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Time is probably our most important social construct. Our perception of passing time changes with everything we do, and when it comes down to it, time is all we really have. You can choose to use it wisely, or sit back and watch it go by. If you want to do both, build a clock like this one, and spectate in sleek, sophisticated style.

[ChristineNZ]’s mid-century-meets-steampunk clock uses eight ILC1-1/8Ls, which are quite possibly the largest VFD tubes ever produced (and still available as new-old stock). In addition to the time, it displays the date, relative humidity, and temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. A delightful chime sounds every fifteen minutes to remind you that time’s a-wastin’.

The seconds slip by in HH/MM/SS format, each division separated by a tube dedicated to dancing the time away. The mesmerizing display is driven by an Arduino Mega and a MAX6921 VFD driver, and built into a mahogany frame. There isn’t a single PCB in sight except for the Mega — all the VFDs are mounted on wood and everything is wired point-to-point. Sweep past the break to see the progressive slideshow build video that ends with a demo of all the functions.

Those glowing blue-green displays aren’t limited to clocking time. They can replace LCDs, or be scrolling marquees.

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.

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.

VFDs are often used in places where a display is meant to be read outdoors. It uses cathodoluminescence to actually generate light. The process is similar to a CRT, but at lower voltages. The tubes have a phosphor-coated anode and the cathode bombards it with electrons, making the phosphor glow. VFDs are available in different colors.

VFDs are popular for clocks, ranging from very polished looking ones, to something similar to this one, but with an MSP430. If you are interested in low-level interfacing for VFDs, we’ve talked about that too.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, clock hacks
Lug
03

Arduino VFD Display Clock Tutorial

arduino, clock, display, vfd Commenti disabilitati su Arduino VFD Display Clock Tutorial 

FP770N2IBL0P092.MEDIUM

by Kesselwagen @ instructables.com

Vacuum fluorescent displays look really kinda fancy and cool to me, I really love the blue-breen color. That’s why I decided to write this Instructable about a clock based on this technology. This is my first instructable here, showing you how I have designed built my clock and how you can build yourself exactly the same or a similar clock that utilizes the VFD display. I’m not a native speaker – just for you to know if you’re wondering why some sentences might make no sense at all.

Arduino VFD Display Clock Tutorial – [Link]

Lug
03

Arduino VFD Display Clock Tutorial

arduino, clock, display, vfd Commenti disabilitati su Arduino VFD Display Clock Tutorial 

FP770N2IBL0P092.MEDIUM

by Kesselwagen @ instructables.com

Vacuum fluorescent displays look really kinda fancy and cool to me, I really love the blue-breen color. That’s why I decided to write this Instructable about a clock based on this technology. This is my first instructable here, showing you how I have designed built my clock and how you can build yourself exactly the same or a similar clock that utilizes the VFD display. I’m not a native speaker – just for you to know if you’re wondering why some sentences might make no sense at all.

Arduino VFD Display Clock Tutorial – [Link]

Ago
23

Using older Noritake Itron VFD modules

arduino, CU40026SCPB-T20A, display, fluorescent, ise, Itron, Noritake, serial, tronixstuff, tutorial, vacuum, vfd, vintage Commenti disabilitati su Using older Noritake Itron VFD modules 

Introduction

Now and again you come across interesting parts on ebay, from friends or just rooting around in second-hand stores. One example of this was a huge Noritake Itron 40 x 2 character vacuum-fluorescent display from 1994 (or earlier) which was passed on from a client. Originally it looked quite complex, however after spending some time the data sheets were found and it was discovered to have a simple serial interface – and with a little work we’ve got it working, so read on if you’re interested in classic VFDs or have a similar unit.

Getting Started

The model number for our display is CU40026SCPB-T20A. Here’s a quick walk-around, the front:

Noritake VFD

… the back:

Noritake VFD

… the interfaces:

Noritake VFD

… and configuration jumpers:

Noritake VFD

The serial interface baud rate is determined by the jumpers (above), for example:

VFD baud rate jumpersSo comparing the table above against the jumpers on our module gives us a data speed of 19200 bps with no parity. Great – we can easily create such a connection with a microcontroller with a serial output and 5V logic levels; for our examples we’ll use an Arduino-compatible board.

Wiring up the VFD is simple – see the white jumpers labelled CN2 as shown previously. Pin 1 is 5V (you need an external supply that can offer up to 700 mA), pin 2 to Arduino digital pin 7, and pin 3 to Arduino and power supply GND. We use Arduino D7 with software serial instead of TX so that the display doesn’t display garbage when a sketch is being uploaded. Then it’s a matter of simply sending text to the display, for example here’s a quick demonstration sketch:

// Working with Noritake Itron VFD modules - model CU40026SCPB-T20A
// John Boxall 2013

#include <SoftwareSerial.h>
SoftwareSerial VFD(6,7); // RX, TX

void setup()
{
  VFD.begin(19200);
}

void loop()
{
  VFD.print("Hello, world. This is a Noritake VFD "); // You can blast out text 
  do {} while (1);
}

… and the results:

noritake vfd demonstration

If you’re not keen on the colour or intensity of the display, try some Perspex over the top – for example:

Noritake VFD

Controlling the display

At this point you’ll need the data sheet, there’s a couple you can download: data sheet onedata sheet two. As you saw previously, writing text is very simple – just use .print functions. However you may want to send individual characters, as well as special commands to control aspects of the display. These are outlined in the data sheet – see the “Software Commands” and “Character Fonts” tables.

