Mystery Nixie? Desk Clock?

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1 year 1 month ago #9014 by Ian
Replied by Ian on topic Mystery Nixie? Desk Clock?
This is a super old thread, I'm not sure if you will get an update, but I hope so. I'd like to know how it ends as well... ;)

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1 year 1 month ago #9017 by JIMO
Replied by JIMO on topic Mystery Nixie? Desk Clock?
Ian,
Yes, I saw about 5 years. I guess I was hoping Walkamo had enough time to enjoy it in that time and maybe we could chat about it. Worth a try I thought. In the last year, I really caught a bug for some of these clocks. This one really got me going!
Be well and thanks,
Jim

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1 year 1 month ago - 7 months 8 hours ago #9022 by Ty_Eeberfest
Looks like Walkamo hasn't even logged in since 2013. I suspect he has left us...

That clock wouldn't be impossible to reproduce. As others have stated above, the tubes can be found on eBay though not necessarily every day. I'm pretty sure there are a handful of sellers with NOS stashes that trickle them onto the market a few at a time to keep the price up. I think the hardest thing to find would be the MM5314 "brain" chip. I have seen them come up for sale but not often. If one were only concerned about appearance and not internal authenticity the MM5314 could be replaced with a modern microcontroller without too much effort. To write the code to emulate a MM5314 would not be hard.

Fun stuff:

When the MM53** series of "clock on a chip" ICs came out in 1975ish 1972 they were very impressive, if not downright revolutionary, pieces of technology. They were some of the first LSI devices to hit the market. Before LSI about the most complex single chip things available were counters, 7-segment decoders and so forth.

The Numitron tubes were sold at Radio Shack for, if memory serves me, about a dollar apiece in blister packs.

Numitrons were used extensively in the mid- to late-seventies here in the USA in the first solid state gas pumps (petrol dispensers) we'd ever seen.

Numitron was supposed to be the Nixie Killer because they didn't require high voltage, thus were more simple to interface to TTL logic. Of course practical LED displays quickly became the Numitron Killers.

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.
Last edit: 7 months 8 hours ago by Ty_Eeberfest. Reason: Date changed - JIMO found one with a 1972 date code.

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1 year 1 month ago #9023 by JIMO
Replied by JIMO on topic Mystery Nixie? Desk Clock?
Thanks Ty,
As it turns out I have collected some Numitrons and a couple old MM5314's and have plans to build various things. Recently, I have developed a craving for certain production clocks of the early 70's (as well as some non production). I have not played with microcontrollers yet. My first project was last year and was a TTL build. I have since collected other clocks and most have the MM5314 in them. (I have one with a 1973 date code I believe). I have also built a few PV Electronics kits. Some of what I have played with is starting to go on youtube (amateur videos check them out at JIMO415). I was born as this technology came out. I am just now interested in it. Thanks for the history report (fun facts). Maybe I should post a few of the rare ones here as I find them?

Jim

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1 year 1 month ago #9024 by Ty_Eeberfest
You're farther along with it than I realized. Somehow I got the impression you were just starting out on a quest for Numitrons.

What was your TTL build? A clock? Something else?

I don't doubt you have a MM5314 with a 1973 date code. After I posted I started wondering about my "1975ish" statement. I'm pretty sure my first encounter with that chip was actually in '73 or '74 now that I think it thru a bit more. It was a clock kit that the shop owner threw together a couple dozen of: MM5314 + 7-segment LED displays + supporting components all tossed in a bag, along with a crude PCB and a hand drawn schematic. same shop that was selling B-7971 tubes for 50 cents each, socket included.

Post as much as you like. I'll read it and/or look at your pix and I imagine others will too. This site has turned into 99% Arduino Nixie Clock support - I would be happy to see more activity in the other sections.

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

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1 year 1 month ago #9025 by JIMO
Replied by JIMO on topic Mystery Nixie? Desk Clock?
Thank you. I hope we did not de-rail this thread too much.
The shop you speak of, I take it that it was just a mom and pop shop were the owner made his own clock kit to sell with his normal inventory?
To answer your question about my TTL build, yes it was a clock I had built just using perfboard and rats nest technique. It was my first electronics project that also seems to have sparked this interest in the rest. Search jimo's ttl clock Youtube if you would like to see.

Jim

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