Programmable VFD Display & Ticker

This is a project I’ve been working on for a while now, and it’s finally progressed to the point where I feel comfortable sharing it. The goal was to make a small programmable display so I can quickly check the current Bitcoin or Dogecoin price, see the time, weather, etc as I walk into my room. The display also had to look cool – I tried to make it steampunkish / hipster if you will.

The whole thing is really just a large VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) and a Raspberry Pi, both of which I mounted to a bent metal plate as a stand. There is also a PIR motion sensor which I have setup to put the display to sleep after a set amount of time with no motion in the room. There are green LEDs between the metal plate and the back of the VFD to create a green glow around the edge. The Raspberry Pi is running it’s default debian distro (Raspbian?) and auto connects to wifi on boot, and a Python script controls the VFD through the Raspberry Pi’s serial port.


This project all started when I purchased a large VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) from a surplus electronics store (Skycraft - greatest surplus store in Orlando) a year or two ago. I found out this display actually accepts serial data. The connector was RS232 voltage level, but there was a MAX232 chip on the back converting the +-12v signal to TTL (+5v) for the onboard controller. I spliced into the 5 volt input to the controller chip and the display happily sprung to life as I sent it simple serial print commands from an Arduino.




Mining Dogecoin

This is a GPU miner I built to mine Dogecoin several months ago. The main components are the GPU’s, and this rig ended up containing 4 R9 290′s.

Max hash rate was around 3.4KH/s, but unfortunately this rig was stolen! I had it running in the X-Labs hackerspace room at USF and someone stole it in the middle of the night (door was accidentally left unlocked). This has been a big setback for me as this rig cost upwards of 2.5k to build along with many hours of my time.

I’m slowly constructing another mining rig and general purpose server out of older parts sourced from Craigslist. That rig is almost complete, but won’t be able to mine nearly as much as my first rig.

Hopefully I’ll be able to write some tutorials or an ebook for setting up mining rigs of this sort soon.


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