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 Post subject: The Mystery Displays
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:06 am
Posts: 217
Location: Brooklyn Park, MN (EN35ic)
While cleaning out one of my many piles o' parts I came across two display units, acquired at a couple of hamfests a while back. I have no idea how to talk to them, but I figure maybe one of you clever people has an idea of where/how to begin.

The first one is a 6 line x 40 character VFD display. It was built in 1986, according to the date stamped on one of the boards (it's a 3-layer sandwich). Two connectors on the board edge, one with 5 wires (orange/green/black/yellow/white), the other has 8 green wires, 2 orange, 2 black (plus 2 black wires that jumper a couple of pins in the connector). There are cables connected, with no connectors at the other end -- it was probably sliced out of some larger piece of equipment.

The second unit is a 2-layer sandwich. The display is made of 5 7x8 LED matrices -- one board with 3 units, one with 2. Both boards are daisy-chained together, and connected to a controller board. The board has a (leaky) battery, a couple of big caps, a Z80 processor and assorted support chips. There's also an RJ11 jack, which I'm thinking is a serial connector.

I can bring both units along to Wed's meeting if anyone wants to take a look.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery Displays
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:50 pm
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Location: Stillwater
bring it! even though I won't be able to help you, I like looking at things older than myself...

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery Displays
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:53 am
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Location: Eagan, MN
jtbarclay wrote:
bring it! even though I won't be able to help you, I like looking at things older than myself...

You mean, like, all the rest of us?

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery Displays
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:57 pm 
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Location: Brooklyn Park, MN (EN35ic)
Score! The VFD unit had a manufacturer tag on the back: Industrial Electronic Engineers. I sent an email to their support person, and he sent back the docs!

+5VDC and +11-30VDC power, accepts plain 7-bit ASCII data. Bad thing: parallel input. Anyone know how to convert serial to parallel, so I can talk to it with an Arduino?

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery Displays
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:06 am
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Location: Brooklyn Park, MN (EN35ic)
Think I just answered my own question: Serial to Parallel Shifting-Out with a 74HC595

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery Displays
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 118
Location: Minneapolis, MN
i was 3 years old when that display came out!

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Score! The VFD unit had a manufacturer tag on the back: Industrial Electronic Engineers. I sent an email to their support person, and he sent back the docs!

ahhh.. its nice to know that some manufacturers have SOME staying power.


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