Fluorescent Display Digital Clock - built in 1973
Built from scrounged parts.
Video of it in operation at: https://youtu.be/FCvY9sAVyWk
No schematic was ever drawn, just some notes that are long ago lost.
I built this when I was 16 years old. It's a pretty straightforward design using 7400-series integrated circuits, popular at the time. 7490 decade counters, 7447 BCD-to-7-segment decoder drivers, a 555 timer (used for time set), and a 7404 hex inverter (along with a zener diode to clip and buffer the 60 Hz line frequency for time keeping).
The display tubes are fluorescent, they have a filament like a radio or tv tube had. Each segment has its own transistor driver circuit to provide the 24 volts DC to light it up.
The cabinet was once a 4-track tape player. These predated the 8-tracks that some people may remember from the 1970's.
I think the only parts I really bought were the display tubes, their sockets and the 24-volt transformer (used for the display). The rest of the stuff I found in the myriad of part drawers in our basement. Left over stuff deposited there from my dad and big brother's jobs.
I don't remember how much time I put into building the thing. It was a project for when I didn't have anything else to do. I know it was a few months from start to finish.
Display tubes inverted to keep them close together
Tubes with all segments lit (lamp test)
A peek of the inside
This is the only written documentation. It's identifying the counter and decoder chip positions
BCD to 7-segment decoder driver chips and fluorescent display voltage drivers
Cabinet was harvested from an automobile 4-track cartridge tape player
Knob is display brightness control
3-position toggle switch (Set, Stop, Run)
Rotary switch to select the time set speed
LM7805 5-volt voltage regulator bolted to bottom of case
Steven R. Stuart
Apr 3, 2016