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Kenneth Finnegan sent me a link to a project that he has been working on - it is an AVR based IN-16 nixie tube thermometer. It appears to be a pretty straightforward design and what I really appreciate about this is that he does a great job documenting his build and sharing code samples with readers. I've included the part list below so you can get an idea of what is involved but be sure to check out his website for more details, schematics, and photos!
Parts list for control circuitry:
- 1x ATTiny2313 AVR
- 1x DS1631
- 3x IN-16 Nixie tubes
- 3x K155 or 74141 Nixie decoder
- 3x 22kΩ resistor
- 3x 4.7kΩ resistor
- 1x MPSA42 300V NPN signal transistor
Parts list for power supply:
- 1x MC34063 boost converter (I managed to smoke the first one with 180V pretty quickly, so having it in a socket and having spares is a good idea)
- 1x 7805 5V linear regulator
- 1x IRF820 MOSFET
- 1x 500μH power inductor
- 1x 1N4937 600V fast-recovery diode
- 2x 100μF 100V capacitors (or a single cap rated for >200V)
- 1x 820k resistor
- 1x 5.6k resistor
- 1x 150Ω resistor
- 2x 47μF capacitor (25V)
- >2x 0.1μF capacitors (25V) - Apply liberally throughout the circuit
(images and text used with permission)
£69.95 / Kit
Pete from PV Electronics sent me a link to a really cool kit that he has been working on. It is a GPS nixie clock kit that is offered in IN-8-2 or IN-14 tubes. This is a killer little design and all of the hard work is done for you. All you need to do is assemble it and build a nice enclosure for it (or buy the one pictured below).
- Hours, Minutes and Seconds display.
- 12 or 24 hour modes.
- Date display in DD.MM.YY or MM.DD.YY Format.
- Alarm clock feature with programmable snooze (6,9,12 or 15 minutes).
- Programmable auto display of date at end of minute.
- Programmable Blue LED backlighting. Can follow night blanking.
- Uses a Crystal Oscillator as the timebase.
- Optional DCF / WWVB / MSF / GPS Synchronisation with status indicator LED.
- Supercapacitor time backup for short power interruptions.
- Simple time setting using two buttons.
- Programmable leading zero blanking.
- Calendar function has full leap year calculation up to 2099.
- Five programmable neon colon settings (Flashing AM/PM indication, illuminated AM/PM indication, both flashing, both on, both off).
- Maintains time during setup mode, eg. When changing between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time.
- Seconds can be reset to zero to precisely set the time.
- Programmable night time mode - tubes blanked or dimmed to extend tube life / prevent sleep disturbance.
- Separate modes for colon neons during night time mode.
- Fading digit mode or standard change of digits.
- 'Slot Machine' cathode poisoning prevention routine.
- All user preferences stored to non-volatile flash memory.
- Useful tube-test routine on cold startup.
- Night mode override with 1 button press. Customisable override period.
- LED backlights can be permanently disabled in software if you prefer, or not installed.
- All through-hole components. No difficult Surface Mount Components.
- Tubes INCLUDED with this kit.
- 6 X IN-8-2 Nixie tubes, with 18mm digit height
- 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
- 6 X blue LEDs for tube backlights
- Piezo alarm sounder
All electronic components are provided, except power supply. WWVB / DCF / MSF / GPS receiver not included but available in the PV Electronics store.
Okay - this might not be the most practical use of nixie technology but it is cool. They are attendance badges based off on IN-16 tubes and powered by only two AA batteries which provide a shocking 40 hours of life. Be sure to check out the links below for much more information.
Peter Sztojanov Jr. of Steampunk Alchemy shared a link on Facebook yesterday to a few nixie clocks that he's been working on. He did a really great job building them and photographing them and I wanted to share his work here. He has a detailed walkthrough of the construction and a nice gallery to browse through. Go check it out!
(photos are owned by Steampunk Alchemy and used with permission)