Sakhr AX-350II
This page was last modified 14:31, 27 December 2021 by Gdx. Based on work by Mars2000you and Rderooy and others.

Contents

Description

Computer

Sakhr Computers was a Kuwaiti company (Al Alamiah co.) that was selling MSX computers imported from Japan in all of the Arab world. These MSX were localized and rebranded for some Arabic markets.

The AX-350II is the Yamaha YIS-604/128 or CX7M/128 localised by Al Alamiah. The mini-slot has been replaced by a floppy disk drive and the module slot has been removed. However, the internal structure is closer to the YIS-805/128.

Notes:

  • You can find many AX-350 computers that are actually AX-350II computers, you can check the underside label to see which version you have in hands. The hardware is the same for both machines.
  • Some little details such as the difference at the bottom of the firmware menu seem to indicate that the AX-350II is a revision of the AX-350.

This computer has an Arabic QWERTY keyboard, but is also available in an Arabic/French version AX-350IIF (with AZERTY keyboard), where the English Word Processor is replaced by a French Word Processor.

After booting without pressing the CTRL key, the computer will be in Arabic mode. In this mode:

  • the combination of the GRAPH key with an alphabetic key will display an MSX-BASIC instruction on the screen
  • the extra STAR key (not available on the AX-350IIF) can be used in a similar way to the GRAPH key
  • some combinations can produce accented characters instead of MSX-BASIC instructions
Brand Sakhr (Manufacturer: Yamaha)
Model AX-350II / AX-350IIF
Year 1987
Region Middle East
Launch price
RAM 128kB in slot 3-2
VRAM 128kB
Media MSX cartridges, DD floppy disks
Video Yamaha V9938
Audio PSG (YM2149 integrated in MSX-Engine S1985)
Chipset Yamaha S1985
Keyboard layout (AX-350II) QWERTY/Arabic - (AX-350IIF) AZERTY/Arabic
Extras 720kB 3,5" floppy disk drive, reset button, Arabic BASIC, firmware (Word Processor Arabic/English or Arabic/French, The Painter, Calendar)
Emulation ROMs dumped and emulated as the "Yamaha AX350II" for the QWERTY version, and the "Yamaha AX350IIF" for the AZERTY version.

Firmware

This machine comes with version 2.02 of Arabic firmware, present on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah computers.

The firmware can be skipped by pressing CTRL key while booting and until you hear a first beep. By doing that, the machine will be in International mode and the Arabic characters will not be available. If a software (even in cartridge) doesn't work, try it in this mode.

Note: If you continue to press CTRL until a second beep, you will get only one drive (the A: drive) even if you have added an external diskdrive.

This firmware adds Arabic characters, new MSX-BASIC instructions (see Arabic BASIC) and 3 applications. You can choose them in the menu with the keys 1 to 3:

  • English (or French) / Arabic Word Processor
  • The Painter (Arabic version) - graphic tool in screen 5 (the original version can be found in the Yamaha YIS-805)
  • Calendar - white background instead of the black background of the versions 1.0, 1.01 and 1.02

By comparison with version 2.01, the Sakhr Files option has been removed.

If you press key 4 when you are in the menu, you will go to MSX-BASIC.

From MSX-BASIC in Arabic mode, you can

  • go to the menu with CALL MENU or _MENU
  • launch the Word Processor with CALL SWP or _SWP
  • launch the Calendar with CALL CALENDAR or _CALENDAR
  • launch The Painter with CALL PAINT or _PAINT

If you are in International mode:

  • only CALL SWP or _SWP can be used, you will directly go to the English (or French) Word Processor. It's not recommended to use the other instructions without first enabling the Arabic mode.
  • you can fully enable the Arabic mode with CALL ARABIC, _ARABIC, CALL ARABON or _ARABON

Pictures

Computer

Sakhr AX-350II box (English side)
Sakhr AX-350II box (Arabic side)
Sakhr AX-350II
Sakhr AX-350II left side
Sakhr AX-350IIF
Sakhr AX-350II right side
Sakhr AX-350II inside
Sakhr AX-350II underside
Sakhr AX-350II PCB
Sakhr AX-350II back
Sakhr AX-350II label
Sakhr AX-350IIF label

Firmware

Menu

Arabic firmware version 2.02
English/Arabic menu
French/Arabic menu

Word Processor

English/Arabic Word Processor
Arabic Word Processor
English Word Processor
French/Arabic Word Processor
French Word Processor

The Painter

The Painter (Arabic version)
The Painter (Arabic version)

Calendar

Arabic Calendar
English Calendar

Specifications

The AX-350II is a MSX2 with a Z80A from Zilog and an MSX-Engine S1985 from Yamaha. Floppy Disk Controller chip is the MB8877A.

Slot Map

Slot Slot
0-0 0‑1 0-2 0-3 Slot 1 Slot 2 3-0 3-1 3-2 3-3
Page C000h~FFFFh Cartridge
Slot 1
Cartridge
Slot 2
Painter
ROM
128kB
Memory
Mapper
Page 8000h~BFFFh Arabic
ROM
SWP
ROM
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM Disk ROM
Page 0000h~3FFFh Sub-ROM

Connections

Upgrades

RAM upgrade

On this model the RAM can be relatively easily expanded to 256kB by adding four 4464 or compatible DRAM chips to the empty spots on the motherboard and bridging the jumper "-J-" (near IC305, LS670), and cutting a jumper trace and bridging another jumper, both immediately next to IC326. Former will connect the fourth bit to the mapper register (on the existing LS670) and the latter is required to connect MA17 to the LS139 (IC306) instead of pulling it low (which is correct for 128kb configuration).

The RAM expansion of 1024kB from Caro is not supported.