Sakhr AX-990
This page was last modified 23:19, 2 July 2021 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Rderooy 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 by Al Alamiah and rebranded for the Arabic market.

The Sakhr AX-990 is a dual MSX1 computer/ Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) console assembled in Taiwan. The MSX part is similar to the AX-230, manufactured by Sanyo, but comes with the MSX2 VDP.

There are two RESET keys on the top row of the keyboard: one to reset the MSX, and one to reset the Sega half of the machine.

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 (Assembled in Taiwan)
Type AX-990
Year 1992
Region Middle East
Original price
RAM 64kB (? in slot 0-2)
VRAM 16kB
Media MSX cartridges, Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) cartridges
Video Yamaha V9938 (MSX2 VDP!)
Audio PSG (YM2149 integrated in MSX-Engine S1985)
Chipset Yamaha S1985
Keyboard layout QWERTY/Arabic
Extras support for Sega Mega Drive/Genesis cartriges, two reset buttons (MSX and Sega), Arabic BASIC, firmware (Calendar, Graphics, Arabic Writer, English Writer, educational and recreative games, Holy Quran built-in)
Emulation ROM dump needed. See this thread for details

Firmware

This machine comes with an 'enhanced' version 1.01 of Arabic firmware, present on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah computers.

The firmware can be skipped by pressing CTRL key while booting and until you 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) if you have added external diskdrives.

This firmware adds Arabic characters, new MSX-BASIC instructions (see Arabic BASIC) and many games or applications.

Compared to the AX-230, AX-330 and AX-660, this machine has an intro menu giving access to

Options 1 to 4 corresponding to the applications remain unchanged on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah MSX1 computers.

You have on this machine a total of 50 programs: MSX-BASIC, 4 applications, 25 games and 20 extra programs.

If you press key 7 when you are in the menu, you will go to MSX-BASIC.

Going back to the menu is possible with CALL MENU or _MENU (don't use it if you are in International mode !). Note that in this case, you will go to the 'normal' Arabic firmware menu with only 5 options instead of 7.

Pictures

Computer

Sakhr AX-990
Sakhr AX-990 PCBs
Sakhr AX-990 with monitor
Sakhr AX-990 box
Sakhr AX-990 manuals
Sakhr AX-990 underside
Sakhr AX-990 back (printer port)
Sakhr AX-990 back
Sakhr AX-990 right side

Firmware

Arabic firmware version 1.01
Arabic firmware AX-990 intro menu
Arabic firmware 1.01 'enhanced' menu
Arabic firmware 1.01 Arabic Calendar
Arabic firmware 1.01 English Calendar
Arabic firmware Graphics
Arabic firmware Arabic Writer
Arabic firmware English Writer
Arabic firmware 1.01 Educational Games
Arabic firmware 1.01 Recreative Games
Arabic firmware 1.01 'normal' menu

Specifications

The AX-990 is a MSX1 with a Z80A from Zilog, a V9938 and an MSX-Engine S1985 from Yamaha. Besides, it is equipped with the components of a Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console (a second Z80A, 68000, etc).

A small switch on the back of the unit allows to toggle between the MSX computer and the Sega console.

The main RAM is probably present on slot 0-2, a configuration that can cause poorly written software to crash. Also, with this layout, the POKE-1,(15-PEEK(-1)\16)*17 trick to workaround buggy software that don't handle subslots properly will cause this machine to freeze.

Connections

  • RF output
  • RGB output
  • Analog sound & Composite video (Pal)
  • Centronics compatible Parallel port for a printer
  • 2 general connectors (Joysticks, Mice, Paddle controllers, etc)
  • 1 MSX cartridge slot
  • 2 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cartridge slots (1 at front, 1 under the machine for cartridge without case)

Note: No Data Recorder connector!

External Links