Russian UDT-3 VFD Display  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2011-01-05  


The UDT-3 is a very large Russian bitmapped VFD display in a conventional flat envelope. Unlike most matrix displays that are manufactured with a 5x7 or 8x8 dot pattern, the UDT-3 contains a 9x7 array of phosphor coated squares, with control grids affixed over each row. This tube has a distinctly modern appearance and construction and is enclosed in a fritted glass sandwich envelope like any other readily available VFD. The UDT-3 is post-Soviet, and the example shown here has a date code of August 2008. It is likely, given it's time of manufacture, that the UDT-3 is intended specifically for the export market. Builders should take note of the exposed rear nipple during construction, as it is easily broken. Although this display has no factory mark, we strongly suspect it was manufactured by the Volga Institute.

It should be noted that a large portion of these displays appear to have an intentional mechanical defect whereby a metal bar is installed across all of the horizontal grid elements, shorting them together. This makes it impossible to use the display in a bitmapped fashion, only entire rows of dots can be controlled. The collector is advised to exercise extreme caution when purchasing one of these displays, lest they inadvertently buy a device which can not be used to display characters.

Special thanks to Terry Kennedy for donating this part.


Russian UDT-3 VFD matrix display, normal operation.

UDT-3, underside. Note the paper part number label and exposed fritted evacuation nipple.

This photo shows the defective grid structure present in many UDT3 tubes. Note the metal bar at the top of the image, which connects all of the grid rows together and prevents them from being selected independently.

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