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Re: [cosmacelf] Re: 1802 retro project idea

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  • Lee Hart
    ... I have a couple RCA Numitrons. They are 7-segment displays with a hot wire for each segment (the filament of a light bulb ). They certainly work and are
    Message 1 of 19 , May 31, 2011
      On 5/31/2011 9:34 PM, awasson2001 wrote:
      > Or... Use Numitron Tubes.

      I have a couple RCA Numitrons. They are 7-segment displays with a hot
      wire for each segment (the filament of a "light bulb"). They certainly
      work and are easy to drive.

      But I think if I make a steampunk Elf and want a 7-segment display (for
      hex), I'll just use seven NE-2 neon lamps for the segments.

      --
      Lee A. Hart | Ring the bells that still can ring
      814 8th Ave N | Forget the perfect offering
      Sartell MN 56377 | There is a crack in everything
      leeahart earthlink.net | That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
    • Patrick Draper
      ... Google says that some people are making tubes themselves: Homemade CRT http://www.sparkbangbuzz.com/crt/crt6.htm Homemade triode:
      Message 2 of 19 , Jun 1, 2011
        On 05/31/2011 06:15 PM, Dave Ruske wrote:
        > way to display anything but the digits 0-9. Now if someone had glassblowing skills amongst others, I suppose a tube *could* be created with digits 0-F, but it'd be delicate and difficult work. I'd be
        >

        Google says that some people are making tubes themselves:

        Homemade CRT
        http://www.sparkbangbuzz.com/crt/crt6.htm

        Homemade triode:
        http://home.earthlink.net/~lenyr/hm-triode.htm
        <http://home.earthlink.net/%7Elenyr/hm-triode.htm>

        French video on this page showing the process:
        http://www.grump.org/2008/01/on-elegance-of-homemade-vacuum-tubes.html

        Now who is going to build a REAL homemade 1802 CPU?

        --
        Patrick Draper |Don't |signature8377@...
        Austin, Texas |Fear |Father Order runs at a
        http://www.pdrap.org |The |good pace, but old Mother
        Be Microsoft Free - Use Linux|Penguin|Chaos is winning the race.
      • whd_whd_whd
        Thanks for the links. Cool stuff. It s a great time to be alive. (but maybe it always has been, and maybe it always will be -- probably better than the
        Message 3 of 19 , Jun 1, 2011
          Thanks for the links. Cool stuff.

          It's a great time to be alive.

          (but maybe it always has been, and maybe it always will be -- probably better than the alternative, +/-)


          --- In cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com, Patrick Draper <pdrap@...> wrote:
          >
          > On 05/31/2011 06:15 PM, Dave Ruske wrote:
          > > way to display anything but the digits 0-9. Now if someone had glassblowing skills amongst others, I suppose a tube *could* be created with digits 0-F, but it'd be delicate and difficult work. I'd be
          > >
          >
          > Google says that some people are making tubes themselves:
          >
          > Homemade CRT
          > http://www.sparkbangbuzz.com/crt/crt6.htm
          >
          > Homemade triode:
          > http://home.earthlink.net/~lenyr/hm-triode.htm
          > <http://home.earthlink.net/%7Elenyr/hm-triode.htm>
          >
          > French video on this page showing the process:
          > http://www.grump.org/2008/01/on-elegance-of-homemade-vacuum-tubes.html
          >
          > Now who is going to build a REAL homemade 1802 CPU?
          >
          > --
          > Patrick Draper |Don't |signature8377@...
          > Austin, Texas |Fear |Father Order runs at a
          > http://www.pdrap.org |The |good pace, but old Mother
          > Be Microsoft Free - Use Linux|Penguin|Chaos is winning the race.
          >
        • Mark Graybill
          My high school in the S.F. Bay Area (Pleasant Hill) had a glassblowing class and lab. I saw it as part of the artsy stuff, and while I thought it was
          Message 4 of 19 , Jun 1, 2011
            My high school in the S.F. Bay Area (Pleasant Hill) had a glassblowing class and lab. I saw it as part of the artsy stuff, and while I thought it was interested there were only some many hours in the day, so I passed on it.

            In the last half of my senior year, I walked in to meet a friend and saw shelf after shelf of tubes of all varieties. I asked about them, and learned that our high school's glassblowing had been established as a vocational program to provide glassblowers to the local electronics industry--art was strictly an opportunistic side-effect.

            I was devastated to learn this too late to take a class where I could have made my own tubes. The instructor was devastated to learn that he could have had a student who would have been excited to make tubes and put them in circuits. None of his students for several years had seen the tubes as anything more than interesting shapes to use as inspiration for artistic works.

            Sometimes life just ain't fair! ;)

            Mark Graybill
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            http://saundby.com/
            Electronics, Books, Video Games, etc.

