Nixie-based tube clocks

Okay, it has been a while since I’ve done a video review and taken lots of photos of a gadget so let’s jump right in.  This is the Manuela_HR end view Nixie clock from NixieKits.eu and this little thing rocks.  Let’s quantify how this thing rocks:

Video Review:

{vimeo width="700" height="390"}20742895{/vimeo}

Text Supplement:

For starters, this clock is an upgraded version of the original Manuela design.  It looks similar and shares the same underlying software but the new Manuela_HR is definitely more refined.  This clock can be configured two different ways.  In this review, it is configured as a desk clock with the power and logic PCB stacked behind the tubes.  You can also configure the clock so the circuitry and the tubes face the same direction in a more flat layout.  See the photos below for an example.

Nixie Clock

The enclosure for the desk design is great – it is stacked Plexiglas to create a 100% custom enclosure.  The plastic is clear but the edges have a nice blue tint.  This new design takes up significantly less space than the original design and looks quite handsome.  Jürgen is working on an enclosure for the alternate clock format but I don’t have any photos as the design is still a work-in-progress.  

The Tubes:

The new tube option is where this clock really shines.  
The original designed used IN-12 tubes – the end view tubes with the inverted numeral 2 in place of a proper number 5.  IN-12’s are still an option but there are several new options as well.  Alternatively, you can purchase AEG ZM1100’s which look like the IN-12’s but have a proper numeral 5, you can purchase Telefunken ZM1100’s which have a traditional orange coating or you can purchase Siemens ZM1180’s which have a deep red coating.  The Siemens tubes are pictured in this review.

Nixie Tube Comparison

The Backlight:

The backlight scheme has changed a little bit.  The original design used 2-wire RGB auto-changing LEDs to add a nice backlight.  The brightness was user adjustable via a pot on the back of the clock.  The new design simplifies this.  The HR still has RGB LEDs as an option but you may also select single colors as well: cyan, ocean green, standard green, and cool white (shown in this review.)  The power is controlled via an on-off switch on the back and when the digits are switched on and off, they fade nicely in and out.  Watch the end of the video review to see this in action.

NixieKits.eu Nixie Clock

The Software:

The software as best as I can tell, is the same between the clocks and this is a good thing.  The original design worked and the same options and layout apply here.  The major software features are:
* Selectable leading zero suppression between 0:00 and 10:00
* Time format 24- or 12 hours mode
* Selectable digit cross fading
* Automatic date display with selectable display frequency and adjustable scrolling speed
* Automatic digit cycling with various effects and selectable frequency to prevent cathode poisoning
* Adjustable standard display brightness
* Dimmer control with start time and duration to save tube's life
* Tubes lighting follows tubes brightness
* Alarm with adjustable tone and snooze option
* Easy to set up with 3push buttons

Prices:

The pricing for this clock is a little more complex than the others because there are more options.  The prices are as follows:

  • The Electronics Kit: 110 EUR
  • The Enclosure: 25 EUR
  • AGE Tubes: 30 EUR
  • Telefunken Tubes: 30 EUR
  • Siemens Tubes: 50 EUR
  • IN-12 Tubes: 10 EUR

 

Alternate Layout:

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

 

More Photos:

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Update 3/2/2011

Jürgen sent me more photos of the clock to post showing off alternate LED colors.

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

Nixie Clock

 

 

Links

 

$75 - IN-14 / $125 IN-18

 

Single Digit IN-18 Nixie Clock

Bob C. sent me a cool single tube Nixie clock that he found.  This one is made by Ohararp LLC and it sports either an IN-14 or IN-18 Nixie tube.  This clock is USB powered and specifically designed to sit on top of your computer (sorry, iMac users!)  The frequency source is a 32Khz quartz crystal and the time is kept with a .22F capacitor.  This is a cool design.

 

Links

Dieter of Nocrotec.com just posted an amazing video of his work-in-progress CD47 Nixie tube clock.  These things are huge, the tube is over eight an a half inches tall and the digits are over five inches.

