VFD displays are beloved for their eerie glow that sits somewhere just off what you’d call blue. [mircemk] used one of these displays to create an old-school VU meter that looks straight out of a 1970s laboratory.
The build uses an Arduino Nano as the brains of the operation, which uses its analog inputs to process incoming audio into decibel levels for display on a VU meter. It’s then charged with driving a GP1287 VFD display. Unlike some VFDs that have preset segments that can be illuminated or switched off, this is a fully graphical dot matrix display that can be driven as desired. Thus, when it’s not acting as a bar graph VU meter, it can also emulate old-school moving-needle meters. Though, it bears noting, the slow updates the Arduino makes to the display means it’s kind of like those dodgy skeumorphic music apps of the 16-bit era; i.e. it’s quite visually jerky.
Overall, it’s a neat project that demonstrates how to work with audio, microcontrollers, and displays all in one. We’ve featured other projects from [mircemk] before, too, almost all of which appear in the same blue and grey project boxes. Video after the break.