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 Nederlands 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 it had 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 two cartridge slots. Video and audio output was implemented using non-standard DIN connector. The kayboard is not much comfortable 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 ?
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 100mA
3 - N.C.
4 - +5V DC 1.55A
5 - +12V DC 100mA

(WARNING: Numbering different than in Service Manual!)
Currents from MSX Wiki. Nevertheless I recommend buzzing it with ohmmeter. Better safe than sorry.

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


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.





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
1 +5V +5V +5V
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




Links - MSX-compatible computers list, - In Spanish collection, - MSX Archive! - Service manual