Bought a Al Alamiah AX230 MSX (R) - كمبيوتر صخر - Very Rare Personal Computer

By iNOTaRobot

Supporter (2)

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19-04-2021, 12:52

I was lucky enough to buy back on 15th July 2017, from a Goodwill Charity store here in Australia, a Red color one of these AX230 MSX machines.

It had suffered an impact to the keyboard that had bent an internal light weight metal sheet that supported the keyboard and cause the keys to physically stick.

My work on correcting this can be found on my post on Vintage Computer Forum
https://www.vcfed.org/forum/forum/genres/other/59512-bought-...

At 69 years old I started in Computers in 1976, so I have a fair amount of knowledge. Having Irish/ English heritage my Arabic language skills are zero

So I have joined this forum to ask for assistance as follows.

Well fast forward to April 2021 and as we had Maria's (my House mate) sister and her young teenage daughter Lauren visit last weekend, I brought this Computer up to house (from my workshop) and connected it to our TV. I had forgotten how to use it. Mind you my Arabic is ZERO, and I have no User manual for it. So Lauren played with it but could not access the games.

So after they left I hunted for a manual after having a further attempt at using it. Found one for its little brother the AX170 and downloaded it.. Tried for about 4hrs and still could not find how get into the Games section of ROM.
Looking back at my old pic from when I played with unit after fixing it I saw this photo, so I assume i had got into this menu screen back in 2017. But now (Aprin 2021) I cannot find how to access it.

I assume its from this menu but I tried all of the 7 selections but none got me to the menu in above photo

However I preserved and got this to open, but no idea how to use (play) it

I cannot find an AX230 manual in pdf online.

Also I tried the Cartridge that came with the machine. With power of I inserted the Cartridge and then powered unit on, It did NOT boot of cartridge nor did the machine hang, but simply loaded the internal rom code as before.

So i have no idea at this stage if a: fault is in the cartridge or b: in the machine?

Wonder if anyone here has any clues please ?

So bottom line is its now going to be an item I will sell in coming months, as I really was never of the time period of computer gaming and I am not from an Arabic ethnic background so the educational section would be better value for someone that can appreciate it and use it.

BTW the following picture is of part of my workshop. So as you can tell I have way to much other gear to get on with fixing or using.

By the way the very colored patch panel shown on the machine in LH front of pic is the Programming panel of a circa 1964 Analog Computer by EAI from USA .. being a TR-20

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By jltursan

Prophet (2480)

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19-04-2021, 15:25

Oh, I remember this VCF thread, nice to hear again about your AX-230 Smile

If you want to enter the entertainment software menu, try pressing "6". If screen doesn't changes, maybe you're suffering again keyboard problems.
Check the Sakhr AX-230 Wiki page, you'll find a lot of helpful infos there...

By iNOTaRobot

Supporter (2)

iNOTaRobot's picture

20-04-2021, 07:34

Thank you @jltursan for your input. I tried number 6 and no joy.
so booted into basic and typed all the keyboard characters lower and upper case.
It became immediately clear i had a fault in keyboard as more than one key was not functioning.

So I took photos of the screen and then opened machine, and dismantled the keyboard ""sandwich""

I layed it out and put markers on the key contact and noted it could not be a single trace issue as they was not common trace that was causing the all the keys to be not working.

So I cleaned the 2 flat ribbon flying lead contact sets that are used to connect the keyboard to motherboard with isopropal alcohol and reassembled machine.

Repeated the keyboard test in basic and ALL the keys work.

I then hit reset and got the main menu. Hit 6 and got into the games menu, YAAAAA all good.

Powered down , inserted the MSK My Ching Cartridge and turned machine on. NO boot from Cartridge.
Turned machine of, removed Cartridge and prized it open. Checked tracks and saw the edge fingers were slightly sticky with some sort of clear gum. Use my Isopropyl Alcohol to clean then, Plus sprayed a little into the cartridge connector on the AX-230 PCB. Did a few cycles of insertion and removal cleaning cartridge edge connector each time as a precaution.

Finally closed cartridge case and inserted it into the slot.

Powered machine on and YES the AX-230 booted straight into the game.

By jltursan

Prophet (2480)

jltursan's picture

20-04-2021, 08:38

That's it, good work! Big smile