Tiny universal clock PCB

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5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago #5396 by Nisei
I have little technical knowledge so a pre-programmed board would be best. As I mentioned in my previous posts, the size of the board is most important for me. I don't care for fancy GPS and alarms and all (although looking at the tiny IN-17 board from kosbo, an alarm should be possible).
If keeping the clock and the high voltage supply on 2 separate boards can drastically reduce the size then that would be an option as well of course. I'm thinking 2x 2.5"x1.5" boards at most. This should make it possible to use most (vintage) alarm clock cases and convert them to nixie.

Last Edit: 5 years 5 months ago by Nisei.

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5 years 5 months ago #5406 by mjsangster
What kind of price range were you thinking? I believe I can design a board that would meet your specs.

Also, what kind of connections/connectors between the board and the nixie tubes? I'm thinking of standard 26 position 0.100" duel row headers. This would also allow wires directly soldered to the board.

The board would have:
* 3X2 multiplexing (2 tubes on at a time), up to 6 tubes
* 3.5mA max current per digit
* support for 2-4 colons
* Hv power supply, 180v @ 15mA
* input supply: 9 -15 VDC, 300mA (200mA if Hv < 10 mA)
* auto brightness control, external temperature reading
* super capacitor or battery backup of time
* digit crossfade, slot machine, sliding options
* 2 button control
* optional alarm output & alarm enable/disable

- Michael Sangster
Cold War Creations
The following user(s) said Thank You: Nisei

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5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago #5408 by Nisei
That sounds awesome! Yes, I was thinking about that pin output as well. That would also mean you can use a standard ribbon cable + connectors. So you think that would fit on 2 tiny boards? Also, how many interconnect wires would be needed between the 2 boards?
I'm not really sure what the advantage of the 3x2 multiplexing would be vs 6-tubes multiplexing. Wouldn't you need less drivers and wires to the tubes when multiplexing them all?
As for the money part; it totally depends on what you want to do with the design when it's finished. If you see it as a personal assignment from me then I would pay for all the labour but it would mean you wouldn't be allowed to sell it to others :P We could also work something out like splitting costs for labour and start selling them both. Anyway, I've got no idea how much time something like this involves.
Last Edit: 5 years 5 months ago by Nisei.

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5 years 5 months ago #5409 by kay486
There is hole on the market for something like this. Do you think you will be able to suply kits by yoursels? Maybe you could team up with somebody who already sells clocks, so more people would buy it.
How big are you aiming?

I personaly would be really interested in buying kit or two. If you look on the market now, you can get really nice kits from pvelectronics.co.uk for as low as 70 USD (im talking about the QTC clock) Would price like that be possible?

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5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago #5410 by Nisei
His cheapest " sixnix " clock also has great specs and is a little over $45 I'm not sure if something like that is doable. I guess it all depends on how many you're expecting to sell.
Last Edit: 5 years 5 months ago by Nisei.

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5 years 5 months ago #5411 by mjsangster
I believe I can get all the functions including power supply on one board with dimensions less than 2x2.5x1.5, no need for two boards.

No problem with building - I'm thinking of putting this board into production anyway. I already build surface mount boards for clocks - see www.coldwarcreations.com

I like 3x2 multiplexing, much brighter then 6x1. The board could have an option to allow 6x1 multiplexing if that makes sense.

Not sure on price, but < $75 should be doable. A little more expensive than SixNix, but also a lot smaller... (and 90% assembled, I would do the surface mount soldering). I would supply board with programmed processor and instructions.

Should the nixie anode resistors be on the board, or wired to the Nixie's?

- Michael Sangster
Cold War Creations

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5 years 5 months ago #5412 by mjsangster
The dimensions would be 2.5"x1.5"x.250", no need for 1.5" thick!

4-40 mounting holes? 2 or 4 holes?

- Michael Sangster
Cold War Creations

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5 years 5 months ago #5413 by kay486
I think that you can have the six anode resistors on the board, people would just choose what values they need.

3x2 multiples is fine.

2 mounting holes would be enough imo, its not like the board would ever move in the case.

about the size, maybe you could do it just the right size to fit board with six IN-17 with two neon bulbs (like the kosbo clock, but with seconds) since they are the most common small tubes nowdays.

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5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago #5414 by Nisei

kay486 wrote: about the size, maybe you could do it just the right size to fit board with six IN-17 with two neon bulbs (like the kosbo clock, but with seconds) since they are the most common small tubes nowdays.

That would make it considerably larger. My idea is to get a fully functional universal clock on a smallest possible PCB. It would be nice to try and make this kind of a standard unit for clock builders.

2 mounting holes would be enough for such a small board.

For the resistors: You could sell separate tube boards for different model tubes. With the 26 pin headers and anode resistors for that particular tube soldered on.
This way people can choose to wire up the tubes and solder resistors themselves or buy a tube board which is plug&play. And perhaps a track layout whhich makes it possible to break off 2 of the 6 in case you want a 4 digit clock. Kind of a mini modular system :)

By the way, how do I send a personal message on these forums???
There's some other things I'd like to ask you Michael.
Last Edit: 5 years 5 months ago by Nisei.

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5 years 5 months ago #5415 by kay486
I dont think selling separate boards is good idea, since there are so many different tube bases. It would be efficient.

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