Alco MSM-5A Mosaic Indicator Incandescent Display  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2009-07-06  



Alco manufactured a vast line of "mosaic indicator" incandescent segmented displays. The MSM-5A is a fairly typical example, a functional duplication of a modern LED seven segment display, done with lamps instead of LEDs. The bulbs in the MSM-5A can not be replaced - the entire display is a plug-in unit, designed to be discarded when one of its bulbs burns out. The display is an exercise in Cold War-era manufacturing excess; machine screws, aircraft grade aluminum, and gold traces are all present and accounted for. Of particular note to the home experimenter is that the lamps can be non-destructively replaced with 3mm LEDs, allowing the full color range of modern LED technology to be used in the display.


Alco MSM-5A Incandescent Display
MSM-5A mosaic indicator under normal operating conditions.

Alco MSM-5A Mosaic Display
The MSM-5A is the type of overengineered device that only a Cold War military-industrial complex could have produced.

Alco MSM-5A Incandescent Readout
Alco MSM-5A mosaic indicator.

Alco MSM-5A Mosaic Indicator
The MSM-5A can be 'modernized' by the home experimenter with 3MM LEDs.

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