Sakhr AX-500
This page was last modified 02:48, 23 January 2022 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Rderooy and others.




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-500 is the Yamaha YIS-805/256 localised by Al Alamiah. The RS-232C interface, the RF output and the expansion bus have been removed. This machine has a separate Arabic QWERTY keyboard.

After booting without pressing the CTRL key, the computer will be in Arabic mode. In this mode:

  • the combination of the GRAPH key with an alphabetic key will display an MSX-BASIC instruction on the screen
  • the extra STAR key can be used in a similar way to the GRAPH key
  • some combinations can produce accented characters instead of MSX-BASIC instructions
Brand Sakhr (Manufacturer: Yamaha)
Model AX-500
Year 1987
Region Middle East
Launch price
RAM 256kB 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
Keyboard layout QWERTY/Arabic + numeric keypad
Extras 2 720kB 3,5" floppy disk drives, reset button, 60 pin module port, Arabic BASIC, firmware (Word Processor Arabic/English, Sakhr Files, The Painter, Calendar)
Emulation ROMs dumped and emulated as the "Yamaha AX500"


This machine comes with version 2.01 of Arabic firmware, present on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah computers.

The firmware can be skipped by pressing CTRL key while booting and until you hear a first beep. By doing that, the machine will be in International mode and the Arabic characters will not be available. If a software (even in cartridge) doesn't work, try it in this mode.

Note: If you continue to press CTRL until a second beep, you will get only one drive (the A: drive) even if you have added an external diskdrive.

This firmware adds Arabic characters, new MSX-BASIC instructions (see Arabic BASIC) and 4 applications. You can choose them in the menu with the keys 1 to 4:

  • Word Processor - in this version, you can only access the Arabic Word Processor from the menu
  • Sakhr Files - Arabic/English utility that requires a formatted disk in drive A
  • The Painter (Arabic version) - graphic tool in screen 5 (the original version can be found in the Yamaha YIS-805)
  • Calendar

By comparison with the MSX1 Sakhr machines, the separate Word Processors have been replaced by a combined utility using the 80 columns text mode of MSX2 and the graphic tool in screen 2 by the Painter.

If you press key 5 when you are in the menu, you will go to MSX-BASIC.

From MSX-BASIC in Arabic mode, you can

  • go to the menu with CALL MENU or _MENU
  • launch the Arabic Word Processor with CALL SWP or _SWP
  • launch Sakhr Files with CALL SFILES or _SFILES
  • launch the Calendar with CALL CALENDAR or _CALENDAR
  • launch The Painter with CALL PAINT or _PAINT

If you are in International mode:

  • only CALL SWP or _SWP can be used, you will directly go to the English Word Processor. It's not recommended to use the other instructions without first enabling the Arabic mode.
  • you can fully enable the Arabic mode with CALL ARABIC, _ARABIC, CALL ARABON or _ARABON



Sakhr AX-500
Sakhr AX-500 front
Sakhr AX-500 back and underside
Sakhr AX-500 box
Sakhr AX-500 underside
AX-500 front (closeup)
Sakhr AX-500 label
Sakhr AX-500 back



Arabic firmware version 2.01
Arabic firmware 2.01 menu

Word Processor

English/Arabic Word Processor
Arabic Word Processor
English Word Processor

Sakhr Files

Sakhr Files
Sakhr Files Intro menu
Sakhr Files Arabic menu
Sakhr Files Arabic directory
Sakhr Files English menu
Sakhr Files English directory

The Painter

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


Arabic Calendar
English Calendar


The AX-500 is a MSX2 with a Z80A from Sharp (LH0080A) and an MSX-Engine S1985 from Yamaha.

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
Slot 2
Page 8000h~BFFFh Arabic
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM Disk ROM
Page 0000h~3FFFh Sub-ROM