Help with INS-1 colon separators

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1 year 6 months ago #9248 by wenge
Hi, I have 2 INS-1 neons hooked up the the high voltage output and the tick circuit each with their own 100k ohm resistors. My problem is when they are hooked up to the board, all of my numbers dim slightly (with some going dim completely) when the neons are full on, then come to normal brightness when the neons tick off. When I remove the neons from the board the brightness on the clock runs constant/normal.

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1 year 6 months ago #9253 by Ty_Eeberfest
Several people have had better results using 220K (or even larger) resistors instead of 100K for INS-1 separators.

Have you done a Factory Reset + HV Calibration since you connected up the INS-1s? If not, you should, and if you change resistors you should do it again.

Replacing the HV filter capacitor with a somewhat higher value (10uF perhaps) might eliminate the flicker as well, but I would really like to hear what Ian thinks about this before actually recommending it.

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.

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1 year 6 months ago #9280 by Ian
Hmm people keep coming to the INS-1 indicators and keep having problems with them. They are power hungry, rather unstable neons, and in general you do much better with more modern two pole neons like this:



The dimming is indeed due to the INS-1 overloading the HV generator: It is software controlled and can't adapt quickly to new conditions, so the HV brown out for a bit. It's not a large number of volts, but our eyes are very sensitive to this sort of change.

Try upping the resistor, but then I think you might run into the instability problems, meaning that they flicker, or light up at different times. Back when I was a kid I went to a convent school for a while, and there was always this little Jesus with a flickering neon "flame" lamp close to it. INS-1s remind me of that.

For this, I don't have a definitive answer, but I do have a couple of things to try out once the resistors have been changed:

1) The INS-1 indicators are polarized! Try turning them around.

2) They don't seem to like PWM or changing state too rapidly - in fact they really are indicators, of on/off conditions. My guess is that the PWM is disturbing their ignition

Please let us know
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1 year 6 months ago #9281 by Ty_Eeberfest
Ian, what do you think about my idea of up-sizing the HV filter cap to 10uF or even higher? I played around a while ago with bigger caps and that sure did smooth out the HV. But where I'm unsure is how the rest of the HV circuitry is going to feel (longer term than my little tests) about the bigger start-up surge that charging up the bigger cap is likely to cause.

Also, someone we both know well hit me up via email the other day about this same issue with INS-1 separators. I hacked up the code so that the separators blink on & off rather than PWM-ing and sent it to him. He tells me that the INS-1s work great that way, no flicker, no uneven striking. So I think you are correct that they don't like PWM at all.

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.

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1 year 6 months ago #9283 by wenge
Thanks guys! The first clock of yours I built worked great with 100K resistors on the INS-1s, so I was a bit stumped by the drastic brown out on the new boards I put together. I've got larger resistors on order but in the mean time, I've put 4 100k resistors in series to reduce the dimming to near imperceptible. Neons are firing pretty good and not flickering.

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