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Thread: New Clock Module - Looking for Testers

  1. #1
    Mario's Avatar
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    New Clock Module - Looking for Testers

    So as we all know, the original center console clock modules are well over 30 years old by now and fail fairly often. There have been many clock replacements made all fairly good, but I haven't seen any drop-in modules that use a VFD (vacuum fluorescent display). I love the look of VFDs and think they look better in a stock DeLorean than LEDs do, so I decided to make a drop-in clock module replacement PCB that used the original VFD.

    Features:
    - Looks completely stock
    - Fits in original case
    - Keeps much better time than the original (3min/year)
    - Battery-backed, so it keeps time if you disconnect the battery (Backup battery should last 2.5yrs out of a car, 10
    - Uses less power than stock when on and when off
    - 12 and 24-hour modes
    - Adjustable brightness
    - Change whether colon flashes or not

    To set the time, you do exactly as you do with the stock clock module - just hold one of the buttons until the minute or hour starts incrementing. But if you hold down both buttons for a couple seconds, you'll be taken to a menu where you can change the options.

    I'm looking to get these available for sale to the community. But to do so, I first need a lot of road testing of the prototypes I currently have. I can't do it myself because I don't have a DeLorean yet! So I'm looking for two members of the community (only have two prototypes to give at the moment) who would be willing to install one of these in their car.

    If you want to get one of these clock modules to test, I am looking for members who meet the following requirements:
    - Obviously, you need to have a DeLorean with a hole for a clock module.
    - Is willing to put the module in their car right away so it can start being used immediately.
    - You need to have an original clock module case front and buttons! I can only give you the back half of the case. You need to supply the two buttons and green plastic front.
    - DD's their DeLorean. I don't want to send off my two prototypes only to have them sit unused in a car all winter!
    - Will be willing to send the prototype back eventually (probably after 3-5 months or so).

    If you meet the above requirements, please shoot me a message and we'll discuss it!

    For the rest of you, here's a few pictures of the clock (sorry for the poor photos, my camera is ancient).
    Front and back of the populated PCB (no display, of course):



    Showing the time in 12 and 24 hour modes, then the four menu options (12/24 hour mode, high brightness level, low brightness level, colon flash on/off):



    Thanks to thirdmanj for the photo I used for the DeLorean on the back of the PCB - http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?40...ll=1#post58031
    I'm sorry I didn't ask you first! If you want, I can take it off future versions of the board.

  2. #2
    LS1 DMC Nicholas R's Avatar
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    Wow this looks awesome! If I weren't out of the country, I would definitely offer to test one. Since I'm normally in Florida, I often end up driving the car more in the Winter than I do in the summer. I really like how bright it is. This will definitely be a great product to get onto the market!

  3. #3
    Mario's Avatar
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    Wow, I just noticed a couple pretty serious typos in my post up there... I wish we could edit posts on this forum. This feature point was meant to be:
    - Battery-backed, so it keeps time if you disconnect the battery (Backup battery should last 2.5yrs out of a car, 10yrs inside a car)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas R View Post
    Wow this looks awesome! If I weren't out of the country, I would definitely offer to test one. Since I'm normally in Florida, I often end up driving the car more in the Winter than I do in the summer. I really like how bright it is. This will definitely be a great product to get onto the market!
    Thank you! Once inside the case it's just a little brighter than the original, though the brightness you'll get really depends on the particular VFD that you put in it. They have a filament inside that gets "used up" over time and causes the overall brightness to lower. The other problem is that those original displays are very scarce - I wasn't able to find any source for them anywhere on the internet. You can pretty much only get them from the DeLorean clock modules. As such, it would likely have to be a refurbishment sort of deal: send me your clock module with a non-broken VFD, and I'll give it a new PCB and send it back.

    Because of that, I have also made an LED version that uses all-new parts for the electronics (but does not look as stock, of course). But I just need to solder a few of the boards together and re-write the firmware a little, and then I'll probably send a few of those out as well!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    Nice looking PCB layout. Did you find a source for the displays or are you removing them from OEM cores?
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  5. #5
    EFI'd Member dn010's Avatar
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    He is using the original VFD on a new board. I'd offer to test one but I'm missing the 2 buttons on my broken clock!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bitsyncmaster View Post
    Nice looking PCB layout. Did you find a source for the displays or are you removing them from OEM cores?
    -----Dan B.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mluder's Avatar
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    Does look nice and I'd love to help but I don't drive consistently enough in the winter months.

    One question... Have you tested the display under the factory cover? The reason I ask is there was another version done awhile back that looked great out of the case but was nearly unreadable when behind the cover. Something to do with the display color and the factory plastic screen cover canceling brightness when combined.

    Cheers
    Steven
    Cheers
    Steven Maguire
    #4456


    IT'S A TRAP!!!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Domi's Avatar
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    Really nice PCB
    But as I understand you need to own the original VFD or it will be impossible to use it, right?

  8. #8
    Mario's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitsyncmaster View Post
    Nice looking PCB layout. Did you find a source for the displays or are you removing them from OEM cores?
    Quote Originally Posted by Domi View Post
    Really nice PCB
    But as I understand you need to own the original VFD or it will be impossible to use it, right?
    Yes; unfortunately, these VFDs are impossible to find otherwise. I've also looked for different VFDs (my original plan was to use an IVL2-7/5) but I could not find any that had the digits I needed and fit inside the OEM case. As such, you'll need to have a non-broken VFD from an OEM clock. Often times the VFD is okay even if the clock doesn't work, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by mluder View Post
    One question... Have you tested the display under the factory cover? The reason I ask is there was another version done awhile back that looked great out of the case but was nearly unreadable when behind the cover. Something to do with the display color and the factory plastic screen cover canceling brightness when combined.

    Cheers
    Steven
    Yes! It looks great, maybe even a tiny bit brighter than stock. And since it is the stock display, there are no issues with the color. It looks exactly the same as the OEM clock.

    The only cover I have is cracked, unfortunately, but you can see it shines through very well:


  9. #9
    Senior Member Domi's Avatar
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    Sounds good, thank you for your answers

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I like the project, the PCB looks awesome
    and I like the idea of a backup battery.

    Still - most clocks with working display can be repaired without big trouble.

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