Nixie-based tube clocks

Sputnix / Greg Powell
(No longer for sale)

Sputnix Nixie Clock

I found this great design and wanted to share it with the community.  I really like this design - it is clean and intuitive.  Besides, it has a cool name :)  It is based on Russian IN-12b tubes that are directly driven via 8 shift register.  There are six brightness levels and auto dimming based on time is used to prolong the life of the tubes.  One other notable feature is that it also has a connection for an RS-232 interface that allows the user to upgrade the firmware without too much difficulty.  Setting the clock is accomplished using an 38KHz universal remote.  Other notable features are an on board temperature sensor and a light sensor.

Sadly, this device is no longer for sale.  I really like this design and it is one of the cleanest end-view designs that I've seen.  Greg does include schematics and firmware for download for those adventurous enough to build their own.


Sputnix Nixie Clock


  • Digits fade.
  • 12/24hr display mode (leading zero blanking in 12hr mode).
  • Boost topology switch mode power supply.
  • Real time clock with capacitor backup.
  • Configuration settings saved during power-down.
  • Firmware is boot upgradable.
  • RS232 compatible interface.
  • Simple IR remote control user interface.
  • Ambient light detection for auto brightness adjust.
  • 6-level brightness adjustment in both light and dark ambient (36 configurations).
  • Auto on/off with input for PIR motion sensor.
  • Dry contact relay output.
  • Temperature display.
  • Alarm with buzzer/relay activation.
  • 15 minute snooze
  • Momentary display of alarm set time.
  • Momentary display of firmware version.
  • Tubes are socketed for ease of replacement.

Sputnix Nixie Clock

Images and text used with permission.  Copyright Greg Powell /

Nixie Watch Redux

by Jeff Thomas / $495


Nixie Watch Redux

Jeff has a new clock that he shared with the world on the forum.  It is a new design for a nixie watch based on Burroughs B4998 tubes.  It will include a rechargeable lithium ion which should last about 3 months.   The device is 41mm wide, 19mm tall, 32mm deep and weighs about 28 grams (not including enclosure).  Lastly, it will include a changing cradle for the watch.

This device also has some other uncommon features. The watch is activated by a wrist snap-shake using a magnetized ball rolling in a steel barrel.  Any unintended activations are kept to a minimum by an R/C timer circuit.  Setting the time is done with a rod magnet which activates a micro reed switches placed on each end of the logic section.  All of this is built using CMOS logic components; just like the original LED watches of the 70's. "I didn't cheat and use a microprocessor. Although I did use seven very small TSSOP packaged IC's."

Nixie Watch Redux

Nixie Watch Redux

Nixie Watch Redux

This production run is limited to 15 watches so if you want one, contact him asap :)

(images and description used with permission.)


By Dieter Wächter / Nocrotec


Chronotronix V600-NT Nixie Tube Clock

This is the latest creation from Dieter Wächter / Nocrotec and it is based off of RFT Z5660M tubes. There are two version of this clock listed on Nocrotec: V600-NT and the V600-RT. The NT is the one for sale and has the "nipple top" whereas the RT version has the rounded tube design. I believe the clock has a buy it now proce of around $800USD but since bidding has started, I cannot find the price.

As usual, Dieter has done a great job of documenting the design and building of this clock. You can see all of the details here:


  • Fading digits (see video)
  • Stainless Steel Case
  • Directly driven display


v600 tubes


From the auction description:


This Nixie clock combines nostalgic Nixie tubes with innovative circuitry in a nobly stainless steel case. Its elaborate software and features, the good craftsmanship and the beautiful case make this clock a distinctive top-quality product. It's a handmade masterpiece in design and functionality.

This clock uses the beautiful Z5660M tubes with a digit height of 1.2" (30 mm) made by RFT!


