Tom Cousins of DOAYEE made this DIY nixie tube clock:
Below is the schematic for the project, as you can see I’m using 6 IN12 nixie tubes, each with it’s own 74141 nixie tube driver. These drivers are great! They simply connect directly to the nixies and display whatever 4 bit binary number you give them (if you give them anything above 9 they blank the display – hence why I use the number 10 in my code to blank the nixies). Because they take in a simple 4 bit binary number, I can hook them directly up to some shift registers to drive them, in my case I used 3 74HC595 shift registers (available everywhere), because they can be “daisy chained” together, meaning in the code I only have to write one 24 bit binary number and it will display all 6 numbers on the nixies. Though in reality I split them up into pairs and write three 8 bit binary numbers.
Nixie tube clock - [Link]
Jan Rychter @ jan.rychter.com designed his own Nixie power supply that except the high voltage has two voltage outputs to power the logic circuitry, he writes:
This project is a HVPSU (High-Voltage Power Supply) that generates up to 220V from a 12V input. In addition to that, it also provides 2*Vout (so, up to 440V, for dekatrons), and two outputs for powering digital logic: 5V and 3.3V. The primary HV boost circuit reaches 88% efficiency when going from 12V to 185V at 55mA, with a 3% output ripple.
I designed it because I couldn’t find anything that would make sense for my Nixie projects. There are plenty of tiny power supply modules available on eBay, but most of them end up being impractical: no 3.3V (for my microcontroller) and 5V (for my 74141 nixie drivers), no mounting holes, no >400V output for powering dekatrons. Some supplies make a token gesture towards practicality by sticking a 7805 on the same board, but you quickly find out that the current draw of 6×74141 is enough to require a large heat sink on a 12V-powered 7805 (one 74141 consumes 12.5mA!). This means that instead of a single-board power supply you end up routing your input power all over the place, implementing your power supply in several places.
High Voltage Power Supply for Nixie Tube Projects - [Link]
Nixie tubes need about ~180Vdc to light up and thus on most devices a DC-DC converter is needed. We designed here a simple DC-DC switching regulator capable of powering most of Nixie tubes.
The module is based on the MAX1771 Step-Up DC-DC Controller. This controller works up to 300kHz switching frequency and that allows the usage of miniature surface mount components. It accepts an input voltage from 2 to 16.5V and the output is factory configured to 12V. In this module the output voltage is configured higher at ~180Vdc using external resistors and a potentiometer.
HV Nixie DC-DC Power Supply - [Link]
desmith.net hosts a nice little script to generate socket footprints for various CAD packages:
This program lets you determine the pin circle diameter of a tube base from measurements more readily made with a micrometer. The data should be entered in millimetres and the results will be in the same units. Script output for a package definition of the resulting socket can be generated for several CAD packages. Create a disk file from the output script and execute it in the relevant package – for Eagle execute the script as a SCR from the library editor.
Valve & Nixie Socket Calculator - [Link]
Andrea Biffi build a nice vertical nixie clock using ATmega8 mcu. He writes:
After the success of my first nixie clock made out from a rosewood block, I decided to lose no time and to carry on with the next one. As some of you guys already know, or imagine, lately I’m indeed a little bit addicted to nixie-mania. I’ve bought many nixie tubes on eBay, and I experienced in electronics so to build my own high voltage power supply and then the ultimate nixie clock circuit. Digits for this clock are nice rounded and fully transparent IN-4 tubes, the same I used in the first model, but as I previously announced, I aligned them vertically, so to read from top to bottom hours, minutes, and seconds. Indeed you will see the undeniable influence of Max Pierson’s vertical clock. I guide you now through the full process to make your own unique nixie clock.
Vintage style nixie wall clock - [Link]
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]