Tiny universal clock PCB

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5 years 4 months ago #5153 by Nisei
I don't have the knowledge to design my own circuit boards but I do solder a lot so for my designs and ideas I depend on kits being released by others.
I'm kind of surprised that no-one has ever come up with a tiny SMD board that can drive 6 tubes and 2 colons and can be used as a base for new designs. Anode resistors could be chosen depending on the tubes used.
What I'm seeing all the time is PCBs that match the size of the tube board. Why? I see a lot of people like to show off the electronics inside the clocks but I don't like that at all. I just would like a tiny PCB that can fit into small cases and lets me choose how to wire up the tubes.
I did order the remote tube clock from pvelectronics but it's so large that it needs to be used outside the actual clock and you have to run a thick 22 wire cable from the clock to the case.
The closest I've found so far is the micro nixie clock from kosbo.com
However, it's only 4 digits and some components are still on the tube board.
Taking a design like that, adding 2 digits and replacing certain parts with SMD could probably keep it that tiny I guess?
I'd love if someone capable of desiging such a board could comment and share ideas.

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #5154 by Jeff
Well, you could simply buy a clock or kit, sans the tubes and run ribbon cable to the tubes.

Mike Barile has been using my NixiChron board for his custom clocks, and doing exactly that. $200 without enclosure.

I also have another model, the GPSII , that is the same electronics packaged into a smaller 2-board set.
The boards can be either "L", or stacked, making for a compact footprint. $175 without enclosure.

Both of these clocks are GPS based, and set the standard for features that other commercial sellers reference their designs by.

You'd only need to size the anode resistors to the tubes chosen.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Regards, Jeff
Last Edit: 5 years 4 months ago by Jeff.
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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #5156 by Nisei
Hi Jeff.
Thanks for the reply.
Yes, I could do that but like I said, most kit's boards aren't made very small because they're made the same size as the the tube board which, most of the time, is pretty large. The board of the GPSII is also way too large for what I have in mind (think regular alarm clock size). The board of the micro nixie clock I'm talking about is only 35x60mm.

Last Edit: 5 years 4 months ago by Nisei.

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #5157 by Jeff
Maybe one the many commercial sellers will take a hint and offer a pre-assembed, compact/surface mount direct drive clock engine for the do-it-yourselfers.

I've no interest though.

Until then, you'll have to wait or live with whatever is available now.


Regards, Jeff
Last Edit: 5 years 4 months ago by Jeff.

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5 years 4 months ago #5158 by Nisei

Jeff wrote: Until then, you'll have to wait or live with whatever is available now.

Which is exactly what I've been doing up 'til now and the reason why I've started this topic :)
Just hoping someone will take notice and perhaps be interested as well.

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5 years 4 months ago #5159 by kay486
Yes, i too would be interested. I have already wondered about this myself before, why are there no six digit clocks as small as the IN-17 sandwich from Kosbo.

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5 years 4 months ago #5162 by cf8m
hi have a look at www.arduinix.com i dont know how to put a proper link to the site so that is just their web address it may not be what you are after but it worth a look

steve
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5 years 4 months ago #5166 by mjsangster
Not sure what the market would be for a small direct drive board with no Nixie sockets/solder receptacles. A small run of boards would be expensive - soldering smd is not for everyone, either.

The board can be made very small, but requires a bundle of at least 61 wires. Connectors can not be too small, they are unable to handle the high voltage.

A multiplex design would require a smaller number of wires, but with the disadvantages of multiplex design.

What size board were you thinking of? Would it include High voltage supply, too?

- Michael Sangster
Cold War Creations

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #5393 by Nisei

cf8m wrote: hi have a look at www.arduinix.com i dont know how to put a proper link to the site so that is just their web address it may not be what you are after but it worth a look

Thanks Steve, that surely looks interesting. I'll have to do some reading and see if it's a solution.

mjsangster wrote: Not sure what the market would be for a small direct drive board with no Nixie sockets/solder receptacles. A small run of boards would be expensive - soldering smd is not for everyone, either.
What size board were you thinking of? Would it include High voltage supply, too?

As I see it, most builders are reinventing the wheel every time they're building a clock. Thus making kits quite expensive for all the effort they've made to design it. If there was 1 tiny module which can do all the basics you need for building a clock there would be no need to come up with a new PCB design for every clock.
My wish would be a board including high voltage supply for multiplexed tubes (to keep it small). I think 24 pin outputs for tubes + LEDs would suffice.
And the tinier the board, the cheaper the costs for a small run. I'm not sure why you think a small run of boards would be expensive. It's quite cheap.
Last Edit: 5 years 4 months ago by Nisei.

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5 years 4 months ago #5395 by mjsangster
I'm thinking more of the one time engineering costs of the board, not the cost of the board itself.

I am, however, thinking of selling a universal board.

Are you thinking of a pre-programmed board, or a board with no software at all (do it yourself)?

- Michael Sangster
Cold War Creations

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