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About Novag Model 892 Mentor 16 (1989) Electronic Chess Computer

ABOUT NOVAG MENTOR 16 MODEL 892 ELECTRONIC CHESS COMPUTER

 

NOVAG MENTOR 16 Electronic Chess Computer -  Picture taken from box.

NOVAG MENTOR 16 Electronic Chess Computer -  Picture taken from box.

 

MAIN NOVAG MENTOR 16 MODEL 892 GAME CHARACTERISTICS

 

  • The fastest chess computer in its class with an excellent tactical game.
  • A real challenge for good players and a tutor for beginners.
  • Easy to operate SENSOR TECHNOLOGY.
  • 16K Byte chess program and super fast 8 MHz processor offer superb play.
  • Large opening book contains 8000 half moves.
  • 48 skill levels split into blitz, tournament, fixed depth, fixed time, training and analysis.
  • Equipped with 2 Liquid Crystal Display Clocks showing time for current move accumulated time for both sides.
  • HINT KEY serves as tutoring feature.
  • Saves game position in memory when switched off.
  • PORTABLE: Plays on six AA alkaline batteries or Novag adapter Art. No. 8210 (both not included).

Excerpts taken from the NOVAG Mentor 16 user manual and box.

 

WHAT IS THE PROCESSOR INSIDE THIS COMPUTER?

As a result of some reported Ron Nelson comments with regards to having to switch to lower cost yet more efficient semiconductors in the 1990’s resulting in a new range of Excalibur Electronics computers launched around that time using Intel 80C50 manufactured by Asian semiconductor companies.  The same transformation most likely took place with all the other manufacturers of electronic chess computers, beginning in the late 1980’s.

Novag never advertised the processor used inside many of their computers which made it more of a guessing game of what they actually used.  However by indicating in their sales literature the speed, ROM and RAM size, it does allow you to narrow your best estimate down to what kind of processor it may be.

None of the electronic chess computer manufacturers produced volumes that allowed them to specify custom microchips and therefore had to rely on what was easily available for purchase in Hong Kong and China.

Novag in some previous models had used Intel MCS-48 based 80C49 processors so it stands to reason that at the time of Novag Mentor 16 with its dual LCD display, they were probably using the next generation Intel MCS-51 based processor 80C51 manufactured by Asian semiconductor companies.

As it happens while researching data sheets an 80C51 Dual LCD semiconductor existed, and still exists today, manufactured by Philips Semiconductors (nowadays operating as NXP Semixonductors), who at that time was one of the top 10 world manufacturers of semiconductors with production locations in China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand.

This 80C51 Dual LCD semiconductor matches exactly in configurable specifications what Novag had advertised as 8 MHz 8 Bit 16 KB ROM and 256 Byte RAM used in some Novag chess computers as well as 8 KB ROM and 768 Byte RAM which was used in many other Novag chess computers from around 1996 onwards.

To encourage discussion and further research a ? is shown behind the Processor OEM name and Processor in the table descriptions below.  Perhaps someone has a broken computer and is willing to open it up and take it apart to check this further.  In the meantime please enjoy the information below as a best estimate.  The truth probably lies somewhere between 80C49 and 80C51.

 

Information on Novag Model 892 Mentor 16 (1989) Electronic Chess Computer
Novag Model 892 Mentor 16 (1989) Electronic Chess Computer

Technical Specification

Novag Mentor 16 (1989)

Novag Model 892 Mentor 16 (1989) Box
Novag Model 892 Mentor 16 (1989) Computer Label
Novag Model 892 Mentor 16 (1989) User Manual

Box

Computer Label

User Manual

Spacious Mind

Schachcomputer.Info

Active 2017

Tourn. 2015

1523

-

T1

T2

T3

T4

T5

Final

-

-

-

-

-

-

MANUFACTURER

PROGRAMMER

Novag Industries Ltd.

David Kittinger

1900 USCF

1989

$149,00

Not Known

Year:

MFR ELO:

Original Price:

Wiki ELO:

Model #:

892

My Serial #:

615704

Processor OEM

Philips Semicon?

Processor:

80C51?

Speed:

Type:

8 Bit

8 MHz

ROM:

16 KB

RAM:

256 Byte

Battery Type:

6 x AA

Power Adapter:

9V DC 300 mA -/+

Display:

2LCD4P7S16LED

Board Type:

Press Sensory

Overall Size:

Board Size:

8x8 in

10.7/8x10.3/4x1

Options Select:

Button Select

Play Levels:

48

Opening Book:

8000 Half Moves

Take Back:

10 Half Moves

Position Setup:

Available

Position Verify:

Available

Move Analysis:

Display Info:

Not Available

Not Available

Solve Mate:

Mate in 3

Save Game:

Available

Ponder:

Not Available

Search Depth:

10 Ply Max.

Provide Hint:

Available

Teach Mode:

Available

Change Sides:

Available

Active Level:

TM Level:

14

Infinite Level:

16

7

Hardware Specification

Game Features

Matchplay & Test ELO Ratings

Computer Game Rating

Rating Test

Other  Computer Chess Ratings

USCF

USCF

Spacious Mind

Human Rating

USCF

CCR

CCNS 97

Ply

FIDE

USCF

-

1549

-

1656

1609

Class B Level Electronic Table Top Chess Computer!

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