Hitachi MB-H3
This page was last modified 13:31, 28 June 2021 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Msxholder and Rderooy and others.

Contents

Description

Computer

The MB-H3 is the first MSX2 computer released by Hitachi. It was first shown to the public at the Japan Electronics Show '85 (Oct 17-22).

The unique selling point of this computer is the built-in touchpad, that can be disabled with a switch on the left side.

Its biggest disadvantage is the limitation of the VRAM to 64kB, which makes it impossible to use SCREEN 7 and 8.

Brand Hitachi
Type MB-H3
Year 1985 (late)
Region Japan
Original price ¥99,800
RAM 64kB in slot 3-2
VRAM 64kB
Media MSX cartridges
Video Yamaha V9938
Audio PSG (YM2149 integrated in MSX-Engine S3527)
Chipset Yamaha S3527
Keyboard layout QWERTY/JP50on
Extras built-in touchpad, switch to enable/disable the touchpad, Hitachi BASIC, firmware (Sketch, Drawing Tablet, Clock, Calculator), sold with cartridge 'Ehagaki You Word-Pro' (Word Processor for illustrated postcard) also known as Illustration Word Processor
Emulation ROMs dumped and emulated with exception of the touchpad function. The touchpad enable switch is emulated in the OFF position, and there is no support to enable it.

Firmware

The firmware available in this computer uses function keys F1 to F10:

  • F1 - MSX-BASIC
  • F2 to F5 - info or demo about the applications F7 to F10
  • F6 - MSX-BASIC
  • F7 - Sketch (graphic program)
  • F8 - Drawing Tablet
  • F9 - Clock (World Time + Alarm)
  • F10 - Calculator (Mathematics Functions)

The firmware can be skipped if you press CTRL+STOP while booting.

If you stay on the menu, an automatic demo of the different applications will begin after a few time.

When you have started an info/demo part or an application, you can go back to the menu by pressing CTRL+STOP.

From MSX-BASIC, you can

  • launch the Drawing Tablet application with CALL TABON or _TABON (back to normal use of BASIC with CALL TABOFF or _TABOFF)
  • send a screendump of a text or graphic screen to a connected printer with CALL HCOPY or _HCOPY.

Besides, 5 other 'COPY' instructions are available, see Hitachi BASIC.

The tablet is required for using the graphic applications and the cartridge sold with the computer: Ehagaki You Word-Pro (Word Processor for illustrated postcard) also known as Illustration Word Processor. The touchpad has a character recognition feature, that is very useful for the Kanji characters. A mouse is also required.

Compared to previous versions of Sketch, this graphic tool uses here SCREEN 5 instead of SCREEN 2.

Pictures

Computer

Hitachi MB-H3 front
Hitachi MB-H3 left side
Hitachi MB-H3 right side
Hitachi MB-H3 back
Hitachi MB-H3 touchpad
Hitachi MB-H3 label
Hitachi MB-H3 box and content
Hitachi MB-H3 manuals
MB-H3 cables and cartridge
Hitachi MB-H3 set
+ Hitachi MPN-8002H joystick
Hitachi MB-H3 box
Hitachi MB-H3 cartridge, pen, manuals, cables

Firmware

Hitachi MB-H3 firmware - Menu
Hitachi MB-H3 firmware - Sketch
Hitachi MB-H3 firmware - Drawing Tablet (info)
Hitachi MB-H3 firmware - Drawing Tablet
Hitachi MB-H3 firmware - Clock
Hitachi MB-H3 firmware - Calculator

Specifications

The Hitachi MB-H3 is a MSX2 with a Z80A from Sharp (LH0080A) and an MSX-Engine S3527 from Yamaha. As the VRAM size is only 64kB, SCREEN 7 and 8 can't be used.

Slot Map

Slot 0 Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3-0 Slot 3-1 Slot 3-2 Slot 3-3
Page C000h~FFFFh Cartridge
Slot 1
Cartridge
Slot 2
64kB
RAM
Page 8000h~BFFFh Firmware
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM
Page 0000h~3FFFh Sub-ROM

Connections

Upgrades

  • To get a full MSX2, an upgrade of the VRAM to 128kB is required. (You just need to add two RAM (MB81464-12), two capacitors (0.1uF) and a resistor (33Ω) for this upgrade.)
  • There is no problem with connecting an external disk drive, but it's recommended to press CTRL+STOP while booting to have direct access to the drive and the correct indication on the MSX-BASIC screen about the presence of Disk BASIC.

Links