While browsing one of our favorite electronic supplier’s web sites, we found that Ladyada sells a really interesting looking clock that uses a vacuum florescent display with eight glowing digits. This clock proved to be an excellent soldering instruction project for a younger Rusty Nail Workshop helper.
The most interesting feature is the display, which is similar to those found on VCRs, old car radios, and microwave ovens. The vacuum florescent display was invented in 1967 in Japan and hundreds of millions are used annually around the world. They are different than an LCD in that they use a filament to emit electrons which are diffused by grids. The electrons strike a phosphor-coated plate and emit light, and can be manufactured to emit light in different colors.
This kit comes with numerous electronic parts, all of which must be hand soldered to a printed circuit board. The instructions from Ladyada are excellent, and each step is accompanied by a helpful photograph. Our first step in the assembly process was to take an inventory of the parts we had received. Everything was accounted for, although some of our capacitors were slightly different than those in the Ladyada instructions, but not confusingly different.