Panasonic FS-A1GT
This page was last modified 08:38, 2 October 2019 by Rderooy. Based on work by Gdx and Mars2000you and others.
Panasonic FS-A1GT
MSX Turbo R logo

Contents

Description

Computer

The Panasonic FS-A1GT MSX turbo R is the last MSX computer produced and it follows the latest standard for the MSX line. The FS-A1GT was preceded by the FS-A1ST.

Compared to the FS-A1ST, the FS-A1GT has double the amount of RAM (512kB), it features a MIDI-IN and MIDI-OUT connector. MIDI can also be accesssed by using the built-in MSX-MUSIC BASIC (version with an additional instruction: CALL MDR).

Due to some minor hardware bugs that were discovered, the mainboard is a bit different: e.g. the MSX-MUSIC part is redesigned to decrease influence of the noise from other digital parts, although it's confirmed this was also corrected in the last batch of the A1ST.

Note: there's a bug in the MSX-MUSIC implementation of a Panasonic FS-A1GT.

This problem only occurs when a CALL MUSIC is done without any OPLL channel, e.g. CALL MUSIC(0,0) and then a tempo MCL issued (e.g. PLAY"T120") OR when a program is stopped by CTRL-STOP. In these cases, a crash occurs. The problem can be avoided by doing a CALL MUSIC(0,0,1).

This problem doesn't occur on the Panasonic FS-A1ST MSX Turbo R.

Brand Panasonic
Type FS-A1GT
Year 1992
Region Japan
Original price ¥99.800
RAM 512kB in slot 3-0, 32kB SRAM
VRAM 128kB
Media 720kB 3,5" floppy disk drive
Video Yamaha V9958
Audio PSG (AY-3-8910 compatible), MSX-MUSIC, PCM, MSX-MIDI
Chipset Toshiba T9769C and NEC S1990 bus controller
Extras Microphone, MSX-JE, firmware switch, MSX-MUSIC BASIC also used for MIDI, built-in MSX-MIDI interface, Kanji-ROM level 1 & 2, Pause key, Ren-Sha Turbo (autofire), MSX-DOS 2 and MSX View with some software, Kanji BASIC

Firmware and Software

The Panasonic FS-A1GT machine comes with 2 integrated firmware: VSHELL and A1. You can skip them by changing the position of the Panasonic front switch.

Without any game in a cartridge slot and with the firmware switch in the appropriate position, you come on the VSHELL screen. Main icons of this screen:

  • 1 - Exploration of a disk (by default the ROM disk C:)
  • 2 - A1 firmware
  • 3 - MSX-BASIC
  • 4 - FS-A1GT Presentation

To access the MSX View menu, click on the 4th icon on the first line. A mouse is required to use VSHELL and MSX View.

To choose another disk, click on VSHELL and select the D option (A: and B: real disks, C: ROM disk, D: S-RAM disk, H: virtual disk)

The A1 firmware menu has several options:

  • 1 - Japanese Word Processor
  • 2 - Beginner Word Processor
  • 3 - Word Processor Lessons (requires system disk 1)
  • 4 - Address Book
  • 5 - Name Card
  • 6 - AV Labels (Video - Cassette - Diskette - Custom Databases)
  • 7 - PCM Recorder
  • 8 - Calculator, Calendar and Clock Setting
  • 9 - Mouse and Printer Settings
  • 0 - MSX-BASIC or back to VSHELL according the position of the front switch

Three systems disks are provided with this computer :

  • the first system disk is required for the Japanese Word Processor (that uses MSX-JE)
  • the second system disk includes MSX-DOS 2.31 and 3 applications
  • the third disk contains MSX View, an OS with Word Processor and Graphic Tools

From MSX-BASIC, you can go (back) to the A1 firmware menu by typing CALL MWP or _MWP.

Pictures

Computer

FS-A1GT front side
FS-A1GT back side
FS-A1GT box
FS-A1GT manuals and disks
FS-A1GT PCB
FS-A1GT official flyer

Firmware

VSHELL

VSHELL menu
Version info
FS-A1GT Presentation
FS-A1GT Presentation

A1

Main menu
1: Word Processor
2: Beginner Word Processor
3: Word Processor Lessons
4: Address Book
5: Name Card
6: AV Labels - sub menu
6: AV Labels - Video
6: AV Labels - Cassette
6: AV Labels - Diskette
6: AV Labels - Custom
6: AV Labels - Custom New
7: PCM recorder
8: Accessories - sub menu
8: Accessories - Calculator
8: Accessories - Calendar
8: Accessories - Clock Setting
9: Mouse and Printer Settings
0: MSX-BASIC or back to VSHELL according position of the front switch

Provided Software

System Disk 2

Main menu
1: PCM Digi Talk
2: Drawing program
3: Print program
3: Print sample
3: Print sample
4: Japanese MSX-DOS 2

System Disk 3 - MSX View

Requires that the firmware switch on the front is enabled and can't be launched without using VSHELL.

