Hitachi MB-H1
This page was last modified 14:54, 1 May 2018 by Rderooy. Based on work by Mars2000you and Gdx.




The Hitachi MB-H1 was aimed at the Japanese market. This model was released in two colors, "elegant almond" (EA) and "trad red" (TR).

The power supply can be separated from the main unit. The main unit is also equipped with a pull-out carrying handle on the front. It was marketed as being easy to take with you. In marketing literature they would show it being carried, typically by a school child or in a briefcase without the power supply, which can give you the impression the large power brick is optional, which it is not. In addition with the power supply attached to the unit, you can no longer access the printer, analogue sound or composite video ports, as such you have to use it detached from the main unit. The power connection from the power supply to the MSX is via a cable which plugs into the side of the MSX.

Two different keyboard revisions exist. The initial model had the cursor keys in a strange arrangement on the right hand side. Later models have a more typical cursor key layout.

Official price: ¥62,800 (MB-H1 with 32kB RAM and firmware) or ¥54,800 (MB-H1E with only 16kB RAM)

Brand Hitachi
Type MB-H1
Year December 1983
RAM 16KB (MB-H1E) or 32KB (MB-H1) in slot 0
Media MSX cartridges
Video Texas Instruments TMS9918ANL
Audio PSG (AY-3-8910)
Chipset none (separate IC's)
Extras Firmware (only in MB-H1: System Monitor Utility - Info about games on cartridge - Sketch - Music) ; CPU speed controller switch

Firmware (MB-H1 only)

The firmware available in the Humanicatio version uses function keys F1 to F5 for selecting MSX-BASIC (F1) or an application: the MB-H1 System Monitor Utility (dis-assembler/machine code monitor - F2), Info about using of games in cartridge format (F3), Sketch (a graphic program - F4), Music (a music keyboard - F5). There is no any key to bypass the firmware menu when booting.

If you stay on the menu, an automatic demo of the Info-Sketch-Music options will begin after a bit. When you have started an application, you can go back to the menu by entering E in the monitor or by pressing STOP in the other applications. From MSX-BASIC, you can launch the command line of the Monitor with CALL MON or _MON (back to BASIC by entering E).



Hitachi MB-H1 (EA)
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR) inside
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR)
Hitachi MB-H1 left side
Hitachi MB-H1 back
Hitachi MB-H1 right side
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR)
Hitachi MB-H1 Power supply
Hitachi MB-H1 Power supply connection
Hitachi MB-H1 label
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR) box
Hitachi MB-H1 (EA) box
Hitachi MB-H1 (EA) PCB
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR) box and content

Firmware (MB-H1 only)

Hitachi MB-H1 firmware - Menu
Hitachi MB-H1 firmware - MB-H1 System Monitor Utility
Hitachi MB-H1 firmware - Info about games on cartridge
Hitachi MB-H1 firmware - Sketch (intro)
Hitachi MB-H1 firmware - Sketch
Hitachi MB-H1 firmware - Music


The MB-H1 is a MSX1 with a CPU speed controller for slow games execution. The CPU is a Z80A from Sharp (LH0080A).

Slot Map of model MB-H1

Slot 0 Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3
Bank C000h~FFFFh RAM Cartridge
Slot 1
Slot 2
Bank 8000h~BFFFh RAM
Bank 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM Firmware
Bank 0000h~3FFFh Main-ROM
  • The firmware application is 8kB from 4000-5FFF

Slot Map of model MB-H1E

Slot 0 Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3
Bank C000h~FFFFh RAM Cartridge
Slot 1
Slot 2
Bank 8000h~BFFFh
Bank 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM
Bank 0000h~3FFFh Main-ROM


  • RF output
  • Analog sound & Composite video (on unit back side)
  • Tape recorder connector
  • Centronics compatible Parallel port for a printer (on unit back side)
  • 2 general connectors (MSX joysticks, mouse, paddle controllers, ...)
  • 2 MSX cartridge slots


As designed, the MB-H1 computer is not really compatible with the addition of a disk drive. Such addition has as effect that the special firmware menu is skipped, even if you press SHIFT while booting. A possible modification could be to use slot 2 instead of slot 3 for the built-in firmware and to connect the disk drive interface to the second cartridge slot. However, with such a modification, the menu option 'Info about games on cartridge' will not work properly.

External links