I am close to starting a Kickstarter campaign to create a general purpose four digit Nixie display module that can be used as a clock or a panel meter, or a score board or whatever. It includes an integrated power supply so is easy to use by makers.
I designed a prototype which is all surface mount. I'm working on a second prototype now to reduce the size some more and make some improvements.
It uses the ATMEGA328 so is easily programmed like the Arduino using a USB to ISP programmer. However I plan to have it come pre-programmed with general purpose display software so will work straight out of the box.
The module will accept three types of input:
1. Simple interface via a serial link.
2. SPI bus (for multiple units).
3. Analog input to make a stand alone panel meter that reads in millivolts.
The unit is simply controlled from an Arduino or whatever. It requires only power (9-12v), ground, and serial input. Setting the display is simply a matter of sending a number like "329" followed by carriage return.
The unit also has a (LED) colon which can be optionally turned on.
I was going to allow multicolor backlighting but it does not seem to look that good when the LEDs are directly beneath the tubes and adds significant cost, so I think I'll drop that idea and maybe add some holes beneath the tubes so people can add their own back light if desired.
Included is a picture of the completed first prototype using IN4 tubes. Note that I am reducing the size and changing a few things. I think the final unit will be 2" x 6".
Pretty easy to program it for whatever application you have in mind. Either you can program a second arduino to send the digits and colors you want to it via serial or you can use the ISP to program the board directly and use the pins on the edge connector.
I rotated the IN4 a bit as they were somewhat slanted in angle for the newer board (after this prototype). However there is quite a lot of variation between tubes as to how the digits are positioned inside the glass.
Also I have been considering making a modular version with individual addressable digits daisy chained like neopixel LEDs. That way its easier to have as many digits as you want and you don't have to have them adjacent.
If you are interested to get one when they come back from manufacturing please subscribe to my email list at