VFD-based tube clocks

Good news, everyone.  Jürgen Grau just emailed me his latest version of the enclosure for Kosbo's round VFD clock.  Below is a near-final render of what the enclosure will look like.  The enclosure should go on sale towards the end of July.  At that point, you can buy them directly from him or through Kosbo.com

Kosbo Round VFD Enclosure




By Dieter Wächter / Nocrotec

Price $299


This clock is based on Vacuum Fluorescent Display tubes. They are a seven-segment based display like most led clocks but these are quite a bit different. For starters, this clock costs nearly 100x as much as your normal department store clock. The digits have a beautiful cyan color and the design of the tube allows you to see the inner workings. Image and brief description are from Nocrotec




- Digit height: 0.6″ (15mm)
- 12/24h mode
- Date in configuration DD.MM.YY or MM.DD.YY
- Leading zero suppression: The leading zero can be blanked or shown
- Cross fading: different modes to fade the digits from one number to the next
- Alarm clock
- Power down mode: tubes and supply can be totally switched off for a user programmed period in order to save energy and increase life expectancy of the tubes
- 12VDC input voltage
- Time is battery buffered when no line power is available; battery will last for more than 10 years
- User settings are always stored
- Case made of massive cherry wood and shiny black anodized aluminum as used for high-end audio equipment.

by Nocrotec / Dieter Wächter / $259USD


GE-100 VFD Tube Clock

I am a big fan of Nocrotec's work and while doing my daily eBay search, I discovered that Dieter released a new VFD clock based on the GE-100 tubes.  I have no idea where he finds sources for some of the odd tubes but I have never encountered these in person let alone in a clock for sale.  These are easily the most elegant VFD tubes I've seen.  The individual elements are rounded giving the display a much softer look than normal seven segment devices.  Other than that, it appears to have the same specs as his other devices.  At $259, this is a solid buy.  Be sure to check out the links below for more information.


GE-100 VFD Tube Clock


by Turbo_Hobby / eBay Starting at $69.99 (Currently not available)


IV-18 VFD Clock

User Turbo_Hobby has released a new clock based on the IV-18 VFD tube and it looks pretty slick.  There has been other clocks based on this tube but no other ones, based on my recollection, include a calculator function.  That's right, it is also a calculator.  It seems fitting that the tube that was originally designed for calculators is finally being used for one in this vacuum tube Renaissance.

The production time on each one of these devices is significant.  Each one of his creations is hand assembled and even the transformer is hand wound.  In practice, this means that he is only able to produce about one per month.  Given that, the starting price is pretty good.  (I sure wouldn't want to hand solder the SMT components.)

Turbo_Hobby is also the same guy who created the single digit nixie clock that I really like.  He doesn't have a lot of feedback on eBay yet but I would not hesitate to do business with him again.


IV-18 keyboard


IV-18 VFD Clock

From the auction:

This is a fully assembled IV-18 VFD clock, with alarm, date, temperature and calculator function!  Largest 8-digit VFD tube from USSR, NOS. Please refer to the video below or contact me for detailed explanation. Assembled with high-quality SMD components, with calibrated accurate clock pulse generator. The clock can be powered by either mini USB port or a 3.5mm 5V DC power supply, and keeps time by a SMD lithium battery when powered off.

IV-18 VFD Clock


  • 8 digit, 7 brightness level
  • Displays time, date (DD.MM.YYYY), day (1-7) and temperature (°C and °F both) every 30 seconds.
  • 3 alarms
  • Dual input (mini USB or 3.5mm 5V DC wall adaptor)
  • AC driven VFD provides uniform display
  • Four buttons control (set, select, up and down)
  • Made by high quality components
  • Extensible 8-digit calculator (please purchase the matrix keyboard separately)
  • Uses high quality components
    • Philips RTC (Real-time Clock) - PCF8563
    • Accurate SMD Clock Oscillator
    • Murata (Japan) SMD Clock Trimmer Capacitor
    • NEC 6312 Specific VFD Driver IC
    • EPCOS SMD Tantalum Capacitors
    • ATmel M32 Microprocessor
    • SANYO SMD CR2025 Backup Battery


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