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VDF Clock


Howdy neighbor,
This is the documentation for which component goes where for the assembally of yout 6 Digit VFD clock kit. You’ll need some basic soldering skillsets for SMD work, smokeless flux is handy, and related tools for trimming parts and debugging like a voltmeter.

Let’s get started!

I would first recommend flashing the WeMos with the code available from here. This will help troubleshooting the board as we build it. Once you have it flashed, go a head and solder it onto the top side of the board with the orientation matching the outline. Next, drop some flux onto the pads for the 6 NeoPixels that will be under the VFD tubes. Don’t get too hot, otherwise you’ll melt the LEDs. Once they’re soldered on, power up the WeMos to ensure all 6 light up. If they dont, look for bad solder joints down the chain of LEDs.

Next, solder on all the passive components:

R1 - 101
R2 - 331
R3 - 300

Then solder on the shifters (IC2/3/5/6/9/10). PAY ATTENTION TO THE ORIENTATION. The dot should be to the left.
Flip the board over and solder on the remaining PTH IC’s. The notch should fact towards the powersupplies and WeMos.
Screw on the heatsink to the VReg, bend the pins to your liking and position and solder that onto the board. Put some electrical tape on the 3 pads to reduce the chance of a short/contact with the boost power supply.
Take the boost power supply, and clamp on a voltmeter to the OUT pins, power it up via USB, and spin the trimpot CLOCKWISE to have it output 20VDC. Then solder it to the bottom side of the board using jumpers.
Power up the board on the boost converter to make sure the magic smoke doesnt leave anywhere.
Now for the fun part, soldering on the VFD tubes. They have a pin gap in the front of the tube to help you orient them. Personally, I like to leave those two pins the longest, and then trim the rest like a spiral staircase that makes wiggling the tubes in a lot easter. I put two in at a time, test for alightment, and then solder/trim them. This helps me keep them as straight and matching as possible.

Congrats, it’s done!