the V1.2 firmware is 32kB and looks a lot more like the V1.3 firmware than the V1.2 firmware dump I already had.

One would think there is also some 1.1 firmware around... Is that known?

I'm aware of the following Frael Bruc ROMs:

Frael Bruc 1:
3abca440cba16ac5e162b602557d30169f77adab V1.1 MCL 06-87 [27256 EPROM].bin (BIOS/BASIC ROM as found in Frael Bruc 1, V1.1.)
3abca440cba16ac5e162b602557d30169f77adab bruc100_1_basic-bios1.rom (see previous)
e4ffe02abbda17986cb161c332e9e54d24fd053c F V1.0 06-87 [2764 EPROM].bin 8kB firmware ROM, just shows a logo

Frael Bruc 2:
88611b54cdbb79aa5380570f3dfef8b3a1cc2057 V1.2 MCL 12-88 U5 [27256 EPROM].bin (BIOS/BASIC ROM as found in Frael Bruc 2, V1.2)
88611b54cdbb79aa5380570f3dfef8b3a1cc2057 bruc100_2_basic-bios1.rom (see previous)

b4c9a06054cda5fd31311a79cc06e6f018cf828f bruc100_2_firmware1.2.rom 8kB firmware ROM, just shows a logo
85ab6946950d4e329d5703b5defcce46cd96a50e bruc100_2_firmware1.3.rom 32kB firmware ROM, shows logo and has menu with trainer option
88611b54cdbb79aa5380570f3dfef8b3a1cc2057 V1.2 MCL 12-88 U5 [27256 EPROM].bin 32kB firmware ROM, shows logo and has menu with trainer option

So the b4c9a06054cda5fd31311a79cc06e6f018cf828f and e4ffe02abbda17986cb161c332e9e54d24fd053c are similar and also the 85ab6946950d4e329d5703b5defcce46cd96a50e and 88611b54cdbb79aa5380570f3dfef8b3a1cc2057 are similar.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5758)

mars2000you's picture

28-11-2020, 22:08

Probably what we thought as version 1.2 (8kB) is actually version 1.1. I've updated the Wiki in this approach.

By Manuel

Ascended (17341)

Manuel's picture

28-11-2020, 22:17

mars2000you: that would explain things indeed. I am not sure how these version numbers were determined, they are not in the ROM, so they can only be read from the IC label, as Alessandro did.

By enribar

Paragon (1102)

enribar's picture

30-11-2020, 10:12

About the Frael and Frael Bruc 100 pages, this is not correct:
"... designed to be used in secondary schools (Scuola 2F and 3F) for learning the BASIC language."
Scuola 2F and 3F are private schools.

By sdsnatcher73

Paragon (1381)

sdsnatcher73's picture

12-12-2020, 13:01

I received my Sony HB-T600 today. I have dumped the plain ROMs. I want to dump the firmware as well (which reportedly has a complex mapper, the initial visible content is in the romdump). Also there seems to be a rom In slot 3-2 (which is not in the Wiki yet). I would appreciate some help in dumping the whole ROM in slot 3-1 and identify the ROM in slot 3-2 and see if it is complete or is also a mapper.

First findings. MSX BASIC-BIOS and the MSX2 subrom are the same as HB-F900 (and as such many other MSX2 machines). The disk ROM is the same as the HB-F1XD!

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5758)

mars2000you's picture

12-12-2020, 16:03

As already mentioned here in the past: the firmware rom can be found on the blueMSX site. Besides, it's the same application as in the HBI-1200 modem, but the sha1 values are different. The mapper is probably similar to the mapper used for the Mitsubishi ML-T2 firmware (there are 4 blocks of 16kB inside the 64kB ROM), and it needs indeed further invrstigation.

