BoosterPack:IV-18 VFD Clock

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IV-18 vfd boosterpack msp430 launchpad.jpg

Description goes here.

ID The IV-18 VFD Clock BoosterPack
Forum 43oh Forum Thread
Versions v1.0, v1.1
Buy @The 43oh Store


  • Fits the MSP430 Launchpad.
  • Awesome retro look

Board Revision History

Revision Changes
v1.0 Initial Prototype
v1.1 Corrected DS18B20 silkscreen
v1.2 Switched to new inductor footprint. Clearer silkscreen on right-angle male header footprint.


Hardware Software
v1.0 Git Repository
v1.1 Git Repository
v1.2 Git Repository


Connecting the VFD Clock BoosterPack

Step 1 - Solder the Crystal

Your Launchpad should have shipped with a 32.768kHz crystal. To provide more accurate accurate time-keeping clock, you'll need to solder it to your Launchpad. Instructions for soldering your crystal can be found here

Alternately - you may uncomment the define for NOXTAL in main.c, but time kept by the device will be less accurate.

Once you've soldered your crystal - you may find it helpful to test it using this code - File:Msp430g2xx3 LFxtal This is a code sample provided by Texas Instruments as part of the code samples for the MSP430G2553. If your crystal is soldered correctly, the red LED on your Launchpad should pulse every second. Otherwise - the red LED will toggle quickly, indicating a fault.

Step 2 - Solder the Surface Mount Chips

There are two SMD chips on this booster pack. You'll want to solder these first - it's easier without the other components on the board. The 8-pin voltage boost IC, and the 28 pin VFD controller chip. Both use an SOIC package, so they're still very easy to hand-solder. Even if you've never soldered SMD components before - it's still very easy.

Both chips have an alignment mark - a line and/or indent to indicate the top of the chip. The silk screen on the circuit board contains an indicator to help you align the chips correctly.

I find that the easiest way to solder an SMD device is to place the chip on the board and then solder a single pin. Once you've done that, reheat the solder to make sure that your pins are positioned correctly on your pads. Once you let that cool - solder the remaining pads without having to worry about the chip moving.

IV18 BoardsV1 SMDSolder.png

Step 3 - Main board components

The remaining components can be soldered to the main board in any order. You may find it easier to solder the shorter components first and/or focus on components towards the center of the board.

Please note - there are a few components that are polarity-specific.

Schottky Diode - Make sure that the silver band on this component lines up with the line on the silk screen

Capacitors - Make sure to pay attention to the positive/negative markers on your capacitors and silk screen. Make sure to

If you received your components as part of a kit - you may find this page helpful to locate resistor values. All resistor values are clearly marked on the silk screen.

Inductor - If you have a V1.0 or V1.1 revision of the board - you will need to bend the leads of the inductor to fit in the provided space. The board was originally designed for an axial inductor, but had to be replaced with a different style because of supplier issues. This issue has been fixed in revision 1.2 of the PCB.

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6