Help with MSX2 set-up?

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By cathedral_junky

Supporter (3)

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09-05-2019, 13:36

Hey guys excuse the super basic questions but I haven't had much luck searching through google myself, except for a bunch of people pointing me toward this site. So I finally got myself an MSX2 after wanting one forever (Panasonic FS-A1 Mk.II) however it didn't include an ac adapter. Where can I get a decent ac adapter for it so I can make sure it's working when it arrives ? I have a step down converter (I live in the US) that I use with my famicom/mark iii/pc-engine/etc. so I would assume that'd be fine here as well ? From the shape of the port it looks a lot to me like the same port my Neo Geo CD uses, are they compatible? Or if they make a universal adapter for it I would love to know. Also I'd like to get an FDD for it since a lot of the cartridge games I like (mostly shooters) are a bit expensive for me. Also side inquiry I guess, but if I get the hang of this as much as I hope to, there are a few other older computers ive always been interested in, any recommendations for a good monitor? I don't have a crt monitor just yet, and the MSX I bought came with composite cables so I plan on just using those for now, but I'd like to invest in a decent monitor that can support other platforms (namely C64/AtariST + also if I ever hit the lotto I'd kill for either an FM Townes/x68000/PC-9801). Basically I know nothing about the nuances between computer monitor av formats and it'd be a bit of a waste for me to invest in a set up only to have to change to another one if I ever wanna get into another platform.
Probably rambled a bit but basically I just need to know:

Where can I get an ac adapter / what ac adapter do I need for this particular model:

Where can I get a decent FDD that works with this model and what else do I need to get that working:

Any somewhat affordable monitor recs with good compatibility to other formats: (just a general idea of what to look out for)

+anything else you guys think would be useful knowledge for beginners.

This is my first foray into ~vintage~ pcs, always been a console boy all my life since older computers always seemed a bit daunting (both in terms of complexity and price) so please bare with my extremely beginner questions, thanks a lot for reading ! Hope this isn't an annoying first post.

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By rderooy

Hero (518)

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09-05-2019, 15:15

Ouch. Not having the AC adapter for that model is a bit of a problem. The problem is that you need to provide two different voltages, 9 and 18V. So if you don't have the original adapter you will need to use two different adapters to provide it. Just look at the wiki page, there is a picture of the original AC adapter with the pins and voltages needed.
https://www.msx.org/wiki/Panasonic_FS-A1mkII.

As to the FDD, if you want to go old school, get yourself a 2DD FDD with Interface cartridge. They show up regularly on Yahoo Japan Marketplace. Alternatively get yourself a modern flash storage solution. These later once will typically give you also a RAM expansion, which is useful for some European titles and running MSX-DOS2, and allow you to play both ROM and disk games.
Examples of popular cartridges:
https://www.msx.org/wiki/MSX_Cartridge_Shop_MegaFlashROM_SCC...
https://www.msx.org/wiki/8bits4ever_Carnivore_2

By Manuel

Ascended (15362)

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09-05-2019, 15:22

Get any CRT monitor that accepts analog RGB with 15kHz signal (normal classic TV signal frequency) and both 60 and 50 Hz display frequency if possible (but at least 60Hz).

By Manuel

Ascended (15362)

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09-05-2019, 15:25

By rderooy

Hero (518)

rderooy의 아바타

09-05-2019, 15:32

Regarding the NeoGeo PSU, I don't know if the connector will physically fit, but

  1. The voltages don't match. Neo Geo uses 5 and 10V, while you need 9 and 18V
  2. It seems the Ground pin is where the 18V should be (and vice-versa), so you will short things out, so don't plug it into the MSX while plugged into the wall!

If the connector fits, you should be able to cut the cable and re-wire it to match the pin configuration the MSX needs. But you still need to find both a 9 and 18V power supply to supply those voltages.

By cathedral_junky

Supporter (3)

cathedral_junky의 아바타

09-05-2019, 16:21

thanks for the reply ! im a bit confused by what you mean by needing two different adapters. wouldn't I just need a single adapter that supports both voltages (assuming they're not a rarity or something) like in the image ? or is that including the 100v to 120v conversion adapter for use in my country ? Any tips on where to look for what I need ? I have no idea how to rewire anything sadly. Or if I'm reading correctly that I would need two separate power supplies, how would that work, like one would pass through to the other ? As you can probably tell electronics isn't really my strong suit.
Seems like the only original one I could find is about $80~ on yahoo auctions which is a bit steep but if it's most practical option for me might have to consider it.

