VFD Clock Only Speaks Romanian

There’s no shortage of clock projects, but [niq_ro] has his own take using a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD), and Arduino, and a pair of MAX6921 ICs. Those chips are made to drive a VFD, and the use of two of the ICs required a bit of work. The Arduino is not a great time keeper, so the clock also uses a DS3231 clock module and a humidity and temperature sensor.

The clock is in Romanian, although there are some options for different text. You can find the code on GitHub and can see the result in the video below.

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Using VFDs as amplifiers


[HP Friedrichs] sent us this cool writeup on how to use scrapped Vacuum Fluorescent Display tubes as amplifiers. For those unfamiliar, a VFD is a display device common to electronics.  Many have been replaced by LCD, but you can still find them in modern products. [Friedrichs] points out that his 2008 ford has a VFD for the multimedia display.

Since these units are basically tubes, he figured that you should be able to use them as a tube amp. After some testing, he found it to be quite adequate.  The project includes tons of background information on how tubes work, how VFDs work and how to utilize it for amplification. In the picture above, you can see him using one (middle) to amplify a home made radio (right).