Nothing says energy inefficiently quite like...

A project log for rhombus

An open-source minimalist 68020 based single board computer

jason-westerveltJason Westervelt 12/25/2015 at 05:064 Comments

...a big beefy vacuum fluorescent display!

While this is going to be attached to my board, it really isn't part of the core project. I'm re-writing my monitor to allow for a generic I/O method which will allow the user to toggle between input and output devices. The user can use a serial port for input and output, or switch to LCD output with PS/2 keyboard input to remove the need for a second computer.

The display shown here is a Noritake GU256X128D-3900. It's big, heavy, and guzzles electrons like there is no tomorrow... but the display screams retro and has a very beautiful quality to its color and contrast.

I do have a video from another project, from which I am borrowing this display. That video is down below. Once I document that project and get the code up on github, I'll be posting it to


Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 12/26/2015 at 10:44 point

That screen looks awesome :D
don't bother with the power consumption, it's part of the whole thing ;)

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Jason Westervelt wrote 12/26/2015 at 04:39 point

They sell color filters for the displays as well... and some even include touch screens.

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Jason Westervelt wrote 12/26/2015 at 04:37 point

I'm a fan of the cyan... These things are definitely not cheap either, I think I got mine for $80.  Totally worth it though since this one supports DMA.  I'll probably put a color LCD on this board when I get the first PCB back, but I want to get the VFD working first.

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Eric Hertz wrote 12/26/2015 at 03:34 point

Wow! I didn't know they made VFDs like this! I thought my 16(?)x2 character display was pushing the limits! Now, put an LCD over it as a changeable color-filter ;)

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