Melz ITS1A Gas Discharge Display Tube  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2010-11-02  



Another very unusual Soviet tube, the ITS1A is an indirect gas discharge display configured for seven-segment number generation. Despite appearances the ITS1A is closer to a Nixie tube than a VFD; the device contains seven gas thyratrons, one for each segment, which are painted with green phosphor. When the tube is energized with a high voltage source and a given thyratron is triggered, the neon fill gas will ionize and excite the phosphor in the triggered segment, producing a piercing green glow. As with the ITM2M display shown above, these tubes have complex power supply requirements and must be supplied with separate -300VDC, 100VDC, and 50VDC signals to function properly. Once these needs are met the tube can be controlled with a 5VDC signal, resulting in a neon display that can be directly attached to a microcontroller with no intermediate hardware. The ITS1A is also self-latching, which eliminates the need to multiplex large displays.

Related: An ITS1A 'Thyratron' Clock Project


Melz ITS1A gas thyratron display, normal operation.

Despite appearances, the ITS1-A is not a VFD display, this strange device is filled with neon which excites a phosphor coated ceramic plate to display numbers.

Each segment in the ITS1A tube is a separate thyratron, allowing direct interface between the display tube and a 5VDC logic source.

ITS1A pin connections. All segment signals are at 5 volts.

A clock project using an ITS1A thyratron display. More information here.

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