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Using Vacuum Fluorescent Displays (VFDs) with an Arduino

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I recently salvaged an 20x2 character Vacuum Fluroescent Display (VFD) unit from an old Epson point-of-sale display that was being thrown away to landfill. In this video, I'll explain how I repurposed it to work as a realtime display for an Arduino instead, where it can provide a quirky alternative to an LED or LCD dot matrix display - and fond memories for anyone used to electronics from the 1980s or 90s!


I used a cheap MAX3232 board to take the 0V-5V serial output from the Arduino and convert it into the +15V - -15V voltage range of the RS232 serial standard used by the display.



The code is available for download from my Github account: https://github.com/playfultechnology/arduino-VFD-RS232



Timings
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00:00:00 - 00:01:31 Introduction and Demonstration

00:01:32 - 00:03:20 How Vacuum Fluorescent Displays work

00:03:21 - 00:05:50 Understanding the Epson DM-D110 datasheet
00:05:51 - 00:07:50 Differences between Arduino TTL and RS-232 serial data
00:07:51 - 00:11:34 Component Wiring
00:11:35 - 00:16:29 Arduino Code Listing
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