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What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/07/2020 12:39 AM

Over 40 years ago I started working on blood cell counters. This was one of my earliest - Coulter Counter Fn. (FYI -I continue to work on another analyzer leading the world in blood cell counters - Sysmex)

Truly groundbreaking and innovative at the time, but as I look back I recall these tubes that would spin around as it counted blood cells. I know later versions (ZBI) had nixi-tubes, but don't know what to call these.....

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#1

Re: What is this type of vacuum tube??

08/07/2020 3:49 AM
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#2

Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/07/2020 8:06 AM

A Nixie tube is actually an array of neon lamps in one tube with a filament for each digit. I think what you have instead is a precursor to a Nixie tube with just a single dot glows next to the painted digit. I don't think this design lasted long enough for a name to stick in the vernacular. I don't remember their name. I vaguely remember an image of one of these displays operating in an old movie or TV show (The Prisoner, The Saint?). If you wish to replicate the display an array of neon bulbs shouldn't require a circuit redesign. Orange discrete LED and some circuitry redesign could work, too.

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#3
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Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/07/2020 10:02 AM

Exactly - the glowing dot would go round and round as it was counting and end up at a particular digit. Rather fun to watch them!

And yes, the nixi had the digit characters inside, another thing to watch as the digits would cascade back and forth during the count time!

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Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/07/2020 5:38 PM

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#5

Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/07/2020 10:51 PM

I still have a counter with nixie tubes. I worked on some counters about 50 years ago that had stacks of light bulbs from 0 to 9, but I never saw the type of display you show. They almost look like "tuning eye" tubes that were used in old Silvertone AM radios in the 40's and 50's. I assume they light a bright spot next to number on the panel. Sorry, I don't know the name.

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#6

Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/08/2020 12:23 AM
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#7
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Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/08/2020 12:51 AM

Bingo! I remember a few of those arrays, either from college or from one of my early electronics jobs in rthe late '50s or early '60s.

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#8
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Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/08/2020 3:03 AM

These little devils are still available on ebay from Russian surplus stock.

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#10
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Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/08/2020 5:42 AM

As far as I know,Russia is the only country still making vacuum tubes,except for high-power audio amplifiers.

Audiophiles insist there is better audio from tube amplifiers.

They were using them in their MIG fighters,long after the rest of the world had moved on to solid state.

Safe from EMP,that's for sure.

I sometimes wonder where the technology would be today if vacuum tubes had been fully exploited,and elements were found to emit electrons without the heater filament.

I remember a miniature "vacuum tube", about the size of a pencil eraser,enclosed in a metal can,that replaced a vacuum tube in tv's but I don't remember the part number.

A close approximation nowadays is the MOSFET, also a voltage driven device.

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Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/08/2020 3:09 AM
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#11
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Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/08/2020 7:01 AM

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#12
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Re: What is This Type of Vacuum Tube?

08/08/2020 10:40 AM

nice job!

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