Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Rare Victor 9000 (Sirius) 12V VDT monitor!

So I was speaking to a guy at work about three months ago, telling him how chintzy the LCDs are you buy nowadays, how they usually start to fade after just a few years and a lot of them seem to have failure built in so you have to buy another one by design. Nothing nowadays, it seems, is built to last.

I explained to him I have a dedicated application I want to leave running for years at a time, on a military grade hardened embedded board, with FLASH Ram. I told him I needed a monitor "like something you might see in that game FALLOUT" with simple one color Hercules Mono graphics, but good readable font support. The sort of monitor you could expect to flip on and find it is still working in ten years.

Then I added, I needed it to be low voltage ... 12 volts or so, nice and cool running, very little case heat. In other words, impossible specifications. Everybody knows VDTs are energy hogs that require about 500 kw a day to run off the mains ... except ... turns out this guy knew a lot about this stuff from some work he used to do in PLC programming. He told me he thought he knew the perfect monitor for me ... a Sirius Victor 9000 12 volt VDT powered off the serial port.(?!?) "Good luck," he told me, "If you find one it will probably be in a museum. I remember they left those monitors on at one place I worked for a year or more, the things barely heated up. They were like infinity screens. We thought all the monitors that came afterwards were lots fancier but they rarely had a lifespan measured beyond 4 years if that."

I went to the tip today. Was throwing out some junk wood left over from various completed concrete projects. Guess what the guy who pulls right in next to me has in the back of his trailer? I recognized it immediately from seeing pictures on the web. The dual floppy drives on the front, keyboard and that tiny little cube monitor. A complete Sirius about to go into the trash compactor. I was thinking of stopping for an iced tea before I went to the tip! Five minutes later, I would have missed it!

Got it at home, booted it up. Perfect working order. Monitor is beautiful, runs cool as a whisper. Powered totally off the serial port. Don't let anybody give you that crap about progress. Old stuff is tougher and built to last.

I don't mind using LCDs for all kinds of support computers around the shelter but I think I have found my primary 24/7 display for the Vault-Co Thinkboy. Beautiful crisp graphics at 800x400 resolution. The anti-glare front pane of the monitor feels like it would repel a rocket-fired projectile without leaving a scratch.


Anonymous said...

Not to mention retro-tech tends to look better as well.

But arent these old monitors supposed to give of some type of radiation or is this an urban myth?


Ninja said...

Nice score.

Technology today is all show and no go.

kochevnik said...

Synchronicity baby.

The big guy upstairs is paying attention to what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

Old computers cost so much at the time that they were expected to last long enough to make the purchase worthwhile. I can't imagine, however, any need for one in a shelter where all the data can be in the form of a led with "generator failure" on a label next to it. Sure it looks crap but replacement parts will be easier to come by PSHTF.