Hitachi MB-H2
This page was last modified 02:04, 11 January 2023 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Sdsnatcher73 and others.
Hitachi MB-H2.png




The Hitachi MB-H2 is the successor of the MB-H1. It has a CPU speed controller switch, allowing slow games execution.

Compared to the MB-H1, the MB-H2 has 64kB of RAM, a built-in tape recorder and a RGB output.

The machine is quite heavy with a weight of 3.8kg. It was aimed at the Japanese market.

Brand Hitachi
Model MB-H2
Year 1984
Region Japan
Launch price ¥79,800
RAM 64kB (in slot 3)
Media MSX cartridges, cassette tapes
Video Texas Instruments TMS9128NL
Audio PSG (AY-3-8910)
Chipset none (separate IC's)
Keyboard layout QWERTY/JP50on
Extras built-in tape recorder with recording volume regulator, headphones jack connector with volume regulator, CPU speed controller switch, Hitachi BASIC, firmware (Sketch Program, Sound Play, Cassette Operation Guide, MB-H2 Monitor Program)
Emulation ROMs dumped and emulated, except speed controller and cassette control


The firmware available in this computer uses function keys F1 to F5:

  • F1 - MSX-BASIC
  • F2 - Sketch Program (graphic program)
  • F3 - Sound Play (music keyboard)
  • F4 - Cassette Operation Guide
  • F5 - MB-H2 Monitor Program (disassembly/monitor of machine code)

There is no any key to bypass the firmware menu when booting because it is auto-bypassed when a ROM cartridge is inserted.

If you stay on the menu, an automatic demo of the options F2 and F3 will begin after a few time.

When you have started an application, you can go back to the menu by entering E in the monitor or by pressing CTRL+STOP in the other applications.

From MSX-BASIC, you can

  • launch the Cassette Operation Guide with CALL CMT or _CMT (back to BASIC by pressing CTRL+STOP)
  • access to the command line of the Monitor with CALL MON or _MON (to get the list of all available commands in this utility, enter H on the command line - back to BASIC by entering E)
  • send a screendump of a text or graphic screen to a connected printer with CALL HCOPY or _HCOPY

Compared to the corresponding applications in the MB-H1 computer, Sketch Program has been transformed from a simple drawing tool to a complete graphic utility with saving on cassette while a second option has been added to the Sound Play keyboard.

The most original software is the Cassette Operation Guide, with 14 additional instructions to control the built-in tape recorder. So, we can speak about a kind of MSX-BASIC extension : the Hitachi BASIC. However, you must notice that this utility does not support files in ASCII mode (BASIC or data).



HItachi MB-H2 packaging
Hitachi MB-H2
Hitachi MB-H2 label
Hitachi MB-H2 left side
Hitachi MB-H2 right side
Hitachi MB-H2 back
Hitachi MB-H2 data recorder
Hitachi MB-H2 box
Hitachi MB-H2 inside
Hitachi MB-H2 manual


Hitachi MB-H2 firmware Menu
Sketch Program
Sketch Program
Sound Play
Cassette Operation Guide
MB-H2 Monitor Program


The MB-H2 is a MSX1 with a CPU speed controller for slow games execution. The CPU is a Z80A from Sharp (LH0080A). The built-in cassette recorder is controlled from the computer via I/O port &H94, with the following bit map:

Bit 7 Bit 6 Bit 5 Bit 4 Bit 3 Bit 2 Bit 1 Bit 0
Fast Forward Rewind Record Stop Pause Play Scan Mute

The firmware is auto-bypassed when a cartridge is inserted in the slot 1 or 2 but it does not work with a slot expander. To remedy this drawback, you have to insert a ROM cartridge in one of the two primary slots or dessolder the HN61364P ROM which contains the firmware. This one is virtually useless but if you prefer to keep it, you can replace the original firmware by this patched version.

Slot Map

Slot 0 Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3
Page C000h~FFFFh Cartridge
Slot 1
Slot 2
64kB RAM
Page 8000h~BFFFh Firmware
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM
Page 0000h~3FFFh