Inquiry - Nixie IN-12 used for automotive "gauges"??

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5 months 3 weeks ago #11809 by AZ_Ron
Greetings all. New to the forum. I've built a few nixie clocks from kits, and I've done quite a bit of searching, but have come up empty in my hunt. I'm hoping someone here can help, either advise, design, or tell me I'm nuts.

I'm in the process of building a Rat Rod... 1941 Ford pickup, and I thought it would be super cool if I were to put together a "digital' instrument cluster using IN-12 nixie tubes. I've never seen it done before, and I'm not sure if that is because nobody involved in rat rods ever thought of it, or it's just a flat out stupid idea.
I'm very open to the design, and am basically looking for Speedometer, oil pressure, water temp, and voltage.
There are a myriad of sensors out there, but I'm mostly a mechanical/electro-mechanical guy, and don't have the know how to design circuits. I can solder pretty damn well, so assembly is cake, but designing circuits is not my forte.

What do you folks think?? Would this be opening a pandoras box of problems?

Any and all opinions welcome, nomex underwear is on! ;)

Thanks!

Ron

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5 months 2 weeks ago #11810 by Ty_Eeberfest
Seems like a perfectly good idea to me. If there's nothing available off the shelf it's probably because of no cross-over between Nixie people and hotrod people. I do remember someone posting ages ago about wanting a Nixie speedo for their street bike but if it ever amounted to anything they didn't tell us.

Switchmode HV power supplies being what they are these days it is no problem to run Nixie devices off a 12V or 6V automotive electrical system. At worst you might need a bit of filter ahead of the Nixie instruments to kill ignition noise especially if you have points in your distributor.

Sensors? If it was me I guess I'd design the instruments around the available sensors. Off the cuff it would be nice if they could all be 0 - 5 or 0 -12 volt signals but that's not absolutely necessary. Speedo could be a voltage as well or it could be a pulse train that increases in frequency as the car goes faster. Pulses are counted in the instrument and converted to speed by basic math in the program.

So essentially what I've just described is Nixie digital voltmeters calibrated to temperature, pressure and whatever. Speed might be a Nixie frequency counter scaled to speed.

I don't know if anything like that is actually available but now you have some better terminology to feed into a search. They are not complex devices. They could be easily implemented from off the shelf components and custom programming. I can certainly make such things. Not sure if I'm offering my services or not... ;)

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

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5 months 2 weeks ago #11811 by judge
This google search shows several projects for speedometers www.google.com/search?q=nixie+speed+bike+gps

I put 'bike' and 'gps' in there because all the ones I had seen were for bikes and used GPS, but the search wisely ignores those terms...

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5 months 2 weeks ago #11817 by AZ_Ron
Thanks TY, lots of good info. I'm considering using GPS for Speedometer, seems like it would simplify things. I'll do some checking on sensors, but 0-12V or 0-5V as you suggest would be simplest and probably by far the easiest. I'd deeply appreciate any help/advice offered. I just know that I, myself, don't have the know how to get this all figured out. I can build it, but need essentially a schematic. Wish I'd paid more attention at DeVry all those years ago!! ;)

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5 months 2 weeks ago #11818 by AZ_Ron
Judge, GREAT insight on bicycle GPS. I've noticed that there are a few aftermarket gauge clusters marketed at hot rodders that offer GPS Speedometers now as well, but never considered bicycles!!

Thanks!

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5 months 2 weeks ago #11819 by Ty_Eeberfest
Hi Ron,

Your idea has kinda grabbed my interest. I have a number of ideas kicking around in my head and I'll put them together into a coherent post over the weekend. For now, I'm wondering if you are wanting to make an in-dash cluster that goes in place of the factory gauges, or a set of individual gauges that maybe sit on top of the dash, or what? If in-dash, is the cutout a just rectangle like the picture?


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