            On Jun 1, 2011, at 9:13 AM, Patrick Draper wrote:

            > On 05/31/2011 06:15 PM, Dave Ruske wrote:
            > > way to display anything but the digits 0-9. Now if someone had glassblowing skills amongst others, I suppose a tube *could* be created with digits 0-F, but it'd be delicate and difficult work. I'd be
            > >
            >
            > Google says that some people are making tubes themselves:
            >
            > Homemade CRT
            > http://www.sparkbangbuzz.com/crt/crt6.htm
            >
            > Homemade triode:
            > http://home.earthlink.net/~lenyr/hm-triode.htm
            > <http://home.earthlink.net/%7Elenyr/hm-triode.htm>
            >
            > French video on this page showing the process:
            > http://www.grump.org/2008/01/on-elegance-of-homemade-vacuum-tubes.html
            >
            > Now who is going to build a REAL homemade 1802 CPU?
            >
            > --
            > Patrick Draper |Don't |signature8377@...
            > Austin, Texas |Fear |Father Order runs at a
            > http://www.pdrap.org |The |good pace, but old Mother
            > Be Microsoft Free - Use Linux|Penguin|Chaos is winning the race.
            >
            >



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David G Williams
            Hi Lee (& all others), Have you thought about the Beckman gas discharge displays? The SP-352 is a 2 digit seven segment display. It was used in three Heathkit
            Message 5 of 19 , Jun 2, 2011
              Hi Lee (& all others),

              Have you thought about the Beckman gas discharge displays?

              The SP-352 is a 2 digit seven segment display. It was used in three Heathkit Clocks (that I know of) - Models GC-1005, GC-1092A & GC1092D.

              These displays would give you the seven segment neon display I think you are after & so allow Hex to be displayed.

              I understand that Borroughs Corporation also made seven segement gas discharge displays - however the only ones I know of are muliplexed - which require special driving with gaps between enabling digits otherwise you can get arcs - yes been there & blown up displays & ICs while trying them out!

              A very quick Google search turned up http://www.tube-tester.com/sites/nixie/trade08-panaplex.htm which has pictures of these devices working.

              As to where you could buy these devices now I am afraid I don't know.

              Regards
              David

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Lee Hart
              To: cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 12:56 PM
              Subject: Re: [cosmacelf] Re: 1802 retro project idea



              On 5/31/2011 9:34 PM, awasson2001 wrote:
              > Or... Use Numitron Tubes.

              I have a couple RCA Numitrons. They are 7-segment displays with a hot
              wire for each segment (the filament of a "light bulb"). They certainly
              work and are easy to drive.

              But I think if I make a steampunk Elf and want a 7-segment display (for
              hex), I'll just use seven NE-2 neon lamps for the segments.

              --
              Lee A. Hart | Ring the bells that still can ring
              814 8th Ave N | Forget the perfect offering
              Sartell MN 56377 | There is a crack in everything
              leeahart earthlink.net | That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Megaslug
              Those are neat, especially the 252 which is 14 segment and thus could easily display readable hex. However, They just don t look steampunk-y enough to me,
              Message 6 of 19 , Jun 2, 2011
                Those are neat, especially the 252 which is 14 segment and thus could easily display readable hex. However, They just don't look steampunk-y enough to me, rather they remind me of a late 80's pinball machine. The true Nixie tubes are to me more effective at looking Steampunk.

                --Randy

                --- In cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com, "David G Williams" <davidg.williams@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi Lee (& all others),
                >
                > Have you thought about the Beckman gas discharge displays?
                >
                > The SP-352 is a 2 digit seven segment display. It was used in three Heathkit Clocks (that I know of) - Models GC-1005, GC-1092A & GC1092D.
                >
                > These displays would give you the seven segment neon display I think you are after & so allow Hex to be displayed.
                >
                > I understand that Borroughs Corporation also made seven segement gas discharge displays - however the only ones I know of are muliplexed - which require special driving with gaps between enabling digits otherwise you can get arcs - yes been there & blown up displays & ICs while trying them out!
                >
                > A very quick Google search turned up http://www.tube-tester.com/sites/nixie/trade08-panaplex.htm which has pictures of these devices working.
                >
                > As to where you could buy these devices now I am afraid I don't know.
                >
                > Regards
                > David
                >
              • Lee Hart
                ... Yes, these are very nice looking displays. I had a Heathkit clock that used them. Really nice, well-formed characters. There are really two challenges for
                Message 7 of 19 , Jun 2, 2011
                  On 6/2/2011 5:40 AM, David G Williams wrote:
                  > Have you thought about the Beckman gas discharge displays?

                  Yes, these are very nice looking displays. I had a Heathkit clock that
                  used them. Really nice, well-formed characters.

