New to MSX and this forum (UK).

By Solvalou

Supporter (6)

Solvalou's picture

06-07-2020, 16:55

Hi there.

Just received my first MSX machine. A Philips VG-8235 and I do have plans for it and I hope I can get some help and support in the near future as I don't really know a lot about these and I intend on making this a really useable machine, despite it's limitations.

I'm currently dismantling it as I speak and awaiting a belt for the disk drive. Here's the plans I have for it:

Change keyboard from QWERTZ to QWERTY (hopefully I can find a fellow German user here that might be interested swapping, though. I'm guessing I'll need to swap some chips too).
Buy a flash cart of some kind (it's confusing to know which to choose).
Swap disk drive to a 720K one.
Fix some of the niggles like the left side keyboard hinge (need a new pin locator, might be a job for a 3D printer).
Looking forward to being more active on here and hopefully be of some use!

Any beginners advice would be greatly appreciated of course!

Thanks from the UK. (:

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By Parn

Hero (570)

Parn's picture

06-07-2020, 19:37

Congrats on the purchase! I hope the MSX can give you lots of fun! Smile

About the flash cart: really, there are many and it may be difficult to keep up with all of them, so I will leave you two recommendations. If you're strapped for cash, you'd want the simplest cart around, which is the SD Mapper (there are several variants, but they're more or less functionally equivalent). They provide an SD (or microSD) interface and RAM expansion and that's it. With it, you'll already be able to run a lot of stuff. But if you can splurge for a little more, you'd better go with the Carnivore 2, which offer a lot more:

  • Can emulate MegaROM cartridges;
  • Has both SCC and FM sound chip expansions;
  • Supports DSK emulation;
  • Supports PAC for savegames;
  • And more.

It's more expensive but it's also more bang for the buck.

By Briqunullus

Expert (86)

Briqunullus's picture

06-07-2020, 22:15

The 8235 is a great machine. I really need to get mine out of deep storage soon. I haven't touched it in 15 or 20 years, but if it's still working I'll probably get myself a MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD 512K. I also want to replace the drive with a Gotek one. Just remember, if you put a 720K drive in this machine, you will need to upgrade the diskROM!

By Solvalou

Supporter (6)

Solvalou's picture

07-07-2020, 14:38

Thanks for the responses. Thanks also for the info on flash carts, that Carnivore 2 is a beast! I'll have to keep watch for when it comes back up for sale again. Hopefully there'll be another batch someday.

The 8235 is also a bit of a pain to work on too. It's quite the puzzle to dismantle and put back together. I could really use one that's completely broken for parts frankly. I'll probably hot the sales section of the forums and see if anyone has one of these machines that I might pilfer some bits from.
I think the biggest task would be to find a replacement ROM for the disk drive along with a drive that's going to fit. Not sure if there are 3D printable adapters for smaller more modern drives.

Do either of you know what it would take to swap out keyboards? Are there chips that are removable to change the layouts?

By Grauw

Ascended (9181)

Grauw's picture

07-07-2020, 15:04

You can contact 8bits4ever or Alexey directly as well to indicate interest, they may have spares or be about to produce a new batch.

By gdx

Prophet (3571)

gdx's picture

07-07-2020, 16:00

Briqunullus wrote:

I'll probably get myself a MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD 512K.

Carnivore 2 from 8bits4ever costs almost the same price but Carnivore 2 has many more functions.

https://www.msx.org/wiki/Carnivore2
https://www.msx.org/wiki/MSX_Cartridge_Shop_MegaFlashROM_SCC...

Briqunullus wrote:

I also want to replace the drive with a Gotek one.

Gotek is almost useless when we have a MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD or a Carnivore 2.

By Parn

Hero (570)

Parn's picture

07-07-2020, 21:54

Briqunullus wrote:

The 8235 is a great machine. I really need to get mine out of deep storage soon. I haven't touched it in 15 or 20 years, but if it's still working I'll probably get myself a MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD 512K.

I'm with @gdx on this, I personally have a MFRSCC+SD (mine doesn't have memory mapper) and I love it, but really there's no reason not to get a C2 (unless you really can't get it anyway). I personally think the MFRSCC+SD used to have better sound, but C2 improved a lot.

By Briqunullus

Expert (86)

Briqunullus's picture

07-07-2020, 22:33

To me the main drawback of Carnivore 2 is availability. I know it's a beast, but if I can't get one when I need it I'll just take the other option. And besides, I already have a FM PAC laying around, so I got that difference covered.

The Gotek is just because it's dirt cheap. It allows me to play with my old disk collection without constant reflashing. For all other things I'll do on the machine I'll use the MFR (or C2 if I can get one).

Back in the days I've taken my 8235 apart quite a few times. I particularly remember those flat cables that connected the keyboard. And how I always was afraid of tearing them apart.

I had replaced the internal drive, still with a 360K one, when the original was broken. Later I added a 720K drive externally. I had made a 4 pin din connector at the back of the 8235 so the drive could get powered. And I changed the internal drive to be the B-drive. Of course the diskROM had to be changed to make this work. Are these really that hard to get nowadays? I'll bet Bas has them laying around. I got mine from him many moons ago.

From that point I had a machine that I could use for anything. I had (and still have) a Music Module, a FM-PAC, a SCC cartridge and a 512K external mapper. Opinions will differ of course, but I always preferred this machine over let's say a 8250. I would always be fighting the 8250 keyboard if I were behind one.

By Manuel

Ascended (16702)

Manuel's picture

07-07-2020, 23:07

A new batch of C2 is being produced as we speak...

By Briqunullus

Expert (86)

Briqunullus's picture

08-07-2020, 08:24

Weren't they pre order only?

I remembered there is one more thing I did to my 8235 by the way. I had to look it up, as I only knew it involved a capacitor of some sort. Luckily the 8235 wiki page has a link to the service manual. If you have a 8235/02 you will have to apply a memory fix.

Quote:

The memory mapper of the 8235/00/02/19 may give problems (second memory bank is not accessible). Solution: Mount a capacitor of 1 nF between pin 7-U23 and 8-U23 (GND).