Nixie-based tube clocks

by Patrick Mignot

Price: Not For Sale

I originally contacted Patrick about featuring his F9020AA Single tube clock clock on this site.  He has quite a few different devices that he has built and I wanted to share his #7 clock.  It is a single digit clock based off of an IN-4 ИН-4 nixie tube.  Of course, the stand out feature of this device is the shape of it.  Unlike something the Turbo_Hobby clock, this one also features a calendar and alarms/chimes.  Patrick also points out that the exercise of learning to read the clock provides a god source of mental stimulation.  While a single digit clock is not particularly hard to read, this does take a little bit of time to get used to.


Patrick Mignot #7 Nixie Clock

Images, video and description below are owned by Patrick Mignot and used with permission.

About This Clock

  • This is a single digit Nixie tube clock, will display one after one HH then MM
  • Originally fitted with a Russian IN-4 Nixie tube, any front view Nixie tube of the same diameter can be attached to this design, individual pin receptacles are used in place of a socket to plug the tube.(for transportation purpose, the original tube supplied with the clock is slightly silicon glued to the case)
  • The case is made of Cherry wood, varnish finish, no special care needed.
  • Tube backlight can be turned off (switch located in the case)
  • Feature smart single button settings and PWM dimming 0 to 100%.
  • High accuracy from a 4Mhz quality crystal
  • Power outage backup facility (no battery needed)



  • This clock is from an original design by my friend Rhett Bryson – Department of Theatre Arts – Furman University  - (SC - USA)
  • The clock has been made in France using high quality French Cherry wood (meurisier)




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.



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%.


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


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).



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