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First Atari/Gameboy/other shipped with LED backlight?


LEDartist
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The white LEDs opened up everything to LED backlighting and color backlighting, but prior to that one could use monochrome LEDs (typically green) for backlighting or frontlighting a small display. Is anyone aware of monochrome LEDs being used in small devices prior to the white LEDs of the late 1990's? I believe some industrial products used small LCDs that were backlit/frontlit by monochrome LEDs well before the mid-1990's.

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As far as I know, most or all devices did not use LEDs for the lighting(front or back). I'm not completely sure why, but my guess would be that it would be hard to defuse the light of the LEDs in those days. LED's were a lot more primitive and less efficiënt. Often the angle of the light was too limited making it hard to fully lighten a surface from the sides. And lighting from the back(which to my knowlage was never done in those days), would result in spots.

I'm sorry... but I think your quest for such devices will end up in failure.

 

As far as backlighting goes without leds, the first one that comes to my mind is the game-gear.

But I don't think you want that.

Edited by DrWho198
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Gas station pump and cash registers did use back lighting LED with the LCD. Usually green or orange, never red as it's often too dark. There may have been handhelds with red, amber, or green LED but I know of only one and they used incandescent bulb rather than LED. Most fixed game handheld were without internal light. Premium digital watches used indiglo (or other type of electroluminescent) which had bright white-green shade but had limited half-life of a few hundred hours. That is, they start to lose brightness over use to about half brightness after some hundred hours, down to 1/4 remaining after another few hundred, etc. Cheaper watches used regular bulb.

 

I am not aware of any handheld LCD games that used electroluminescent. It wasn't power efficient, requiring fairly high AC power to drive and sucked battery more the larger the display got.

 

Like white LED, blue didn't come into wide use until late 90's when the inventor finally developed cheap and stable element that makes blue light work. White LED are actually blue LED with yellow filter.

 

I do remember some 10 years ago many cheap handheld system used white LED like Coleco systems and other systems. Cell phone, PDA, and other devices started using white LED for backlighting.

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I guess it all comes down to what LEDartist is looking for. If the devices need to be from the previous millenium then chances are small to find anything game related (besides game watches, which only had lighting when you held the button).

And as you were saying they did not use leds in watches.

Edited by DrWho198
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White LED are actually blue LED with yellow filter.

 

not to nitpick but there's white emitting LED's (gallium nitride which can also produce blue, green and uv depending) and then there's phosphor converted which are more UV than blue :)

Edited by Osgeld
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Thank you everyone for your comments. From your comments, it doesn't appear as though there were any in handheld gaming products. I do know that monochrome LEDs were used to backlight LCDs using a lightguide in old Motorola two-way radios and bag phones in the early 1990's. 7800fan, your comments regarding gas pumps is helpful. I had thought of them but wasn't sure they were LED. I think the temperature requirements for the gas station pumps made fluorescent backlights less than ideal (didn't work well in cold climates back then) and the incandescent bulbs would burn out and be expensive to change (and make the pump unusable at night).

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What did exist though are handheld games with special leds that would light up to show the characters, a bit like led displays.

these for example, but many of these kind of games exist:

excalibur_tabletop_arcade.jpg

All characters are led displays that can be switched on and off, a bit like an LCD screen but instead every image had a dedicated led.

Is that close enough of what you are looking for?

 

edit:

Here is an image of a donkey kong screen

lynx-spot6.jpg

Edited by DrWho198
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Some home audio CD players and DAC's of the 80's-90's used red, green, blue and orange LED's for backlighting their monochrome LCD displays. Seem to remember some tuners did as well. Red 'was' ugly and dark though, but that didn't stop some manufacturers from using them. :lol:

 

Blue might have been fluorescent (or something else like a painted incandescent bulb) come to think of it.

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I Always assumed that it was a led in a colored casing which was masked to the right shape. A bit like how you would put a led after a slide. I never gave it a second thought.

Do those vfd's consume much power? And are they expensive?

 

you know those novelty light bulbs with a flame in them or some other shape, almost identical except have a bunch of elements in a grid =

 

yes VFD's consume a decent amount of power, they take upwards of 60 volts, and yea they are expensive, a 16x2 text one on digikey is like 40 bucks. though that specific one is fairly nice since it has the boost regulator on board ( so you dont have to make your own high voltage) and only consumes 250mA

 

in comparison a LED backlit LCD screen with 16x2 text is about 10 bucks and would suck less than 30mA

Edited by Osgeld
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