Dalto Amphicon 600




 This is a large color projector that takes composite video, RGB or RF tuner, and generates the red, blue and green projections using high power cathode ray tubes and huge optics to project up to 45 feet.  The unit is 53 inches long, 28 inches wide and 46 inches tall.  It weighs 325 lbs including the base.  There are 3 Schmidt type optical systems with corrector lens', the reflector mirror is 14 inches in diameter.  The Schmidt corrector lens is 11.5 inches with the system being f 0.7 overall.  The light output measured from an 8 ft wide picture is 12 ft. lamberts, the resolution is 500 lines, video bandwidth is 10Mhz. There are squirrel cage blowers in the center of the mirrors  to cool the face of the cathode ray tubes.  Each tube operates at an anode voltage of 40 KV. The three chassis are the 13-channel tuner,  HV  power supply, and the LV / sweep chassis.  All 3 chassis' are 19" type on tip-able rack slides.  Everything uses military type connectors and wiring. The CRTs are 5AZPxx, with the last two numbers designating the color. This projector is serial number 5 of a total of 19 made by Dalto Electronics Corporation, original cost in 1965 was $50,000 (that's $300,000 in 2005 dollars). This was originally bought by Lawrence Radiation Lab, sister lab of Los Alamos, now called Lawrence Livermore National Lab.  It was used in Livermore, California  probably in a conference room or rear screen auditorium since the lenses were set up for a projection distance to screen of about 15 feet.  It may also have been used at the Nevada Test Site for the last of the nuclear weapon shots which ended around the late 70's since it ended up being sold as surplus there.

  When operating, the CRTs give off X-rays due to very high anode voltage and because of that, the inside of the optics box is lined with thin lead sheet.  The unit is mounted on a wheeled base, which can be tipped upward toward a screen. Depending on the lens' used the set will project an 8 foot wide picture at a  distance of 15 feet, up to a picture about 24 feet wide at a  distance of 45 feet. The lenses I have are for the 8' wide picture.



The business end of the set, the 14" diameter Schmidt optical barrels for each color. The projector head contains three video amplifiers and the three cathode ray tubes.


The electronics for the set are contained in these three pullout chassis. The first is the tuner chassis which contains the RF tuner,  video IF amplifier, detector, AGC, sound IF, audio circuits, and power supply, it  also contains a cross hatch generator for alignment of the projector head. The next chassis is the sweep & power supply chassis, the last is the high voltage chassis, producing 40KV and 8KV for the cathode ray tubes.


An ad from September, 1964 SMPTE Journal showing the Model 100 and 200 black & white projectors. It appears that the model 100 was one third of the model 600, looks like it used many of the same projection parts.

(courtesy of C. Hartwell)


After a few months of working on the set, I have been able to bring the set up running. There are still some major issues; intermittent horizontal breakup, poor luminance response, and high voltage arcing. The first two pictures above show the CRT's in operation, the light output is outstanding, the pictures were taken with a flash. The right picture is a color bar signal projected on a wood wall about 12' from projector, the display is about 8' across. The lack of detail is due to the loss of the luminance signal, and registration of CRT's was only roughed in.
I'm hoping to have the set operating in time for the TV convention in April.

After delivering it to the ETF Museum convention for display, I decided to donate the unit to the museum. Actually it was just too damn big to keep. Here's a link to the ETF site with a video of the set in operation in 2006:




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