Dina weighing scale
A main tool of the Pripyat store sellers

Many of those who have been on our tours, know Alex's passion to restore various old tech. Today we'd like to share a small story about our new exhibit.

This is the first type of Soviet electronic weiging scales ever produced — 1261VN-3CT (1261ВН-3ЦТ) "Dina". Back in  pre-disaster times, you would find them operating in many grocery stores in Pripyat.

They were produced since the mid-70s by the VEDA production association based in Kyiv and Belarus, being the main type in use across the USSR for nearly all the following decade. In its design, the technics quite common for industrial equipment were used — a sturdy metal casing, complex wiring, and a big number of gold-lined microchips on multiple circuit boards. Especially this last fact was a reason why it took nearly two years of digging by various hardware sellers to find a functioning device.

For easier balancing, scales equipped with 3 (not 4) adjustable stands and a bubble level. As the sensor is vibration-based, it is important to set up the device as much as possible horizontal. Once we made it, it appeared that when connected to an earthed power supply, it makes a shortcut. So, after some inspection had to change all capacitors, clean the casing from inside and out and make a calibration — and now it works precisely!

The most beautiful parts are, of course, these large IN-15 nixie-tube displays. There are two of them — one for seller and one for the buyer, each consists of 3 indicators — for price per 1 kg, for the weight (from 4g up to 3kg) and total price. 

Early versions allowed to enter price using the set of mechanical knobs — a rectangular cover on the bottom is a place where the block of them has to be connected. Our scales belong to a more common modification, that is equipped with a detachable keypad, connected with the device with a cable in a sturdy metal hose. Along with the set of price input buttons these are also a pushbutton for a container's weight correction and a power switch. Matching red and white keycaps are still to be found.

As a full set, scales can be extended with a price tag printer, but we did not find it anywhere yet, and, frankly speaking, we never saw it in operation in its real life.

By memories, that was a reliable and handy device. Since 1989 a new generation, more compact and lightweight (this one is around 25 kg heavy) appeared, but up to the mid-1990s it was still possible to find "Dinas" in operation until 99% of them ended up in electronic recycling junkyards.

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