Well balanced proportions and a clear geometry making up for a coherent and disciplined yet charming design. The clock is a celebration of purist elegance. The case is made of brushed stainless steel - a complimentary material for this unique Nixie clock. The surface is very shiny and reflects the orange glow of the Nixie tubes - you won't be able to take your eyes off it. We will send a pair of cotton gloves along with your Nocrotec V600-NT Nixie Clock in order to avoid leaving fingerprints on the case. Please wear them whenever you touch your Nixie clock.
View the wonderful case finish here:


The Nocrotec V600-NT Nixie Clock uses a state of the art circuitry. Time is kept by precise real time clock. It's accurate to within 0.0003s per minute. Nixie tubes require a high voltage to operate. In Nixie clocks there are different techniques used to generate this voltage. The Nocrotec V600-NT Nixie Clock uses the most innovative power supply we are aware of. It is a highly efficient, super low noise switch mode power supply in a very small shape (inside the case of course). The clock is not multiplexed, but the 6 Nixie tubes are driven directly.


This clock uses the beautiful Z5660M made by RFT! A popular tube with a great digit height of 1.2" (30 mm). The shape of the numbers of the Z5660M Nixie tube has been considered to be one of the most beautiful ever made. Long life and stable operation are the benefits of these tubes.


  • Digit height: 1.2" (30 mm)
  • 12/24h mode
  • Date in configuration DD.MM.YY or MM.DD.YY
  • Leading zero suppression: The leading zero can be blanked or shown
  • Cross fading: different modes to fade the digits from one number to the next
  • Alarm clock
  • Power down mode: tubes and supply can be totally switched off for a user programmed period in order to save energy and increase life expectancy of the tubes
  • 12VDC input voltage
  • Wall power supply for worldwide use is included
  • Time is battery buffered when no line power is available; battery will last for more than 10 years
  • User settings are always stored
  • Tubes are not soldered but mounted in sockets, that means they are easy to replace
  • Case is made of brushed stainless steel; bottom plate and all screws are made of stainless steel as well
  • Security protection against contact of the high voltage. The high voltage can not be touched also if a tube is pulled accidentally

DIMENSIONS Overall dimensions (incl. tubes):

  • 9.9" (250 mm) long
  • 3.1" (80 mm) deep
  • 3.4" (86 mm) high


  • Diameter: 1.2" (30 mm)
  • Visible part is 2.25" (57 mm) tall from the glass surface to the top of the tube
  • Digit height is 1.2" (30 mm)


  • 9.9" (250 mm) long
  • 3.1" (80 mm) deep
  • only 1.1" (27mm) high




eBay seller Turbo_Hobby emailed me to show off his newest creation -  a 4 digit IN-12 nixie clock that he has been working on.  Bidding is up to $19 and ends in 7 days.  It comes fully assembled and ready to use. Since this uses IN-12a tubes, the "5" digit is actually an upside down "2".  Presumably the designers did this to save the effort of forming one more digit, however small of a savings that would be.  I really like these tubes because of that little quirk. it gives them more of a personality.

He suggests using this as a novelty desk clock...but given the form factor, you could easily mount this in a small photo box frame or other gadget.  I do have one item from this seller, a single digit clock, and I've been happy with it so far.  Go check out his auction at the bottom of this article.


Turbo Mac IN12 Clock


This is a fully assembled four digit nixie clock with tube saving function. The clock is assembled with high-quality components and accurate clock pulse generator. Digits displayed are large and bright, which is good for a desk clock. Time will be kept by a lithium battery (soldered on board) when it is unplugged. Please refer to the video below or contact me for other details.



  • 4 NOS Soviet IN-12A nixie tubes, bright even in daytime
  • 3 Sets of Alarms
  • 3 Sets of programmable tube saving mode to extend tube life time (Tubes are physically turned off by MOSFET during those periods)
  • 24 hour mode
  • Stores both time and Date
  • Ultra easy control with 4 buttons (set, select, up and down)
  • Standard DC 12V 3.5mm inner positive power supply
    • 150-200mA working current
    • 10mA only at tube saving mod (all tubes are off)
  • Colon displayed by vantage neon bulb as well
  • Reliable high quality components
    • Real-time Clock DS1302
    • Accurate SMD Clock Oscillator
    • Murata (Japan) SMD Clock Trimmer Capacitor
    • ATmel M8 Microprocessor
    • SMD CR1220 Backup Battery
    • High Quality Resettable Fuse
    • ultra slim SMD Alarm Speaker * 2


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