Driving a Vacuum Fluorescent Display

Hi guys,

First time on this forum and probably not the last! Need some help with a VFD project I’m working on. I purchased a VFD from Jaycar (datasheet here).

I’m using an Arduino Mini Pro to control the VFD, I’m using the digital out pins 2-8 to control the segments and 9-12 to control the grids. I’m using the Vcc to supply 5v to the VFD and grounding it to the onboard ground, in addition to this, there is a delay of 5ms between digital output changes. As you may have guessed, the brightness of the display is absolutely abysmal. The datasheet says Vgrid and Vseg needs to be 12VDC and the same for Vseg.

I would love to know how to achieve this 12VDC, I’m a bit new to electronics and I have only vague ideas of what I need to do, any help would be appreciated!

Many thanks,

The 12V should be a separate supply. BT home hub and other brands of internet equipment are often found in the skip when someone moves house and the 12V >1Amp DC supply with those is perfect for hobby work.
Christmas is coming, so the muggles will be throwing out all sorts of useful hardware.
Cut off the connectors, find out which wire is which with a multimeter, and solder the (-) to your arduino GROUND or to something which will fit into a ground row of your pinboard.

Expect to need at least a resistor and transistor from every 5V arduino digital output.

You are not the first having trouble with that display and it's so-called data sheet. I also tried hard but could not download a related application note :frowning:
See this for how to make it work.

A 5V level on the anodes and grids is too low, you'll need drivers and current limiting resistors for at least 12V. Also the digit brightness will vary from left to right, so that a (center tapped) AC voltage is recommended for the filament. Then connect the center tap to Gnd, to allow for current flowing from the segments (anodes) to the cathode (filament).

You can look for a VFD driver module, to make it work with less efforts.