This is an IN-1 Nixie Clock that I made a while ago. It has some rather unusual features:
* A 3 x 2 layout of the IN-1 tubes
* Back lighting of the IN-1 tubes (they said it wasn't possible!)
* The case, which is an old presentation box for a bottle of Grappa or Port
* The WiFi time provider module, which means you never have to set the clock ever again
* The WiFi configuration
I guess not everyone will like the 3 x 2 format of the tubes, but the format was inspired directly by the shape of the case.
The video takes you through the way the tubes are mounted, using gallons of hot glue, a trick to make small neons look bigger and brighter, and the WiFi configuration of the clock.
Full Disclosure: I make the Nixie Clock Module and the WiFi time provider module!
You can get the modules here: http://www.nixieclock.biz/Store.html
Here's a video of the NumiQueen from Jürgen at NixieKits.eu
I have been working with Alex from Ireland for a long time to make a range of unique retro Nixie clocks. At first he just bought a few clock kits, and then he started talking about some of his designs. It sounded interesting that he was spending his time going around industrial breaker's yards and picking up bits and pieces that no one else could see a use for, and using them to create something new. I had trouble imagining what he was doing, and didn't ask further. He had trouble with a few of the kits and we started to talk about what he was doing.
The out of the blue, he sent me some pictures of what we was building and I was amazed to see the irony and humour in the Post-Industrial work that he was doing. I was confused. What was a clock builder doing creating this sort of work? Creatures made from switch boxes and light housings? What was it all about?
Well, it turns out that Alex is in fact first and foremost a passionate artist, and works with objects that he finds as scrap to give them new life as something they were never intended to be. He's built a private zoo of post modern creatures, some of them vaguely disturbing, and some of them just plain funny.
He's still working on the clocks at this point, but you can see the level of workmanship and imagination that Alex uses, so I can't wait to see what he comes up with.
Here a few more of the many images that he sent me. Enjoy!
If you appreciate non-clock features, please leave a comment! I know that it is not really "on-topic", but I just had to share it with you!
I received an Azevedo NWTS module last week, and got around to building it today, following the clear instruction manual. More about this later.
NWTS is a "NTP to WiFi Time Synchonization" module, primarily intended for Nixie Clocks, but you could also use it for any other purpose where you want a reliable source of time, over a GPS like interface. Azevedo devices worked with Mr.Nixie to come up with a small, neat device that plugs into Mr.Nixie clocks as well as PV Electronics clocks. It's not just limited to those clocks. It should work with any clock that uses the GPS NMEA protocol and standard electrical characteristics (and most clocks do).
I can answer that one: I live in a tall building, with poor line of sight access to a GPS signal. If I try really hard, and put the clock close to the window on the right side of the house, I can eventually get a GPS lock. It takes time, and it's not very reliable. If you're out in the country, it may be way easier to get a good signal, but in a densely populated part of town, it's a problem. At least it's a problem for me.
Apart from that, I don't want my clock near the window on the wrong side of the house. I want it to be where I am most of the time, and where I can see it.
So, in my house, I don't have a good GPS signal, but I do have a good WiFi network, and out there on the net there are NTP (Network time Protocol) servers, which are synchonized to the same atomic clocks as the GPS satellites.
Azevedo and Mr.Nixie came up with an idea to have a WiFi connected device, which pretends to be a GPS module. Neat... Problem solved!
It's a cute little module, and the build was very straightforward using the excellent instructions. You can find the latest manual here. For me, the total build time was about 20 minutes (but I am quite fast). All of the components are through hole, and don't really require any special tools or skill. There is only one thing that requires extra care: the voltage regulator and the transistor have very small TO-92 pads, and you'll have to be careful not to make solder bridges on these.
Apart from that the build is very straightforward and easy to follow. The component count is not huge, and all of the complexity is really on the tiny ESP-8266 module. The ESP-8266 is a tiny "maker" module which combines a micro-controller, (like the one in the clock itself, but more powerful), and a WiFi interface. The ESP-8266 is a miracle of modern electronics. The squiggle on the left of the board is the WiFi antenna, the black chip on the bottom is the controller, and the 8-legged chip above it is the flash EEPROM.
Here is a time lapse of the build process:
After completing the build, I plugged in the module to one of my PV Electronics QTC clocks. Disappointment. Nothing happened. No time synchronization and no difference in the time the clock showed. The build had been so simple that I had skipped over the rest of the manual and had not bothered to read it. Everyone hates reading the manual, but this time I had to do it. There were two things to configure:
Because of where I live, I had never bothered to configure the clock with a GPS interface. Going into the clock configuration, I had to configure the "Radio time signal source" to use GPS (option "4" in my case), and set the baud rate of the interface to 9600 baud (option "1" in my case). Neither of these were the default settings, so you will need to do this step on your clock.
After that, I had to configure up the nwts module. To do this, you have to log into it with a phone, tablet or PC, and tell it the SSID ("WiFi name") and password of your home WiFi network. To do this, you have to connect to the WiFi access point provided by the nwts. I found the task of logging in the first time to be a little fiddly. At first my phone didn't want to connect to it and kept falling back to the WiFi network. After I told the phone to "forget" the home WiFi network it connected correctly and I was able to configure the unit.
After turning everything off and back on again, the tiny blue LED on the ESP-8266 started to blink correctly, and within two seconds, the time was synchronized on the clock!
Here is a video of the process of starting up the clock, and how quickly the time is synchronized:
I use the module on my clock now, simply because it's fast to synchronize and I don't need to touch the clock again. For me, GPS was not an option, as noted before, and I had stopped using the PV Electronics clock because it wasn't as accurate as the phone I carry around with me all the time. The phone is not as cool as the clock, but I don't need a clock that tells me the wrong time. I love the "fit and forget" nature of the module, and now that I have a cool clock that knows the time, I have put the PV Electronics clock back where it was in my living room.
If you want to get one of the Azevedo nwts modules, you have find them on Tindie or by clicking on this button: