MSXVR
This page was last modified 13:51, 20 July 2021 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and S0urceror and others.

Contents

Description

MSXVR is a specific computer based on a Raspberry PI 3B+. The trademark is owned by Vikalb Programming S.L., a Spanish company who develops many videogames for several different systems.

This computer is designed mainly to emulate each MSX generation up to MSX Turbo R with the V9990 video extension and several audio extensions (MSX-MUSIC, MSX-AUDIO, SCC, SCC+, OPL3, OPL4, etc), but can also run software of some other systems as the Amstrad CPC, Colecovision, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, C64 and possibly more in the future.

It contains

  • VR-BASIC that is compatible with MSX-BASIC but also includes extra instructions linked to the supported extensions
  • VR-DOS that is inspired by MSXDOS2 and has commands to operate the MSXVR hardware, start ROMs and DSKs, mount to FTP/SMB network shares and download files from the Internet

Next to emulating the classic MSX generations it is also able to run far more advanced applications that can be developed by the user in VR-SCRIPT. These C++ look-a-like scripts are converted to executables that run on the MSXVR. It supports VR-DOS, VR-BASIC, GUI and OpenGL programs. More information is available in the developer documentation.

Several specific games are also developed. Case and keys colors were initially customizable. The second batch will only provide the red and black case variants.

Batch 1 (500 pieces) is currently being produced. Until today 258 units have been shipped (last shipment for batch 1 is June). The second batch (also 500 units) will be shipped starting from August/September. Price: 365,00 – 395,00€ + shipping.

Slots covers are optional!

Gallery

MSXVR black
MSXVR red
MSXVR cyan (blue 1 with Japanese keyboard)
MSXVR box
MSXVR Accessories
MSXVR (various models)
MSX Panel configuration of MSXVR
MSXVR inside case
MSXVR inside board
MSXVR inside close-up RPI

Specifications

  • Raspberry PI 3B+
    • CPU: 1,4Ghz, 64 bits, Quad Core
    • 1 GB RAM (VRAM shared)
    • Maximum resolution: 1920x1080x32 bits, 1080p, 60 Hz.
  • Audio Mixer
  • PCM 16 bit/48 kHz/Mono
  • Mechanical keyboard, 87 keys
  • 2 buttons for reset and pause.
  • 1 power switch on/off
  • 9 LEDS (power + 8 customisable by the user)
  • 2 real time clocks at 3.5 MHz & 24.576 MHz
  • PSU Management (3.3V, 5V, 12V, -12V)

Connections

  • 1 HDMI for video / audio digital output
  • 1 RCA for video / audio analog output
  • 1 3.5mm jack for stereo output
  • DSI & CSI interfaces that allows to connect directly to the camera and screen bus.
  • 4 cartridge slots (50 pin - fully MSX Compatible)
    • Slot secure (hot remove/insert cartridges)
  • 2 general purpose ports (DB9 pin - fully MSX Compatible)
  • DB37 (IO Extenstion, communicate with external electronic equipment/devices such as robot arms)
  • 1 SDHC Port used for the system (16 GB SD card is included)
  • 4 USB 2.0
  • 1 Ethernet RJ45 connector.
  • Wireless (Bluetooth & Wifi)
  • 1 connector for PSU (12 V, 10A)

Operating environment

  • MSXVR runs on the Raspbian OS
  • HW extensions are controlled via an Arduino compatible device via Serial/HID. Communication protocol is unknown.
  • Additional USB ports are provided via Terminus Technology USB Hubs
  • HDMI, SD-card are connected via extender cables from the case to the Pi

Issues

  • The extender cables weaken the signals and they become sensitive to electric noise.
  • The standard microSD+adapter combo that comes with the MSXVR weakens the signal even more. This makes it sensitive to the brand/type of SD card. SanDisk Ultra 32GB SDHC 120 MB/s is reported working.
  • If HDMI flickers or disappears from time-to-time use the HDMI boost option.
  • It has two power switches. The right side switch turns the power-on/off electronics on. Not the whole machine. Best to keep it in the On position all the time. After that the top side power button powers the system on. Another push triggers an orderly shutdown. Wait until this is complete.
  • Sometimes the unit does not power down. The red PWR led stays on. In this case remove the DC lead and reinsert.

Can it run something different?

Because it runs Raspbian you can:

  • Make the boot process visible by changing the /boot/cmdline.txt
    • change to: console=tty1
    • remove: quiet
    • remove: logo.nologo
  • Run something else than the MSXVR runtime
    • mount the SD card on another Linux machine or Raspberry PI
    • go to the system partition
    • go to the /root folder
    • type: mv run run.cmd
  • You can now do everything you want on the machine
    • type: ./run.cmd to start MSXVR
    • type: startx to start X11
    • type: openmsx to start OpenMSX
  • Of course you first have to install the other programs via apt install. There is plenty of information about this elsewhere.

Links