Hello - I am working on a design for an open-source hardware project to produce an Alarm Clock kit that could drive VFD (Vacuum-Fluorescent) displays or Nixie tubes.
There has been a great deal of activity in recent years with individual developers making clocks that drive Nixie or VFD tubes, with an amazing variety of designs and tube types.
Case in point: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=vfd+nixie+clock
Products such as the Arduinix Shield ( http://arduinix.com/ ) fill a need for developers who want to drive exotic displays from an Arduino.
Would anyone here be interested in an all-in-one kit that had all of the required components to support a variety of clock designs with a variety of hardware requirements?
Here is a wish list of requirements. I am currently working on a schematic. Let me know what you think:
Basic requirements: ? Based on ATMega168 (Possibly Arduino bootloader) ? Programmable by ISP or USB ? Accurate clock circuit based on DS1307 http://www.maxim-ic.com/quick_view2.cfm/qv_pk/2688 ? On-board Piezo when no external alarm is used ? Can drive a variety of both Vacuum-Fluorescent or Nixie Tubes (may want a separate module for VFD/Nixie support)
PSU: ? 12v input ? 5 VDC for uC ? adjustable 6-12 VDC for electromechanical alarm actuator (solenoid) ? adjustable 1-5 VAC for VFD filament (required to drive larger VFDs may need filament driver chip) ? adjustable 15-180 VDC for VFD or Nixie grid/anodes ? 8 user interface inputs: buttons, sensors, rotary encoder, etc...
I/O: ? 2 user interface outputs (LED indicators, alarm, etc...) ? 0-12v external alarm output (to drive solenoid, etc) ? 40 High-Voltage display outputs: (can be multiplexed to drive up to 200 elements in a 20x20 configuration)
Nice to have / Future incarnations: ? 12v Battery backup for up to 24hrs - includes charging circuit and auto switching in event of power failure ? Motion (or proximity) sensor to control fade-in / fade out of display to save power ? GPS interface for automatic time (and time zone) setting ? Ethernet / WiFi interface ? Automatically download alerts (E-mail, Twitter, facebook, Google Calendar, etc...) ? iPod support ? 120V switchable outlet (turn a light on instead of alarm)