Kenneth Finnegan sent me a link to a project that he has been working on - it is an AVR based IN-16 nixie tube thermometer.  It appears to be a pretty straightforward design and what I really appreciate about this is that he does a great job documenting his build and sharing code samples with readers.  I've included the part list below so you can get an idea of what is involved but be sure to check out his website for more details, schematics, and photos!


Parts list for control circuitry:

  • 1x ATTiny2313 AVR
  • 1x DS1631
  • 3x IN-16 Nixie tubes
  • 3x K155 or 74141 Nixie decoder
  • 3x 22kΩ resistor
  • 3x 4.7kΩ resistor
  • 1x MPSA42 300V NPN signal transistor



Parts list for power supply:

  • 1x MC34063 boost converter (I managed to smoke the first one with 180V pretty quickly, so having it in a socket and having spares is a good idea)
  • 1x 7805 5V linear regulator
  • 1x IRF820 MOSFET
  • 1x 500μH power inductor
  • 1x 1N4937 600V fast-recovery diode
  • 2x 100μF 100V capacitors (or a single cap rated for >200V)
  • 1x 820k resistor
  • 1x 5.6k resistor
  • 1x 150Ω resistor
  • 2x 47μF capacitor (25V)
  • >2x 0.1μF capacitors (25V) - Apply liberally throughout the circuit



AVR Nixie Thermometer
AVR Nixie Thermometer
AVR Nixie Thermometer
AVR Nixie Thermometer
(images and text used with permission)



Jürgen had been hard at work designing a new non-nixie gadget - a thermometer based on an IN-9 bar graph tube.  This thing is cool.  Not only is it a clean design, it is a fully analog device.

The six LEDs are simple connected in series with the tube. Every LED has also a parallel 100µF capacitor (these RGB LEDs uses their own PWM controller and connecting them in series is only possible with such a capacitor in parallel to every LED).

And one more feature I really like: it is USB powered.  I can't wait for for this to go on sale.  Check out the video:

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(video by Jürgen Grau)

nixie bargraph thermometer


Thanks for sharing, Jürgen!

Okay - this might not be the most practical use of nixie technology but it is cool.  They are attendance badges based off on IN-16 tubes and powered by only two AA batteries which provide a shocking 40 hours of life.  Be sure to check out the links below for much more information.

(Thanks Bob!)


Kosbo Driver Board

Konstantin from has a new board for IN-18 and IN-14 nixie tubes for sale on eBay.  It is the diameter of a tube and includes the high voltage transistors and resistors needed in one nice package.  For 2.99 GBP, it is a pretty good deal. 

Key Features

  • IN-4 or IN-18 Nixie tube round board with High Voltage transistor drivers and anode resistor
  • High quality of components, board and soldering
  • 29mm board diameter does not exceed tube diameter
  • Ideal for IN-4 or IN-18 1 to 6 digits clocks or other Nixie tube projects
  • Can be used as a High Voltage driver board with other Nixie tubes
  • Two 4pins plug connectors for easy use on bread board
  • Simple, reliable and secure solution for your main PCB design
  • Ideal to use with our Nixie tube pins we have for sale in our EBay shop.
  • Board diameter is 29mm, 
top layer components height does not exceed 2.5mm
  • Sample SW code for Microchip microcontroller for your easy project start

Sample Circuit


Kosbo Driver Board

(images and text used with permission)


Okay, we're a little late in covering this one;  Hack A Day and Engadget beat us to it.  This is a 81-Nixie tube based Sudoku board which appears to use IN-12's (based on the upside down 2 used as a 5.)  There are two knobs on the board, one controls the x position and the other controls the y position of the cursor.  The number pad controls the actual value of the input. Be sure to visit the site - he graciously includes the source code and schematics.


Nixie Sudoku




eBay seller Turbo_Mac has a few new gadgets up for sale.  One of them, strictly speaking, isn't a clock at all but it is an EM84 "magic eye" tube that he has re purposed as a a VU meter.  The device has both an internal microphone and as line-in (not in a mini plug connector, however) to control the display.  Bidding starts at $1 and ends in 7 days.


Magic Eye VU Meter


This is a fully assembled 6E2 (EM84 equivalent) VU meter that accepts both line-in and on-board mic signal. Its glowing bars close while audio input is strong, and open while it is weak. They're like naughty jumping elves! The continues patterns provide ultra fast response than any other VU meter! Please refer to the video below or contact me for other details.

Magic Eye VU Meter


  • Selectable On-board mic or Line-in input (by jumper)
  • Ultra slim & stable design
  • Standard DC 12V 3.5mm inner positive power supply
  • Reliable high quality components






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