Program menu
ViewTED
ViewPAINT
PageLINK
PageVIEW
ViewDRAW
PageEDIT

Specifications

The FS-A1GT is a MSX of intermediary generation with 2 CPU (Z80A & R800) and many options included. A single CPU may be used at a time by switching. The R800 has two operating modes (Mode RAM & Mode ROM). Floppy Disk Controller chip is the TC8566AF.

Floppy Disk Belt specifications:

Type: Rubber Belt
Thickness: 0.3mm
Diameter: 58mm
Width: 3mm

Detailed Specifications

  • CPU R800 (DAR800-X0G), with 28.63630 MHz external clock and 16-bit ALU. (Can be accelerated to 40MHz by changing the crystal.) Note: the CPU clock is 7.15909MHz (external clock divided by 4) and the bus frequency is 3.579545MHz, however, an instruction on the R800 that takes 1 bus clock cycle, often takes 4 clock cycles on the Z80, so one can indeed say that the R800 runs roughly like a 28.6 MHz Z80.
  • CPU Z80A 3.579545MHz compatible (included in the MSX-Engine)
  • 512kB of main RAM
  • 32kB SRAM for backup (used internally or by MSX-View as SRAM disk) (holding ESC during boot will erase settings, FS-A1ST will keep settings ^^)
  • 32kB BASIC/BIOS ROM and 32kB subROM (MSX-BASIC V4.1, with extra command _PAUSE to make delays in BASIC independent of the current CPU, extra commands especially for the PCM device (_PCMPLAY, _PCMREC)), 16kB DISK ROM, 48KB MSX-DOS2.30 Kernel, 16kB MSX-MUSIC BASIC ROM, 16kB KANJI BASIC.)
  • TC8566AF disk controller
  • 3.5" double sided double density (720kB) disk drive
  • S1990 MSX Bus-controller
  • T9769C MSX-ENGINE (also contains Z80A & AY-3-8910)
  • MSX-JE (a simple Kanji input interface)
  • Kanji-ROM with approx. 32000 characters
  • MSX-Music (Yamaha YM-2413 OPLL)
  • PCM synthesizer 8-bit (sample rate 16kHz)
  • Internal microphone for the PCM unit
  • MSX-MIDI interface built-in. Includes 8251 (UART) and 8254 (timer) and MIDI-IN / MIDI-OUT connectors. Uses the MSX-MUSIC BASIC 16kB ROM. Also available as a cartridge for FS-A1ST.
  • MSX View ('MSX Windows') developed by ASCII & HAL. Software as Page Edit, PageView, Page Link, VShell, VTed, VPaint and VDraw) on 512kB ROM DISK (C: drive). Also available as a cartridge for FS-A1ST. Internal software can be accessed from BASIC with command CALL MWP
  • Pause key (software in R800-mode, hardware in Z80-mode)
  • Reset button
  • 6 LEDs (power, caps-lock, kana-lock, pause, CPU mode, FDD in use)

Slot Map

Slot Slot
0-0 0‑1 0-2 0-3 Slot 1 Slot 2 3-0 3-1 3-2 3-3
Page C000h~FFFFh Cartridge
Slot 1
Cartridge
Slot 2
512kB
Memory
Mapper
Page 8000h~BFFFh Kanji
driver
Firmware:
VSHELL/A1/
ROM disk C:
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM MSX-Music Opening ROM Disk ROM
Page 0000h~3FFFh Sub-ROM
  • Slot 3-3 is also divided into 8kB Pages. Each can contain internal RAM, ROM or SRAM using the Panasonic mapper.
  • The Disk ROM is combined with MSX-DOS 2.31, it's a 64kB ROM with a specific mapper.
  • MSX-MIDI Basic is included in MSX-Music Rom.
  • MSX View is partially on system disk 3, but also uses the VSHELL firmware and the ROM disk C:

Connections

  • RGB output
  • S-video (aka Y/C) output
  • MIDI output
  • MIDI input
  • Centronics compatible Parallel port for a printer
  • 2 general connectors (Joysticks, Mouse, Paddle controlers, etc)
  • 2 cartridge slots
  • External microphone jack connector (input, mono)
  • Power Plug male for main power supply (JIS C 8303 class, AC 100V +/-10% 50/60Hz)
  • No cassette connector

Note: ASCII paddle controllers are no longer supported by the MSX Turbo R BIOS.

Repair

Original 24-pin FDD flatcable: Sumitomo-Y AWM 2896 80C VW-1 (100mm, 1.25mm pitch)

Alternative 24-pin FDD flatcable: AWM 20624 80C 60V VW-1 (100-200mm 1.25mm pitch)

Links