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Description: This is the HP QDSP-6064 bubble display, a tiny, 4-digit, 7-segment numerical indicator. THis little guy is perfect if you need some user feedback from your system, but don’t want to fiddle with LCDs or other display options. The Bubble Display comes in an easy-to-use 12-pin DIP package and can be used in breadboards, protoboards, or PCBs.

These bubble displays have a peak forward current per segment of 5mA at a peak forward voltage of 2V. Thanks to a neat magnification technique used by the QDSP-6064 (giving it the “bubble” name), the luminosity is intensified making lower power consumption possible.

Features:

  • Forward Voltage: 1.6-2.0V per segment
  • Forward Current: 5mA per segment
  • Peak Wavelength: 655nm

Documents:

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Customer Comments

  • No idea what I’ll use it for, but don’t care: shut up and take my money!

  • WOW! This is fantastic! I have been looking for these for months. I could find only the odd bit of dusty/corroded NOS (new/old stock) here and there.

    Are these currently in production? Or is this a limited supply of NOS? (The date code on the photo is from 1999)

    Some applications: 1) position and setting indicators on control panels with rotary encoder control (example: gain of a microphone preamp) 2) Indication of graphic “page” input for a video switcher (example: BlackMagic Design ATEM TV Studio) 3) voltage/current display on a “power brick”

    • Are these currently in production?

      I’d love to know this as well…I thought these hadn’t been made since the early ‘80s, when LCDs took over the calculator biz. There are also some lovely versions with 5x7 alphanumeric dot matrix LED displays.

      • Closest I can find are HDSP-2541 on alltronics, but it’s at $70/ea. Mouser seems to have similar ones, but for similar prices. Those Alphanumeric ones are insanely pricey.

        They do seem to have the 4-character QDSP-2009, the 4-character DL2416T, and the 6-character SCDQ5580, though. Still many times more money than this product here.

    • I’d say it’s highly likely these are el-cheapo Chinese copies, not the real original HP ones. If you look at the mouldings they don’t look as elegant (not uniform) as HP gear was in those days, also the way they are cut-off on the ends looks like it’s cut off further up the bubble than the datasheet shows. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d be very surprised indeed if these turned out to be actually made by HP. I recall a friend’s dad having a gold watch with these in it, might have been a HP, can’t recall. You had to press a button to get it to light up, so as not to drain the batteries.

  • I still have an HP67 that uses these, still functional. The nostalgia is strong with this one…

  • A picture of this in action from a bit of distance would be awesome. It’s a little hard to tell how visible these would be due to their small size.

  • If you need some inspiration, please check out my “bubble” clock: http://timewitharduino.blogspot.ca/2014/04/micro-clock-with-7-segment-bubble.html

  • Is this ROHS Compliant?

  • I went to sleep -250 in stock. Wake up- back ordered! These look like a lot of fun for mini projects but SF should spruce them up a notch. Why not take an ATmega and make a tiny backpack (uber small breakout board sorta) to make the display controllable over i2c? A tiny i2c version would be incredibly useful

    • Here is an I2C controller board. https://forum.sparkfun.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=38056

    • bfesser / last year * / 1

      I agree; a tiny I²C breakout for this would be awesome!

  • In case anyone was wondering, the way you control 32 discrete LEDs (4 x 7 segments plus four decimals) is through strobing. At first I thought this was charlieplexed, but you’re effectively just lighting each digit one at a time so fast that people barely register the refresh.

  • At the risk of sounding like an old fogey (OK, I am one), I remember when HP first made these things available. IIRC, they were originally developed for use in the HP calculators, and for the first few years HP used all their production for the calculators. In around 1974 or 1975 production of these finally exceeded HP’s internal demand, and they started selling them without being attached to calculators. Back in those days, there were variations in brightness, and HP sorted them into about four groups (by brightness) and any one calculator would get all three from the same group. Last time I checked, my old HP 65 still worked fine, though I probably should run over to Batteries Plus and have them rebuild one of the battery packs. (BTW, there were two advantages to slide rules over these early calculators: first, the batteries never went dead in the middle of an exam, and second, you could take the “slide” part out and use it as a straight edge for drawing graphs during the exam – the marketing folks had dictated that there be no straight edges on the early calculators.)

    Somewhere in my “junk boxes” I have a few of these – they were really amazing back in the day. For you youngsters, playing with them a bit will really make you appreciate the LCD displays and such!

    • Actually that’s a good point - are the parts SparkFun stock all from the same brightness bin or is there a risk if I order multiple parts to use together they will be different brightnesses?

  • Any chance of getting the alpha-numeric version with the extra segments?

  • This in surface mount would be even more awesome. I want one anyways.

    • I don’t think HP made these in SMD/SMT packages. It seems pretty simple, so maybe Sparkfun could make their own? or find something close. I think this would stand out on any project and would generate a lot of sales if offered in an array of colors too.

