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VFDs (Vacuum Fluorescent Displays) are high contrast displays that can demonstrate multi-segment alphanumeric characters, 7-segment numerals or a dot matrix pattern. These display types are typically bright, colored green and perform well in both dark and full sunlight environments. VFDs use a self-emitting fluorescent light allowing them to operate in extreme cold and hot temperatures.



VFDs are composed of a hot cathode filament, anode segments coated with phosphor and grids within a vacuum sealed glass encasement. The filament is made up of alkaline coated tungsten wires which enable the display to emit light.

VFD Structure

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When heat generated by a power supply is applied to the tungsten wires, the alkaline coating emits electrons. These electrons are controlled and diffused by the thin metal grids within the display. When these electrons come in contact with the phosphor coated
plates they emit light.

VFD Filament

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Our VFD modules are alphanumeric or Dot Matrix display types and are available in a variety of standard sizes. These displays feature a PCB with a built-in controller unlike the VFD glass. VFDs are commonly used in consumer based electronics such as car radios, ovens and DVD/blu-ray players.

VFD Modules


  • • LCD compatible
  • • 5V power supply
  • • Self-illuminated/no backlight necessary
  • • User definable fonts
  • • Color filters available
  • • Wide operating temp. (-40°C to +85°C)
  • • RoHS compliant

VFD application
    • • Industrial/Machinery
    • • Lottery/Casino
    • • Military
    • • POS/Retail/Vending
    • • Scales
  • • Agriculture
  • • Appliance
  • • Audio/Video
  • • Automotive/Transportation
  • • Consumer
  • • Controls/HVAC/Security

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VFD Filters

VFDs can be used as compatible replacements for LCD or OLED modules and can accommodate color filters in order to customize the overall look of the display. The color filters also have the added benefit of acting as a protective shield and enhancing the overall contrast of the display.

A few color filter options:

  • red
  • rose
  • blue
  • violet
  • green
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The following chart indicates which OLEDs or LCD modules can be interchangeable with our VFD modules.

OLED Character LCD Character LCD Serial VFD Module
NHD-0216KZW NHD-0216K1Z NHD-0216K3Z M0216SD-162SDAR2-1
NHD-0216SZW NHD-0216SZ NHD-0216S3Z M0216MD-162MDBR2-J
NHD-0220DZW NHD-0220DZ NHD-0220D3Z M0220SD-202SDAR1
NHD-0420DZW NHD-0420DZ NHD-0420D3Z M0420SD-204SDAR1-3

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The Cathode (Filament) is the barium oxide coated tungsten wire which is heated by the external power source to approximately 600°C and emits free thermal electrons.


In the case of non-light emission, electrons from the cathode are either blocked by the grid with a negative potential, or passed through the grid and repelled by the negative potential anode. In the case of light emission, electrons from the cathode are accelerated by the positively charged grid toward the positively charged anode. The phosphor on the anode emits luminous radiation when excited by electrons.


The filament is the cathode in VFDs. It consists of a very thin tungsten wire coated with barium, strontium and calcium oxides. Application of a specified voltage raises the temperature of the filament which causes thermionic emission.

Glass Substrate

The Glass Substrate is used to form the wiring pattern and other patterns.


The Grid is a metal mesh over the phosphor coated anodes and controls the electrons emitted from the cathode.

ITO Contact Lead

The ITO Contact Lead lets the inside transparent conductive layer of the Front Glass connect to filament voltage to prevent ESP effects.

Anode Electrode

The Anode Electrode generally consists of a graphic coated with phosphors. Both the graphic and the phosphors are conductors.

Insulation Layer

The Insulation Layer electrically insulates the anode/grid electrode from wiring patterns.

Wiring Pattern

The Wiring Pattern connects anode/grid electrodes to the metal leads.

Leads Getter

The Leads Getter is important in maintaining a high vacuum level in the inside of the VFD after the exhausting process.

Exhaust Tip

The Exhaust Tip is used to remove the gasses from inside of the VFD during the production process.

Frit Glass

The Frit Glass will melt after heated to fix and seal the front glass and glass substrate together.

Front Glass

The Front Glass is used together with a glass substrate to form a vacuum sealed package.


Collided by the electrons emitted by the filament, the phosphor is excited and emits light.

Through Hole

The Through Hole is formed on the insulating layer connecting the anode electrode to the wiring pattern.

Transparent Conductive Layer

The Transparent Conductive Layer is formed on the inside of the front glass. It protects the display from external electrostatic effects.

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