Panasonic FS-A1ST
This page was last modified 08:39, 2 October 2019 by Rderooy. Based on work by Gdx and Mars2000you and others.
Panasonic FS-A1ST
MSX Turbo R logo

Contents

Description

Computer

The Panasonic FS-A1ST MSX Turbo R is the second to last MSX computer ever produced and it follows the latest standard for the MSX line. It has a new PCM sound chip, the R800 CPU and 256kB of RAM.

Panasonic was the only company to manufacture and market MSX Turbo R computers, and they were only sold in Japan. Various machines where imported to Europe using grey market imports.

The FS-A1ST was succeeded by the FS-A1GT, which featured more RAM and MIDI IN and OUT. The ST can be upgraded to the newer GT using the Bit^2 Mu-pack leaving the RF and composite outputs from the ST available.

The alternative is to use the MIDI-PAC from WORP3. This device will translate MSX-MUSIC into MIDI and with a mixer you will have both available at the same time! (instead of having to choose between MSX-MUSIC or MSX-MIDI).

Also MSX View from the FS-A1GT is available for the FS-A1ST as an add-on.

Brand Panasonic
Type FS-A1ST
Year 1990
Region Japan
Original price ¥87.800
RAM 256kB in slot 3-0, 16kB SRAM
VRAM 128kB
Media 720kB 3,5" floppy disk drive
Video Yamaha V9958
Audio PSG (AY-3-8910 compatible), MSX-MUSIC, PCM
Chipset Toshiba T9769C and NEC S1990 bus controller
Extras Microphone, MSX-JE, firmware switch, MSX-MUSIC BASIC, Kanji-ROM level 1 & 2, Pause key, Ren-Sha Turbo (autofire), MSX-DOS 2 and some software (Japanese Word Processor, PCM Digi Talk, etc), Kanji BASIC

Firmware and Software

The Panasonic FS-A1ST machine comes with an integrated firmware. You can skip it 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 A1 firmware menu:

  • 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

Two systems disks are provided woth this computer :

  • the first system disk is required for the Japanese Word Processor (that uses MSX-JE)
  • the second system disk includes MSX-DOS 2.30 and 3 applications

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

Note: These firmware and software are common to the two Panasonic MSX Turbo R computers. The only differences with FS-A1GT are the absence of VSHELL (in the firmware ROM) and MSX View (as 3rd system disk).

Pictures

Computer

FS-A1ST with disks
FS-A1ST back side
FS-A1ST box
FS-A1ST official flyer
FS-A1ST PCB
FS-A1ST PCB upgraded to 512kB RAM
FS-A1ST manuals

Firmware

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

Provided Software

System Disk 2

Main menu
1: PCM Digi Talk
2: Drawing program
3: Print program
3: Print sample
3: Print sample

Specifications

The FS-A1ST 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 mode (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)
  • 256kB of main RAM (can be natively expanded to 512kB internally)
  • 16kB SRAM for backup (used internally)
  • 32kB BASIC/BIOS ROM and 32kB subROM (MSX-BASIC V4.0, with extra command _PAUSE to make delays in BASIC independent of the current CPU and extra commands for the PCM device (_PCMPLAY, _PCMREC)), 16kB DISK ROM, 48KB MSX-DOS2 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
  • Pause key (software in R800-mode, hardware in Z80-mode)
  • Reset button
  • Internal software switch (Can be accessed also through BASIC using command CALL HIRO)
  • 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
256kB
Memory
Mapper
Page 8000h~BFFFh Kanji
driver
Firmware
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 2.30, it's a 64kB ROM with a specific mapper.

Connections

  • RGB output
  • S-video (aka Y/C) output
  • Audio and Video composite output (aka RCA)
  • RF output
  • Centronics compatible Parallel port for a printer
  • 2 general connectors (Joysticks, Mouse, Paddle controlers, etc)
  • 2 cartridge slots
  • External microphone 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 / Upgrade

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