Neon VFD nipple broken (1st desktop PDA console)

More
6 years 1 month ago - 6 years 1 month ago #3115 by CYBERYOGI -CO-Windler
About 20 years ago I bough a 1970th(?) "Computersekretär" which was the possibly world first PDA. It is an antique German language desktop console with foil keyboard and alphanumeric neon VFD panel that displayed a lot of funny sentences.



When turned on, it e.g. started with the following scroll text accompanied by a Sputnik beep:

"ICH BIN IHR COMPUTER SEKRETAER -
MEIN HERZ IST EIN MIKROPROZESSOR -
BEDIENUNGSANLEITUNG LESEN -
NEU PROGRAMMIEREN -
TASTE -NAECHSTER SCHRITT- DRUECKEN -

STROMVERSORGUNG WAR UNTERBROCHEN -
ZEIT UND DATUM NEU PROGRAMMIEREN -
SPEICHER PRUEFEN -
TASTE -NAECHSTER SCHRITT- DRUECKEN -

EINGB ZEIT
STUNDE
MIN"

translation:

"I AM YOUR COMPUTER SECRETARY -
MY HEART IS A MICROPROCESSOR -
READ MANUAL -
PROGRAM NEW -
PRESS KEY -NEXT STEP- -

POWER SUPPLY WAS INTERRUPTED -
PROGRAM TIME AND DATE NEW -
TEST MEMORY -
PRESS KEY -NEXT STEP- -

ENTR TIME
HOUR
MIN"



I think it also displayed freaky stuff like: "YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND". (But there is no speech synthesizer.)

The machine was basically a kind of high-tech message alarm clock (running quite warm with 18W standby power), simple address databank and the appeal of a Nuclear Football. I have no clue what else this techno gadged could do, because I have no manual. A decade ago I already removed 3 rotten NiCad memory backup batteries (PCB was full of toxic cadmium salt) to prevent acid damage.



main ICs:

CPU="MOS MPS 6504, 1477" (28 pin DIL, crippled 6502 with only 8KB address space)
ROM="NEC D2316AC 044, K79011" (28 pin DIL,2KB)
ROM="NEC D2316AC 045, K79021" (28 pin DIL,2KB)
ROM="NEC D2316AC 046, K79041" (28 pin DIL,2KB)
I/O IC="Motorola MC6820P, BR7730F" (40 pin DIL)
IC="S NE584-9N, 7733" (24 pin DIL)
IC="74LS154N 7738, S" (24 pin DIL)



The PCB type is "CTI, P/N 600-0043 A" but I see no brand name anywhere. The serial number is 52919. On the PCB is a red sticker with black number "1530" and another one "GA". On the speaker stands "Hakutone". At the left PCB side is an unused 42 pin edge connector. On the German external power supply is a rhombic cross logo "REGER"; its bottom is embossed "R E W".

- Does anybody know more about it?

To fight bitrot, I now wanted to backup its ROMs. Because they were 3 soldered "NEC 2316AC", I had to dismantle the machine. The heavy metal construction looks quite Russian with plenty of cable mess and many ICs inside. There is not only a short soldered ribbon cable to the keyboard, but even worse, the rear vacuum nipple of the VFD panel is placed so badly that it looks like intentionally designed to snap off as a warranty preventer.

So when I put the PCB back in to lever out the 1st desoldered ROM, the unavoidable happened; the tip of the tube nipple cracked off (by contact with the heavy metal bottom?). :( Most of the stem is still there, but the vacuum/neon gas is gone. To avoid further damage I did not power it on and desoldered the VFD, which fell off its 2 loose (plugged?) connectors. I later found out that the metal bottom can be screwed upside-down to the frame, which may be the original service position to prevent this.

Even the D2316AC (uPD2316AC ?) ROMs have a silly pinout that has nothing to do with 2716 and was impossible to dump in my eprommer. But because they were wired 1:1 with the known 6504 CPU pins, I could measure which line goes where and soldered an adapter.



In my Willem Pro 4 isp eprommer the data lines additionally need 22k pulldown resistors to read as an 27C64. Each ROM contains only 2KB at a different location within the 8KB address space; the rest is "00". (Pin A11,A12 are likely differently inverted CE/CS pins. I found no ASCII text in the ROM.) But this all helps nothing with a bricked VFD.

- Is it possible to repair or replace the VFD?




The fiery orange glowing 12 digit characters looked like a regular 7 segment layout, but with 3 instead of 2 vertical bars per character and a dot and comma between each of them, looking like this:
_ _
| | |
- -
| | |
- - o
/

On the white ceramic back of the panel is a sticker:

PANAPLEX II (TM)
Kr 85 (big B circle logo) USA
BR 13452


The tube consists of a thick flat front glass pane and a rear white ceramic pane with metallized contacts and a thin glass (or epoxy?) seal in between as a spacer. Was this a standard part (e.g. for pinball machines?) or custom made only for this strange device?

Are there VFD refurbishing companies to refill leaked tubes with neon gas and weld a new vacuum nipple tip on? If yes, how much does it cost?

MAY THE SOFTWARE BE WITH YOU!
*============================================================================*
CYBERYOGI Christian Oliver(=CO=) Windler
(teachmaster of LOGOLOGIE - the first cyberage-religion!)
!
*=============================ABANDON=THE=BRUTALITY==========================*...
Last Edit: 6 years 1 month ago by CYBERYOGI -CO-Windler.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
6 years 1 month ago #3127 by CYBERYOGI -CO-Windler
I just saw another specimen (has English language text?) on a German computer collectors website:

www.computersammler.de/sammlung/unbekann...neres-gerat-mit-6504

It seems to be a relative of a programmable desktop calculator(?) made by The California Technologies International around 1979:

www.vintagecomputer.net/CTI/1008-A/

MAY THE SOFTWARE BE WITH YOU!
*============================================================================*
CYBERYOGI Christian Oliver(=CO=) Windler
(teachmaster of LOGOLOGIE - the first cyberage-religion!)
!
*=============================ABANDON=THE=BRUTALITY==========================*...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Moderators: AccutronTy_EeberfestIan
Time to create page: 0.497 seconds

Search

Tube Suppliers

Go to top
JSN Boot template designed by JoomlaShine.com