Futura VFD Tube Clock
Designed by Dieter Wächter
last update and finished: November-02-2009
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This clock-project bases on the VFD-tubes technology.
What are VFD-Tubes?
A vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) tube is a type of tube which consists of a hot cathode (filaments), anodes (phosphor) under a high vacuum condition in a glass envelope.
This clock uses tube types DT-1704A, DT-1704C, DT-1705D or DT-1705E made by Tung-Sol in the early seventies. The cathode is made up of fine tungsten wires, coated by alkaline earth metal oxides, which emit electrons when heated by an electric current. If electrons impinge on the phosphor-coated plates, they fluoresce, emitting light to indicate the 7-segments used in this tubes. Electrons can only reach (and "illuminate") a given plate element if the plate is at a positive potential with respect to the cathode. They have no grid compared to other VFD displays.
Here, at my VFD-tube page you can find lots of pictures and descriptions of VFD tubes.
Here an example of the DT-1704B tubes:
Here you can find the details of that great looking tubes:
|DT-1704B||Tung-Sol||7 Segment||14.5||B9A||"Digivac" - Same as DT-1704C but without mica sheet|
|DT-1704C||Tung-Sol||7 Segment||14.5||B9A||"Digivac" - Same as DT-1704B but with mica sheet|
|DT-1705E||Tung-Sol||7 Segment, PR||14.5||B9A++||"Digivac" - Same as DT-1704C but with right hand decimal point|
You'll find all technical data about that tubes here at my Nixie Tube Data Archive.
Step 1: Designing the
After studying the datasheets and some tests on the display I made some test circuits and finally came to this schematic:
As you can
see a very simple design.
HV5812WG drivers, a step-down converter for the 1.5V power supply (filaments) and a step-up converter for the 27V anode supply.
Atmega, and finally the Dallas RTC (DS1337C ) which has an on-board crystal (I like that all-in-one chips)
I think there is nothing to explain in this schematic.
Step 2: Designing the
Here the production steps:
TOP COPPER FINISH
BOTTOM COPPER FINISH
HOT AIR LEVELLING
The board measures: 180x67mm
Step 3: Assembling the
There were no difficulties with the schematic.
Everything worked fine, although it was the first prototype.
Step 4: Assembling the
board with the tubes.
Step 5: Designing the
I made some designs and came to this one (3D-animation only)
It is the same as I used for my X2000 clock.
Here you see the result of the finished housing:
The clock at night:
Step 6: The coding
The features I put in:
Here you can download the user manual:
Manual Futura (English, German)
Interested in buying a Nocrotec Futura Clock?
Project is finished
Thanks for reading.
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