Vintage/Historic Light Emitting Diodes

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by compucrap, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. compucrap

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 17, 2018
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    Hey guys,
    I came across the AAC forum while searching for info on the ledmuseum so I figured I might be able to find some like-minded individuals here.
    I started my LED collection earlier this year with a Monsanto MV-1. I put it in a clear keychain photon-like case and have had great fun showing it to people and telling them about it's history. It's made for some fun conversations and so real appreciation for how far LED's have come in 50 years.
    I'm now at the point where I'm expanding my addiction - collection I mean - and have scored a fairchild fv102 and a few other 1980's-1990's LED's.
    I'm planning on building a small display that shows the LED developments over the past decades and plan to build a little IC circuit to power them up (cause they can really only be appreciated when lit up) and need a to fill in my collection a bit. I might have a lead on some 70's era yellows/greens - that would at least cover me color-wise and decade-wise. The only manufacturer I haven't got covered yet is General Electric.
    I've already been in talked the gent that runs industrialalchemy.org, as well as the gent that runs the ledmuseum.com, but I've pretty much tapped them both of the knowledge and LED's they have to offer. So now I'm on the next step of calling all the really old electronic shops in state to *hopefully* find an old-timer who bought some LED's long ago and has them tucked away somewhere. Ebay has some good offerings but that's more of a waiting game.
    I realize early LED's (1960's-70's) are kind of rare these days, but if anyone has any extras they'd be willing to sell for a good cause? I'll be happy to post some updates on my display build - heck I'll even share the build info so other's can build a display as well.
    I'm also open to recommendations for older stores to call. I've had pretty good experience talking with some of you older electronics geeks over the years so I don't mind calling some of the old-school shops. Any leads, suggestions, advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 30, 2015
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    Where are you located?

    I have HP LEDs from the 70's in several different styles (3mm, 5mm, rectangular, subminiature red (used in the HP548A logic clip)). They don't have part numbers on them, so you'll have to take my word that they're from the 70's.

    I have some really leaky 5mm red from the same timeframe. No idea who the manufacturer was. I bought them from Jameco for about a dime each in qty 100. They came in a plastic bag with mangled leads.
     
  3. compucrap

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 17, 2018
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    Awesome. I've heard of manufacture error led's but have never seen any up close. Maybe some candidates for decapping so you can really see the die?

    I'm in Michigan but would be happy to cover postage and costs for some of your old HP's. Haven't got any HP's yet though it sounds like HP made all the 70's colors of LED's - red, green, yellow, maybe even some "orange."
     
  4. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 30, 2015
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    The leaky ones weren't manufacturing errors. They just weren't as good as they are now.
    HP should have been a big player back then. They had an Optoelectronics Division that only worked on LEDs and the like. I'm not sure if they developed the first laser diodes themselves. We were working with them at HP Labs in the late 70's.

    They were among the first to make green 7 segment displays supposedly because Bill Hewlett couldn't see red; at least that's what I was told.

    I'll check to see what I can come up with.
     
  5. compucrap

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 17, 2018
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    Ah, leaky as is not as efficient. HP still gets a lot of love for the 8 segment and dot matrix displays they made in the 70's. And the bars and light blocks are still pretty easy to find. However, with a story like that I'll have to keep an eye out for any green optodisplays!

    Thanks for the catalog info. HP seems to have taken a good lead in the LED race of the 70's-80's. Take a look at this 1979 catalog cover... best LED advertisement I've come across yet! I see what looks like an orange and a hermetically sealed LED so they must have made them for a few years.
     
  6. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 30, 2015
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    I have some of those displays; decimal and hex. I'm not parting with any because they're unobtanium now and I have some equipment that uses those displays.
    upload_2018-12-17_20-6-48.png

    I don't think I ever saw the green calculator type displays for sale. The ones I saw were in an HP calculator.
    upload_2018-12-17_20-6-3.png
     
  7. compucrap

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 17, 2018
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    Very cool. I've seen the 8 segment HP's but those decimal style ones are new to me. Can't blame you for holding onto them!

    Let me know what diodes you happen to have that you'd be willing to part with. A history of LEDs would be incomplete without some HP's. If I can just find some GE's I should have all the major LED makers from the early days.
    I'll see about getting some photos of my MV1 and others over the holidays. I don't have a macro lens but I think I can get some decent pics if I use a tripod.
     
  8. Bernard

    Expert

    Aug 7, 2008
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    Available, 9 -TI, 3mm, early 1970's, EIAA Date Code 137D, TI No TIL209, red, in original bag.
     
  9. compucrap

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 17, 2018
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    Sounds promising. Any chance you could post a pic? If not, are these the metal can type (hermetically sealed) or all plastic encapsulation?
     
  10. Bernard

    Expert

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    Deep red plastic package with flat on k side. 1.6V @ 10 mA.
     
  11. compucrap

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 17, 2018
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    Intriguing. I'd take a chance on that. How can I contact you?
     
  12. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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  13. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 30, 2015
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    Here's what I've pulled out of the drawers so far:
    upload_2018-12-19_19-37-2.png

    The three red in the upper left are from a batch of unknown brand that I bought from Jameco in the late 70's. All of the other individual LEDs are HP from the late 70's. I'll include any datasheets for them; even though they don't have part numbers on them. The 12 digit display is a reject for an HP calculator. I'll make sure the one I send has all segments working.

    Sorry for the poor color and focus. I was in a hurry.

    I'll look for more unique examples in the coming days.
    upload_2018-12-19_19-47-2.png
     
  14. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 30, 2015
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    I also have some early 5mm blue LEDs (from 1999). Can't locate the reel, but I found some that I had put with other LEDs. They're low brightness, high forward voltage.
    upload_2018-12-19_21-9-3.png
     
  15. DNA Robotics

    Active Member

    Jun 13, 2014
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    I see dl324 beat me to it. I have a few of these 9 digit displays that I bought to fill out the minimum on a Jameco order in the 1970's. If you want one or more, PM your address & I'll mail it no charge.
    7 seg displays.jpg
     
  16. compucrap

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 17, 2018
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    Awesome. There are some intriguing looking ones in that batch.

    While the alphanumerics are cool I don't need that one for the collection (sticking with individual diodes for the time being.)

    I'm especially intrigued by the ones with the black bases. I haven't seen any eith that construction style yet!
     
  17. compucrap

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 17, 2018
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    And yeah I'd be interested in those. I think I bought some of those from Radio Shack back in the day!
     
  18. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

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    Don't know how you were planning to display the LEDs, but this is an example from HP:
    upload_2018-12-20_19-32-30.png
     
  19. Bernard

    Expert

    Aug 7, 2008
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    Taking a note from DNA Robotics, PM your address & I'll mail them
     
  20. shortbus

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    Sep 30, 2009
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    He can't. He hasn't got the required amount of posts yet.
     
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