Vintage Multimeter Gets An LCD Transplant

Hackers are often of the sentimental type, falling in love with the look and feel of quality old hardware. Of course, sometimes that older hardware needs a little TLC to keep it running in the modern world. [Lex] had a beautiful vintage multimeter that sadly had a broken screen, and set about a nifty repair to restore it to working condition. 

It’s a handsome thing.

The HSN Avometer DA116 is a handsome thing, controlled with two dials and featuring a clean two-tone aesthetic. Even the font on the PCB’s silkscreen is gloriously pretty (can anyone ID that?). However, the original LCD was non-functional. A direct replacement part was sadly unavailable. Instead, to rectify this, [Lex] first hunted down another segmented LCD screen that had the same segment layout.

However, the new screen had a completely different pinout to the original part. Thus, after taking some notes and figuring out what all the pins did, [Lex] whipped up an adapter board to carry the new screen. With some protoboard, some pin headers, and a bunch of point-to-point wiring, the new screen worked just fine, and [Lex] had a functioning vintage meter once again!

The story actually came to us on Twitter, where we invited discussion about the best bodge wiring jobs out there. Feel free to contribute your own stories to the conversation! If you’re in the market for more LCD hacking, be sure to check out the excellent talk [Joey Castillo] gave at the 2021 Remoticon.

10 thoughts on “Vintage Multimeter Gets An LCD Transplant

  1. “…came to us on Twitter, where we invited discussion…”

    Is Twitter now the new I didn’t see the invitation on here.

    I find twitter an appauling way to document technical projects. They scroll by, and they are gone forever. And we pay for looking at them with our personal data.

    Yes, I know, I don’t have to read, and indeed I won’t. I also know nobody cares if I read or not. And maybe you will gain more readers on Twitter than you lose. I just find it sad if I am forced to choose between going on Twitter and reading my favourite tech site.

    1. If more and more news articles are sourced from twitter that just means that there are more and more tinkerers/makers using the platform to show off or document their projects. It’s not that HAD is going out of its way to push twitter down our throats. The other option of course would be for HAD to ignore some very interesting projects just because of where they were posted, but that’d be a pretty bad decision imo.

    2. 1000x this, technical documentation (and I use that term in its broadest form – documentation about a techncal thing) needs to be coherent and scrollable-through; a web page, a wiki, a git repo (with actual comments/docs), or a PDF are all fine examples.

      A youtube video, a twitter thread, or interpretive dance on tiktok are not useful or sensible ways to document something. By all means make a YT video explaining, demonstrating, or showing the build process etc. but do not use it as the main/sole document of the damn project.

        1. Sure, and you’re welcome to write your thesis entirely in purple highlighter. But don’t be surprised if people don’t take you seriously.

          I’m just salty because my favourite automotive forum has moved to facebook. Same problem – it’s fine for discussion, but any good technical information quickly gets buried and is hard to search.

          Oh and @Hackaday – you’re welcome to do whatever you want on twitter. Just know that here’s another reader who’s not going to swim in that sewer, no matter how nifty the project.

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