You might call this the "Genesis". It's an early prototype of the "Classic" clock with a real Arduino in it (Gasp!) and a controller board. Also using the wonderful IN-1 tubes.
IN-1 have a bad reputation for reliability, but all of my IN-1 clocks are running without problems for years. The tubes are not doped (that's what gives them the clear neon colour with no purple glow), but if driven well don't appear to break so easily.
Yeah, I've been thinking about that one for years, but there's so little time and so much to do. But it's sort of on the cards. IN-1 are really cheap (look at Yuriy's price list:
$1 per piece), and stock is plentiful.
I suppose the other reason I'm not going for it is the bad reputation. I have had IN-1s go bad with other people's hardware, but not with my hardware. Did I magically put in some special sauce in the clock design that others don't have? I dunno...
I'd like to wait and see. I have three IN-1 clocks in daily use, one from PV Electronics (which I hacked to use IN-1 instead of IN-16) which eats tubes, and two of mine that don't. But I can't find peace of mind enough to offer this as a product until I work out what the reason for the difference in tube life is.
Is it that the IN-1s in my clocks rarely get driven at full power (because of the LDR based dimming, which PV Electronics doesn't do)? Is it because of the tube blanking (can't be that, I don't use that at home)? Is it just dumb luck and coincidence? (Probably).
From my memory, there was a rather lengthy topic on IN-1 tubes and why they die so fast (some times) on Neonixie-1 forum.
I recall, one idea was that tin whiskers were the leading cause of failures for the tubes. If I recall one thought was direct drive (constant voltage) would produce a good environment to produce those whiskers. Something to do with constant magnetic/electrical field.
One person had REALLY good luck with IN-1 tubes, his clock was Multiplexed.
The idea floated, was that multiplexing a clock (fast enough?) might retard/stop tin Whiskers from forming. That would leave only blacking/silvering of the Nixie tube glass. I suspect if this is true, your clock might well not need to replace your IN-1 tubes for a long time. At $1 each, I think its worth a try! my problem, is socketing the tubes.. Im afraid that I don't think I could do as well a mounting them as you did, I probably would need some sort socket.
Sooo.. My thoughts are, if you haven't had any issues yet, I bet your clock is multiplexed just right to keep your tubes from producing Tin Whiskers.
Could be that rapid multiplexing does it, and also the fact that my design uses progressive dimming. It is rarely running at full brightness for very long. Even full brightness is only 1/6 of the time on because of the multiplexing. The whole night long it is running at 10% of that, so we're looking at a mark:space ratio of 1:600.
I do know that my multiplexing is faster than most. I wrote a very tight internal loop and trimmed it for speed.