Thursday, December 31, 2015

AUCNET NIA-2001 - Part 1

For those who know about MSX, there is four generations of these marvellous machines: MSX1, MSX2, MSX2+ and MSX TurboR. There is two official MSX TurboR models: FS-A1GT and FS-A1ST, both built by Panasonic. And that's all that MSX fans knew about MSX TurboR machines for 25 years.

The first machine that I will show here is my, until now, biggest finding: the AUCNET NIA-2001. The NIA-2001's discovery changes the TurboR history: it's a new MSX TurboR machine, with a different design (internal and external) and built by another manufacturer.

I made this video to show the machine (audio in portuguese):

The keyboard used in this video is not original, but thanks God (and Werner who recognized the keyboard connector) the Mitsubishi ML-G30 keyboard is compatible. When I did the video I didn't know how to by-pass the NIA-2001 built-in firmware, but NYYRIKKI helped me and found that pressing INS+DEL+UP+DOWN+LEFT+RIGHT at same time quits the firmware and goes to BASIC. 

What is inside NIA-2001?

NIA-2001 main board

CPU: ASCII R800 and Z80 equivalent inside MSX-Engine2 (Toshiba T9769C)
RAM: 512KB
VDP: Yamaha V9958 with 128KB VRAM
PPI: MSX-Engine2
System Controller: ASCII S1990
Sound: PSG equivalent inside MSX-Engine2 and MSX-Music with Yamaha YM2413
Keyboard: separated keyboard compatible with the Mitsubishi ML-G30 one
Additional features:  Kanji-ROM, Modem, RS232-C and Superimposer


Front: keyboard (Hirose QM40-26PA-EP), joystick (DB-9 male) and misc (DB-9 female)

Back: power cord, two power outlets, telephone (RJ11 jack), line (RJ11 jack), printer port (Centronics 14-pins female), RGB out, Audio/Video out (RCA), Audio/Video In (RCA), RS232C (DB25 female) and  two MSX cartridge slots (50-pins)
You can see more pictures of NIA-2001 (internal and external) in this album.

Software side, this machine have MSX-JE, MSX-Music, MSX-Serial, MSX-BASIC 4.0, etc. The slots are mapped this way (sorry about the ugly picture):

SLOT1: External
SLOT2: External
SLOT3-0: 512KB RAM
SLOT3-2: crippled Disk-ROM

I made a tarball with all these ROMs. I used three different softwares, one BASIC program to dump A1ST firmware, other program to dump files from A1GT and I didn't remember if GETROM or SAVEROM to save the "direct" dumps. Of course, using many different programs to dump the same sources gives some duplicated files.

The machine came with a cartridge that doesn't works, so I can't do a software dump. Tabajara reads the contents of this ROM for me, using a EPROM reader/burner.

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