Links

59.00 EUR (Thermometer) / 10.00 EUR (Power)

IN-16 Nixie Thermometer

Claus-Dieter sent me information on a new product that he built along with Dieter Wächter of Nocrotec.com fame.  This new gadget is is a two digit thermometer based on IN-16 Russian Nixie tubes.  The tubes are lit from underneath with a blue LED and there is a neon lamp that acts as a negative sign indicator.  The temperature sensor is a Dallas DS18S20 on 1, 2, 5, and 10 meter lengths.  This device supports up to two sensors so you can have the device can report both indoor and outside temperature.

The clock has a nice small design with all of the components hidden on the underside of the board.  The clock enclosure is up to the user to design.

The software has a few neat features too.  It has a smart menu system that makes operation easy.  The user can adjust the update frequency and error detection settings. Additionally, the device has a built in cathode poisoning prevention mechanism; the device cycles through digits in a simulated slot machine effect to prolong the life of the IN-16s.



IN-16 Nixie Thermometer

IN-16 Nixie Thermometer

 

Features

  • Input voltage from 10 - 14 Volt DC
  • Low current consumption is 150 mA
  • Standard power adapter for worldwide use available
  • very high efficiency by using modern switching power supply technology
  • switchable floor lighting
  • pcb  illumination by LED light (can be switched off)
  • easy to build
  • no smd parts
    • sophisticated software with user menu
  • Cross fading selectable in 5 different levels or to be switched off
  • Cathode poisoning prevention
  • Up to 2 temperature sensors connectible
  • "minus sign tube"
  • Input voltage from 10 - 14 Volt DC
  • Low current consumption is 150 mA
  • Standard power adapter for worldwide use available
  • very high efficiency by using modern switching power supply technology
  • switchable floor lighting
  • pcb  illumination by LED light (can be switched off)
  • easy to build
  • no smd parts
  • sophisticated software with user menu
  • Cross fading selectable in 5 different levels or to be switched off
  • Cathode poisoning prevention
  • Up to 2 temperature sensors connectible
  • minus sign tube"
  • "minus sign tube" can also be replaced by left decimal dot
  • Error detection for faulty temperature sensor or faulty signal
  • small, compact circuit board
  • Simple 2-button operation
  • including mounting spacers
  • alternating cycle between inside and outside temperature selectable
  • All settings are stored in case of power failureno adjustment necessary
  • measuring range from -55°C to +85°C / -67°F to +99°F
  • Display in ° C or ° F
  • Long cables available for external sensor up to 10 m
  • Pre-assembled temperature sensor cable available from web shop

Specifications:

  • Minimum input voltage: 10 V
  • Nominal input voltage: 12 V
  • Maximum input voltage: 14 V
  • Maximum input current at 12 V: 150 mA
  • Maximum input power at 12V: 1.8 W
  • Measuring range: -55 ° C to +99 ° C
  • Range: - 67 ° F to +99 ° F
  • Tolerance: ± 0.5 ° C in the range of -10 ° C to +85 ° C
  • Overall width module: 97 mm
  • Total depth Module: 67 mm
  • Total height module: 65 mm
  • Nominal input voltage: 12 V
  • Maximum input voltage: 14 V
  • Maximum input current at 12 V: 150 mA
  • Maximum input power at 12V: 1.8 W
  • Measuring range: -55 ° C to +99 ° C
  • Range: - 67 ° F to +99 ° F
  • Tolerance: ± 0.5 ° C in the range of -10 ° C to +85 ° C
  • Overall width module: 97 mm
  • Total depth Module: 67 mm
  • Total height module: 65 mm

More Photos

IN-16 Nixie Thermometer

IN-16 Nixie Thermometer

IN-16 Nixie Thermometer

IN-16 Nixie Thermometer

IN-16 Nixie Thermometer

Update 7/31/2011

I've had a chance to review one of these units. Read about it here.

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Links

 

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