This is the Little Blue Something in the Black Brilliance case from Nocrotec and NixieKitWorld.com . This clock is sold as a kit and this particular one features Burroughs B-5853 tubes with blue LED under lighting but other tubes and under lighting options are available as well. (You can see other variations of the same design here.)
The Burroughs tubes used in this device are some of my favorite. They are not nearly as large as an IN-18 but they are very legible with crisp edges around the numbers and a proper numeral 5. The tubes feature a fine mesh which is almost invisible from a few feet away and the envelope is flat at the top except for where the gas was evacuated. I’m not sure what the point is of forming such a nice top (as opposed to a rounded version) but does add a nice visual effect to the device.
The enclosure is a shiny black acrylic with four flat metal bolts on each corner. It is assembled in the same way that other Nocrotec enclosures are with each side fitting in to grooves in the base to form the shape. With that said, there are no lose pieces and the enclosure feels sturdy. It is not a kid’s toy, but it still feels solid.
The LED under lighting is the same blue led setup that Dieter uses for many of his projects. This contrasts nicely with the orange glow of the neon digits but the color is user selectable (at the time of assembly) and the green led lighting options appears quite nice as well.
The LBS setup actually has a few different options for maintaining an accurate count of the time. It supports DCF inputs (for users within Europe) and GPS (via a DCF converter). Both of these options are extra and do not ship with the device. The board can also accept a 1PPS input if you want to sync it to another source. Lastly, the device measures the line frequency and automatically compensates the crystal to ensure long-term stability.
The board supports a few different methods for prolonging the tube life. The user can set display brightness via the switches on the back and he can set auto off times via a jumper when assembling the clock. The board also supports an LDR which allows the device to automatically dim in proportion to the ambient light in the room. This has the advantage of being automatic and significantly increases the life of the tubes
Floor lighting with 2 LEDs per tube, this ensures a very balanced floor lighting
different colours available for the LED floor lighting
extremely high-definition glow of the digits
extremely high life expectancy of the tubes
Digit height: 13 mm (0.51")
matched, tested tubes (NOS = new old stock = old, unused stock tubes)
Black Brilliance Case
Dimensions: Width: 155 mm, depth: 65 mm, total height: 61 mm, case height: 32 mm
crossfade mode (digits fade from one number to the next)
spare tubes available (see above)
tubes can be switches off manually (Clock runs further meanwhile)
12/24 hours mode in DCF77 or GPS mode
date display (can be switched off)
date display in arrangement: DD MM YY or MM DD YY
Night power down mode (tubes can be switched off at preset times by hardware)
supports DCF77 receiver
no SMD parts
PCB in "black surface" technology looks neutral in enclosures
high grade epoxy PCB
The board supports neon indicator bulbs that can both blink and indicate AM/PM
The device can drive a few different tube configurations. From the manual:
Mode 1: is six tubes 2x3 multiplexed mode normal Nixie tubes (default mode)
Mode 2: is four tubes 2x2 multiplexed mode using normal Nixie tubes
Mode 3: is four tubes using dual anode tubes 1x4 multiplexed mode
Mode 4: is two tube non multiplexed mode using normal Nixie tubes
Mode 5: for two B7971 or ZM1350 special alphanumeric tubes multiplex 1x32
Recently, Pete launched his new Nixie QTC format for mid sized tubes. Let's take a look at what he's got:
To begin, QTC stands for "quick tube change." The QTC design is an interesting clock kit with the ability to easily replace tubes that previously were hard wired (such as an IN-8-2, Z5070M, or ZM1210). He does this by putting them on a mini PCB with a connector on the back so the tubes can easily be swapped out. Nixie tubes do eventually wear out and this is an elegant way to replace them. One of the advantages of having all of the tubes on mini PCBs is that the main board can support multiple types of tubes with no configuration.
The nixies are drive in a multiplexed display mode. The tubes are driven in a 3x2 multiplex and generate little noise and no perceivable flicker.
This device also supports GPS synchronization making it one of the most affordable clocks with this option.
The following features are standard for the kit version:
6 X (your choice) Nixie tubes, with 18mm digit height
6 X Tube cell components for mounting the tubes
All transistors, resistors, capacitors, ICs, diodes
2 X Neon bulbs for hours:minutes:seconds separators
Double sided, plated - through - hole PCB with red solder resist.
Fully pre-programmed PIC microcontroller, with socket
"Lars" and "Laura" are two old school Nixie Clocks from NixieKits.eu. At the time of writing, Laura is no more, but "Lars" (the little clock on top of the larger one) is still available. NixieKits.eu seems to have lost the drive to make new clocks, or even replenish stocks of the old ones, and it appears that as the old models run out of stock they are not re-ordered.
In any case, "Lars" is still available, and has 6 x IN-17 tubes. This video shows some of the display effects in action.
The display effects are the same as the ones that Pete Virica uses in his QTC clocks. The PIC micro controller software was designed by him and modified Jürgen for these clocks. The lack of updates to this firmware might be a sign that nothing new is coming out of this collaboration.
Here is a new clock coming soon from NixieKits.eu - this is Laura:
An IN-2 clock, based on the features from Sven - incl. Alarm, but with some more improvements:
High quality socket pins for the socketed IN-2
2 x 3 multiplex for higher brightness / less tube noise
High Efficiency HV voltage converter "ultra cool design", therefore the clock can be easily powered from a single USB connector (power consumption less than 2 VA incl. turned on LEDs) and all electrical parts (incl. MosFet and inductor remains cool - not even warm).
As an option: Build in ASK receiver module for "wireless GPS reception"
External connector (1/8" TRS jack) for DCF/MSF/WWVB or wired GPS receiver (BR-355)
Easy enabling or disabling Day Saving Time by a single button's push
RGB controller for tube backlight with selectable LED fixed colour / brightness for every hour and / or auto changing colours with variable speed
Extra master blanking time for disabling the complete display during weekdays / weekends etc.
1F Super Cap power backup for keeping the time for more than 24 hrs without power supply
New extra optical Nixie effects: fading digit with "scroll back", date scrolling in and out
LEDs on rear for: Alarm, DST active, Time Sync, Time Data input
The PCBs are made with a lot of tiny SMT parts, but they are all pre-assembled and soldered. So building the clock within 2 hrs. is not a problem at all.