A VFD Clock That Tells The Time, Then Tells You To **** Off


Clocks are relatively simple devices – they tell time, and most often sport a handful of other utilitarian features like alarms and radios. Rarely though, do you see a clock that will wake you up in the morning and also curse at you shortly thereafter. [Matt Evans] clearly thought that clocks need to pack a little more attitude, so he built his girlfriend a clock that not only tells time, but spouts off nasty phrases as well. What a lucky gal!

The clock was constructed using IV-17 VFD tubes, each bearing 16 light-able segments. It seemed wasteful to simply use the tubes to tell time, so [Matt] got busy adding other features to the clock. It has an alarm, a calendar that is always stuck on his girlfriend’s birthday, and an ambient light sensor to dim the tubes at night. It also sports a variable rudeness setting, allowing for mild insults when family members are present, and extremely foul language for when your frat brothers swing by.

He has plenty of pictures on his site, but we’re betting people will want to see schematics and some source code. After all, Mother’s Day is but a few months away!

12 thoughts on “A VFD Clock That Tells The Time, Then Tells You To **** Off

  1. I LOVE these kinds of tube clocks!! Does anyone know of any kind of kits I could purchase to make one???????
    If not, I hope Matt Evans will post where he got the parts and how to build this one!!

  2. This is a very cool design, I love the idea of Tourette’s syndrome in the clock :)

    The VFD’s will run rather hot — I am not sure I like them directly exposed (or their base wires… it is still 60V down there), I think I would have gone for a full acrilic enclosure like the Adafruit VFD clock kit has.

  3. Super, unambiguous time display with no Roman math. Either enclose tubes in blue cabinet or sleeves of blue thin transparent plastic. This will increase the readability. There were examples of this as a random four-letter word generator with the big stock market display tubes back in the late 70’s.

  4. @justin, LOL, it /actually/ went down quite well. Partner with same puerile sense of humour FTW ;-)

    @lizardb0y- Funny, I wrote that, rethought it, realised it was wrong, and left it in so that the internet would notice and correct me ;-) You win! I’ll rephrase as “Crappy Nintendo GameAndWatch-style squawky beep” :) )

    @Frederico: You’re right, about 60V down there. It’s hard to illustrate in the photos but although the wires are ‘exposed’ the tubes are mounted close enough so that it’s not actually possible to touch them with your finger; you’d have to poke something in the gap. I wouldn’t design a product like that, but for our household… s’fine. (Actually I tried it out, it doesn’t hurt.. *grin*)

    I’ll try to capture it saying something tremendous & stick it on Youtube. Will see what I can rustle up w/ schematics & code too. Thanks a lot, guys! =D

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