Not a Nixie clock, but a fun starter project

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2 months 4 days ago #10360 by w8an
https://alanthus.com/clock/

For your amusement...

I built this clock when I was in high school. Not for any school credit or anything, but just because I thought Nixies were cool. Unfortunately I didn't have any Nixie tubes, so used what I had access to--fluorescent 7-segmet tubes. The thing still works great.

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2 months 4 days ago #10362 by Ian
Really nice. I especially like the idea of inverting 3 of the 6 tubes so they can be closer together. I might use that idea if you didn't patent it... :-D

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2 months 4 days ago #10363 by Ian
Oh, one question: The "set mode" just skips some stage of the divider circuit?

I did a similar LED clock for my high school electronics exam, it doesn't work any more because I cannibalized some 74 logic from it and can't remember the chip that I stole. Of course I didn't write it down, and have long lost the schematic. One day, I'll figure it out.

Anyway the "set button" skipped a divide by 6 stage (IIRC).

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2 months 3 days ago #10366 by w8an

Ian wrote: Oh, one question: The "set mode" just skips some stage of the divider circuit?


Actually, no.

The toggle switch on the back is an on-off-on, SPDT switch. In one on position, it switches the 60 Hz line frequency into the counter to run the clock. In center off position there is no input to the counter; the clock stops so can be used to easily synchronize with the WWV radio transmission. In the other on, or "set" position, an NE-555 astable multivibrator circuit output is injected into the counter. The pointer knob is a multi-position switch that changes the 555 frequency for fast to slow time set.

I'm glad you like the inverted tube technique. If you notice, the tube sockets also had to be ground down because the mounting ears were too big for my liking.

-Steve

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2 months 2 days ago #10370 by Ty_Eeberfest
Lots of wires there :) That must've taken a lot of time and effort to design and build. Very nice!!

I too wanted to build a clock that used VFD tubes (available at Radio Shack at the time) when I was 16 (1975) but couldn't quite figure out how to deal with the voltage requirements. Hey, I was just a dumb kid then - lol. I settled for making an LED clock using the "new" MM5314 chip as the timekeeper. No where near as challenging as your VFD design but still kinda fun.

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.

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2 months 1 day ago #10377 by Torsten Lang

Ty_Eeberfest wrote: I settled for making an LED clock...

Similar here - during my school time I had these electronics boxes from Philips (EE series). My first own project then was an LED bargraph clock. TTL Shift registers, some counters to derive the seconds clock from the 50Hz mains frequency and a few switches to set the clock either slow or fast (only forward - so going back from DST to standard time always was a bit time consuming).

The case was an ugly box made from plywood - I didn't have (and still don't own) good tools for that kind of work.

This thing should still be somewhere around...

Regards,
Torsten

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