Tag Archives: vacuum florescent display clock

ATMega32U4 drives vacuum florescent display clock

Hobbyist electronic shop Akafugu is selling a slick Atmel-powered vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) clock.

“A VFD display is typically green or blue and emits a bright light with high contrast. A VFD display tube looks like an old Vacuum Tube, the predecessor to the transistor. The inside of the tube contains segments that can be lit up to form numbers and letters,” an Akafugu rep explained in an official product description.

“Most tubes contain segments for one digit and several must be stacked together to make a complete display. [However, our] clock is modular, it comes with a base board, which is powered by [Atmel’s] ATmega32U4 microcontroller (MCU) and contains a high-voltage VFD driver used to light up the display shield that sits on the top board.”

Aside from the ATmega32U4 MCU packing an Arduino Leonardo bootloader, key product features and specs include:

  • Swappable display tube shields.
  • HV5812 VFD driver with 20 outputs.
  • Capable of driving up to four 16-segment alphanumeric displays or twelve 7-segment numerical displays.
  • Open source firmware (available at GitHub).
  • DS3231M Real Time Clock (RTC) with battery backup.

Akafugu is also selling several different display shields, each coded with a three-bit numerical identifier.

“This allows the firmware to automatically recognize the shield that is plugged in and it will adjust the display automatically. Support for shields added in the future will be released as firmware upgrades,” the rep added.

Interested in learning more about Akafugu’s VFD Modular Clock (mkII – IV-4 – 6 digit)? You can check out the product’s official page here.