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Regarding vintage LCD screens... - Printable Version

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Regarding vintage LCD screens... - moses1592 - 03-09-2019 01:20 AM

Hi guys,

My question isn't directly related to vintage calculators but I figure if anyone knows the answer to it then it would be in this forum. My question pertains to a set of vintage early 1980's LCD video games more commonly known as the "Nintendo Game and Watch" series. For those of you who are unfamiliar they were handheld (and tabletop) video games of the early 80's that also functioned as a watch. They used typical monochrome static LCD screens overlayed on colored backgrounds for effect. None were backlit but some had a light diffuser window behind the screen to allow ambient room light to shine through and give the illusion of a backlit screen.

My question is about whether keeping these units powered on will risk deteriorating the LCD screens and shortening their life span. I have a game room set up with some of these on display with external 3V alkaline battery packs powering them (to avoid damage from battery leakage) so they can always stay on in the 'watch / attract mode' as they were originally designed to do. Given these are basically the type of LCD screens you'd see in a cheap drug store digital watch will keeping properly rated current applied to them cause potential degredation? They are vintage and are collectors items (not cheap) so I don't want to risk damage to the games, but they do look very nice when functioning and with an ambient light source to illuminate them.

I've searched the internet high and low for info on whether the non-illuminated, static, monochrome LCD's have a life span (natural inevitable deterioration in proper storage vs accelerated deterioration due to functional use) but my search has come up with nothing conclusive.

Thanks for any advice! Apologies if this post is too off topic and doesn't belong here.


RE: Regarding vintage LCD screens... - Garth Wilson - 03-10-2019 04:10 AM

The biggest enemies are heat and humidity, especially the combination. As you say though, watches ran 24x7 for decades with no degradation, and the same is true for photocopier LCDs (well, maybe not 24x7, but ten hours a day) and so many other things. A properly designed controller will give the LCD a symmetrical AC waveform that will not plate either plate, so it should last indefinitely, AFAIK.