About the article

AVR-Max Chess Computer

A minimalist homebrew chess computer

AVR-Max Chess Computer
For just a few pounds you can take a microcontroller, add a few pushbuttons and some 7-segment displays to build a chess computer reminiscent of the legendary Mephisto I. The low component count (and no SMDs!) allows the entire machine to be shrunk onto a neat pocket-sized PCB. Despite LED displays it draws just 20 mA and will run until the battery supply falls below 1.9 V.
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Gerber file

CAM/CAD data for the PCB referred to in this article is available as a Gerber file. Elektor GREEN and GOLD members can exclusively download these files for free as part of their membership. Gerber files allow a PCB to be produced on an appropriate device available locally, or through an online PCB manufacturing service.

Elektor recommends its business partner Eurocircuits as the company of choice for its own prototypes and volume production in selected cases.

Extra info / Update

Minimal component count
Low power (20 mA @ 3 V)
Battery power using two AAA or AA cells
Nine playing levels
Look-ahead 20 halfmoves
Elo rating approx. 1200-1399
Display of principal variant mode (on/off)
Opening set-up possible
Select black/white at start of play
Change sides during play
Computer can also compete against itself

Download the BOM list
The BOM (Bill of Materials) is the technically exhaustive listing of parts and other hardware items used to produce the working and tested prototype of any Elektor Labs project. The BOM file contains deeper information than the Component List published for the same project in Elektor Magazine. If required the BOM gets updated directly by our lab engineers. As a reader, you can download the list here.
Want to learn more about our BOM list? Read the BOM list article for extra information.
Component list
R1–R8 = 470Ohm
R9–R13 = 10kOhm
C1,C2 = 100nF (lead pitch 0.1” / 2.54mm)
L1 = 10µH (fixed inductor)
LD1–LD4 = SA52-11 (Kingbright), 7-segment LED display, red, common anode, 13.2mm height
T1–T4 = BC559C (or -B)
IC1 = ATmega88P-20PU (Atmel), programmed, Elektor Shop # 081101-41
S1–S11 = push button, 1 make contact, PCB mount, e.g. Multicomp MCDTS6-5N
K1 = 2-way pinheader or 2 solder pins
K2 = 6-way DIL pinheader
K3 = 6-way SIL pinheader, right angled (optional)
Battery holder for 2 AA or 2 AAA batteries
Kit of parts # 081101-71 (see Elektor-Shop, www.elektor.com)
PCB # 081101-1
Project software, free download # 081101-11.zip from www.elektor.com/081101

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