Philips VG8000

MSX Standard was popular in Japan, but many MSX computers were manufactured in Europe. Philips VG8000 is a rare MSX computer which was manufactured in France by Netherland company Philips, mostly for Japanese market. However some units were available in West Germany. VG8000 had 3.58MHz Z80 processor, 16kB RAM and another 16kB for video memory (thet's why there's "32K RAM" written in front casing). In ROM, there was a BASIC interpreter.
The machine was not 100% compatible with MSX standard, probably because it was designed along with evolving MSX standard and iw sa needed to be cheaper. So there was no parallel (Centronics) port, only single 8255 was used for interfacing built-in peripherals. There was no expansion but, only two cartridge slots. Video and audio output was implemented using non-standard DIN connector. The kayboard is not much confortable in this machine.
This machine was quickly replaced with version containing 32kB of RAM - VG8010.


Manufacturer Philips

Origin NL/France
Year of unit 1984/5
Year of introduction 1984
End of production ?
CPU Z80
Speed 3.58MHz
RAM 16kB
ROM 32kB ( MSXBasic)
Colors: 16
Sound: AY-3-8910 3-channel synthesizer chip
OS: MSX Basic
Display modes: Text: 40x24, 32x24
Graphics: 256x192x16colors, 64x48
 
 

 

Media: Cassette interface
ROM cartridges

 

Power supply:

1 - GND
2 - -12V DC
3 - N.C.
4 - +5V DC
5 - +12V DC

(WARNING: Numbering different than in Service MAnual!)

I/O: Cartridge slots,
Tape I/O
2x joystick connector
RGB or Composite out
RF out
 
 
 
 
 
 
Possible upgrades: Not much known
 
Software accessibility: Quite easy (MSX sites, TOSEC)
   

My unit has been probably sold in Poland. In 1980s it had some RAM chip replaced.

 


Contents: Starting Tapes Pinouts Links

Starting:

It boots to MSX BASIC, where you can use commands native to MSX BASIC:
MOTOR ON or MOTOR OFF - turns cassette motor on and off, usable when motor driving connector is connected to cassette player.
CLOAD - loads MSX BASIC file from cassette. You use: CLOAD "PROGRAMNAME" or to load the first one - just CLOAD.
To verify program written with CSAVE "PROG1", you have to type CLOAD?"PROG1".

BLOAD"CAS:PROGNAME" or BLOAD"CAS:" - loads a machine code program (binary) from cassette.
 


Preparing tapes

Tapes are usually stored as CAS files, they may be just played from sound card. Use CasTools to process CAS to WAV and in reverse way. Sometimes it is needed to invert (not reverse!) the WAV file in e.g. Audacity or CoolEdit.

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Pinouts

Video pinout:
IMPORTANT: There at least 3 versions of video connections in this machine. There are two connectors possible: 7-pin DIN or 8-pin DIN. In this connector, RGB or composite can be emitted. Usually if the PAL converter board has some small connector going to modulator, it's composite version. The only way to check what is in the connector of unknown machine is to test the unit with some display caring not to try to "watch" 12V DC.

Pin Composite
DIN8
Composite
DIN7
RGB
DIN8
1 +5V +5V +5V
2 GND GND GND
3 Audio Audio Blue
4 Luminance Luminance Luminance
5 Composite Composite Red
6 +12V +12V +12V
7 NC NC Sound
8 NC  - Green

 

Cassette port pinout:

1 - GND
2 - GND
3 - GND
4 - Output (computer to recorder)
5 - IN (Recorder to computer)
6 - Relay -
7 - Relay + (WARNING: Relay is electronic, low current!)
8 - GND

 

Joystick port pinout (UNCERTAIN - to verify)

1 - Up
2 - Down
3 - Left
4 - Right
5 - +5V
6 - Fire1
7 - Fire2
8 - Output?
9 - GND

Pinouts from service manual

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Links

http://www.faq.msxnet.org/hardware.html - MSX-compatible computers list,
http://www.museo8bits.com/vg8000.htm - In Spanish collection,
http://www.msxarchive.nl/ - MSX Archive!
http://msx.hansotten.com/index.php?page=msxmanuals - Service manual

 

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