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  #1  
Old 05-16-2011, 09:32 PM
mbates14 mbates14 is offline
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My obscure interest: Vacuum Fluorescent Displays

Besides the basic electronics, tubes, and transistors. I have a severe fetish or passion if you will, for VFD displays.

some of my friends always called me the "VFD Master"

Because its a tube, and ive always been attracted to its high contrast, blue-green light emissions that LCDs, LEDs cannot reproduce. i prefer a VFD over anything.

Any and all my hobby electronics projects that require a display, use a VFD.

ive made VFD display drivers, VU meters, spectrum analyzers, clocks, etc...

Think im crazy? I do... lol.

I have a youtube channel THEtechknight, that i shown some of this nutty stuff on.

If i could make a 1024x768 RGB VFD display that was compatible with computer TFT LVDS data signaling, i would do it in a heartbeat.

Last edited by mbates14; 05-16-2011 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:25 PM
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AUdubon5425 AUdubon5425 is offline
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Neat. I have a Casio adding machine (121-L?) that uses blue VFD. Recently went on the blink, but worked great for the first 39 years
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:51 PM
mbates14 mbates14 is offline
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Yea, it sucks VFDs are a dying breed. just like the rest of the tube stuff, but hey, thats why im stocking up on the cheap surplus i can get my hands on.

have to have parts for future project somehow.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:08 PM
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GeorgeJetson GeorgeJetson is offline
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Nixie tube displays are really cool too!
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:56 PM
ctc17 ctc17 is offline
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I always liked them too. Some years back I was making side money fixing the ones that were in the Chrysler K karz. The power diodes and solders would fail. The tubes them self have a fairly good lifespan. Longer that the usable hour life of the average car.
Usually when they fail its something to do with the high voltage supply just like a tv.

I also liked those old LED displays that had the little bubble magnifier over each character.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:50 PM
mbates14 mbates14 is offline
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yes, the vintage LED displays were cool too. And so were the nixies. But i just cant get the passion "warm fuzzy feeling" with those as i can with VFDs.

and for the digital cluster VFDs, I pulled them from an old GM console, and rebuilt it into my own circuitry for use on a golf cart ;-)

I never did iron out all the bugs and eventually lost interest.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:27 PM
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Chad Hauris Chad Hauris is offline
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I have several VFD displays in clock radios where they are very dim...I wonder if they are losing their emission like a CRT?
I always thought it was neat how you could see the very fine filament wire glowing in front of the display if you look closely.
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:24 PM
mbates14 mbates14 is offline
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yes they do. it works EXACTLY like a CRT. if you look on the filaments of a nice fresh VFD, it has a "white" coating, thats the cathode coating that emits the electrons. the barium or whatever it is.

as the VFD wears, it turns darker and darker. When the VFD goes completely dim or dead, youll see the barium coated filament cathodes have almost no white left.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:50 PM
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Cash display

lucky me, got a job to fix a VFD in a Cybex recombrent bike that must be 20 years old. I fixed this stuff in vcrs repairing power supplies and replacing weak
capacitors causing dim displays. Quick money for a recycled tv repairman.
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2011, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbates14 View Post
..as the VFD wears, it turns darker and darker. When the VFD goes completely dim or dead, youll see the barium coated filament cathodes have almost no white left.
What's amazing is I have pioneer DT-400 digital timer with a VFD, been plugged in continuously for 32 years, that's over 280,300 hours! Still as bright as it was new best as I can tell. Lights up the kitchen at night, where it's served as a coffee pot timer since new in 1979.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:35 PM
mbates14 mbates14 is offline
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depends on how hard it drives the filaments.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbates14 View Post
yes they do. it works EXACTLY like a CRT. if you look on the filaments of a nice fresh VFD, it has a "white" coating, thats the cathode coating that emits the electrons. the barium or whatever it is.

as the VFD wears, it turns darker and darker. When the VFD goes completely dim or dead, youll see the barium coated filament cathodes have almost no white left.
So this explains why the VFD clock display on my Amana electric range is slowly dimming after 12 years of 24/7 use. It's also brighter at the ends of each segment, darker in the middles. Normal, yes?

One question: what are the incredibly thin glowing red lines that you see going across the face of the VFD? My range clock, my Casio calculator, my old Technics SA-222, my Marantz CD player, my Sony cassette deck, and my Panasonic VCR has them...
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:34 AM
RobNor RobNor is offline
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Has VFD,nixie tubes and a beam deflection decade counter clock

http://www.tube-tester.com/sites/nixie/nixie-tubes.htm
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:23 AM
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HI ,mbates I KNOW YOU AND have some vcr displays,but is so difficult to command dis ting ...

here more vfd`s http://www.vfdsamsung.com/vfddisplaypanel1.htmlhttp://www.hqelektronik.hu/catlist/en/va_sams/7.htmlBi-Planar VFD3-D Image capability where more information can be displayed by using overlapping anodes and grids. Typical applications are portable entertainment systems.Chip in Glass (CIG) VFD and Chip on GLASS (COG)VFDBy mounting the driver IC on the VFD base plate design flexibility is improved. Picture shows a COG VFD.Grid on Separator (GOS) VFDBy moving the function of the grid to a separator pillar, freedom of design can be increased.http://www.mikrocontroller.net/topic/189973

Last edited by Visual; 12-12-2011 at 01:50 PM.
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  #15  
Old 06-30-2011, 02:08 PM
mbates14 mbates14 is offline
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Ya, that would be me. Theres a guy in singapore I have been ordering my VFDs from for projects, but some of the VFDs you have posted are cool.

Its not hard to drive them, just kind of have to understand the technology.
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