Dec182010

Kit building: vacuum fluorescent display clock

Published by paul at 2:51 PM under Kit Building | VFD

I've always been intrigued by vacuum fluorescent displays (VFDs) so I picked up the Ice Tube Clock Kit from AdaFruit Industries that uses a Russian VFD tube.

(Click any photo for a 1024x768 image.)

Here's what came in the kit:

 

And here are a couple of shots of the VFD tube. It has 8 x 7-segment digits, with decimal points and a minus sign.

 

There's a great page on AdaFruit's website that describes the circuit and the calculations that went into designing it - check it out!

The building instructions are very thorough, as always, and this time includes test points as building progresses. On the left is a shot of testing the 7805 regulator, and on the right is testing the voltage booster circuit for the VFD.

 

Once I had the main board made, it was time to thread the VFD into it's PCB. This was a finnicky task but with patience it only took 15 minutes. The leads from the VFD bend very easily, which is a blessing and a curse. On the left you can see what I mean, and on the right I've got it ready to solder.

 

And here's it soldered and nicely clipped.

 

Did a quick test and it worked! Then I put in the final few components on the main board and assembled the laser-cut perspex case.

Here are a couple of shots of the completed main PCB:

 

 

And the clock itself... and in it's final resting place.

 

Hope you enjoyed the photos - let me know if these kinds of posts are interesting!



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