While browsing one of our favorite electronic supplier’s web sites, we found that Ladyada sells a really interesting looking clock that uses a vacuum florescent display with eight glowing digits. This clock proved to be an excellent soldering instruction project for a younger Rusty Nail Workshop helper.
The most interesting feature is the display, which is similar to those found on VCRs, old car radios, and microwave ovens. The vacuum florescent display was invented in 1967 in Japan and hundreds of millions are used annually around the world. They are different than an LCD in that they use a filament to emit electrons which are diffused by grids. The electrons strike a phosphor-coated plate and emit light, and can be manufactured to emit light in different colors.
This kit comes with numerous electronic parts, all of which must be hand soldered to a printed circuit board. The instructions from Ladyada are excellent, and each step is accompanied by a helpful photograph. Our first step in the assembly process was to take an inventory of the parts we had received. Everything was accounted for, although some of our capacitors were slightly different than those in the Ladyada instructions, but not confusingly different.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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