15-Segment FV865ND VFD controlled by HT16515

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FV865ND is a VFD panel manufactured by Futaba Corporation. It is designed to be used in DVD players or set-top-boxes. It can display 8 characters and it has a lot of symbols. I found it in a DVB-S2 receiver (Comag SL100HD) where it was controlled by HT16515 IC. Fortunately, the front panel of this receiver contains everything needed to power the VFD (the power is supplied via a 5V line and it is converted to filament and VFD voltage by a small transformer).

I couldn't find any software for HT16515 but its datasheet is available. The IC is 3.3V and 5V compatible and the nice thing is that the panel connector has different pins for IC supply and VFD transformer. The IC supports key scan too and the front panel makes use of only 7 keys (maximum 32). Data is sent/received via serial interface, SPI like.

15-Segment FV865ND VFD controlled by HT16515

SC75823 13-Segment LCD Display

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SC75823 is an LCD controller IC that is able to drive up to 156 segments. It is a 5V device that gets display data via serial bus. I found it in an auto CD player's front panel with 8 x 13 segment character LCD. I couldn't find an Arduino compatible library for it so I wrote one.

The controller only supports writing data to it. There is no key input support like other front panel ICs that can control a display and read pressed keys. The panel I'm using had each key connected in series with a different resistor and the main processor read pressed key by analog read value. Since some keys didn't work anymore, I cut the PCB and removed extra parts, keeping only the LCD panel, its backlight and the controller.

The communication protocol is probably Sanyo CCB (computer control bus), somewhat similar to SPI (it uses clock, data and chip enable signals). The controller has a pin INH that when LOW turns off the display. The library supports turning display off via this pin if connected or using software command.
Arduino SC75823 13-Segment LCD Display

A different TM1628 7-segment display

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TM1628 is an LED controller IC that's used mostly at DVD players front panels. The IC can control up to 7 sets of segments (separate digits) and can also process input from up to 16 individual keys. It is controlled via SPI compatible serial interface.

The only Arduino compatible library I was able to find for TM1628 is developed by Vasyl Yudin and is available on GitHub. But, I couldn't get any readable output on display. That happened because my front panel had a different segment assignment to the controller than what I found on YouTube (the display with disc icon on it).

My front panel came from TeleSystem TS5.9RX DVD Recorder and it has 7 digits and some other indicator LEDs. The PCB also contains 5 keys - but I can expand it by adding more buttons. Below is a sketch example for this front panel. It is 5V compatible so it can be connected directly to 5V levels development boards like Arduino and compatible.
A different TM1628 7-segment display

Using Magix USB-Videowandler 2 on Linux

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Videowandler 2 is an USB analog video capture card. There is no official driver support for Linux and the device does not work when you plug it in. According to lsusb, the device is Afatech, which is totally wrong. The kernel only loads modules for USB audio - and this is the only thing that works (the audio input appears as a separate sound card).

Videowandler 2 is based on eMPIA 2861 USB chip. Video conversion is done by SAA7113 and audio conversion by EMP202. The IDs of the device are 1B80:E349. When opening the case, you may find printed on the board UB317 Ver:A or UB315 Ver:C. The latter my be identical to Kworld UB315 but I’m not sure.

Magix USB-Videowandler 2 board. Photo by Christian Enders.

Turn RTL-SDR dongle into RTL2832U universal board

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The most popular RLT2832U dongles are the ones with E4000 and R820 tuners. This is due to the high frequency range these tuners have. Elonics E4000 covers 52 to 2200 MHz with a gap at about 1100 MHz and Rafael Micro R820T covers 24 to 1766 MHz.

But there are also RTL2832U based dongles with other tuners. One example is FCI FC2580 tuner (found in Trust 16738 dongle) which is capable of receiving 146 - 308 MHz and 438 - 924 MHz, limiting its use to DVB-T only! It can't even receive FM radio 88 – 108 MHz.

If you’re having such a dongle don’t throw it away. There are situations when you don’t need a tuner at all (the direct sampling mode of RTL SDR that allows direct reception of signals on frequencies lower than 28 MHz). There is also the possibility of changing the existent tuner with, for example, a satellite receiver tuner that will receive 950 to 2150 MHz.