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Print Page Chess Computer Community
    General Category => Discussions about Chess Computers => Message started by: larry on August 16, 2006, 02:05AM
	

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Title: Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Larry on August 16, 2006, 02:05AM

Over on CCC someone wants to know how you tell
the difference between the two versions of Fidelity's
Sensory 9.
I think I read somewhere, perhaps on this forum, that
there are two slightly different *looking* sensory 9's, but
I don't know if the different looks constitute the different
versions. One of them has the white pieces and the
name on the case in silver.
If you go to:
http://www.pinpoint1.f2s.com/html/timeline.html

and look down, you'll see the second version is 3.2mhz,
versus the first version's 1.6mhz. Surely the faster version
would say so on the box, if not on the actual computer,
but as you know a lot of the boxes went into trash cans
early in the piece.
Anyone here know of any test position to tell the
difference, or any other way, perhaps taking the back off
and reading what's written on the processor?
At a guess, I'd say ~80-90 percent of them would have
been the slower ones.
regards
Larry


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Ismenio on August 16, 2006, 03:36PM

Larry,

This seems to be problem that is not isolated to vintage chess computers. Recently I was researching before buying a new electric razor and ran across this problem. Even with information and manuals available on the manufacturer's site (Panasonic), I had a hard time figuring out the difference between similar models!!!

I know there's something wrong with this (some marketing thing?) but, what's wrong with naming a product Fidelity Sensory 4 3Mhz and Fidelity Sensory 4 4Mhz? Or Kasparov Plus 100 (for 100 levels) and Kasparov Plus 120 (for the 120 levels model?)

Regards,

Ismenio


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Mike Watters on August 16, 2006, 11:45PM

Hi Larry

As far as I know there were at least three versions of the Fidelity Sensory 9. That is not counting the 3.2 MHz "version" which appears in Karsten Bauermeister's collection list. As Karsten's list is one of the sources of my Timeline a "special" may have sneaked through the net. This one of Karsten's possibly has Elite A/S Budapest chips? I suppose one way to find out whether it is a special, or was on general sale, is to ask him.

The Sensory 9 was released in 1.5 Mhz, 1.6 Mhz and 2.0 Mhz versions according to my info. Both the 1.5 and 2.0 versions were available in the UK. Probably the 1.6 version also, as that is the most quoted chip speed in Europe.

As to how you can easily tell the difference, sorry I haven't a clue. ;D

I am beginning to appreciate though that Fidelity often made changes to their chess computer models on the fly with little or no external sign.

All the best
Mike




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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Mike Watters on August 17, 2006, 04:02PM

Just some extra info on the Sensory 9 versions.

Karsten says that his 3.2 MHz is a machine tuned up to that speed by the German Fidelity distributor RCS and that it does not have the Elite A/S chips which would anyway require a different PCB. It was never released for general sale, so the Timeline is getting one deletion. :( He also confirms that there were no differences between the Sensory 9 versions other than the programs.

Hein Veldhuis has not yet tidied up the Fidelity part of his database, but it contains the three versions mentioned below, and possibly more. It is in Dutch with a smattering of question marks, so it is hard for someone else to interpret.

If anyone spots any errors or questionable data in the Timeline please let me know. I would like it to be as accurate and complete as possible.


Archaeological regards
Mike








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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: bobosse on August 19, 2006, 04:55AM

[quote author=Mike Watters link=board=1;threadid=917;start=0#msg6760 date=1155797100]
As to how you can easily tell the difference, sorry I haven't a clue. ;D

I am beginning to appreciate though that Fidelity often made changes to their chess computer models on the fly with little or no external sign.
[/quote]
Just for information,
In the french magazine "Jeux et Strategie n26" (April-May 1984). It was written:
New Sensory 9
Without saying anything to anybody, Fidelity Electronics put a more recent software and a more powerfull processor (2 MHz instead of 1.5) in the box of its popular Sensory 9. It gives a stronger opponent, especially in tactics. The only way to see the difference between the old ans the new one is to make one or 2 tests and compare the result with our grid.
A good surprise: the price is the same (2400F).

The tests used by J&S are on the site of Alain:
http://www.zanchetta.net/echecs/default.aspx?page=echiquiers.htm (http://www.zanchetta.net/echecs/default.aspx?page=echiquiers.htm).
The results were (new / old - X means not found in 1 h):
D1: 1s / 1s
D2: X / 1mn
D3: X / X
D4: 4s / 7s
D5: 1mn5s / 2mn15s
D6: 10mn16s / 13mn45s
D7: 5mn42S / 2mn 25s
D8: 22s / 30s
D9: 23mn10s / 51mn

So it confirms 3 points:
- the 2MHz came begining of 1984 (1.5 MHz was end 1982)
- no physical difference between 1.5 and 2MHz
- the software is also different


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: alainza on August 19, 2006, 01:18PM

Hi,

by a pure chance, I found this PDF on my hard drive which (for people understanding French, sorry) confirms that. It is an advertising from Fidelity's importer, Rexton, in French Europe Echecs magazine.

http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/NewSensory9.pdf (http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/NewSensory9.pdf)

Best regards,
Alain


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Mike Watters on August 19, 2006, 01:55PM

and here is a quote from the American "Computer Chess Digest Annual 1983" reviewing the Sensory 9 -

"I have been using two SC9's and I have noticed only one difference between them. One is about 7% faster than the other and, probably because of this, they sometimes will play a different move. Nevertheless in the 54 games they played they scored roughly the same."

