Display & Counting Circuits

Over the past 60 years, a truly staggering array of devices have been used to do one thing: convert computer information into a visual readout that's meaningful to a human operator. This section is a collection of various approaches to achieving that goal.

Hyde Park Electronics VMA129
 Hyde Park Electronics VMA129

The Hyde Park VMA129 is a BCD converter circuit based on the 7441 TTL Nixie driver. The configuration shown here is built from three Hyde Park VMA129 drivers, three 8422/B5991 Nixie tubes and a Burroughs BEZ59-3 anodized aluminum bezel.

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Burroughs 101P479
 Burroughs 101P479

The Burroughs 101P479 programmer is a fantastically rare Beam-X circuit which functions as the primary control and display unit in a Xerox 2400, the world's first high-volume photocopier. The 101P479 controls the number of copies being made, and calculates the billable cost on a sliding scale. The 101P479 dates from 1965, and is equipped with five Beam-X Switch magnetic beam switching tubes and several early transistors.

Unfortunately, this device has seen better days. All of the Beam-X tubes have significant corrosion on their mu shields, and several other components show signs of significant exposure to the elements. Depsite this, the circuit board itself appears to be in perfect condition, and everything appears intact and likely functional. However, the interface in the rear of the device is somewhat daunting; it will take more examination before the programmer is seen in operation.

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Burroughs BIP-8408
 Burroughs BIP-8408

The Burroughs BIP-8408 is a solid state 8-line +12V BCD converter, designed to drive the popular B5991/8422 rectangular Nixie tube. The BIP-8408 features 10 GE 3N83 silicon-controlled bistable switches, which provide a latching memory function. Such devices were quickly superceded by the popular BIPCO line of integrated driver sockets, which have similar features in a package a fraction of the size.

The display shown here is built from four BIP-8408 modules, four 8422 Nixie tubes and a BEZ59-4 anodized aluminum bezel. This configuration sold for $172.00 in 1968, when purchased in bulk quantities.

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Burroughs 'BIPCO' BIP-8001
 Burroughs 'BIPCO' BIP-8001

Burroughs introduced the BIPCO trademark in 1961, as an acronym for Built In Place Components. The BIPCO product line consists of a number of different types of integrated Nixie drivers - latching decoders based around unusual glassivated silicon controlled switches. The vast majority of known BIPCO devices are built directly into oversized socket packages, but the rare BIP-8001 features a stand-alone integrated device and a host of inversely mounted Motorola transistors. This is presumably an early BIPCO device, given the part number, package style and the significant amount of external circuitry.

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Burroughs 'BIPCO' BIP-8xxx Series
 Burroughs 'BIPCO' BIP-8xxx Series

Devices included in this entry:

Burroughs BIP-8262P decoder/driver (13-pin hybrid piggyback socket)
Burroughs BIP-8521P decoder/driver (13-pin hybrid piggyback socket)
Burroughs BIP-8806-2 decoder/driver (13-pin hybrid piggyback socket; pictured in thumbnail)


The majority of Burroughs' 'BIPCO' product series consists of ruggedized hybrid integrated circuit modules, housed in an oversized socket enclosure, which perform various flavors of BCD conversion for the Burroughs 8422 and B-59956 compact end-view rectangular Nixie tubes. The BIP-8xxx modules are noteworthy for their compactness and piggyback socket design.

Burroughs BIP-8804-1 & BIP-8804-2 Datasheet
Burroughs BIP-8806-1 & BIP-8806-2 Datasheet
Burroughs BIP-8211P & BIP-8507P Datasheet
Burroughs BIP-8224P & BIP-8229P Datasheet

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Burroughs 'BIPCO' BIP-9203
 Burroughs 'BIPCO' BIP-9203

The Burroughs BIP-9203 represents the pinnacle of Burroughs' long line of BIPCO Nixie-plus-decoder integrated display modules. Unlike most BIPCO modules, the rare BIP-9203 is designed for use with the ultra-miniature Burroughs B4998 end-view Nixie tube. While it is much larger than the B4998, Burroughs designed BIP-9203 in such a way as to not undermine the tiny digit size of the B4998.

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Hewlett-Packard Photoresistive BCD Counters
 Hewlett-Packard Photoresistive BCD Counters

The Series 648 is one of several similar display modules manufactured by HP for the 5245L electronic counter and other related instruments. HP's highly unique BCD decoder design consists of an arrangement of photoresistors and neon lamps, which drive a Burroughs 8422/B5991 nixie.

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Burroughs 2709 1800
 Burroughs 2709 1800

Even Burroughs eventually succumbed to the silicon invasion, producing displays such as this 16-digit display with TI LEDs and TTL drivers.

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Texas Instruments T10
 Texas Instruments T10

Unlike companies such as Burroughs who were forced to adapt to the LED onslaught, TI was solid state from the ground up and a significant contributor to the Nixie tube's downfall. This is a T10 (or is it a TI0?) two-digit display module with TIL-311 smart displays and some sort of integrated driver.

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BA-23 Dekatron Adder (Unknown Mfr.)
 BA-23 Dekatron Adder (Unknown Mfr.)

The BA-23 is a single-stage decimal adder plug-in module based on a Sylvania 6476 4kHz selector dekatron. Each counting position can be read separately through an umbilical connector on the rear of the unit. The BA-23 also includes a socketed RCA 2N586 germanium PNP large signal transistor, suitable for low speed switching applications.

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