Got my first MSX2 (Panasonic FS-A1)

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By ckrtech

Resident (36)

ckrtech's picture

06-06-2008, 03:09

Hey all.

Well - Several months ago, I managed to score an MSX2. It is the Panasonic FS-A1. Two games came with it - Laydock and Salamander. It's my first experience with the REAL thing! I know I don't have an MSX2+, and I know I kinda jumped the gun and said "OH! MSX!" and bought it without a whole lot research...but I thought I would finally jump into the msx.org community and ask "what would you say it is....I do here?"

I would like to collect for it. I am one of those guys that loves REAL hardware when it comes to gaming and prefer to play the games on the real machine. That said, I don't have too much of a software library yet. It's kinda hard to acquire it in the U.S. I was mostly looking to pick up Aleste, Aleste II, Zanac, and a few Konami games. My wallet might not be big enough for that yet, but maybe those games are in my future!

This Panasonic FS-A1 lacks a floppy drive, and I wouldn't mind adding one. I am also quite curious what other "MSX hotrod work" I can do with this model. I am not sure how complex it can get, but I am pretty handy with a soldering iron. Sounds like more RAM is good - as always. I don't have too much knowledge of the inner-workings of an MSX yet, but I like learning about the systems just about as much as I like to play them.

So I know I am just another newbie, but I wanted to jump in, say hey, and listen to whatever other MSX fans want to say about my good/bad decision my first MSX (2) was.

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By rolins

Champion (418)

rolins's picture

06-06-2008, 06:45

Welcome and congrats on scoring a MSX2 of your own. There's plenty of accessories to supe up that FS-A1 but it'll definitely cost ya $$$. Try and contact Leonardo Padial, he's develops alot of MSX hardware that you'll be interested in. Hardware such as external RAM, FDD controllers, PSG/SCC/FM card, and slot expanders can be purchased from him. I don't own one but I think his FDD controller will allow you to attach a PC floppy drive which you'll definitely need if you want to play Aleste 2. Also check with Manuel Pazos for the MegaFlashSCC which is a cartridge that doubles as a SCC cart but will let you play almost every MSX rom.

By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

06-06-2008, 07:11

FS-A1 is great for playing originals. However for any homebrew/cracked versions (like the famous MG2 english disk version), you'll need 512K RAM, SCC cart with ROM kill switch and a floppy drive.

The most economical way to get all those wonderful things is to dump FS-A1 and get a Panasonic FX/WX/WSX MSX2+ with 512K mod, or mod it yourself. As added benefit you'll have 1.5X Turbo mode, FM-PAC (not on FX) and beautiful S-Video out that works great on any recent NTSC TV.

By Leo

Paragon (1236)

Leo's picture

06-06-2008, 07:46

i agree with dhau,i have spent many $$ buying intermediate msx with upgrades ; it is much cheaper to go directly to a "high end" msx.
This is at least an msx2 with 256kb ram + fdisk + ntsc/110v for usa.
-> So, msx turbo r is made for you...
Maybe the new nowind cartridge is usefull for your case : you can load software into your msx from your pc as if it was a usd mass storage, this
may replace fdisk.

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1406)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

06-06-2008, 17:49

since you already HAVE this machine id go for a CF interface from SUNRISE if i were you
no need for floppies anymore

if you have such a thingy together with a FLASHROM from manuel pazos you will be able to play almost all games (99%)

these items arent really cheap but they are compatible with all other msx computers which may come into your possesion in the future....

By Leo

Paragon (1236)

Leo's picture

06-06-2008, 18:15

CF will not work with only 64kb of ram.

By ckrtech

Resident (36)

ckrtech's picture

07-06-2008, 05:44

Thanks for all the feedback.

Wow. Multiple options here. I guess I should have talked to you guys first before picking up a machine - I just pounced on this one back when I got it. I was hoping perhaps I could do some "garage updates" to it if I needed to get it up to spec - increase the ram, hook a PC floppy drive up to it, etc. It's tough to hear that it will run so much money to get it up there. I guess simply getting the machine wasn't the easiest part of the equation.

Is the RAM upgradeable in this one? I was reading in another thread about pulling RAM chips off an old VGA card - but I only read it in passing as I was searching for so many things at the same time.

Can I hook up a floppy by only wiring up a cable...sounds like I need an FDD controller though? Hmmm.

So far, most of my research has yielded hardware specific mods you can do that are for other machines...but I didn't see any Panasonics mentioned.

Arg. I guess buying a different model would save money in the long haul. I just wish I owned more games that I would want to play before spending a lot more money....(which I would have to do anyway just for parts I guess).

By msxrestarter

Master (224)

msxrestarter's picture

07-06-2008, 10:58

Try http://msx.retro8bits.com/ , a great msx site by HansO ;)

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1406)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

07-06-2008, 12:24

CF will not work with only 64kb of ram.

ok i didnt know that

@ckrtech
a philips 8250 is by far easiest to modify (but needs 230V power)

so Powerwise you would need a japanese system (110 V)

i dont know which japanese systems have 128 or more Kb
(oh,a TurboR ST has that)

By Manuel

Ascended (18744)

Manuel's picture

07-06-2008, 18:13

You can't just connect a floppy drive indeed. You indeed need a controller and diskROM for that.

By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

08-06-2008, 05:59

Hi, ckrtech. If your computer has S1985 chip, then probably you can replace memory with 256K of SRAM, as described by DamageX somewhere in this forum. If it's successful, please share the details and macro-photos with us!

Good luck

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