Black Lives Matter - Action and Equality. ... Adafruit is open and shipping.
0

#Macro Monday: Ice Tube Clock

vfd1_600

The Ice Tube Clock, available as a kit, uses a lovely IV-18 vacuum-fluorescent display (VFD) tube.

vfd2_600
Unlike Nixie tubes, which are current-operated gas-discharge displays, VFDs are thermionic voltage-controlled devices, just like the vacuum tubes used in old radios and amplifiers (as well as some modern high-voltage equipment). Specifically, VFDs are a special kind of directly-headed triode.

VFDs have three basic parts: the filament (cathode), the grid, and the phosphorescent anode(s). In the case of the IV-18 device used in the Ice Tube, the entire tube has two filament wires stretching the length of the tube (wired in parallel). Each separate digit has it’s own grid, and each of the 7 segments of the number display are ganged together is an anode. By quickly multiplexing the grids you can make the device appear to display all the digits at once.

In this photo you can see all three electrodes. Those two dark lines running horizontally across the photo are the filament wires.

vfd3_600

Here you can see a couple of illuminated digits. The nebulous nature of the illumination across each segment is caused by variations in the electric field, and the grids casting an electron shadow onto the segments.


We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter

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, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, 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.

Join 20,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — To make it through a tough business cycle, layoffs should be a last resort

Wearables — Look beyond buttons

Electronics — The Glitchy Switch

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers: CircuitPython on Wio Terminal, 6.0.0 Alpha 1 and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Repurposed Smart Home Displays, Open-Source 5G Networks, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Arcade Game Garden Jam!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 7/08/20 featuring Adafruit PMSA003I Air Quality Breakout – STEMMA QT / Qwiic! @adafruit #adafruit #newproducts

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



6 Comments

  1. I was wondering if it is possible to buy just the tube (and the breakout board), as my ice tube clock fell two weeks ago and the tube shattered inside the acrylic box. I could order the IV-18 VFD retro display from ebay, but I’d rather continue supporting you guys.

  2. @steve: yup! http://www.adafruit.com/products/242

    also, the tube PCB: http://www.adafruit.com/products/343

  3. Thanks johngineer! I searched the site but couldn’t find them, awesome, now I’ll be able to tell time again!

  4. bill earl - adafruit_support

    Nice work John! Putting those T&S bellows to good use I see. Is the second photo taken through the glass, or did you remove the grid from a broken tube?

  5. Thanks, Bill!

    For the second photo, I grabbed one of the tubes that didn’t pass QC and cracked open the glass envelope.

  6. very nice. might get this kit. working on a numitron tube clock at the moment, similar era, different technology. love old fashioned displays. 😀

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.