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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Dec182010

More Arduino shields to play with...

Published by paul at 12:14 PM under Arduino

It's been quite a while since I've had bandwidth to sit down and get stuck into electronics again, but now I'm home for almost two months, so I'll be blogging more on here.

Over the last few months I've discovered some new Arduino shields to play with and ordered them up. Here's what I got:

1) The Wingshield Screwshield kit from Adafruit Industries. Took me about 5 minutes to solder together.

 

2) The Motor/Stepper/Servo Shield kit from Adafruit Industries. Took me about 1/2 hour to solder together.

 

3) The Arduino Ethernet Shield with micro SD connector. This comes assembled and I got it from SparkFun Electronics.

 

4) The WiShield from async_labs that provides 802.11b wireless. This also comes assembled.

 

5) The Joystick Shield Kit from SparkFun Electronics. Took about 15 minutes to solder together.

 

6) The Color LCD Shield from SparkFun Electronics. This just needed the headers soldered on.

Lots of potential for tinkering and cool stuff here!



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