DEC VRE01 terminal documentation

Tom Uban uban at
Thu Aug 13 16:29:35 CDT 2020

Thanks Aaron. The DEC display is quite a bit newer than the old Plato design. I had one of the Plato
terminals at one time and am quite familiar with them. I also had a digivue standalone display at
one time, but don't recall what I did with it over the course of the years. At that time, I did have
a full manual for it, including schematics, but I'm sure that went with the display to it's new home.

I need to open the DEC VRE01 to see what the design looks like. The newer design allowed it to be
very compact...


On 8/13/20 3:53 PM, Aaron Woolfson wrote:
> Here's a photo of one of the restored PLATO terminals (which had the plasma display)
> Does the power supply for the PLASMA look like the one in this photo of one of the terminals with
> the covers off?
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     *From:* Aaron Woolfson <mailto:woolfson at>
>     *To:* paulkoning at <mailto:paulkoning at> ; uban at
>     <mailto:uban at> ; cctalk at <mailto:cctalk at>
>     *Sent:* Thursday, August 13, 2020 1:50 PM
>     *Subject:* Re: DEC VRE01 terminal documentation
>     Hi Tom.
>     Thanks for your message.  Well, the Plasma panels use a pretty unique.  I'm attaching the
>     precise waveforms that the Plasma Panel expects to see in order to achieve the illumination of
>     the dot. And while this may not be exactly or precisely what you're looking for, this will
>     explain much about the technology involved.  The fact that you can see any illumination at all
>     is perhaps the most important part - beacuse the gas is probably there, and the "actuation"
>     voltage might just not be high enough, or the sustainer voltage might have an issue.
>     The power supplies were manufactured by Electro Plasma and were typically separate from the
>     actual unit itself.  I am going to see whether I can find the schematics for those power
>     supplies, which discuss the characteristics .
>     Also, check to see whether the back of the plasma panel itself has an edge connector that is
>     similar to the attached TYCO specified connector. That might give you some insights into where
>     to go. 
>     When I gave all my equipment and test gear to the LCM up in Seattle, I am pretty sure that they
>     also got a lot of the original manuals and notes that had been hand written.  But I typically
>     had scans of most everything.  I will see what I can find....
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     Subject: Re: DEC VRE01 terminal documentation
>     Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2020 16:38:39 -0400
>     From: Paul Koning <paulkoning at <mailto:paulkoning at>>
>     You may want to see if the PLATO terminal documentation is any help, look on Bitsavers under
>     University of Illinois.  Those plasma display power supplies are hairy devices; the panel is
>     actually a memory device and the power supply produces a high voltage AC waveform to make that
>     work.  Those panels normally light up around the rim; the fact you see that briefly but not
>     sustained gives some hope that adjusting may be all that is needed.
>     That's quite a display; the usual plasma panels were 8 inches square, 512 by 512 pixels.  I'm
>     guessing this is a 1k by 1k pixel display, which I have seen once or twice, at SAI in San Diego
>     in some military displays.
>     I know a plasma terminal expert; I've forwarded your message to him.
>     paul
>     > On Aug 13, 2020, at 3:23 PM, Tom Uban via cctalk <cctalk at
>     <mailto:cctalk at>> wrote:
>     >
>     > I have a DEC VRE01 terminal that I bought NIB years ago. For those who don't know about this
>     model,
>     > it has a flat plasma (orange/black) display of about 17". It worked when I bought it, but now,
>     years
>     > later, I tried powering it up and the light comes on for a moment and goes out. I suspect a power
>     > supply issue, but bitsavers does not seem to have this one.
>     >
>     > Does anyone have schematic (or other) documentation for it?
>     >
>     > --tnx
>     > --tom

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