Concerning the slot map: I had found it on a Japanese site (no more existing) and it didn't mention a rom in slot 3-2. Besides, you need also to dump the Kanji-ROM JIS1.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5758)

mars2000you's picture

12-12-2020, 16:23

Here's the Japanese text that was available in the past:

HB-T600など、通信型MSX2のスロット構成

 以前アスキー社発行「MSXマガジン」に掲載されていたMSX診断プログラムでスロット構成を調べました。
 ついでに他の通信型(モデムorRS-232C搭載機種)も併記しておきます。参考までに。

HB-T600のスロット構成

0.MSX-BASIC
1.スロット1
2.スロット2
3-0.MSX2-BASIC+FDD
3-1.モデム(拡張BIOS)
3-2.空き
3-3.RAM(128kB)メモリマッパー搭載

HB-T7のスロット

0.MSX-BASIC
1.スロット1
2.スロット2
3-0.MSX2-BASIC
3-1.モデム(拡張BIOS)
3-2.空き
3-3.RAM(64kB)メモリマッパ無
※RAM容量とFDDの有無以外、HB-T600との違いはありません。

FS-A1FMのスロット

0.MSX-BASIC
1.スロット1
2.スロット2
3.拡張スロット(S1985チップで拡張されていると思われる)
3-0.RAM(64kB)なぜかメモリマッパ搭載
3-1.MSX2-BASIC+モデム(拡張BIOS)
3-2.FDD
3-3.ROM[A1コクピット]
※基本構成はFS-A1Fと同じです。A1Fでは3-1.もA1コクピットでしたが、ここに強引にモデムを入れたのでしょうか。

ML-TS2H
※実機がなく調査不能です。お持ちの方、データ下さい。

ML-G30(RS-232C付) 以前持っていた頃のメモより抜粋。[日立MB-H70はこの機種のOEMと思われるので同一と判断。]
0.MSX-BASIC
1.外部スロット
2.内部スロット。
3-0.MSX2-BASIC+FDD 
3-1.RAM(128kB)マッパー有 
3-2.内部スロット 
3-3.内部スロット・RS-232C用

※HX-23F,HX-34,HC-90,YIS805などは実機がなく調査不能、RS-232C搭載機種については少量多機種であるため当方では把握しきれていません。悪しからず。

 ビクターHC-95に関してはスロットマップが他のサイトに掲載されていますのでそちらをご覧下さい。

Google translation:

 Slot configuration of communication type MSX2 such as HB-T600

 I checked the slot configuration with the MSX diagnostic program previously published in "MSX Magazine" published by ASCII.
 In addition, other communication types (modem or RS-232C equipped model) are also listed. For your reference.

HB-T600 slot configuration

0. MSX-BASIC
1. Slot 1
2. Slot 2
3-0. MSX2-BASIC + FDD
3-1. Modem (extended BIOS)
3-2. Empty
3-3. Equipped with RAM (128kB) memory mapper

HB-T7 slot

0. MSX-BASIC
1. Slot 1
2. Slot 2
3-0. MSX2-BASIC
3-1. Modem (extended BIOS)
3-2. Empty
3-3. RAM (64kB) No memory mapper
* There is no difference from HB-T600 except for RAM capacity and the presence or absence of FDD.

FS-A1FM slot

0. MSX-BASIC
1. Slot 1
2. Slot 2
3. Expansion slot (probably expanded with S1985 chip)
3-0. RAM (64kB) Equipped with memory mapper for some reason
3-1. MSX2-BASIC + Modem (Extended BIOS)
3-2. FDD
3-3. ROM [A1 cockpit]
* The basic configuration is the same as FS-A1F. On A1F, 3-1. Was also an A1 cockpit, but did you forcibly insert a modem here?

ML-TS2H
* It is impossible to investigate because there is no actual machine. If you have one, please give me the data.

ML-G30 (with RS-232C) Excerpt from the memo I had before. [Hitachi MB-H70 seems to be an OEM of this model, so it is judged to be the same. ]
0. MSX-BASIC
1. External slot
2. Internal slot.
3-0. MSX2-BASIC + FDD 
3-1. RAM (128kB) with mapper 
3-2. Internal slot 
3-3. For internal slot RS-232C

* HX-23F, HX-34, HC-90, YIS805, etc. cannot be investigated because there is no actual machine, and RS-232C-equipped models are small in quantity and many models, so we cannot fully grasp them. Not bad.

 For JVC HC-95, please see the slot map posted on other sites.

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