  • I have an old HP calculator front that needs some of these put in it (along with some kind of microcontroller to make everything work, of course).

  • Edit: Cad file is the 5082-7414 here: http://www.cadsoftusa.com/downloads/file/hp-displays.lbr posted by Member #143107

  • Hi, please, could you suggest a really tiny 7 segment driver chip, perhaps in smd format? i would likt to access it in a i2c chain or in serial connection. 74HC595 seem to be apropiate but it’s really big in fisical size. attiny85 doesn’t arrive and someone used attiny2313 in smd format, but is appropiate to use a microcontroller for that? so any idea?

  • Aw, man!

    These are exactly what I was looking for on a project about a year ago. Went with 7-seg VFD’s instead, though, which was pretty cool itself.

  • I want to know the price and delivery time for 1000pcs?

    • Please contact customerservice@sparkfun. They can assist you with quotes and time frames for large scale orders like that.

      • I was asked to customerservice@sparkfun.com, the answer is no. Please check

        • If customer service said we were unable to do that, then unfortunately, that’s the case. They have all the information regarding quantity limits per customer and delivery times. Sorry about that! Best of luck.

          • One kind of let you more questions.

            Where I can buy up to 100pcs?

            And, there have more than thousands of stock?

            • We have the pricing breakdown listed above for 100+ pieces. Unless CS told you something differently, you should be able to buy some here. Regarding getting thousands or more, unfortunately, I think that would just require searching around to find a supplier with a large enough stock on these.

  • I want to know the prices and delivery time for 1000pcs?

  • I would make a clock…

  • I have created a Fritzing part for this display. It’s not fancy, but it has a proper schematic and pin labeling.

  • These are very cool - I’m using them with an FPGA project (pretty simple to run from there), but they would be simple with a microcontroller too. I’m strobing each digit on a 25% duty cycle 50 times a second or so, using a transister (2N2222) to switch the cathodes (which is a good idea unless you know your IC’s output pin can sink 40ma on a 25% duty cycle. I don’t know why Sparkfun suggests putting resisters on the cathodes in their hookup guide - resisters are cheap, so put them on the anodes and don’t worry about your “8” looking dimmer than your “1”. So…Buy one. You want one.

  • I’d like to use this for an in-helmet heads up display. I can’t decide if that lens would make these better or worse for that purpose. Can someone in possession of one of these tell me how close you can hold it to your face and still read it well? Assume approximately the Google Glass location.

    • I can read it clearly at the same distances I can read text printed on paper. I wouldn’t think, at least not without some optics, that this would be good to mount on glasses.

      • Thanks for the followup. Now that I have one I have been able to confirm the same results as you. For me, the nearest I can focus on this is 300mm from my eye. I need to mount it 85mm away or less. The highest magnification lens I have to play with is 4x and that doesn’t even seem to be half of what I need.

  • ok. a question about something i noticed

    Are they truly 5mA…or are they 500uA(0.5ma) as specified by the datasheet? oh nvm…damn wonky knockoff datasheet at times…

  • These are great little displays and a lot of fun to work with. I bought an Adafruit HT16K33 breakout board for $6 and managaed to get three of these displays working with the single board so far. I think four would be no problem but the wiring gets a little hairy. Still, it is incredible that four 4-digit, seven-segment displays can be controlled through a Pro Mini with just power and TWI! It leaves all the other IO pins free for sensor interfaces and the like. It should be pretty straightforward to design a breakout board that incorporates the HT16K33 chip and four bubble displays, individually addressable, as an integrated unit (like the standard LED backback) in a very compact sze. The coding to access and address the separate displays is trivial; the HT16K33 makes these bubble displays very easy to use. What a great combination!

  • Cool product! Can they be used with a coin cell batery?

    • I don’t see why not, voltage and current-wise it’s well within a coin cell’s capabilities even when adding control circuitry. There’s a watch that use a display like this and an LIR2032 (rechargeable li-ion type battery), though I suspect it should work with a regular CR2032 (non-rechargeable) as well (perhaps with minor tweaks).

  • Their right out of Star Trek!

  • I used some original HP 4 digit displays that work nicely as a 4 diigt clock. I bought the displays about a year ago from ebay and finally made a clock using a PIC16F84 and a lot of mistakes, I mean “software development”

    http://tmcalind.mnsi.net/HOBBYIST/4LED_timcard_clock_framed2.JPG

  • I wonder if the W 9905 is a date code, i.e. 5th week of 1999. Glad I got mine while there was stock :)

  • I still have some calculators that use these. They also remind me of this passage from Isaac Asimov’s book, Foundation, written in the early 1950’s, long before these were available:

    Seldon removed his calculator pad from the pouch at his belt. Men said he kept one beneath his pillow for use in moments of wakefulness. Its gray, glossy finish was slightly worn by use. Seldon’s nimble fingers, spotted now with age, played along the hard plastic that rimmed it. Red symbols glowed out from the gray…

    By the way, some of the 4-digit displays of similar digit height that are current and available (made by Avago (spin-off from HP), Osram, and others) are, as others mention, much more expensive. But they are also full alphanumeric, with a 5x7 dot character, and have intelligence built in for driving them. So some aren’t that much more expensive than these bubble displays would be with a backpack controller board.