If you need to send single commands – for example “clear display” which is 0x0E, use a .write command, such as:

VFD.write(0x0E); // clear display

Some commands are in the format of escape codes (remember those?) so you need to send ESC then the following byte, for example to change the brightness to 50%:

VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.write(0x40); // 50% brightness

Armed with that knowledge and the data sheets you can now execute all the commands. According to the data sheet it is possible to change fonts however no matter what the hardware jumper or command we tried it wouldn’t budge from the Japanese katakana font. Your screen may vary. If you use the “screen priority write” function heed the data sheet with respect to the extended “busy” time by delaying subsequent writes to the display by a millisecond.

 Putting it all together

Instead of explaining each and every possible command, I’ve put the common ones inside documented functions in the demonstration sketch below, which is followed by a quick video of the sketch in operation.

// Working with Noritake Itron VFD modules - model CU40026SCPB-T20A
// John Boxall 2013

#include <SoftwareSerial.h>
SoftwareSerial VFD(6,7); // rx, tx

void setup()
{
  VFD.begin(19200); // set speed for software serial port 
  resetVFD();  
  VFDclearsceen();
//  VFD.write(0x12); // vertical scroll mode (on)
}

void resetVFD()
// performs a software reset on the VFD controller
{
  VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
  VFD.write(0x49); // software reset
}

void VFDnewline()
// moves cursor to start of next line
{
  VFD.write(0x0D); // carriage return
  VFD.write(0x0A); // line feed
}

void VFDclearsceen()
// moves cursor to top-left and clears display
{
  VFD.write(0x0E); // clear display 
  VFD.write(0x0C); // form feed - cursor to top-left
}

void VFDbrightness(int amount)
// sets VFD brightness - 25/50/75/100%
// uses ESC sequences
{
  switch(amount)
  {
  case 25:
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.print(0); // 25% brightness
    break;
  case 50:
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.write(0x40); // 50% brightness
    break;
  case 75:
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.write(0x80); // 75% brightness
    break;
  case 100:
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x4C); // brightness
    VFD.write(0xC0); // 100% brightness
  }
}

void VFDchars()
// run through characters for selected font
{
  for (int i = 21 ; i < 256; i++)
  {
    VFD.write(0x16); // underline cursor off
    VFD.write(i);
    delay(100);
  }
}

void moveCursor(byte position)
// moves the cursor - top row is 0~39, bottom row is 40~79
// vertical scroll mode must be turned off if used
{
    VFD.write(0x1B); // ESC
    VFD.write(0x48); // move cursor 
    VFD.write(position); // location
}

void loop()
{
  VFD.write(0x16); // underline cursor off
  VFD.print("Hello, world - line one."); // You can blast out text 
  delay(1000);      
  VFDnewline();
  VFD.print("Hello, world - line two."); 
  delay(1000);    
  VFDclearsceen();
  VFDbrightness(25);
  VFD.print("*** 25% brightness ***");   
  delay(1000);
  VFDclearsceen();  
  VFDbrightness(50);
  VFD.print("*** 50% brightness ***");     
  delay(1000);
  VFDclearsceen();   
  VFDbrightness(75);
  VFD.print("*** 75% brightness ***");       
  delay(1000);
  VFDclearsceen();   
  VFDbrightness(100);
  VFD.print("*** 100% brightness ***");         
  delay(1000);
  VFDclearsceen();

  VFDchars();
  VFDclearsceen();

  for (int i = 0; i < 80; i++)
  {
    VFD.write(0x16); // underline cursor off
    moveCursor(i);
    VFD.print("X");
    delay(100);
    moveCursor(i);    
    VFD.print(" ");    
  }
  VFDclearsceen();
}

 

Conclusion

We hope you found this interesting and helpful. And if you have an inexpensive source for these old displays, let us know in the comments. Full-sized images are on flickr. And if you made it this far – check out my new book “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

The post Using older Noritake Itron VFD modules appeared first on tronixstuff.

Ott
30

Scrapped DVD player turns into a full featured clock

arduino hacks, Arduion, clock, clock hacks, dvd, freduino, vfd Commenti disabilitati su Scrapped DVD player turns into a full featured clock 

[Dmitry] really went the distance with this project. It started as a broken DVD player scrapped for parts, and turned into this clock with way too many features. That link is a pretty a dry technical collection of the work. You’ll definitely want to have a look at it, but we’d suggest first watching the demo video after the break which is initially much more exciting.

The donor DVD hardware included a Vacuum Fluorescent display which is the nugget which [Dmitry] was after. But that board came along with some other nice things, like an integrated IR receiver. He also chose to use the PSU from the device. An Arduino is used to drive the clock. We’re not sure where he found it, but the video shows the service manual for the DVD player which must have a been a real help in interfacing with the display. The white dome on the right is a PIR motion sensor. It brings the device out of sleep mode when someone is in the room.

The case is laser-cut and started as cardboard to ensure everything fit as designed. The enclosure makes it a showpiece, but the features of displaying day, date, time, and temperature make it functional as well. Since the VFD is alpha-numeric we think this could even see future upgrades to be used as a new-mail/tweet/IM alert as well.


Filed under: arduino hacks, clock hacks


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