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Tiny Cube Hosts a Hearty Tube

Tiny PCBAs and glowy VFD tubes are like catnip to a iandroid.eu author, so after we noticed [hamster]’s TubeCube tube section driving force we needed to dig in to be told extra. We received’t bury the lede right here; let’s experience a video of sparkling tubes ahead of we cross additional:

The TubeCube is constructed to suit the MiniBadge badge addon same old, which is basically used to host modules at the SAINTCON convention badge. A unmarried TubeCube hosts a VFD tube, {hardware} to supply a 70 V provide, and a microcontroller for conversation and keep watch over. Each TubeCube is designed to simply accept ASCII characters by the use of UART to show on it’s show, however they are able to even be chained in combination for much more pleasure. We’re now not certain how [hamster] would be capable of bodily put on the beast within the video above, but when he can be able, all of them paintings in combination. If you’re occupied with seeing the useless easy UART conversation scheme take a take a look at this report.

We suppose it’s additionally value pointing concerning the top voltage provide. To the tool or automatically minded amongst us it’s simple to get trapped eager about switching energy provides as a paranormal assemble which is able to best be constructed the usage of all-in-one keep watch over ICs. But [hamster]’s provide is a brilliant reminder {that a} switching provide, even a top voltage one, isn’t as advanced as all that. His design (which he says used to be cribbed from Adafruit’s pretty Ice Tube Clock) is basically composed of the usual primitives. A large low voltage capacitor C1 to supply the burst of power which shall be boosted, the important inductor/top voltage cap C2 which finally ends up on the goal voltage, and a smoothing cap C3 to make the output a bit of nicer. It’s managed through the microcontroller toggling Q1 to keep watch over the present float thru L1. The aspect impact is that through controlling the PWM frequency [hamster] can range the brightness of the tubes.

Right now it looks as if the repository has a schematic and assets, which must be sufficient to construct a small tube driving force of your personal. If you’ll be able to’t get sufficient TubeCubes, there’s one extra video (of a unmarried module) after the smash.