Dumping/reverse engineering MSX models thread

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By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3367)

sd_snatcher's picture

10-04-2016, 18:08

I'm opening this thread to have a single point of information for MSX owners to know how to easily reverse engineer and dump their MSX models so they can be properly emulated, usually by openMSX or BlueMSX teams. Until now, both the information on how to do it and the utilities where scattered over the Net and many utilities where hard to find.

To help in this process, I gathered a set of utilities used for the reverse engineering and published them here.

Inside of the zip file there's a README.TXT that explains what each utility does, and how to use them.

Before you begin, always check if your machine isn't already emulated in this list. Please note that there are different region models (i.e.: Japanese and European) of many machines and not all variations have been dumped yet. For example:

  • The European Toshiba HX-10 have been dumped, but the original Japanese model hasn't
  • Most of the European Spectravideo models have been dumped, but the US models still haven't
  • The European Sony HB-F500P have been dumped, but the Japanese HB-F500 hasn't
  • The Mitsubishi ML-G1 European model have been dumped, but the Japanese model hasn't
  • The Russian Yamaha YIS805/128 have been dumped, but not the Japanese model
  • Only the Yamaha CX5M & CX5MII European models have been dumped. Many other models are missing: US, Australian, etc.

Many other relevant machines are still missing:

  • Daewoo CPC-300
  • Hitachi MB-H50
  • Toshiba HX-23
  • Toshiba HX-23F
  • Toshiba HX-33
  • Toshiba HX-34
  • Talent DPC-300
  • Mitsubishi ML-G10
  • Mitsubishi ML-G30
  • Mitsubishi ML-G30mkII
  • Sanyo PHC-55FD2
  • Yamaha YIS805/256
  • Yamaha CX7M
  • Many models from the middle East
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By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5606)

NYYRIKKI's picture

10-04-2016, 18:21

sd_snatcher wrote:

To help in this process, I gathered a set of utilities used for the reverse engineering and published them here.

Very nice, but I would like to add Super-X to the list. It is only for MSX2 & up but it has been my number one reverse engineering tool since I got the first version to my hands in early 90's. When you get undocumented memory mappers or other devices to your hands, this is THE toolbox for the job.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5706)

mars2000you's picture

10-04-2016, 18:46

Other missing tools : GETROM.BIN and KANJIROM.BAS.

By Manuel

Ascended (17072)

Manuel's picture

10-04-2016, 22:27

You don't really need GETROM.BIN if you have SAVEROM.COM. But the README says that SAVEROM will show a memory map where ROMs are found. That's not true I think, only GETROM.BIN shows some standard ROMs. It's better to dump with SAVEROM.COM anyway, but then you need to know which slots to dump. At least MSXMEM will give some hints on that.

The KANJIROM.BAS is included in the REVRENG folder.

By the way, the zip contains the usual MAC_OSX hidden folders... quite annoying that OS X does that Sad

Anyway, great initiative!!

When dumping, please also make a picture of:
- the keyboard (to see what keyboard type it is)
- the bottom plate (to see the serial number, so we can document on which machine exactly we based the configuration for the emulator)
- all connectors (to verify which ones it has, e.g. some do not have a printer port or only one joystick port, or special ports and to see how many cartridge slots it has on the outside)
- if possible also of the mainboard in such a way that all chips can be read. Especially useful for MSX1 machines to know which kind of VDP is used exactly.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5706)

mars2000you's picture

10-04-2016, 22:33

The advantage of GETROM.BIN is that you don't need MSX-DOS. But of course, for 'exotic' roms, other tools are required.

By Manuel

Ascended (17072)

Manuel's picture

10-04-2016, 22:54

The problem with getrom is (besides that it doesn't recognize all ROMs) that it doesn't give any info on how the ROM is mirrored in the slot. Note that a full slot dump may also reveal other info (e.g. the initial RAM pattern if the slot contains RAM).

By Grauw

Ascended (9382)

Grauw's picture

10-04-2016, 23:28

SAVEROM 1.2 has a nice /S option to show the slotmap.

By Manuel

Ascended (17072)

Manuel's picture

10-04-2016, 23:32

Ah, great, I didn't know that Smile I was still using 1.0... :S

By Piter Punk

Master (220)

Piter Punk's picture

14-04-2016, 02:21

KANJIROM.BAS always gives "Overflow" (ML-G30 and HB-T7)

Then I try to run it on ML-G30 from floppy disk (and with NEXTOR disabled). It "works" but asks for drive A:. My ML-G30 drive A: is broked (only now I found this problem, didn't test the floppy drives before).

So, no Kanji ROM dump.

By Pencioner

Scribe (1198)

Pencioner's picture

14-04-2016, 23:27

In the list of emulated machines there's NMS8045 but no NMS8035 - are they much similar or was it just not dumped yet? It's not a rare model though.

By Manuel

Ascended (17072)

Manuel's picture

15-04-2016, 20:57

I guess you mean VG-8235? If so, check at the V, not at the N Tongue

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