  • Am I the only one who looked at these and immediately thought “Mattel Electronic Football”?

  • Out of stock already!?!?

    • I know, right? Product video went up on Friday, and at that point there were about a thousand in stock. I checked back on Saturday and it was down to 500ish. At that rate, they’d be OOS in a few days, tops. I’m glad I ordered when I did. These things just look way too cool to pass up.

  • I’m pretty new to this but this would be about the right size to add a counter to the Simon Says game so you can challenge your friends to see who can get the farthest. I have a really hard time trying to memorize the steps to repeat and count how far I’ve gone. Though without a simpler interface like a i2c board probably would be too many wires hanging out. Anyone ever put a counter to the simon game?

  • go to the ham flea markets, you will find these things in equipment selling for a dime a dozen or you can go to Goodwill and buy old calculators for a dollar a pound….

  • Does someone has a photo how it looks like when two are directly next to each other? does it look nice, and as one whole part?

  • I was looking for a unique alternative to the 16x2 LCD for CPM on the DIY Geiger counter project I have rolling. This will definitely get me down to the size goal I have. I don’t say this often but: way to go SparkFun.

  • might find these of interest - http://tronixstuff.com/2012/04/07/hewlett-packard-5082-7415-led-display-from-1976/ http://tronixstuff.com/2013/05/12/tutorial-arduino-and-mc14489-led-display-driver/

  • This display has the same dimensions and pinout as the 5082-7404 from HP. I have made an eagle library for this display and a 3, 5 and 9 digits versions. See http://www.cadsoftusa.com/downloads/file/hp-displays.lbr

  • The datasheet notes that the letter designating the intensity is on the “hack side of the package”. Leading to the obvious question: What are the other sides?

  • I have a warm fuzzy at seeing one of the first displays I learned about in the SFE catalog, I can’t wait to use them.

  • Tiny size, Self magnifying, very low power draw, Awesome “retro” appearance. DIP12 format. Everything screams “AWESOME” about this product.

    With specs like these i wonder why these bubble displays stopped being made (not sure about this version, if still in production that is EPIC, cant find much info about these around). Especially with miniaturization and “Low-Power” being rather important now they would make pretty handy displays in tight spaces.

    I like many am confused about the offering of these. are they surplus (NOS)? Normally i would judge by the Datasheet, but surprisingly the datasheet looks rather young.

    Oh last bit i did notice that is of possible interest. These guys were designed with the possibility of installing them tilted. the leads can bend so that the display tilts up to 20 degrees.

  • LOL, I have stolen these out of old electronics I have gotten at thrift stores in the past.

  • Looks like LED displays have come full circle as this is very similar to one of the first 7 segment multiple digit displays that became available back around 1970 except I believe it was only 3 digits (and I believe was also from HP).

  • I’ve still got a bunch of these that I picked up in the ‘80s and they’re really great. I actually used them in a couple of projects when I was doing some contracting and my customers loved the retro look. The multiplex code is pretty simple and any microprocessor that can spare 11 I/O pins can drive these.

    Definitely worth a look, especially with today’s tiny processors.

Customer Reviews

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Great display

A great way to get information from your project and for less than $3, you can’t beat the price.


I remember having seen these in calculator from way back. These displays are tiny, easy to use and have very low power consumptions, which makes me wonder why they are considered obsolete and why many stopped building them.

Ive found these to be great to work with. their low current rating allows me to drive them from a microcontroller with ease and their tiny size gives for great adaptibility. Ive mostly been using these as displays for POST(Power-on self-test) messages in my more complex projects to find out if something is malfunctioning.


The coolest things ever.

When these went up for sell for the first time, I purchased one without knowing a project for it–that came later while I was waiting for this to arrive (it became a timer). The total current you will get through each segment is small enough you can use an Arduino to control the common cathodes directly. Use a shift register to control the segments.


vintage display

very good quality! very clear, und sooooooooooooooo cuuuuute!


Super-tiny seven-segment display

This thing is tiny. It actually surprised me how tiny it was. But it’s perfectly readable and isn’t particularly hard to wire up. I got one working with a Raspberry Pi, a breadboard, some jumpers and resistors, and a few minutes of coding. If you’re looking for a small, easy-to-use seven-segment display, this is what you’re looking for.