Author Topic: "Eggcrate" displays for sale  (Read 332 times)

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Offline plumbarbacy

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"Eggcrate" displays for sale
« on: November 11, 2019, 06:54:12 PM »
Hello, my first post on this site.

Earlier today I was perusing through the photos of the TPIR props and sets you guys so nicely included on here and I was able to figure out the back side of some of the "eggcrate" type displays they used on the show. Being that I have long been interested in this type of thing, I was able to locate some very similar display sections, maybe even the same kind. From the photos I could barely make out the logo on the back of the box, and I found a match online. Take a look at this page: [http://www.surplussales.com/bulbs-incan-panel/vacdisplay.html] Sorry, I guess new members can't post hyperlinks.
Scroll down the page and locate the "Vintage Light Bulb Matrix" on sale for $75 each. If you look at the back of the box you can see it was made by a company out of L.A. called Display Systems, and the same emblem is present in some of the photos here. Googling that company netted me nothing, which I'm assuming is because they are long out of business. The box itself looks to have a quite rudimentary construction consisting of a grids of foil runs and what appear to be driving diodes meant to light individual 28-volt #1820 lamps. On the back of the box is a 12-pin Molex connector, where I assume some combination of voltages on the pins would light corresponding digits, selected by whatever "computer" was driving the whole thing. I'm sure those bulbs were maintenance-intensive and would have been checked every time one of the displays were used on the show, because they are prone to blowing.
At one time I designed an alarm clock using similar-looking 5X7 led matrices (red, however) for the digits. I had the circuits worked out and everything, but I never got around to actually building it because I have gotten lazy.
By the way, you'll also note the curious "$" stenciled on the back of the box and also marked on one of the circuit boards. Wonder if it is the real deal?