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.


Ok. I still don't know exactly how to use and customize this blog thing, but I have some cool information that I want to share with other MSX lovers and the setting up a blog looks to be the easy way to share that information.

The purpose of this blog is to show the results of my efforts to find hidden MSX computers or MSX based hardware. To be clear about the terms that I will use here:

  • MSX computer: A complete machine with MSX architecture that runs natively the MSX BIOS and can, without hardware or software modifications, execute MSX software.
  • MSX based: A machine with MSX architecture that can run the MSX BIOS and other MSX software, but or didn't have the MSX BIOS native or need small modifications on BIOS or hardware.
  • Not MSX: Machine that can have some (or all) MSX related components, but didn't have the MSX architecture. Needs to run a heavily modified MSX BIOS or needs great hardware modifications.

Sorry about my english language skills, it's not my native language but, after fighting trying to understand pages in japanese, dutch, korean, russian and other foreign languages, I guess the best way to be understandable to most MSX community is to write in english.

Well, that's enough for the first presentation. I hope to have some news soon (and to understand how to work with Blogger interface).


Piter Punk