Saturday, June 24, 2017

Homemade Cheap ESD Safe Electronics Storage Box

Storing and finding electronic components can be a pain. I tried many solutions over the years until I found a solution that suits my needs - making boxes from 2mm plastic sheets. The cost is very low and can be made in whatever sizes you need.

Electronics storage box diy 1

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Salvage a VFD from a broken DVD

I had a broken DVD Player Philips DVP5960 so I thought to use the display with my other projects. The display is a Vacuum Fluorescent Display or VFD for short. This VFD is mounted on a front board alongside with an IR receiver and 4 tactile buttons and it is controlled by the ET16312N driver chip. You can use this front board for a digital clock or anything else that needs a display and a few buttons. The buttons can be desoldered and positioned elsewhere extended by wires.

To  create all this circuitry from scratch would be difficult. The ET16312N driver needs +5V, +12V and -24V. Also you would need to create an AC signal, multiplex the grids, drive the anodes, etc. but all this is already build for oyu on the front board. The power supply from the DVD Player can be used but I want to power the VFD from batteries so I will try to make a power supply myself.
The weird thing is that on the 12V line the VFD driver draws about 53 mA even if the display is off or dimmed. On -24V it draws about 6 mA. So yeah, it is not well suited for batteries unless you physically turn of the power using a transistor controlled by the MCU when the display is in standby.

Philips DVP5960 Front Board together with Crapduino
Philips DVP5960 Front Board together with Crapduino

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Library for interfacing AVR microcontrollers with ET16312N VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) driver

I had a broken Philips DVP5960 DVD player and I thought it's a good idea to salvage and use the VFD display in some project. And so this code was born.

Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) from a DVD Player controlled by AVR MCU
Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) from a DVD Player controlled by AVR MCU

To know more about the communication protocol between the microcontroller and the VFD driver chip, visit this post Salvage a VFD from a broken DVD.