HackSpace magazine

VFD Layer Clock Soldering Kit

By Ben Everard. Posted

If, like us, you have a box of Soviet-era VFD tubes that you bought on a whim from a man in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, you could spend ages deciphering the pinouts, assemble the right power supply, and work out the logic of making data appear on the gorgeous glowing seven-segment displays. Or, you could buy a kit such as this one by Bolt Industries.

It’s sold as a kit, and looks to us like it’s not for beginners. Which is fine, because we’re not.
The display technology may be of the Cold War era, but you get a choice of control options: the kit comes in a TTL (Transistor– transistor logic) edition that uses only 7400 and 4000 series integrated circuits, or a Raspberry Pi Pico-based version that runs on software. That means if you’ve ever doodled around with MicroPython on a Pico, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get one of these clocks running exactly how you want it


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