Tube clock

22.01.2010 18:51

I finally found the time to finish assembling the "Russian" tube clock I got from Dedek Mraz. It seems I'm starting to gather quite a collection of weird time keeping devices.

Assembled Ice Tube Clock from Adafruit.

Assembling the kit was a no-brainer - instructions include three pictures for every component you need to solder and have you check parts of the circuit before continuing. The only slightly tricky bit was getting the tube to align nicely with the casing before soldering its (many) pins.

Considering the kit comes from US, it was a nice touch to include 24 h European time and date format (yes, the clock can also show the day of week and current date). The power brick only had an US power plug though. I replaced it with the EU one - the circuit itself already supported 230 V.

Also, the pictures don't really show how the display looks like. Mine glows in a blue-green color and isn't particularly bright (I have the brightness set to 55). If you remember old video recorders that used to blink "12:00" (they also used to have VFDs) - that's how the tube actually looks like.

One annoying thing I noticed is that it's hard to set the clock to the second. You can't wait for the wall clock to catch up with the frozen seconds display because the menu will time out in less than a minute.

This means it's harder to assess the accuracy. Also this circuit doesn't provide a trimmer capacitor to fine adjust the oscillator frequency. I had the idea to add a DCF77 receiver (it appears there's a contact provided on the PCB board for that). However the FAQ page says the boost converter is too noisy for such a receiver to work near the clock. If that's true, I wonder what other devices also are also affected by this interference.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Digital

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