                  There are really two challenges for my "retro" computer. One problem is
                  to get the actual display. Some are hard to get and expensive. But this
                  is actually a rather minor problem. Since I'm in no hurry, I can usually
                  salvage old parts out of products from hamfests, flea markets, garage
                  sales, etc.

                  The other goal is to achieve a certain artistic look. "Steampunk" is a
                  fashionable style at the moment. It (very roughly) assumes that the
                  device was built 50-150 years ago, in a sort of Victorian / H.G. Wells /
                  Jules Verne / Tom Edison / Nikola Tesla era. Google "steampunk images"
                  to get an idea.

                  In this sense, the Beckman displays look too good; too modern. :-)
                  --
                  Lee A. Hart | Ring the bells that still can ring
                  814 8th Ave N | Forget the perfect offering
                  Sartell MN 56377 | There is a crack in everything
                  leeahart earthlink.net | That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
                • Doctor X
                  Here is a nixie tube idea I had on my way home today. Consider a fancy display using nine nixie tubes and a magic switch: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (SW) For
                  Message 8 of 19 , Jun 2, 2011
                    Here is a nixie tube idea I had on my way home today.

                    Consider a fancy display using nine nixie tubes and a magic switch:

                    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (SW)

                    For illustrative purposes, we have stopped the CPU at address 0xA72E which contains the byte 0x53.

                    With the switch set to "binary mode" the current data bus is displayed as high and low nibbles:

                    0 1 0 1 _ 0 0 1 1 (SW=binary)

                    This binary display should be pretty straight forward to implement. High bits display a nice "1" digit whereas low bits display a "0". The middle tube is left unlit to add some space between the nibbles. This data bus display is perfect for a digital steampunk computing thingamajig but is somewhat wasteful. In addition, carrying this scheme all the way out to the full address bus would be somewhat costly. This is why we have the magic switch.

                    Flip the magic switch to "decimal mode" and both the address and data bus are displayed in decimal:

                    4 2 7 9 8 _ 0 8 3 (SW=decimal)

                    Here the first five digits are the address bus, followed by an unlit tube for a space, followed by the data bus. Obviously, this display is trickier to implement but would be very useful for stepping through memory. Extra credit for removing leading zeros.

                    Add another nixie tube, an additional switch position, and a whole lot of magic to get octal:

                    1 2 3 4 5 6 _ 3 2 1 (SW=octal)

                    As an added bonus, add another switch position to allow the CPU to control each digit independently via some output ports. Each nixie tube would have it's own addressable byte. The CPU could then output hex 0x00 through 0x09 to some port/buffer to set a particular nixie tube to display the digits "0" through "9". Outputting a 0x10 could turn the nixie tube off. This would allow programs to utilize the nixie tube output for various purposes. A new switch position is required to activate this mode so that programs using the display could still be debugged via one of the other display modes.

                    Yes it would be quite challenging to implement the hardware to toggle between the different modes. One approach would use a microcontroller to deal with the display. Another approach might use some EPROMs to do the decoding. I have faith that Lee can do it using discreet IC logic components but I have no idea how much of a trick that would be. :)

                    In any case, the binary display with true "1"s and "0"s seems very steampunkish to me. Toggling into the other modes seems like a fun but challenging project. So I wanted to share it. I'd be interested to know if anyone pursues this further.

                    -Nick
                  • Lee Hart
                    ... Actually, several clever ideas. :-) I have a Heath H8 computer with an 8080 CPU. It uses a split octal display. Each 8-bit byte (one for the data bus, and
                    Message 9 of 19 , Jun 2, 2011
                      On 6/2/2011 8:24 PM, Doctor X wrote:
                      > Here is a nixie tube idea I had on my way home today...

                      Actually, several clever ideas. :-)

                      I have a Heath H8 computer with an 8080 CPU. It uses a split octal
                      display. Each 8-bit byte (one for the data bus, and two for the address
                      bus) are displayed using three 0-7 digits.

                      For example, binary 11111111 is broken into three groups; 11 111 111,
                      and displayed as 377. This fits nixies very well, and the decoding logic
                      is negligible.

                      The 8080's instruction set also works neatly in octal. Many instruction
                      have the high 5 bits determine the instruction, and the lower 3 bits
                      determine which register to perform it on.

                      However, trying to program an 1802 in octal is a mess. That's why I was
                      thinking of using the nixies for an 8080 (or more likely, 8085 or Z80)
                      steampunk computer.

                      Of your other ideas, I think a binary display might be best for an 1802
                      steampunk computer. That's what the classic early computers had. Using
                      nixies for the 1 and 0 (instead of just on/off lamps) would be a classic
                      touch. :-)

                      --
                      Lee A. Hart | Ring the bells that still can ring
                      814 8th Ave N | Forget the perfect offering
                      Sartell MN 56377 | There is a crack in everything
                      leeahart earthlink.net | That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
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