Fitting neon colon separators. IN-14 All in one Arduino clock

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3 months 3 weeks ago #12002 by Chesful
Hello everyone, I have a similar problem.
I've mounted one IN-3 on each separator column replacing R38 & R39 with 120k resistors.
They are quite brighter than the digits and when there is no much light in the room some digits are completely dimmed.
Also, the IN-3 don't blink (I don't know for sure if they are intended to).
Is it ok then to replace the resistors to 220k as Jim said?

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3 months 3 weeks ago #12004 by Ty_Eeberfest
220K is fine. It's a bit of a trial and error game getting the various kinds of separators dialed in to look good.

If the digits are dimming too low in the dark there are parameters you can adjust to fix that. If you have the WiFi interface option look for the Light Dependent Resistor section on the Configure Clock Settings page. There should be a parameter Min Dim there. Try increasing it by about 100 or so, see how it works, keep increasing it if necessary until the digits look right in the dark. If you don't have the WiFi option you can use the button to adjust it using parameters 32 & 33 (see manual www.nixieclock.biz/Downloads/NixieClockUserManualV56.pdf )

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

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #12005 by BS_Jim
IN-3's are always an experiment. If you have a breadboard, rig up a test jig to try different value resistors. 220k may be the right value for your particular IN-3's, or it may be slightly lower or higher. I wouldn't recommend going lower than the 120k you've already tried. It will possibly make them a little brighter but will make them burn out much sooner. If you go too high in resistance, they will get somewhat dimmer, flicker when lit, or just not light at all.
As far as some digits being completely dimmed in a dark room, that will happen especially in older/used tubes. Ian put in the option to set a minimum dimming level so they don't go completely out. You have to access that setting thru the push-button menu.

(You beat me Ty. I didn't think it was on the WiFi menu. It must have been included later and I didn't notice it when updating.)
Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by BS_Jim.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #12011 by Ian

BS_Jim wrote: IN-3's are always an experiment.


Well said.

I've stopped recommending IN-3s - they can be horribly power hungry and start pulling the HV power generation around. I supply suitable neons in the kit, people using IN-3 or INS-1 are going to have to be enthusiastic about trial and error and experimentation.

They can work, but we're using them in a way that they were never designed for. They are indicator lamps, designed to be fully OFF or fully ON and nowhere in between. All the fading stuff we do puts them in a bad place.

You could modify the code to make this happen (i.e. take away the fade), but that just means it looks bad when the tubes are dimmed and the separators are blasting out like lighthouses on a Cornwall clifftop.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #12021 by Chesful
Thank you so much.
Using a breadboard to see what are the resistors that best fit is a great idea, so that is what I will do.

Ian wrote: I've stopped recommending IN-3s - they can be horribly power hungry and start pulling the HV power generation around

That seems to be my case, as I've already set the min Dim value to 300 and still having the tubes almost completely dimmed when I switch off the lights of the room or just after the ACP cycle.

I've had some much fun doing this project and seems that I still will have for a few days more, so thank you again.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #12044 by Chesful
Ok, I've found the problem.
I was using another 2N7000 in Q6 instead of the MPSA42. Obviously, I've surpassed the Drain-Source breakdown voltage with the neons and broke the transistor. That's why my neons were so bright and didn't "blink" (they where always with the same brightness, I've should have stated it more clearly in my first comment).
Also, I've should have checked before the datasheet of the component. Although it is said clearly in the construction manual, the schematics show that Q2, Q4 Q5 & Q6 are all 2N7000 and thus, my confusion.
Now that I've replaced it, it works perfectly.

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