Making large numeric displays
THX1138 at dakotacom.net
Wed Oct 4 17:24:26 CDT 2006
Fred Cisin wrote:
> On Wed, 4 Oct 2006, David Griffith wrote:
>> How about a mock-nixie made from electro-luminescent wire?
> howzbout: making 7 segment displays from flourescent tubes?
> anywhere from about 6 inches to 16 feet per digit
I made a display out of ~2 ft tubes -- 4 ft digits.
The problem is they are slow to start -- so not useful for
a clock display counting seconds, etc.
But, for a more "static" display, this wouldn't be an issue.
However, they are high voltage devices which complicates
their control (presumably, nowadays, you could use small
inverters to control individual tubes instead of ballasts)
> or howzbout:
> rig up a multibit input (parallel port?) on a PC, wire that to the
> existing 7 segment displays, and write trivial code to display an image of
> 7 segment displays on the PC's screen (or projector!)
Or, a mechanical actuator on an X-Y positioner to physically
place placards in the desired locations on the "display grid".
Personally, I would find the action of mechanically updating
the display to be far more engaging than the "wonder" of
a machine that plays soduku. Just like watching a chess
*robot* is far more interesting than watching a chess
An X-Y positioner approach also has the appeal of being
reusable for other sorts of displays -- not just "decimal
digits". I.e. you could display placards of chess pieces.
or "checkers" (noughts and crosses?). Or any similar
> In ~1979, my partner in a computer business (Elcompco) negotiated a deal
> with Lawrence Hall of Science (the museum, not the labs) to make a bunch
> of power supplies for Kim-1's. I still stumble over them.
> But, they also needed a classroom display. We took a picture of a Kim-1,
> enlarged and mounted it, and wired up rows of plain LEDs replacing the
> digits in the enlarged picture, and put a real Kim-1 behind the poster.
> I wanted to make LARGE keypads on the poster, but my partner veto'd the
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