These would be the 1.5 MHz and 1.6 MHz models.

All the best
Mike



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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: sderyke2002 on August 21, 2006, 06:04PM

There is a technical way to tell what speed a SC9 is playing at, it goes as follows:

The SC9 used a 555 chip for its clock and the clock speed that the chip ran at is based on the size of the capacitor between pins 1 and 6. The capacitor in my old SC9 (which I believe was listed at 1.5 MHz) was rated at 0.022 microfarads. Lower values of capacitance would generate greater speed from the 555 circuit. For 1.6 MHz the capacitor should be 0.0206 (or approximately 0.021) microfarads which is such a small change that the tolerance of the manufacture may be responsible for the minor speed difference. For 2.0 MHz the capacitor should be 0.0165 microfarads and for 3.2 Mhz the capacitor would be 0.010 microfarads.

I even made these changes myself to my old machine (which not only changed the speed of the computer but also changed the tone of the beeps :) ) and it ran fine for 6 months, until I tried to bump it up to 6.6 MHz when it died - OPPS! :) But I did get an article published in my regional chess magazine out of it.

Hope this helps everyone.


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Ismenio on August 22, 2006, 07:03PM

Thanks for sharing that sderyke2002! You're not alone in this! I have had my share of toasting a few machines with some crazy experiments :(

Though I usually pick the ones that are cheap and not working 100% One thing about that is we do learn something from our experiments, don't we ;)

I still want to try to "mod" a CC7 one day ::)

Regards,

Ismenio


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Larry on August 23, 2006, 04:40AM

[quote author=sderyke2002 link=board=1;threadid=917;start=0#msg6805 date=1156208690]
There is a technical way to tell what speed a SC9 is playing at, it goes as follows:

The SC9 used a 555 chip for its clock and the clock speed that the chip ran at is based on the size of the capacitor between pins 1 and 6. The capacitor in my old SC9 (which I believe was listed at 1.5 MHz) was rated at 0.022 microfarads. Lower values of capacitance would generate greater speed from the 555 circuit. For 1.6 MHz the capacitor should be 0.0206 (or approximately 0.021) microfarads which is such a small change that the tolerance of the manufacture may be responsible for the minor speed difference. For 2.0 MHz the capacitor should be 0.0165 microfarads and for 3.2 Mhz the capacitor would be 0.010 microfarads.

I even made these changes myself to my old machine (which not only changed the speed of the computer but also changed the tone of the beeps :) ) and it ran fine for 6 months, until I tried to bump it up to 6.6 MHz when it died - OPPS! :) But I did get an article published in my regional chess magazine out of it.

Hope this helps everyone.
[/quote]

Great info!....now I've got a Fidelity Excel Mach3. Do you
think, (oops!)uming the circuitry is similar, I could locate the
equivalent chip, and the capacitor next to it, and pull the
same trick? I realise fhe initial capacitance values would
be smaller, as the unit is 16mhz, but what if I were to
insert a capacitor with proportionately smaller value?
Or should I not risk it?
regards
Larry


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: sderyke2002 on August 23, 2006, 12:49PM

I would be willing to bet (though I have never dug inside a Mach 3) that it uses a crystal instead of a 555 chip. The later, faster units switched to these because of the greater clock speeds made possible and the stability of the clock signal.

I owned a TS432 at one time and did look inside it and it did not use the 555 so I suspect the Mach 3 would not have either.


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Larry71 on December 11, 2007, 08:54PM

Hi guys, and thanks for the responses re: RAM upgrades.
I've got another semi related subject to bring up:




[quote author=sderyke2002 link=board=1;threadid=917;start=0#msg6805 date=1156208690]
There is a technical way to tell what speed a SC9 is playing at, it goes as follows:

The SC9 used a 555 chip for its clock and the clock speed that the chip ran at is based on the size of the capacitor between pins 1 and 6. The capacitor in my old SC9 (which I believe was listed at 1.5 MHz) was rated at 0.022 microfarads. Lower values of capacitance would generate greater speed from the 555 circuit. For 1.6 MHz the capacitor should be 0.0206 (or approximately 0.021) microfarads which is such a small change that the tolerance of the manufacture may be responsible for the minor speed difference. For 2.0 MHz the capacitor should be 0.0165 microfarads and for 3.2 Mhz the capacitor would be 0.010 microfarads.


