Nixie-based tube clocks

by Patrick Mignot

Price: Not For Sale

I know it is easy to impress me with unusual clocks, but this one really stands out.  I found this clock through an eBay auction for a very unusual F9020AA Nixie Tube.  Not only is this tube huge (it is nearly as tall as a B-7971), it is also flat.  I have never seen any other nixie tube with this design and I am having trouble finding more information on the tube itself.  (As an interesting note, six tubes like this was posted 1/24/2010 and it sold within 24 hours for $550 each.)

The dimensions are: (Height: 133mm (including nipple and pins) - width: 63mm - thickness: 34mm - digit height: 60mm - digit width: 40mm)

 

F9020AA Nixie Tube Clock

F9020AA Nixie Clock

(images used with permission)

Patrick has several other clocks that are worth checking out.  He provides plenty of photos of his work and even has a few numitron clocks and a B-7971 clock as well.

Links

 

by Turbo_Hobby

Price: 35 SGD ~ $25 USD / eBay buy-in-now

UPDATE: Read the full review here

I just found a great little one-digit nixie clock on eBay.  The designer did a great job of fitting the timing circuitry, the power supply and display driver on a business card size PCB.  The majority of the components appear to be surface mount so you could easily repackage this in a more polished display.   For $35, this is also probably the cheapest nixie clock you can buy.

 

Single Tube Nixie Clock

The clock itself works like most single digit Nixie clocks.  There are four LEDs across the bottom representing HHMM.  When the first light flashes, the tens digit of the hours is shown, then the units position of hours, then tens digit of minutes, and finally the units digit for minutes.

One other notable attribute to this clock is the fact that it is USB powered.  For most clocks this isn't practical as the current is limited to 500mA on USB but it is more than sufficient for something this size.  The designer did a great job integrating the power supply on the board and even managed to add a battery backup.  It appears to be a mini-USB connector but I need to verify this with the seller.

No information is given about the time keeping mechanism.

The tube is an "SZ-8(QS30)" according to the YouTube Channel.

There are two downsides that I can see to this auction.  First, the seller has 0 feedback.  I am bidding on one right now (as opposed to buy it now) and I'll report how it goes shortly.  Second, the clock doesn't come with any enclosure.  It is highly unlikely that you will be seriously harmed touching this in operation, but picking up this clock while in operation might give you a bit of a shock.  Additionally, if it comes in contact with any metal objects while in operation, it may damage the device.  This is true for all exposed PCB clocks, but it is worth pointing out.

All of the images and videos are provided by the seller and used with his permission.

If it is half as good as it looks, the seller should raise the price by 100%.

Video

From the auction:

  • 16mm digit, bright even in daytime
  • 4 LEDs indicating digit position, can be easily turned off
  • Powered by USB port, with backup battery
  • 24 hour mode
  • Two buttons only (one for LEDs, one for setting the time)
  • Made by high quality components

Links

by Pixel Design

Price: TBD, currently $103 on eBay

 

Pixel Design Nixie Clock

I just found this clock on eBay from a new seller, Pixeldesign2009.  It is based on a Russian IN-8-2 tube and has a built in time base.  No more information is provided via the auction other than it has a "built in RTC clock."  I am guessing that it is just an inexpensive mechanism as precision does not seem to be the focus of this device.  Additionally, based on the description, this appears to be 24-hour mode only.  Lastly, no information is given on whether this is a directly driven display or multiplexed.

With all of that said, this could be a nice addition to any collection.  The tubes are pretty small and while no dimensions are given, I am guessing the clock is no wider than 6 to 8 inches. The case appears to be a black plastic and does not appear to be a kit of any kind.  For $100, this isn't a bad deal.

UPDATE 12-28-2009:

I contacted the seller via eBay and asked for more information on this device.  The following information was provided:

  • Software
    • Time display
    • 24-hour mode
    • Date display
    • YY:MM:DD mode
    • HH:MM:SS 24Hr mode
    • Programmable tubes shut-down by power switch and time still correct count.
  • Hardware
    • Tube module design: easy change tube module without soldering for tube life issue.
    • MCU running at 24MHz
    • RTC with battery back-up (CR2032 Lithium battery)
    • Tube's Drive mode: multiplex mode with PWM control for tube life issue.
    • 3 push buttons to adjust time and date.
    • Power supply: 12V 300mA DC 5.5/2.1mm jack with positive inner high
    • precision (10PPM)timebase XTAL(32.768KHz)
    • The Dimensions of it are (W.L.H)172mm x 59mm x 39mm and(W.L.H)172mm x 59mm x 80mm(With Tube Module).

Links

 

by Tube Hobby

Price: TBD currently $300 on eBay

 

Tube Hobbie Nixie Clock

Tube Hobby has a handsome, fully assembled IN-18 clock with a wooden base for sale on eBay.  The current price is just under $300 with 4 days left on the auction.  Below are the specs provided in the auction but please visit the ebay link below to learn more.  They have provided links to the data sheets and the user manual at the bottom of the auction.

Technical data:

Software

  • Time display
    • 12-hour mode
    • 24-hour mode
    • Programmable leading zero suppression
    • Programmable DST correction (Including updated DST rules for USA and Canada in 2007)
  • Date display
    • DD/MM/YY mode
    • MM/DD/YY mode
    • Leap year correction
  • Programmable tubes shut-down during night time
  • Smooth crossfading with selectable deep
  • Three visual effects
  • Selectable automatic date show
  • Selectable refresh rate of tubes
  • Tube's lifetime counter (16-bit)
  • GPS time and date synchronization (GPS receiver is optional)
  • Selectable time-zone
  • Cathode poisoning prevention

Hardware

  • Sandwich type design
  • Microchip PIC16F876A main controller running at 20MHz
  • Real Time Clock with battery back-up (CR2032 Lithium battery)
  • Tube's drive mode: 3x2 multiplex (barely perceptible buzzing from tubes may be audible)
  • High voltage power supply with PWM control and software shut-down. Adjustable brightness
  • RS232 levels serial input
  • 2 pushbuttons
  • Power supply: 9-12V @ 800-2000mA DC; 5.5/2.1mm jack with positive inner
  • Incorrect polarity protection
  • High precision (10ppm) timebase XTAL (32.768KHz)

 

 

 

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