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Old 18th Apr 2019, 11:01 pm   #1
McMurdo
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Default Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Here's a snippet from a website if you've ever wondered what the Mission Control consoles looked like inside. They're being removed here for 'restoration' into a simulated display for visitors to the control room.

http://www.collectspace.com/news/new...storation.html
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 12:36 am   #2
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Very cool. Have always wondered about that. Thanks for posting.
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 2:08 am   #3
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Of course, they'll be full of cigarette ash.....and a bit of cigar ash from the good times .

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Old 19th Apr 2019, 7:36 am   #4
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Ah, the good old days before smoking was bad for you! I remember the SA desks at the BBC always included an ashtray…
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 7:46 am   #5
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

I've always thought it highly likely that the video monitors in those units were made by Conrac, but I cannot quite see the chassis labels well enough in the photos. If they are another brand I would be interested to know who, possibly RCA or Motorola. Conrac dominated the high reso monitor market. They had very well focused high intensity beams and clearly a high video bandwidth to display not only video images but also Telemetry data and most had P4 phosphors from the historic photos I have seen. Also I have thought it likely the CRT in them was probably the 14BAP4, from the look of the rectangular face, but I'm not sure if they were a bigger size. Those monitor chassis would be easy to get working again and probably most of those CRT's are still ok.
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 8:21 am   #6
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

The 7th photo shows the rear of a console.
At first I thought it contained Coax cable but now it looks more like pneumatic tubing.

What is that tubing for? Could it be part of a fire suppression system?
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 8:34 am   #7
G4YVM David
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Very interesting.
I like the badge patch too, very good that. I can decipher all the images apart from the grid squares panel on the right. What do you think that signifies?
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 10:34 am   #8
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Indicators, as can be seen in the background immediately above the badge?

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Old 19th Apr 2019, 11:48 am   #9
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

the crt monitors are Astronautics Corporation, Wikipedia has an article on them, they specialise in glass cockpits these days and were early pioneers of aerospace display systems.

Some of the consoles had lamson-tube systems, but from what I can glean, the small pneumatic systems were for the digit displays, which used air-operated backlit plastic slides to display each numeral, driven by the RTCC computers of course.

The Houston mission control centre was designed by a Welshman.. Tecwyn Roberts, though a lot of contractors put it together, the major ones being Singer and Philco, AFAIK (ref. Failure is not an option, Krantz)
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 2:14 pm   #10
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Quote:
Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
the crt monitors are Astronautics Corporation,
Thanks, that is interesting. I wonder if they made their own CRT's for them. It would be really interesting to see the schematic of one of those monitors.
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 9:42 pm   #11
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

A bit of a google earlier showed alot of these monitors being sold off, at fixed prices of between $700-800 depending on provenance.

The monitors were originally valve state but upgraded to solid state during the Shuttle programme. The restoration of the consoles (which are meant to be switched on for long periods for visitors) has included getting rid of the crt monitors and fitting LCD panels to custom re-manufactured bezels.

I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't classified drawings if they were involved in aerospace, I believe astronautics developed crt displays in early fighter jets. (might have read that in wikipedia, I forget).

The data shown on these old displays was a hybrid video picture generated by a video camera in a back room. Numerical data from a mainframe text display was combined optically with transparencies to generate lines, borders, headers and labels for the parameters, since that was beyond the capability of the computers during Apollo. Console button-selections would not only call up a different computer screen but also shifted the correct overlay into position from a motorised magazine. No expense spared!
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Old 19th Apr 2019, 10:14 pm   #12
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

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Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't classified drawings if they were involved in aerospace, I believe astronautics developed crt displays in early fighter jets. (might have read that in wikipedia, I forget).
I found it extremely difficult to get the schematics for a vintage mil spec & military avionics video monitor. They tended not to have a service manual as such.

Recently I subjected a vintage Avionics video monitor to study, with the same type of rectangular CRT face as those NASA monitors. One of the reasons I got these monitors is because they reminded me of the NASA monitors.

Wouldn't you know it, I had to copy out the schematics by hand before I could power them and use them. They contained a number of innovations in their construction, one being an astonishingly clever & efficient video black level clamp not seen in domestic video monitors, which I found out in the end was actually designed by Tektronix in the 1960's, the story is here:

http://worldphaco.com/uploads/The_19...o_monitor..pdf

looking at the rear of those NASA monitors, the deflection yoke looks like it might the the same/similar precision type made by Syntronic Instruments, there is a photo of one in the article, these are much better made than the average yoke.
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Old 20th Apr 2019, 12:18 pm   #13
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Nasa monitor chassis
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Old 20th Apr 2019, 12:58 pm   #14
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Although it may be obvious, considering the title of this thread, it might be worth mentioning that these are not the original monitors, used for Apollo, which each had 2 numeric indicators in the top right.
https://spacecenter.org/restoring-ap...ssion-control/

My experience of 5 Conrac monochrome monitors made in the late 70s is that they never failed although the tubes were past their best after running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, about 51 weeks per year for almost 20 years.

It is too bad that the restoration is not being done with CRT monitors. They might outlast any modern display.

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Old 20th Apr 2019, 1:12 pm   #15
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Default Re: Restoration of Apollo era consoles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neutrino View Post
Although it may be obvious, considering the title of this thread, it might be worth mentioning that these are not the original monitors, used for Apollo, which each had 2 numeric indicators in the top right.
https://spacecenter.org/restoring-ap...ssion-control/

It is too bad that the restoration is not being done with CRT monitors. They might outlast any modern display.

David
Well spotted, I thought the ones on the original post looked a little "modern" .

Do you know anything about the original Apollo monitors, were they Conrac?

I agree, to call it a "restoration" when they are basically getting replaced with modern computer screens is a bit of a stretch...it is just for tourism & entertainment for joe public it seems. I think they should restored as they are, and if necessary use money from the "fund raising" to build a CRT rebuilding plant to keep them working indefinitely !
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