Marquee Display Uses Six Dozen Surplus VFD Tubes to Great Effect

The quest to repurpose surplus parts into new and interesting displays never ends, it seems. And the bigger the display, the better, with extra points for using some really obscure part, like these surplus Russian vacuum-fluorescent tubes turned into a marquee display.

As [tonyp7] freely admits, this is a pet project that’s just for the fun of it, made possible by the flood of surplus parts on the market these days. The VFD tubes are IV-25s, Russian tubes that can be had by the fistful for a song from the usual sources. The seven small elements in the tube were intended to make bar graph displays like VU meters, but [tonyp7] ganged up twelve side by side to make 84-pixel displays. The custom driver board for each matrix needs three of the old SN75518 driver chips, in 40-pin DIPs no less. A 3D-printed bracket holds the tubes and the board for each module; it looks like a clock is the goal, with six modules ganged together. But the marquee display shown below is great too, and we look forward to seeing the finished project.

From faux-Nixies made with LEDs to flip-segment displays driven by relay logic to giant seven-segment LEDs that can be 3D-printed, we really like the trend to unique displays. What are you dreaming up?

[via r/electronics]

6 thoughts on “Marquee Display Uses Six Dozen Surplus VFD Tubes to Great Effect

  1. If the goal was to make horizontally scrolling text, orienting the tubes vertically would have made more sense. The gaps make this hard to read unless I look at just one of the six units.

  2. There was a few models of big hall clocks with IV25/26 assembled in arrays in USSR – Electronika 7, Voronezh, Alles. In 1980s Electronika 7 was nearly “standard” for official buildings, schools, universities, hospitals, etc. Also, Electronika 7 had an input for cable radio for time sync with precision time signals broadcasted every hour as six 1kHz tones.

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