Burroughs C6016 Circular Panaplex Display  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2024-01-23  



Though nearly every flat-package neon display ever made is rectangular, circular Panaplexes are apparently a real thing that actually exists in a non-imaginary world, and they get very strange. The C6016, made by Burroughs, is a circular Panaplex that can display both numeric data and directional magnitude on a set of four self-scan bargraph displays. A self scan display is a glow transfer device that functions similarly to a dekatron tube, in which an area of ionized neon gas is bumped along a series of rails in discrete increments. Each bar in the display is linked up to a sequential series of guides, by sending overlapping square waves to each guide, the illuminated section can be pushed up or down the bargraph. Unlike a dekatron tube, which typically contains only two or three guides, the bargraphs in the C6016 are built around 4 guides, which makes them incompatible with common dekatron drive circuits. The C6016 also contains two three-digit displays, which are controlled in a more conventional manner using multiplexed anodes printed on the front glass of the display. With all four of its bargraphs lit, the C6016 looks less like a real device and more like an alien artifact from science-fiction fantasy.

Connections to the C6016 are made with a series of right-angle leads that enter the envelope around the circumference of the display. The example shown here was intended for use in a piece of navigation equipment, and the display has been soldered to a carrier PCB with normal pin headers for this purpose. The C6016 appears to have been produced rather late into the era in which Panaplexes were commercially viable; the device shown here was manufactured in 1977.


Burroughs C6016 Circular Panaplex Display
Burroughs C6016 circular panaplex, normal operation.

Burroughs C6016 Self Scan Display
The C6016 contains four neon self scan bargraph displays.

Burroughs C6016 Panaplex Circuit Board
Connections are made through a normal pin header on an interface PCB.

Burroughs C6016 Neon Panaplex Display
There is a Twitter joke in here somewhere...

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