Hitachi MB-H1
This page was last modified 18:47, 15 February 2020 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Rderooy 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, which was not compliant with the MSX specification on the right hand side. Later models have a more typical, compliant cursor key layout.

Known variations

Product Revision Year Price RAM Cursor keys Colour Firmware Application
Hitachi MB-H1 1st 1983 ¥62,800 32kB Non-compliant layout EA (Elegant Almond) Yes
Hitachi MB-H1E 1st 1983 ¥54,800 16kB Non-compliant layout EA (Elegant Almond) No
Hitachi MB-H1 2nd 1984 ¥62,800 32kB compliant layout EA (Elegant Almond) Yes
Hitachi MB-H1 2nd 1984 ¥62,800 32kB compliant layout TR (Trad Red) Yes


Brand Hitachi
Type MB-H1
Year December 1983
Region Japan
Original price see table above
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
Emulation ROMs dumped and emulated

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) 1st Rev
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR) inside
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR)
Hitachi MB-H1 left side (1st Rev)
Hitachi MB-H1 back (2nd Rev)
Hitachi MB-H1 right side (1st Rev)
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR)
Hitachi MB-H1 Power supply
Hitachi MB-H1 Power supply connection
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR) box and content
Hitachi MB-H1 (TR) box
Hitachi MB-H1 (EA) box (1st Rev)
Hitachi MB-H1 (EA) PCB
Hitachi MB-H1 label
Hitachi MB-H1 (EA) 2nd Rev

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

Slot Map of model MB-H1E

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



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