How can I build nixie tube clocks like this

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2 weeks 9 hours ago #11522 by Nandhugp

Hey I just wanted to know how you guys learn to build Nixie tube clocks. I am good with Arduino but cannot seem to find nixie tubes near my area. I don't think it is produced anywhere in my country. Should I order them online?

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1 week 5 days ago #11524 by Ty_Eeberfest
Nixie tubes have not been produced for many years. Your best chance is probably eBay for either "pulls" (used tubes) or so called new old stock.

Their is one guy named Dalibor Farny who is making new tubes in Czech Republic. His tubes are great but rather expensive.

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

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1 week 4 days ago #11525 by BS_Jim
I believe the tubes in that picture are Russian IN-12's. If you want a comparatively easy kit to build, one of the administrators of this site has several kits available that you can purchase. His site is www.nixieclock.biz .

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1 week 4 days ago - 1 week 3 days ago #11526 by Torsten Lang
Nixie tubes have long gone out of production and are becoming more and more scarce and expensive. The youngest NOS tubes I know of date around 1995. There are a few guys out there having the knowledge and the equipment to build their own tubes and far less crazy enough to start a business out of it.

One of these guys is Dalibor Farný. He manufactures a remake of an old and beautiful RFT tube, the Z568M. The prize for the tube is fair and when I bought mine he gave a lifetime warranty (tubes sold now have a reduced warranty of "only" 10 years). It's really fun to browse his website and watch his videos on YouTube.

Dalibor also sells the matching colon separators although you still don't find them on his website.

Another manufacturer is Millclock. They have a tube that roughly seems to be a remake of the well known IN-18. But it is not a 1:1 replacement! Currently, the prize for the ZIN18 is still around 2x the prize of NOS IN-18.

A third guy, Nixieproducer, unfortunately has given up before his business even started. I had preordered a set of tubes from him. It's a pity because he planned a remake of one of the biggest Nixies ever, the Rodan CD-47. I would have been happy to get a set of tubes from him but according to his last posts here this will most likely never happen :-(

When it comes to NOS, Jan Wüsten here in Germany is a good address for tubes. The offers especially on eBay of old Russian tubes are some kind of a mixed bag. I bought several Nixies, Panaplex tubes, Dectrons, VFDs (also very large ones), especially with the Russian tubes the quality varies quite heavily.

A few words regarding knowledge:

I'm a physicist and work as an EE since around 23 years now (about 15 years for automotive applications). I did my own design from scratch based on a Cortex M0 controller from a family we use quite often in our commercial projects at work. For a start I chose a VFD clock which is also offered on my homepage because it is much easier to step from 5V to 25V/50V than from 12V to 170V. This simply has to to with the full load duty cycle which becomes quite extreme the higher the quotient between output and input is. I prefer to use industrial step up converters, but most of them are limited to around 90% duty. This is why my clock uses a voltage doubler together with the switching converter to reach the 50V required for the colon tubes I use.

I'm in the lucky situation that I can use our equipment (paste printer, pick'n'place machine, reflow oven) so I could already realize some projects that weren't possible with hand soldering. One example which unfortunately never was build commercially is this: Arnold Beleuchtungsdecoder .
Last edit: 1 week 3 days ago by Torsten Lang.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ty_Eeberfest

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