It was less than a year ago since I first visited Brighton, and noticed it's hidden split-flap display. A few weeks later I managed to get in touch with someone from Southern and found out that there were plans to remove it.
Now just a few months later I have been to visit the Network South East Society's depot where they are now storing the display from Brighton station, hidden under this unassuming blue tarp...
The unit is really old, and is quite beaten up, originally manufactured by Krone Technique UK, which appears to have become ADC KRONE, until it was recently purchased by TE Connectivity.
The unit appears to be pretty simplistic in it's design, with no position feedback, and no real control at the unit level, this relied on a rack of equipment which has been lost, probably very similar to that, which I saw images of 4 years ago.
The units have very simplistic circuitry and what looks like a DC motor, as apposed to a stepper, although this isn't clear.
Despite it's age and condition, it looks amazing, and you can almost hear the chattering...
These units are clearly produced from an aluminium construction which has been painted black and then coated with the appropriate markings. It is also easy to see where some have been repainted.
There are a number of units severely damaged unfortunately.
Each flap has multiple anchor points, into a plastic wheel on a central shaft...
The design is very modular, each unit can be pulled from the rack to enable repair, and the entire rack is able to rotate allowing it to be accessed from the gantry behind, rather than requiring a dedicated scaffold unit.
Every so often there is a chip like this, it might be for distributing commands from the main controller.