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Author Topic: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!  (Read 3073 times)

jlgarfield

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Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« on: February 28, 2020, 11:24:14 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-kYQIMgLJ8 - After so many years, we now have info on the "eggcrate" display's manufacturer and model number. It is made by Display Systems, and the model number is the 19S-8. See it in action here! :D

jlgarfield

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2020, 12:22:26 PM »
At this time, however, I do not know anything further about the Display Systems company. Anybody have any idea who they were?

dazztardly

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 12:56:48 PM »
That's pretty cool seeing this video. I remember Chris319 helping me many years ago when trying to emulate one of these displays. Think these were driven by a diode matrix?

-Dan

tomcat

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2021, 12:05:48 PM »
Each display is driven by its own diode matrix. You apply 28 volts DC to one pin, and depending on which pin you place the ground, decides which number from 0-9 or "$" symbol gets displayed.

I bought a couple of these and hooked up a relay board to each, and have a little ESP8266 microcontroller controlling the relay boards.

Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT07cAo9s-w

Sodboy13

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2021, 10:06:21 PM »
One thing has long puzzled me about this design. It's a 5x7 matrix, but all of the numbers are actually only made within three rows and three columns of the matrix, which saves you on materials and light bulbs and setting up the circuitry, I imagine. Well, except for the serif on the "1," which sticks outside of the matrix and has a dedicated bulb for use only in that digit. I wonder why they didn't just give the "1" a flat top serif that fit with everything else in the set.
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TLEberle

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2021, 10:32:20 PM »
It is amazing how many wires go into the operation of that.
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NickintheATL

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2021, 11:41:12 PM »
Another question beyond this - were there other custom modifications that could be made to display letters? Of course the word "OVER" on the Showcase podiums comes to mind.
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tomcat

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2021, 03:15:05 PM »
It looks like 2 extra bulbs would have to be added to display the "V" and "R". I imagine each display had one pin added, along with the extra diodes and wiring to display the appropriate letter. Certainly, these particular eggcrate displays weren't designed for that provision from the factory.

dazztardly

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2021, 07:09:36 PM »
Another question beyond this - were there other custom modifications that could be made to display letters? Of course the word "OVER" on the Showcase podiums comes to mind.

They're kind of a pain in the rear, but it could be possible. Depends. If the bulbs are there within the displays to spell out the "V" "E" and "R", personally I would just make a new diode matrix for the display.

-Dan

Kevin Prather

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2021, 08:19:31 PM »
It looks like 2 extra bulbs would have to be added to display the "V" and "R".

Why would extra bulbs be needed? It's a 7x5 matrix, right? Seems like the letters fit just fine to my eyes.


tomcat

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2021, 08:23:05 PM »
There is enough physical space in the display units, but if you take a peek at the first video in this thread again, you'll see that several locations have no bulb or socket. That's true on the two units I purchased as well. They could certainly be added, and I'm sure that's what CBS Electronics did for The Price is Right.

Kevin Prather

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2021, 09:49:58 PM »
There is enough physical space in the display units, but if you take a peek at the first video in this thread again, you'll see that several locations have no bulb or socket. That's true on the two units I purchased as well. They could certainly be added, and I'm sure that's what CBS Electronics did for The Price is Right.

Aha, gotcha. I didn't look that closely, and didn't realize you're talking about this one in particular.

chris319

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2021, 08:52:36 PM »
What's the big mystery? They were made by Display Systems, a little company run by the late Ev Penn in the L.A. area.

I had a conversation with Ev shortly before he passed away around 1981. He helped rebuild the Concentration game board and controller when it was shipped from NY to LA. He and Ted Cooper redesigned the controller because on the one used at NBC, "the operator had too much to do". When Ev passed away, I'm told his wife made the readouts used on the second run of Tattletales. I built some readouts using IC's and ROM chips but never got around to designing a diode matrix which would pretty much require a printed circuit board.

The "egg crate" was made of polyurethane impregnated with aluminum powder to make it silver. The holes are 5/8" in diameter. It used 1820 lamps which were very, very bright and gave off a lot of heat. The heat from the lamps used to cause the holes in the polyurethane to deform and come out of round. But they were dependable and simple to drive. Display systems also made a larger dot matrix readout and a seven-segment display which was used on bidders' row and also on Card Sharks. Ron Schwab of Vista Electronics designed his own line of these readouts with square holes and an "egg crate" made of metal. They were used on "Debt".

Nowadays if you wanted that character set you would use a 16x9 monitor and do it all in software. If you just had to have a replica of the Display Systems readouts you could copy the same basic design but use LED's, which are expensive.

Don't forget, Card Sharks had readouts that spelled "BUST".

Display Systems was based in L.A. In New York they used readouts made by American Totalizator for TPIR and Say When!!

With these lamp matrix readouts, you could put them behind a sheet of scrim, paint the scrim any color you wanted and let the light shine through (scrim is a loosely-woven fabric). This was done on the contestant desks on the CBS version of Match Game one red and one green.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 09:05:56 PM by chris319 »

BrandonFG

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2021, 09:09:40 PM »
With these lamp matrix readouts, you could put them behind a sheet of scrim, paint the scrim any color you wanted and let the light shine through (scrim is a loosely-woven fabric). This was done on the contestant desks on the CBS version of Match Game one red and one green.
Interesting. I always thought it was a translucent type of plastic, or maybe something like a color gel.

Quote
Nowadays if you wanted that character set you would use a 16x9 monitor and do it all in software. If you just had to have a replica of the Display Systems readouts you could copy the same basic design but use LED's, which are expensive.
I'm surprised more shows haven't recreated eggcrates or vanes as part of the graphic readouts. I know The Pyramid did in 2012, but that's all I can remember...maybe the most recent Double Dare? LED clocks at least live on through football stadium play clocks.
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MSTieScott

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2021, 09:58:55 PM »
I'm surprised more shows haven't recreated eggcrates or vanes as part of the graphic readouts. I know The Pyramid did in 2012, but that's all I can remember...maybe the most recent Double Dare?

Supermarket Sweep's in-studio countdown clock also uses a digital recreation of a vane display.

I believe that Let's Make a Deal uses its monitors to show a recreation of a vane display for some of its timed games, including the one where the contestant must find the key that unlocks the box containing a car key.

The Price Is Right has sometimes attempted to digitally recreate some of its displays when set pieces were rebuilt. The Any Number board is one such example. The Contestants' Row displays are another. When Contestants' Row first went to monitors in 2009, all four monitors displayed white digits on a black background with a colored scrim on top -- I thought it was a really sharp-looking way to combine old and new. In 2011, the design was changed so that the colored background was displayed directly in the monitor with no scrim.