Sakhr AX-350II
This page was last modified 23:10, 13 April 2019 by Rderooy. Based on work by Wild Penguin and Mars2000you and others.

Contents

Description

Computer

Sakhr Computers was a Kuwaiti company (Al Alamiah co.) that was selling MSX computers imported from Japan in all of the Arab world. These MSX were localized and rebranded for some Arabic markets.

The AX-350II is the Yamaha YIS-604-128 or CX7M-128 localised by Al Alamiah. The mini-slot has been replaced by a floppy disk drive and the module slot has been removed. However, the internal structure is closer to the YIS-805/128.

It is an corrected version of the Sakhr AX-350, as the firmware includes again the calendar, that was forgotten on the AX-350. Making this correction was so important that you can find many AX-350 computers that are actually AX-350II computers, you can check the underside label to see which version you have in hands. The hardware is the same for both machines.

This computer has an Arabic QWERTY keyboard, but is also available in an Arabic/French version (with AZERTY keyboard), where the English Word Processor is replaced by a French Word Processor.

Brand Sakhr (Manufacturer: Yamaha)
Type AX-350II / AX-350IIF
Year 1987
Region Middle East
Original price
RAM 128kB in slot 3-2
VRAM 128kB
Media MSX cartridges, DD floppy disks
Video Yamaha V9938
Audio PSG (YM2149 integrated in MSX-Engine S1985)
Chipset Yamaha S1985
Extras Arabic BASIC, 720kB 3,5" floppy disk drive, Firmware (Word Processor Arabic/English or Arabic/French, The Painter, Calendar)

Firmware

This machine comes with version 2.02 of Arabic firmware, present on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah computers. The firmware can be skipped by pressing CTRL key while booting and until you come on the MSX-BASIC screen. By doing that, the machine will be in International mode, the Arabic characters will not be available and also you get only one drive (the A: drive) even if you have added an external diskdrive.

However, from MSX-BASIC, you can fully enable the Arabic mode with CALL ARABIC, _ARABIC, CALL ARABON or _ARABON. It is also possible to keep the Arabic BASIC active without the other Arabic features by entering first CALL ARABIC or _ARABIC, then CALL ARABOFF or _ARABOFF.

This firmware adds Arabic characters, new MSX-BASIC commands (see Arabic BASIC) and 3 applications. You can choose them in the menu with the keys 1 to 3.

By comparison with version 2.01, the Calendar is back with a white background instead of the black background of the versions 1.0 and 1.01 and the separate Word Processors have been replaced by a combined utility using the 80 columns text mode of MSX2 and including a choice between English (or French) and Arabic Word Processor. The 3rd tool is the Arabic version of The Painter, a graphic tool in screen 5 (the original version can be found in the Yamaha YIS-805).

If you press key 4 when you are in the menu, you will go to MSX-BASIC. Going back to the menu is possible with CALL MENU or _MENU. From MSX-BASIC, the Word Processor can be launched with CALL SWP or _SWP, The Painter with CALL PAINT or _PAINT, the Calendar with CALL CALENDAR or _CALENDAR.

If you are in International mode, only CALL SWP or _SWP can be used, you will directly go to the English (or French) Word Processor. It's not recommended to use the other commands without first enabling the Arabic mode.

Pictures

Computer

Sakhr AX-350IIF
Sakhr AX-350(ii) back side
Sakhr AX-350II
Sakhr AX-350(II) left side
Sakhr AX-350(II) inside
Sakhr AX-350(II) motherboard
'Fake' Sakhr AX-350, actually the underside label mentions AX-350II
Underside label of the 'fake' Sakhr AX-350
Sakhr AX-350IIF label

Firmware

Menu

Arabic firmware version 2.02
Arabic firmware 2.02 English/Arabic menu
Arabic firmware 2.02 French/Arabic menu

Word Processor

Arabic firmware English/Arabic Word Processor
Arabic firmware Arabic Word Processor
Arabic firmware English Word Processor
Arabic firmware French/Arabic Word Processor
Arabic firmware French Word Processor

The Painter

Arabic firmware The Painter (Arabic version)
Arabic firmware The Painter (Arabic version)

Calendar

Arabic firmware Arabic Calendar
Arabic firmware English Calendar

Specifications

The AX-350II is a MSX2 with a Z80A from Zilog and an MSX-Engine S1985 from Yamaha. Floppy Disk Controller chip is the MB8877A.

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
Painter
ROM
128kB
Memory
Mapper
Page 8000h~BFFFh Arabic
ROM
SWP
ROM
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM Disk ROM
Page 0000h~3FFFh Sub-ROM

Connections

Upgrades

RAM upgrade

On this model the RAM can be relatively easily expanded to 256KB by adding four 4464 or compatible DRAM chips to the empty spots on the motherboard and bridging the jumper "-J-" (near IC305, LS670), and cutting a jumper trace and bridging another jumper, both immediately next to IC326. Former will connect the fourth bit to the mapper register (on the existing LS670) and the latter is required to connect MA17 to the LS139 (IC306) instead of pulling it low (which is correct for 128kb configuration).

The RAM expansion of 1024kB from Alexey is not supported.