This is a really cool device and I too love the steam generator look. It triggered a couple thoughts. the time is fast approaching when I will have exhausted my stash of 100 watt incandescent bulbs and I will be forced to fork out the exhorbitant cost of inferior replacements. I am sorry I did not buy more, but I really thought the politicians would come to their senses. How dumb was that?
Then to see C-130 in print made my stomach do flip flops when I remembered the bumpy, jerky ride in those monsters. Guaranteed that at least one guy would heave and there were no barf bags to be had. But not all was bad since one of those things provided a part of my trip home.
I have a bunch of them, new old stock military surplus. $10 apiece if you just want a few for your own use and won't try to resell them for a profit. Will put them on ebay at some point for more money, but thought I'd give the guys here first crack at them. Films have various cryptic military-related legends on them so you'll need to make your own with numbers. Note that color is a definite option with these if you can make a color transparency or use colored LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs (not included, T1-3/4 size)
I've been dragging these around in my junk bin for 30 years, since I was a student. When I was a student tech in a physics lab, we would scavenge old equipment for parts. These were deamed obsolete at the time, but too cool for the trash bin!
Unfortunately I didn't keep the big ones.
Search Ebay for "one plane readout", they are listed sometimes.
I think the bulb life is a function of the bulb, and how bright (applied voltage) you run it. This clock has been running for a year with no issues so far. Last time I checked they were still availble for this display anyway, its a common indicator bulb. Some of the types have a 300,000 hour MTBF so I think I'm good with it for my clock.
I remember these displays quite well. They were used on a specialized Xerox copier that I helped buld in the 60s called "System 3-2-1". They were made by IEE, Industrial Electronic Engineers of North Hollywood, CA. The company is still in business. See: http://www.ieeinc.com/about-us Also, there is a very nice descriptive page about the displays including a disassembled view at: http://www.decadecounter.com/vta/articleview.php?item=511
They were great. Much easier to deal with than Nixie Tubes. No special power supply needed.
I don't think an segmented display will look like a projector display because they are completely different schemes. The projector device is actually an array of miniature slide projectors, each with its own lamp, "film", and lens, but all projecting onto the back side of one screen. The "film" can be any image at all, which means that in the case of numbers, they can be formed complete in any font that one wants, rather than being approximated by means of segments. Of course one could use the appropriate images in a projector display to simulated a segmented display, but where's the fun in that?
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