VFD tube clock built using protoboard and free-formed PSU

vfd-tube-clock

[James Glanville] wrote in to show of his latest tube project. It’s a clock using six IV-3 VFD tubes. In addition to the tube displays the project prominently features a blue 3D printed case which hides away all the guts of the build including the Stellaris Launchpad which drives the clock.

Speaking of guts, you’ll want to look through a few of [James'] other posts on the project. His first write-up on this clock shows off the protoboard and point-to-point soldering that makes the tubes work. To help simplify things he went with a MAX6921 VFD driver chip. He mounted it dead-bug style on its own piece of protoboard and then soldered all of the necessary connections to the larger hunk hosting the tubes. There’s also an interesting post that details the switch mode power supply which ramps the USB 5V power all the way up to the 50V used to drive the displays.

If you like this you should check out the first VFD clock he built. We featured it a while back in a links post.

Comments

  1. andarb says:

    Either the link is wrong or he’s been “HackaDay”ed already.

  2. James Glanville says:

    The latter sadly :( Hopefully it’ll be up from now on, stupid AWS.

  3. Per Jensen says:

    Link up now. Unfortunately he’s done nothing to make an AC-waveform for the filaments, so there is brightness gradients :-/

    • There isn’t a visible gradient, if it looks like it in the picture it’s because of the photo angle and poor camera. I find with iv-18 and iv-3 tubes it’s very hard to see a gradient as long as you have a high enough filament current and drive voltage. The main problem I’m having is that all the tubes are second-hand, so they vary in brightness according to how old they are.

  4. pcf11 says:

    It was important to 3D print the plastic box because one for a dime from a thrift store just would not have done right?

    • I don’t really know where I’d buy a case – it’s not the sort of thing I think i’d find in any of the thrift stores near here. Also, I’m at uni without most of my good tools, so cutting out the holes for the tubes would be a load more effort than 3d printing.

    • dean says:

      I am calling you out pcf11. Why make that comment? Did you read his post? He wrote, “I 3d printed a case I designed quickly. Ultimately I think I’ll mill/lasercut a prettier case out of wood, but having a 3d printer on my desk (mendelmax 1.5) was by far the quickest option.” Did you fail to read that, or are you being negative for the sake of being negative?

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