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.
|Year of unit||1984/5|
|Year of introduction||1984|
|End of production||?|
|ROM||32kB ( MSXBasic)|
|Sound:||AY-3-8910 3-channel synthesizer chip|
|Display modes:||Text: 40x24, 32x24
Graphics: 256x192x16colors, 64x48
1 - GND
(WARNING: Numbering different than in Service
2x joystick connector
RGB or Composite 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
http://www.faq.msxnet.org/hardware.html - MSX-compatible computers
http://www.museo8bits.com/vg8000.htm - In Spanish collection,
http://www.msxarchive.nl/ - MSX Archive!
http://msx.hansotten.com/manuals-and-guides/ - Service manual