EEVblog #717 – How To Hack Vacuum Fluorescent Displays


Dave explains what Vacuum Fluorescent Displays (VFD’s) are, how they work, and then hacks an interface and reverse engineers a surplus display from an industrial machine to make it work with an Arduino.

UPDATE: Found the datasheet

Another page with info on a different model:

Forum HERE

TI TL4810 VFD Driver chip

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    • Patrick

      Good work! =) Would have been nice to see you using the Analog Discovery for that.. because as you might remember you have a pattern generator in this and even in the static-I/O menu you can have a slider from 0 to 255 for a whole 8bit 🙂

    • Ron G

      I really liked this one, Dave. You made a complicated display understandable. If I had one like yours, I would be hacking my own. I’ll keep my eyes out for one in our company recycling area.

    • Ivan Berton

      Nice video, I like this stuff. VFD`s are cool…actually hot, Nixie tubes are cool.

      What`about the Indiana Jones HO scale model train set, does Sagan not threaten you?

    • Dean K.

      Thanks Dave! Really like the reverse engineering videos… the step-by-step problem solving makes them even more interesting than your straight tutorial videos.

    • blipton

      So just with a 5v supply it’s able to generate the high voltage AC?

      Do VFDs suffer from burn-in like plasma TVs?

      Also, how does the multiplexing work?

    • Chris Peters

      Great video. How about a short follow up video dealing with VFD’s that loose their brightness over time. I work on lots of equipment for the mid 1980’s that use VFD’s with dedicated readout information (not dot-matrix) and these tend top loose their brightness over time. If there is a way to resolve the brightness issue, it will make the repairs of these models more complete

    • Pingback: VFD hacking – VFD240W.401 | Jan's bits and bytes()

    • Riccardo Macri

      Good stuff. You might be able to move the cursor by sending control codes, eg: Ctrl-H. It probably has full cursor control.

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