VFD displays are a pain in the neck to tinker with.  LED and Numitrons can be powered directly from an Arduino with two wires.  Nixie tubes just need 180v and two wires. VFD tubes - they are a little more complex.  VFD tubes need to power the filament (at about 1~1.5V), the Grid (and +30ish) and each element at (+30ish).  Lastly, the elements and grid need to be +30ish relative to the Filament.

I came up with this simple test circuit that takes 3 9V batteries and a single AA.  The circuit below will make just about any antique Russian VFD tube work properly - until you burn it out.  If you don't want to burn out the display, you probably should add some current limiting resistors but the exact values you will need depend on the power source and the specs of the tube.


Simple VFD Test Circuit

Feel free to use the image below elsewhere.  Please just give credit back to this site if you do.

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