By Manuel

Ascended (15362)

Manuel의 아바타

09-05-2019, 18:37

These adapters are a rarity, they were only made for this type of computer (the FS-A1 and A1mk2).

As someone put it: never buy an A1 without the adapter Tongue

If you can find one, I guess you should just buy it...

By Grauw

Enlighted (8015)

Grauw의 아바타

09-05-2019, 20:01

Hey cathedral_junky, welcome!

Indeed it’s a bit unfortunate, these adapters are very difficult to find replacements for. Firstly the connector is a very rare one, secondly the voltages are also uncommon. In another thread someone managed to create his own adapter by combining parts from different adapters found on eBay (cost was €40 ex. shipping), but if you don’t have the soldering skill then that’s not an option.

So if you can get your hands on an original, even if it’s a lot of money overpriced for an adapter, indeed it seems to me the most practical option. (I’ve myself spent a similar sum on a 230V to 100V adapter so yeah, sometimes even “the simple stuff” just costs money :).)

As for the CRT monitor, an RGB input is very much recommended for the best picture quality. I’ll abstain from giving recommendations for specific models because I am not as into CRTs as others are, and I doubt you’ll be able to find the models I have in storage outside Europe (plus I think they’re a bit small for today’s standards)… I would however mention the OSSC RGB -> HDMI converter, it’s not cheap but gives superb image with my 24" Dell LCD monitor.

Lastly I’ll second rderooy’s recommendations for flash cartridges.

By RetroTechie

Paragon (1536)

RetroTechie의 아바타

09-05-2019, 20:11

Welcome here, cathedral_junky! Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

Quote:

im a bit confused by what you mean by needing two different adapters. wouldn't I just need a single adapter that supports both voltages (assuming they're not a rarity or something) like in the image ?

The 9V is DC, the 18V is AC. Good luck finding that in one adapter... (other than original one). Not to mention the plug (and no that's not the same plug as used for AC mains input on some laptop psu's).

Imho the 'easiest' option is to do some re-wiring on the inside of this machine. Eg. to take an ATX style molex plug as input. Or 5V DC input with a 5V to +/12V DC/DC converter added. But that falls into the "electronics hobbyist, been there, done that" category. Not your thing as I read it. Sad

By rderooy

Hero (518)

rderooy의 아바타

09-05-2019, 20:25

cathedral_junky: Let me try to explain it a bit.

- You do NOT connect two adapters behind each other
- If you build this yourself using parts from the US, you don't need to use the 120 to 100v converter

A power adapter takes one type of power and "adapts" it to something else. Your in the US, so any adapter you have in the house would normally take 120V AC (Alternating Current) and convert it to something lower, like 5V for most phone chargers. In addition it will typically change the AC to DC (Direct Current). Then lastly it needs to be able to provide the right "load", this is where the Amps come in.

If you look at the picture of the original Panasonic power adapter you will see that it says
japanese text followed by AC100V 50/60Hz 23VA
This is the INPUT. So it is meant to be used with a 100V. the 50/60Hz just means it supports either. Your using 60Hz just like Japan, so don't worry about it. The 23VA is its maximum power draw. Again don't worry about this.

japanese text followed by DC9V 1.2A
This is ONE of the OUTPUT voltages. It needs DC at 9V, and it supports a load up to 1.2Amps

AC18V 170mA
This is the SECOND of the OUTPUT voltages. *pay attention*, it says AC here! at 18V, and it supports a load up to 170milliAmps.

And then there is a diagram showing which of the pins need the 9V and which the 18V and the remaining one (with the minus symbol) is the ground.

Basically if you where to build this yourself you need the following
- 3-pin Connector
- Power supply that outputs 9-volt AC at 1.2Amps (Amps may be higher, but should not be lower)
- Power supply that outputs 18-volt DC at 170milliAmps (= 0.170Amps), again higher is fine

Then someone with basic electrical skills should take the positive wire of each power supply (so the +9V and the +18V) and wire it to the connector to the right pins. Then take the Ground wire from both adapters and wire them together into the Connectors ground pin.

By rderooy

Hero (518)

rderooy의 아바타

09-05-2019, 23:27

Not sure why I wrote Ground. There is no ground here. It is obviously Negative (- symbol).

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