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VFD Clocks

Jenny Reloaded


Jenny VFD Clock

One of my all time favorite VFD clocks is the Jenny design from NixieKits.eu. Well, Jürgen Grau has a new version out that is USB powered and is based on the same firmware as the Lena/Lars/Laura clocks. This thing looks awesome.

Jenny VFD Clock

Features

  • Hours, Minutes and Seconds display
  • 3 x 2 multiplex for less tube noise and higher brightness; based on the modern Supertex HV driver HV5812
  • Selectable 12 or 24 hour display modes
  • Uses a Quartz Crystal Oscillator as timebase with software adjustable accuracy
  • Programmable leading zero blanking
  • Date display in either DD.MM.YY or MM.DD.YY or YY.MM.DD format
  • Programmable date display each minute or selectable with a single button push
  • Scrolling display during fading-in the date or standard display change
  • Alarm with programmable snooze period
  • Optional DCF / WWVB / MSF / GPS sync. with status LED; prepared for fitting the ASK receiver module from the „Wireless GPS connection“
  • Dedicated DST button for easy switching between DST and standard time
  • Super Capacitor backup keeps time during power outages for more than 6 hours.
  • Simple time setting using two buttons
  • Five programmable IV-15 column settings (Flashing AM/PM indication, illuminated AM/PM indication, always flashing, always on / off)
  • Seconds can be reset to zero to precisely set the time
  • Programmable night mode - blanked or dimmed display to save tubes life or prevent sleep disturbance
  • Indicator LEDs dim at night mode too to prevent sleep disturbance
  • Weekday aware „Master Blank“ function to turn off all displays on weekends or working hours
  • Separate modes for column IV-15 tubes during night mode
  • Standard or fading display modes as an eye-catcher
  • „Slot Machine“ effect as eye-catcher
  • Programmable RGB tube lighting – select your favourite colour palette
  • 729 colours possible. Have a different colour of your choice every hour or autochanging colours with variable speed
  • Programmable temperature display in °C or °F at seconds 30...35
  • All user preferences stored in non-volatile memory
  • Circuity works with safe 36 VDC Tubes Anode voltage

Links


Review: Modular VFD Clock


$104 / kit (case not included)

Akafugu Corporation / akafugu.jp

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Per Johan Groland sent me a nice little VFD clock for review and I think you’ll like this one.

This clock is made up of four IV-17 alphanumeric VFD tubes.  As it ships, the electronics come in two parts – the base with the microcontroller and the shield with the VFD tubes.  The base can support up to four sixteen-segment tubes or twenty seven-segment displays.

The big draw to this board, in my opinion, is how hacker-friendly it is.  The software is open source and available on GitHub.  It ships with an ISP header for easy software upgrades.  Given this combination, it makes a great platform for experimenting with.  If you want to make your own four letter word machine or to experiment with VFD tubes, this is a great place to start.

I received this device fully assembled but it normally ships as a kit.  It looks relatively straightforward to assemble but I would estimate that each half of the device will take about an hour to do.

When the device is operating as a clock (using the shipping firmware) the operation is very straightforward.  The clock can operate in 12h or 24h mode, the brightness can be adjusted, and there is also an alarm.  Nearing the menu structure is pretty easy and there is a manual online to make setting the device easier.

The one feature that is missing from this firmware release is a display off time.  Since VFD tubes wear out, it would be nice to have the display shutoff during certain hours of the day.  This is not a major problem in my opinion given how easy it is to find VFD tubes on eBay, but it is something I wanted to point out.

The enclosure is a clear acrylic that has been cut in an almost jigsaw puzzle like fashion. This ensures that the pieces only fit together one way.  Once assembled, I would suggest lightly tacking the base pieces together to prevent the sides or back from falling off.  The electronics themselves are not actually attached to the enclosure.

One of the features of this clock that I particularly like is it’s size – the entire device is one of the smallest that I’ve reviewed.  This is partly because it is a four digit design but it also means that it is easier to find room for this gadget on a crowded desk.

Now, you’re probably thinking that this would make a great four letter word machine and you would be right.  A FLW modification is in development to support this feature.  It will actually require an extra EEPROM to support the dictionary needed for this device.

As of the time of this review, inly the IV-17 shield is available.  There are three more shields in development: and IV-16, IV-22, and IV-18.  These should be available shortly.

Overall – I’m a fan of this little device.  The hacker-friendly nature of the gadget and it’s low price ($104 for the kit) mean that this will appeal to a wide audience.  This is a great way to get started working with VFD’s without having to worry about the electrical engineering part.  Be sure to look at the photos below to get a better idea of what is included and watch the review.

Alternate Shields

Currently, only the IV-17 shield is on sale.  The IV-6 is almost ready for production and the IV-18 and IV-22 will need a little but more work before they go on sale.

Photos:

 

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Modular VFD IV17 Clock

Links:


Jenclock / FLW Machine


This clock swears at you.

Matt Evans has built a very nice four letter word machine based on an IV-17 VFD tubes that is worth checking out.  It has a couple of neat features: it has an auto dimming display at night, it has a variable rudeness setting to control the dictionary used and it even has an alarm.  Go check out his site and other project at his website: Axio.ms

 

four letter word VFD

four letter word VFD

Links


Turbo Hobby IV-18 Video Mini-review


Okay, I've gotten my little hands on an IV-18 vfd clock from Turbo Mac.  I've done a review of his single digit nixie clock before and it set the bar high for my expectations from him.  This clock lives up to that.  Watch the review below for more information.  Also, be sure to check out his other items for sale on eBay - he has some cool gadgets.  If you're looking for a holiday gift, take a look here :)

Video Review:

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Clock Settings:

Press SET to enter the setting menu.
Use SELECT to choose 1-6. Press SET to enter.

1 - Date (format: MM.DD.YYYY)
Press UP/DOWN to change the current (blinking) digit.
Press SELECT to jump to next digit.
Press SET to confirm and quit.

2 - Time (format: HH-MM-SS)
Press UP/DOWN to change the current (blinking) digit.
Press SELECT to jump to next digit.
Press SET to confirm and quit.


3 - Alarm 1 (format:  HH-MM)
Press UP/DOWN to change the current (blinking) digit.
Press SELECT to jump to next digit.
Press SET to confirm and quit.
("24-00" will off this alarm.)


4 - Alarm 2 (format:  HH-MM)
Press UP/DOWN to change the current (blinking) digit.
Press SELECT to jump to next digit.
Press SET to confirm and quit.
("24-00" will off this alarm.)


5 - Alarm 3 (format:  HH-MM)
Press UP/DOWN to change the current (blinking) digit.
Press SELECT to jump to next digit.
Press SET to confirm and quit.
("24-00" will off this alarm.)


6 - Brightness (00: dimmest    07: brightest)
Press UP/DOWN to change the current (blinking) digit.

 

Optional Number Pad:

 

Links:




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