Posts with «vacuum fluorescent display» label

Vintage vacuum fluorescent display controlled with Arduino Due

Vacuum fluorescent displays (VFDs) have a distinct cool blue-greenish glow, and were once used in a wide range of devices, from VCRs to microwave ovens and even car dashboards. Although extremely popular way back when, they can be more difficult to source today. In the video below, Scotty Allen of the Strange Parts YouTube channel takes on the challenge of getting a $600 ISE (now Noritake) display up and running with an Arduino Due.

The process starts with examining the datasheet to find that the Due’s 3.3V logic can indeed drive the 20×2 character display, then he constructs a custom adapter board to do just that. After more datasheet lurking, head scratching and hacking, he finally got it to show “Hello world!” toward the end of the clip, along with some simple animations. 

The VFD control is part of a larger build that will be revealed in the future, and a good reminder of just how much trial and error is needed to succeed in making something awesome.

Stylish Alarm Clock Rocks a VFD

There are a great many display technologies available if you wish to make a digital clock. Many hackers seem to have a penchant for the glowier fare from the Eastern side of the Berlin Wall. [ChristineNZ] is one such hacker, and managed to secure some proper Soviet kit for an alarm clock build.

The clock employs an IV-27M vacuum fluorescent display, manufactured in the now-defunct USSR. Featuring 13 seven-segment digits, it’s got that charming blue glow that you just don’t get with other technologies. A MAX6921AWI chip is used to drive the VFD, and an Arduino Mega is the brains of the operation. There’s also an HD44780-compliant LCD that can display further alphanumeric information, and a 4×4 keypad for controlling the device.

The best part of the build though is the enclosure. The VFD is encased in a glass tube, and supported at either end by 90-degree copper pipe couplers. These hold the VFD aloft, and also act as a conduit for the wires coming off each end of the tube. It’s all built on top of a wooden base that holds the rest of the electronics.

It’s an attractive build, and we love the floating look created by the glass tube construction. It’s not the first time we’ve seen old Russian VFDs, and we doubt it will be the last. Video after the break.

Th