As [sjm4306] says, “You can never have too many clocks based on obsolete display technologies.” We couldn’t agree more, and this single-tube VFD clock is one we haven’t seen before.
The vacuum-fluorescent display that [sjm4306] chose to base this clock on is the IV-21, an eight-digit seven-segment display on the smallish side. The tube is Russian surplus from the ’80s, as all such displays seem to be. The main PCB sports an ATMega328, a boost converter to provide the high voltage needed to run the VFD, a real-time clock, and the driver chip for the tube segments. The tube itself lives on a clever riser card that elevates the display above the main PCB and puts it at the proper angle for reading. [sjm4306] designed it to be modular; should you want to user a bigger VFD you need only make a new riser PCB. Figuring out the proper way to space the through-holes in Eagle proved elusive, but he hacked a solution using a spreadsheet to handle the trigonometry and spit out Cartesian coordinates for each hole. Pretty neat. The video below shows the clock assembly and a test.
We really like the look of this clock for some reason – perhaps it’s the quirky nature of the VFD, or the soft teal glow of the digits. We’ve featured plenty of clocks with odd displays before: VFDs large and small, faux-NIMO, de-encapsulated LED “filaments”, and lots and lots of Nixies.
Continue reading “Mini-VFD Clock Floats The Display Above It All” →
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.
Continue reading “VFD Clock Only Speaks Romanian” →
[Haris Andrianakis] just finished building this very clean-looking vacuum fluorescent display clock. It shows six digits using IV-11 tubes, and also has a half-dozen RGB LEDs to spice things up (check out the video after the break for an example). An ATmega168 drives the device, controlling the display and serving as a battery-backed real-time clock.
As with any tube-based clock there’s a fair amount of work that goes into driving the display. Each tube has a filament which requires 1.2V, and the segments themselves need 60 volts to light up. The microcontroller is not hard to protect; this is done with a series of transistor-based circuits used for switching. But the need for three voltages (to power microcontroller, filament, and segments) means a more complex PSU design. [Haris] chose to use a MAX6921 to simplify the process.
If you’re considering building something like this, we’d recommend looking for some 12-segment tubes. As we’ve seen before, they can display letters as well as numbers in case you wish to repurpose the device in the future.
Continue reading “Six-digit VFD Alarm Clock” →
We honestly thought [Jason’s] VFD clock was some form of new terrorist attack when we came across the RSS. Thank goodness our relations with Russia aren’t as MAD as they used to be.
The main components are an IV-18 VFD with a MAX6921 driver, which to an untrained ear do sound surprisingly threatening. However an Arduino settles our hearts down and assures us this only has as much potential as blinking a VFD. While the main code, schematics, and CAD aren’t available (open source coming to a theater near you soon) at the moment – you can check out [Jason’s] inspiration, the Ice Tube Clock, which runs many of the same components.
Enjoy a video of it in action after the break. We love the ‘countdown’ feature the most.
[via Make] Continue reading “VFD Clock (ends The World)” →