[/quote]
Hi all, This is a post from some time ago that I've quoted.
Just last night I tried out overclocking my SC9 by placing
a smaller value capacitor, just as described. I can report
with certainty that what this does is overclocks the timer,
but *not* the processor. I'm the owner of two SC9's, a
1.5mhz 'A' version, and a 2.0mhz 'B' version. They both
have a capacitor of the same value as that described as
standard, ie, 0.022 microfarad.
When I replaced this capacitor with a smaller one,
everything seemed to happen faster. The 'beeps' were
a higher pitch, the 'thinking' light at the top right hand
corner flashed faster, and the moves came faster for a
given time setting. However, on setting up some simple
short mate positions, the solutions were no better, and
in some cases actually worse.
I'm not going to fiddle with the 'B' version, they are a
bit harder to replace if they get cooked. But I can tell you
there is a difference between the two versions, and it is
in the chip next to the quoted '555' chip referred to. It has
a bit of extra wiring on top of the chip and also something
that appears like a smaller chip on top of the old one, hard
to describe, but I'd say it was a way of overclocking the
processor while leaving the timer standard. This modified
chip also has a capacitor next to it, and when I replaced
that with a smaller one, there seemed no difference in
performance. So I've basically given up, at least for the
meanwhile.
I'd be interested in hearing the experience of others re:
overclocking dedicateds, either SC9's or otherwise.
regards
Larry


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: sderyke2002 on December 12, 2007, 03:39PM


Quote:

Just last night I tried out overclocking my SC9 by placing
a smaller value capacitor, just as described. I can report
with certainty that what this does is overclocks the timer,
but *not* the processor. I'm the owner of two SC9's, a
1.5mhz 'A' version, and a 2.0mhz 'B' version. They both
have a capacitor of the same value as that described as
standard, ie, 0.022 microfarad.
[/quote]

Interesting. I wonder where the CPU is getting its clocking from. I don't doubt your analysis as the "A" and "B" versions of the SC9 are known to run at different speeds (along with using a slightly different program) but when I reviewed the circuitry of the 9 back when I did this back in 1986 I did not see any other clock sources. Did I miss something? How is the 9B getting its faster clock speed? Is there perhaps additional circuitry or an additional chip which does a more sophisticated job of upping the clock speed coming out of the 555 chip?

[quote]
When I replaced this capacitor with a smaller one,
everything seemed to happen faster. The 'beeps' were
a higher pitch, the 'thinking' light at the top right hand
corner flashed faster, and the moves came faster for a
given time setting. However, on setting up some simple
short mate positions, the solutions were no better, and
in some cases actually worse.
[/quote]

I looked back through my records (because I thought I remembered running the Bratko-Kopec test on the speeded up 9, but alas I did not find any records of the results so perhaps it is just my old mind playing tricks on me. I would be interested in the results if you were to run those test positions against it both with and without the new capacitor. I would do it but alas, as I explained in the original post I pushed it too far and burn my unit up playing around with it.

[quote]
I'm not going to fiddle with the 'B' version, they are a
bit harder to replace if they get cooked. But I can tell you
there is a difference between the two versions, and it is
in the chip next to the quoted '555' chip referred to. It has
a bit of extra wiring on top of the chip and also something
that appears like a smaller chip on top of the old one, hard
to describe, but I'd say it was a way of overclocking the
processor while leaving the timer standard.


Perhaps this is the sophisticated over clocking I postulated above. So without these extras chips it may indeed be that the original 9's CPU is speeded up by the change of that capacitor. I don't see how it could not be if the 555 is the only source of clocking on the board.


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Title: Re:Difference between 2 Sensory 9 versions
Post by: Larry71 on December 12, 2007, 08:38PM

[quote author=sderyke2002 link=board=1;threadid=917;start=0#msg10323 date=1197502764]


Perhaps this is the sophisticated over clocking I postulated above. So without these extras chips it may indeed be that the original 9's CPU is speeded up by the change of that capacitor. I don't see how it could not be if the 555 is the only source of clocking on the board.
[/quote]
Hi, and good to hear from you,
I think maybe I did'nt explain quite right. The 'A' and 'B'
versions are identical with the exception that the 'B' has
been modified slightly. There is another processor near
the end of the '555' processor, and it has, oddly, another
processor of the same size, including the same number
of pins, glued directly on top of it. This has resulted in
the CPU being overclocked without any annoying outward
changes to the computer.
Before gluing the second processor on top of the original
one, they cut a lot of the pins off it. Of the remaining pins,
a few are soldered to their corresponding pins on the
lower processor, and a few are soldered to each other.
Of course this probably means that I can't overclock the
machine as they did, because the chips were likely
custom chips, not chips that you or I could simply go out
and buy.
Never mind, I'll keep tinkering, and get back to you with
any results, even it I end up cooking the machine. :P
all the best to you
Larry



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