Panasonic FS-A1ST
This page was last modified 12:55, 2 November 2018 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Meits and others.
Panasonic FS-A1ST
MSX Turbo R logo




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. The FS-A1ST 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 μ.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
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).



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



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


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 FM-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 trough 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
Bank C000h~FFFFh Cartridge
Slot 1
Slot 2
Bank 8000h~BFFFh Kanji
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 2.30, it's a 64kB ROM with a specific mapper.


  • 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.


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)