Panasonic FS-A1GT
This page was last modified 12:55, 2 November 2018 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Rderooy 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 also features a MIDI-IN and MIDI-OUT connector. The FS-A1ST can also be upgraded to the FS-A1GT using the μ.Pack. MIDI can also be accessed through MSX-BASIC (PLAY#1).

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.

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.

Brand Panasonic
Type FS-A1GT
Year 1992
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
Bank C000h~FFFFh Cartridge
Slot 1
Cartridge
Slot 2
512kB
Memory
Mapper
Bank 8000h~BFFFh Kanji
driver
MSX View
&
Firmware
Bank 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM MSX-Music Opening ROM Disk ROM
Bank 0000h~3FFFh Sub-ROM
  • Slot 3-3 is also divided into 8kB banks. 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.

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

Replacing the old FDD belt of Panasonic MSX2+ and turbo R. (sold on ebay, model Panasonic DFWV75C0009).

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