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  #1  
Old 10-23-2009, 10:44 PM
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A Little Flat Tube Fun

Since the demise of most over-the-air analog TV broadcasting, little pocket TVs have been hitting the thrift stores, eBay and CL in droves. Now, I don't have much interest in LC sets, but the little CRT monochrome sets have some appeal to me, in particular, the Sony "watchman" series, with the "flat" CRT.

These little Sony Watchman TVs used what was likely the only design of a "flat" conventional Cathode Ray Tube that met with any commercial success. The design of the tube is really quite interesting. As early as the 50s a couple of designs for "flat" CRTs were promoted...The Akin tube and the Gabor tube promised a "hang on your wall" TV, but, as far as I know no commercial sets were produced. Sinclair poked at a design in the late 70s, but Sony Beat them to the punch by introducing a flat tube set in 1982. These sets worked well and sold well! I think that at 10 bucks or so they are quite collectible.

Picture #1 is one of my recent finds, an FD-20A. Out of the box these usually work just fine!

Peering *into* a window to view an image is somewhat reminiscent of the viewing experience of the Philco "Safari" ... Picture #2.

I know of two different designs (and several sizes) of the Sony "flat" CRT. On the left is the most common which uses a curved screen and a magnetic deflection (8-735-950-). The CRT on the right (an earlier design) uses a flat screen and a mix of magnetic and electrostatic deflection (8-733-651-23)... Picture #3.

As might be expected, by projecting the electron beam onto the phosphor surface at odd angles, the geometry of the display is somewhat compromised... Picture #4.

I have an FD-40A (4 " curved phosphor screen) on it's way from an eBay seller, will post pictures if it works.

jr
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSCN0456.jpg (52.2 KB, 197 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0452.jpg (57.9 KB, 410 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0442.jpg (68.7 KB, 521 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0450.jpg (61.2 KB, 294 views)

Last edited by jr_tech; 10-23-2009 at 11:35 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2009, 12:14 PM
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I have an FD-210; the first one with the 1.5" tube... Nice little set. I bought one new in '81, and lost it in a burglary in the late 80s. I got lucky on eBay a year or so ago, and got this one as-new in the box. The other one I'd like to have, is the Watchcam. It was a really nice kit, which came in a hard case, and had the 4" curved screen monitor (no tuner), and a tiny B&W tube camera. That was about 1985, and I've only ever seen one. I don't think they sold many of them. It was a really primitive "video baby monitor" or spy cam.

Charles
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Old 10-24-2009, 05:15 PM
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kx250rider... Did the FD210 use the flat or the curved screen version of the tube?

I have posted a few more pictures of the tubes, perhaps showing the screen and construction differences more clearly.... Picture #1 and #2.

Also a comparison to the Telefunken D5-100V, used in a Sinclair portable. The D5 is an all electrostatic deflection CRT (honey, I shrunk the 7JP4!). Pictures #3 and #4.

Also, I apologize... I should have posted this thread on the "Rectangular Tube and Solid State" Forum... I thought it was color only.

jr
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSCN0458.jpg (77.6 KB, 182 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0459.jpg (66.4 KB, 143 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0461.jpg (72.3 KB, 225 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0464.jpg (37.6 KB, 212 views)

Last edited by jr_tech; 10-24-2009 at 07:05 PM. Reason: add info
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:04 PM
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I'd wondered what those tubes looked like! Well worth that price, I'd say.

I have a service manual for the Zenith version of one of these, don't know the model without looking. If anyone wants it let me know.
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:40 PM
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We used to use 9 track tape drives to store data from our experiments. There were a few occasions where the software said the data was being written to tape when in fact the drives were doing nothing. There's is a limited amount of beam time given to each experiment so this was serious.

Their solution was to put a TV camera on each tape drive and they used a Sony flat tube walkman type monitor to watch the drive.

John
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:09 AM
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Sounds like an unusual application that Sony probably never thought of.... MIBL? NSCL?

jr
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgadow View Post
I'd wondered what those tubes looked like! Well worth that price, I'd say.

I have a service manual for the Zenith version of one of these, don't know the model without looking. If anyone wants it let me know.
Magnavox had one, and I think I've seen a J.C. Penney housebrand one too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_tech View Post
kx250rider... Did the FD210 use the flat or the curved screen version of the tube?


jr
I think this one is flat. It's also the smallest one I know of, at slightly under 2" diagonal. (I said 1.5" earlier; mistook it for the Panasonic pocket sets with the 1.5" standard tube)

Charles



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Old 10-25-2009, 02:27 PM
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kx250rider...Cool, that is indeed a flat phosphor screen! I must watch for a 210, since it appears to be the first, it would seem to be the most collectible. There is one on eBay right now, but it has a missing (or broken) volume control knob. Wiki says 1982 for this model... did you perhaps buy your first one in Japan earlier?

Even with the Zenith and Magnavox models added in, I suspect that a collection of ALL the the models of Flat CRT TVs could fit into a shoe box

Some of the "monitor" versions have appeared on eBay*, but the BIN price is above the 10 bucks (or so) that I like to pay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/SONY-WatchCam-Ey...item1c0d11d344

* not affiliated, etc.

jr
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:13 PM
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I have a mint FD-40A that uses the flat tube. It works great but the screen geometry is not perfect as is to be expected on these tubes. It is still a remarkable achievement considering it was the 1980s. When LCD became practical and in color, there was no real market for black and white sets with these tubes.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_tech View Post
Sounds like an unusual application that Sony probably never thought of.... MIBL? NSCL?

jr
NSCL. I had to look up Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory. I thought you were making a joke like "Men In Black Laboratory." Wish there was one, I'd apply.

John
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:11 PM
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I thought you were making a joke like "Men In Black Laboratory." Wish there was one, I'd apply.

John
Indeed, that sounds like it would be a cool place to work!

jr
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  #12  
Old 10-26-2009, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_tech View Post
kx250rider...Cool, that is indeed a flat phosphor screen! I must watch for a 210, since it appears to be the first, it would seem to be the most collectible. There is one on eBay right now, but it has a missing (or broken) volume control knob. Wiki says 1982 for this model... did you perhaps buy your first one in Japan earlier?
I got it at Christmas of '81, so it probably was a 1982 model year. The one I have now was made in Feb '82. The owners manual is copyright '80, so likely as you point out, it was available in other countries prior to here.

Charles
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compucat View Post
I have a mint FD-40A that uses the flat tube. It works great but the screen geometry is not perfect as is to be expected on these tubes. It is still a remarkable achievement considering it was the 1980s. When LCD became practical and in color, there was no real market for black and white sets with these tubes.
Yes, It appears that it was a pretty short run... This website states that the last tube Sony Watchman was the FD-280 in 1990. I suspect that perhaps the "monitors" were sold for a bit longer, but don't really know.

http://www.taschenfernseher.de/e-history.htm

Picture 1 is the odd shaped FD-280 from that link.

jr
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:43 PM
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Nice pictures of the CRTs jr tech - I did not know that the FD-210 CRT was electrostatic deflection - very ingenious how they can get a picture on a flat screen like that. I never liked the models with the curved screen - the distortion bothered my eyes. I picked up an FD-210 in excellent condition on eBay for $37 2 years ago.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:25 PM
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Got a FD-20A NIB a few weeks ago. Gee, I forgot that analog went away but it still picks up cable leakage around the house. Geometry is about as good as my geometry grades in school.

At least it has a 1/8" video input. The 4" Zenith set is in residence also.

What a very short lived piece of history.
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