Akafugu modular VFD clock review


Manuel Azevedo did a review of Akafugu’s modular VFD clock:

I discovered this wonderful tiny VFD clock by chance, while browsing Tindie for novelties. As I’m a newcomer to this Nixie/VFD world, I was not aware that Brian Stuckey already did an article in 2014 on a previous incarnation of this clock (Akafugu Modular VFD Clock).
I contacted Per Johan Groland, owner of the Japanese maker Akafugu that makes these clocks, for all the shields I could get my hands on – The only shield I did not order was the 4 tube IN-4/17 shield, which Brian already tested and which I find does not do this clock justice.

See the full post and more details on his blog, TubeClockDB.

Check out the video after the break.

Now is the Golden Age of Artisanal, Non-Traditional Tube Amps

Earlier in the month, [Elliot Williams] quipped that it had been far too long since we saw a VFD-based amplifier build. Well, that dry spell is over. This week, [kodera2t] started showing off his design for a VFD headphone amp.

Here’s the thing, this isn’t using old surplus vacuum fluorescent displays. This is actually a new part. We first covered it about 18 months ago when Korg and Noritake announced the NuTube. It’s the VFD form factor you would find in old stereo and lab equipment, but housed in the familiar glass case is a triode specifically designed for that purpose.

Check out [kodera2t’s] video below where he walks through the schematic for his amplifier. Since making that video he has populated the boards and taken it for a spin — no video of that yet but we’re going to keep a watchful eye for a follow-up. Since these parts can be reliably sourced he’s even planning to sell it in his Tindie store. If you want to play around with this new tube that’s a pretty easy way to get the tube and support hardware all in one shot. This is not a hack, it’s being used for exactly what Korg and Noritake designed it to do, but we hope to see a few of these kits hacked for specific tastes in amp design. If you do that (or any other VFD hacking) we want to hear about it!

And now for the litany of non-traditional VFD amps we’ve grown to love. There is the Nixie amp where [Elliot] made the quip I mentioned above, here’s an old radio VFD amp project, in this one a VCR was the donor, and this from wayback that gives a great background on how this all works.

Filed under: classic hacks, digital audio hacks

MSP430 VFD clock – Manhattan style


Daniel has a nice write-up about building his Manhattan style VFD Clock based on the MSP430G2553 microcontroller and the MAX6921:

I know that and IV-18 based clock isn’t anything original. In fact, Adafruit used to sell a kit for this exact purpose. I don’t really care that it’s not original, because all vacuum tubes are cool, and doing all of the work yourself is really much cooler than using a kit. Also, I wanted to try my hand at Manhattan style construction. Manhattan style circuits are built on a copper ground plane, with little islands for every node of the circuit. Because of the ground plane, and because it has fewer parasitics than strip board or perfboard, Manhattan style construction is often used for radio frequency projects. My project isn’t a radio project, and the circuit probably would have worked just fine on a strip board, but Manhattan style construction gives a circuit a crude/retro look, which pairs nicely with a Russian vacuum tube.

Project info at Daniel’s Electronics blog.

Check out the video after the break.