Refurbishing 1980s chess challenger.

Hi all,

I have recently began undertaking a task to refurbish a 1980s chess challenger. Since I don't know how or if the source code exists for the AI I am trying to rebuild the input section of the board. The entire pawn section on white's side is dead but generally all other inputs still work. For example if I move one of white's knights the AI recognizes it and responds with a move command for black.

Right now I am heating the input chess board up to weaken the adhesive so I may begin to map the inputs in order to rebuild.

I dont know of any vendors that can give me an exact copy of the board so I may have to rebuild and design from scratch. It looks that it has 9 x-coordinates and 9 y-coordinates. There's 8 by 8 input for the chess board and the extra 9 is for the menu commands.

My approach would be an additional power supply board and use hall effect sensors but I think I would perfer if I could get a lead on designing an exact copy of the chess board face.

As of writing this I had miscalculated the temperature of the oven while I sucessfully removed the chess board face...the plastic structure became warped...so at this point I am 100% committed to rebuilding in a new chasis simple because I dont have the orignal code to the 1980s mircocontroller.

Thank you for reading!

Do you have a question?

TheMemberFormerlyKnownAsAWOL:
Do you have a question?

Any leads on pcb manufacturing and enclosure manufacturing?

Additionally where could I get a custom dipple button pad made that comes complete with a custom overlay? Is something like this possible for small scale?

maybe a link to the product.. along with images?

Let me redirect the focus of the thread..does anyone have any good leads on programing an arduino to perform the same extact function as what this board can do?

I am sorry for the vagueness in the post(s) but I generally don't like to extactly know what it is I am looking for as I still need yo learn why I asked the question in the first place.

I can’t see you being able to write a chess program for the Arduino .

The cost of having a custom made board for the pieces will be huge .

Think I would look on eBay for parts or another one , perhaps so you can build a good one from two broken ones .

Falls into the too hard bin for me , sorry.

A raspberry pi should be able to handle the chess, with maybe an arduino for the interface.

hammy:
I can’t see you being able to write a chess program for the Arduino .

The cost of having a custom made board for the pieces will be huge .

Think I would look on eBay for parts or another one , perhaps so you can build a good one from two broken ones .

Falls into the too hard bin for me , sorry.

That's the thing though..you see the programing language and memory space for the chess challenger was less or infact flat primitive when compared to a modern arduino..and my thought process was what if I coded the engine on a mega and then interfaced with a nano?
Like if I understand how they coded the the chess challenger and adapted into arduino I think I may be.
I already have the board part slightly figured out..I'll take an existing cheap chess board and integrate hall effect sensors...the challenge is figuring out how to straighen out the coding scheme and power supply for such a set up.
Then a much different but I do see possible is use photo cells but that would force you to move and place the piece in a diberlate manner.
Also because I screwed up the orignal plastic in the oven I had already ordered a parts board from ebay.

The video you linked appears to be a sensory chess challenger model 8 SCC, which at least one website says had a 4MHz Zilog Z80 with 4k ROM and 512 bytes RAM, so you may be able to pull it off, although just getting the original board running might be easier. There seems to have been a bit of work done on emulating the Z80 on an arduino, so that is another possible route.

Can you post some good pictures of the circuit board? Component identification should not be too difficult unless the manufacturer buffed off the chip numbers.

Why not start with one of the existing Arduino chess programs, like MicroMax and figure out how to map the inputs and outputs to your board?

Who knows, perhaps even a robot arm.

If you have the original ROM, a Z80 emulation should be within the bounds of possibility for a big enough AVR

OK, so if you have the board and an intact ROM, then it is possible to disassemble the Z80 code and re-write it for an Arduino having determined the schematic of the original board.

Whether you have the skill and patience to do that is another matter. :roll_eyes:

I’ve seen an AVR/6502 emulator, so a Z80 can’t be that much harder.
It would cut-out the need for translation, though it may not run as fast as the original.

Reply #8 is the way to start...
The board will inevitably be constructed as a matrix, and may well work perfectly if you can identify the row/column fault in the original.

For emulation, a well written Z80 emulation at 16MHz, should hold up pretty well against an old 4MHz chip.

If you do get your teeth into this, and learn well, you’ll have blast bringing the code into the 21st century. If could be a lot more functional.

Paul__B:
OK, so if you have the board and an intact ROM, then it is possible to disassemble the Z80 code and re-write it for an Arduino having determined the schematic of the original board.

Whether you have the skill and patience to do that is another matter. :roll_eyes:

It would be like making a mandella outta sand...

Raw photo dump.

This section tells you which piece to move and where..

You’ve got a bigger problem.
Pay the bill, and get the lights back,on...

The bottom picture is your 1977 Arduino.

lastchancename:
You’ve got a bigger problem.
Pay the bill, and get the lights back,on...

The bottom picture is your 1977 Arduino.

I Edited for contianing zero realvance to the thread ignore.

P.S I haven't used a proper forum in a while so forgive me if my post tone sounds 'aggressive' to you or anyone who caught the original text

lastchancename:
You’ve got a bigger problem.
Pay the bill, and get the lights back,on...

The bottom picture is your 1977 Arduino.

By the way no one take offense at that last post...just pretend that this was all pretend..
Because this thread is indexed I can just look it up when I have the time...I have the info I need to begin working this project...just a question of time...
So again please take no offense...the post was 100 percent the thing I needed to hear.
Note to future me:
Key take away here..to lurkers/passive readers...simple word 'discipline'