I’ve recently become interested in Nixie tubes. Nixie tubes are neon filled glass tubes that contain cathodes in various shapes, numbers being the most common, and a mesh anode. Passing a current through the cathode causes the neon gas to ionize which makes it light up.
The problem with these tubes is that they voltages of around 170V in order to ionize the gas. Fortunately, most tubes only need a few mA which makes the supply design simpler and easy to run off a wall wart.
A low cost Nixie Tube Power Supply - [Link]
In this mini tutorial we introduce a quick and cheap way to make your own Nixie Tube sockets to use them on your next Nixie project. A socket enables you to change a damaged Nixie Tube quickly and with minimum effort.
- plastic stand-off bases that comes with many of the Nixies
- universal IC socket header
- glue (optional)
- common tools
The Akafugu Nixie Clock is a fun to build stylish clock kit that uses old-fashioned neon Nixie tubes and new RGB leds for backlight.
It comes in a 3 PCB modular design with a unique look that incorporates the PCB board into the case: The front and back panel are PCB boards, with smoke black acrylic lining the sides. The result is a strikingly simple and compact Nixie clock that combines modern and retro looks.
The Akafugu Nixie Clock - [Link]
Using a better antenna to improve DCF77 reception on long distances
We are in the prototyping phase of building a Nixie clock using 1N-14 Nixie tubes. The clock is designed around a PIC16F886 MCU, 74141N BCD decoder/driver and CNY74 optocouplers using common circuit topology. High DC voltage (+ 180VDC ) is generated using MAX1771 step-up switching regulator, which is quite efficient (if you use appropriate components).
Our clock will have some nice features:
- Compact design
- Manual time configuration
- DCF77 time synchronization
- Sync success indicator
- HV shutdown during sync (to reduce noise received by DCF module)
- Super-capacitor time backup
- Thermal protection
- ICSP connector etc.
When clock is complete we will release it as open source-hardware here at Electronics-Lab.com
We decided to use DCF77 signal as time reference for two main reasons, it’s quite easy to receive it and it’s very accurate for the reason that carrier signal is generated from atomic clocks.
But, what about receiving and decoding DCF77 signal? Read the rest of this entry »
In this third blog post, I’m going to show you the logical view of my Nixie clock and two of its main elements: the real time clock, to keep track of the current time, and the expander, to add more I/O lines.
RTC and port expander for an Arduino nixie clock - [Link]
This is a project for a Russian IN-13 bargraph Nixie tube to use it as an indoor room thermometer. It is named “NixieTherm” and is also available as a fully complete kit incl. enclosure as shown at www.Nixiekits.eu
The IN-13 is a special construct of a gas discharge Neon display and works similar to the well know Neon bulb in illuminated mains power switches or as Nixie tubes. But this bargraph has a current depending length of the glow. As all other cold discharge tubes also the IN-13 needs a “little bit more” high voltage to work; at least 120VDC. The current through the tube must be limited, normally with a resistor. In the NixieTherm this is done with a high voltage transistor, as we need a variable current from 0….4.5mA.
Analog IN-13 bargraph Nixie tube thermometer - [Link]
Luca is building a Nixie clock, and in this post he covers the high voltage power supply section.
Nixie tubes are digit displays that use ~170V between the digit wire and a wire mash, to agitate the gas inside the tube. This surrounds the digit wire with a orange glow and it becomes visible through the tube.
Luca is using the MAX1771 based DC/DC boost converter to supply the high voltage required. This DC/DC steps up the 9-12V input to 180V output, as a bonus it has an additional 5V output for the rest of the circuit board.
Nixie clock HV power supply - [Link]
A simple device for testing and/or healing Nixie tubes of IN-18 type. An 11-pole switch is connected in series with a 50 KΩ pot (+ 470 Ω resistor for safety), powering from an 180V DC source. Normal operation at 2 mA is shown. For healing tubes, one can double the current (4 mA), baking the tube for several hours in order to remove cathode poisoning. Enjoy !
Nixie Tube IN-18 Tester / Healer - [Link]
This is a new and improved version of “Warm Tube Clock” – the open source Nixie clock project. Important hardware changes between this new version and the previous one are:
- Timekeeping is more accurate and is done by DS3231 (or DS3232) RTC IC
- There is no DS18S20 temperature sensor – the internal one of RTC IC is used instead
- Backup battery is not powering AVR anymore, but only the RTC IC
- There is no “slide switch” to control the alarm – now it is done in firmware
- Crystal on PCB is optional and can be chosen up to 16 MHz. It clocks AVR and GSCLK pin of TLC59401 IC
- Pin-compatible with previous version of Nixie “shields”
Warm Nixie Tube Clock – [Link]