Vacuum Fluorescent Display Clock
March 2019


Printed Circuit Board


Download Artwork in PCB Wizard Format

Download actual-size PCB Artwork in PDF format

Experimental - not tested! Download Gerber PCB Files



I mounted the display on its own PCB to make it easier to bring its flexible pins out to standard PCB pin headers. To avoid having too many untidy wires crossing over between the display PCB and the main PCB, I made a "patchboard" PCB (shown left) which plugs into the display PCB and the main PCB. The patchboard allows any cross over connections to be made on the PCB, using rigid wire links only where necessary.

As both the display PCB and the patchboard PCB are specific to the display I used, I won't show the PCB artwork here but they can be downloaded in PDF format here: Patchboard pdf    Futaba 4-LT-46ZB3 Display PCB

The enclosure's plastic front panel is replaced with black transparent perspex (type 923). Unfortunately, 3mm seems to be the thinnest available so I used a Dremel router to make a copy of the original front panel.

The DS3231 Clock Module is supplied with a right-angle pin header already soldered in (I do wish they wouldn't do that!) hence the odd-looking right-angle "adapter" you can see in the photo below! Unsoldering header pins from through-hole plated PCBs very often results in solder pads becoming detached so the adapter was safer. The far end of the RTC module is supported with a small plastic pillar glued to the main PCB.

One of the main PCB mounting screws is situated underneath the DC-DC boost module and is inaccessible when the module is soldered in place. I filed the mounting hole into a keyhole shape, the power module is mounted on short pillars and the PCB is slipped over the screw head.


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ATmega328P with Arduino bootloader + 2x22pF caps and 16MHz crystaleBay, HobbyTronics
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GL5506 Light Dependent ResistoreBay
Micro USB Breakout BoardeBay
Hammond Enclosure 130 x 100 x 50 RM2015MeBay, Bitsbox
Black tint, see through Perspex® (923), 3mm thick for front panel.eBay


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