Nixie-based tube clocks

ZM1040 Nixie Clock / Mapsevoli

$999 USD


Mapsevoli, Inc. ZM1040 Nixie Clock

I found this great Philips ZM1040 based nixie clock while doing my normal searches and wanted to share it.  The major features are the fading digits and the on board potentiometer for adjusting the drift / clock accuracy.  That might be a little hard to use in practice but it is a feature that I don't think I've seen elsewhere.  All of this is enclosed in an acrylic case to allow every detail of the inner workings to be seen.  The one thing that I really like above all else is the fact that the tubes are the centerpiece of this clock and not the housing.  If I had an extra $1000, I'd get one without question!


Mapsevoli, Inc. ZM1040 Nixie Clock

From the site:

This is a limited edition run of a professionally-made nixie clock that can utilize the beautiful Philips ZM1040 tubes. A small number of these clocks have been made by a collector who wishes to share the beauty of these tubes with the world. If you like orange, glowing digits in retro-style tubes, you won't find a more attractive clock anywhere.

The circuit board was designed by a perfectionist with an eye for simplicity and elegance. The majority of the circuit is comprised of high quality, surface-mount components with only two through-hole ICs. The clock utilizes a microcontroller for its time-keeping with a crystal oscillator which can be adjusted using an on-board potentiometer to improve accuracy. The clock software also features cross-fading so that you can watch the digits slowly fade from one to the next for a really cool effect.

Setting the time involves the simple operation of two buttons at the rear of the clock. 24-hour or 12-hour display is selectable via a jumper on the circuit board.

The clock is encased in a sturdy, custom-made plexi-glass cabinet, which displays the inner circuitry for all to see. The tubes are socketed in 84 individual steel socket pins, providing a nice retro finish.

The power is drawn from an ordinary 12V DC wall adapter. A 110V version is supplied with the clock and a 220V version is available.

The clock includes all of the following:

  • Nixie clock in plexi-glass cabinet
  • 110V/12V AC/DC wall adapter
  • Instruction manual
  • 6 ZM1040 or similar tubes (currently using Z566 tubes)

The clock case measures 8.5 inches wide, 3.5 inches deep and 4.5 inches tall. The ZM1040 tubes included measure over 2.5 inches from end-to-end and the digits are over 1.25 inches tall! The life-expectancy of these tubes is estimated to be 10 years.


Mapsevoli, Inc. ZM1040 Nixie Clock

by Joe Croft /

Price: $160 (kit), $399 (fully built)



Joe Croft sent in his NixieNeon clock.  What I really like about this kit is simply the number of neon bulbs and the use of less-common green neon bulbs as well.  The manual itself is worth reading through.  Clearly lots of work went in to designing this device.  (Apparently the original intent was not to use a single processor!)

The software itself is open source under the GPL license.  The core of the clock is based on an Arduino bootloader and library.

As far as the description of the operation goes, I won't try to paraphrase his description from the site:

The NixieNeon is a nixie tube clock designed with ring counters built using neon bulbs to allow the viewer to see the electronics perform the actual counting of time. This electronics kit offers the builder a glimpse back in time before semiconductors became inexpensive and plentiful. The Hour of the day is displayed using the twelve neon bulbs (the hour ring) circling the two 2 nixie tube digits which represent the minutes. The 4 green neon bulbs are for showing the positions for 12, 3, 6 and nine o'clock. They also blink to give a pendulum effect while the clock is operating.



See it in action:


by Matthew Sarnoff /

Price: not for sale


Nixie Clock

I found this clock by accident and I really wanted to feature it on this site.  There are a lot of home brew nixie clocks but most involve re-engineering every aspect of the electronics.  Matthew took a different approach.  He found an old breadboard and located matching JAN 8421 (nearly identical to a B-5092) nixie tubes.  The board had an existing edge connector to Matthew designed a clock driver to fit on the end.  Be sure to check out his site for more information about the power supply and the timing circuitry.



by Pixel Lifestyle Design

Price: est. $190 USD / eBay


Pixel Design Boulder Nixie Clock

Pixel Design just sent me a notice that they are selling a new clock design.  I originally wrote about there IN-8-2 clock in a black acrylic case a few weeks ago.  The new design is named Boulder and appears to have a newly designed chrome base that looks much more professional than their original design.  With the design improvements comes a bump in price.  The clock is currently on eBay and the current bid price (starting bid) is $198.99 USD. Is the increase in price worth it?  Probably.  This looks like a solid design.

One other thing that I really like about this device is that it is well documented.  They sent me a 16 page manual that explains how the device works, how to care for it, and provides more technical information.  You can read the full manual here.


Pixel Design Boulder Nixie Clock




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