A lot of electronics wind up in landfills, and when [Playful Electronics] saw an old cash register heading for the dump, he decided to give its VFD display a new life as an Arduino peripheral. While you might not find the exact same parts, it is still fun to watch him work through the process, and you might find some tips for doing your own upcycle project next time you see some old tech heading out to pasture.
The project was relatively straightforward since data for the display was available. It is meant to connect via RS232 with a point of sale printer, so working with it is pretty straightforward.
While VFDs aren’t the latest technology, they do work well, especially in bright environments like inside a car. It seems like having an RS232 display like this would be worth something. However, we did find a few units online for sale, they were priced pretty high. We bet there are some caches of surplus somewhere, though.