I grabbed the recently listed Sea Wolf II motherboard on eBay. It's missing a bunch of chips.
I presume these chips were soldered to the board and not socketed to it. Is that right?
The last [missing] chip is called C2719A on the schematic. Is this a custom chip? Will it be a pain to find? Is there an easy replacement?
The C2719A is the Astrocade's custom data chip. It's also referred to as the AMI C2719A-0. I don't know where to buy one. Of course, you can always get one from an Astrocade. This chip is socketed on the Astrocade's motherboard, so it is easy to remove.
Should I even bother restoring the RAM?
By "restoring the RAM," I presume you mean should you convert the Seawolf II's motherboard to use more modern RAM. First, I'd try to get the board up and running with its original parts.
I'm not dead set on using the board.
If you don't want to use the Seawolf II board, then why did you buy it?
Is this a JAMMA compatible board? (I doubt it)
JAMMA came about in about 1981, which three years after SeaWolf II was released.
What is the "characterization board"? Is it interchangeable with other games?
What is the "characterization board?" Unlike the later games like Wizard of Wor and GORF, I thought that Seawolf II was all on one board? Does it actually have additional boards that plug into the motherboard?
You have mentioned in the past that this is considered to be similar to the Bally Astrocade II planned design. Where is the info on this?
I'm not sure I remember seeing any designs for a so-called follow-up to the Astrocade. However, when the Bally Arcade was designed in 1976/1977, it had two purposes. One version would be for use at home (dubbed the "consumer" model) and one would be for use in the arcade (dubbed the "commercial" model. The home model has 4K of screen RAM (with no additional RAM). The commercial model has 16K of screen RAM. The consumer model became the Bally Arcade. The first use of the commercial mode is the Seawolf II arcade game.
All of this information about the two different versions of the Astrocade chipset is spread across many different documents in the machine language programming section of BallyAlley.com, here:
Most all of it can be found in the "Nutting manual:"
Finally, if you can understand them, then the Bally Arcade patents provide all the copious details about how the custom chips can run in high-res and low-res modes:
I hope that this helps you get your Seawolf II up and running. If (when?) you restore the board, then I'd love to see a video of it running. Also, could you provide hi-res photos of the Seawolf II board in its current state?