Ice Tube Clock

In 2013, Adafruit acquired a supply of old Russian vacuum fluorescent display tubes and created a clock kit. The clock is controlled by an ATmega168 microcontroller, but the gas in the VFDs require much higher voltage, so the voltage is first boosted and then controlled with a MAX6219 chip.

The tubes were marked CCCP, so they dated back to the Soviet Union. Adafruit eventually ran out of them, and the tubes eventually stopped working depending on the brightness, but they made a very cool retro display for several years.

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