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YouTube User SLvik78

John found a great dekatron based Nixie clock on YouTube that I wanted to re-post here.  All of the timing is derived from the mains line at 50Hz.  The dekatrons divide the time base in to seconds, minutes, and hours.  I've contacted owner and others have as well to see how he performs the "divide by 5" function to get 1pps and the "divide by 6" to convert 60 seconds in to a minute.  You can see the jump/division happen at 1:20 seconds in the video.  I am not sure if this is simply a matter of wiring the dekatrons differently or there are other components in use that are not visible.

If you have an idea how this works, please leave a message in the comments and I will update this post.

UPDATE 7-7-2010:

Be sure to read SLvik's response in the forum.  He shared a photo of the back of the clock and confirmed The 50Hz mains is rectified and then divided down from 100:10 and 10:1pps by the two dekatrons at the bottom.   Very nice work!

Dekatron Clock Rear


Lastly, be sure to check out Kahlo's link for his schematic of a 50Hz divide by 5 & 10 design.  This help quite a bit: (thanks for sharing!)


Albery Y, the same guy who brought us this scope clock, built a nice looking word clock whose construction is inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Powering this device appears to be an Arduino / ATMega168.   Be sure to check out the links below for more information from both Albert and Doug J, the inventor of the device.

Albert Y's Word Clock


Josiah, the creator of the Coachella Lamp has also submitted two, very nice, B7971 GeekKloks.  These are based off of the Zetalink** kit and known for both the enormous B7971 tubes as well as the...inventive...time display font used.  Josiah did a great job with both of these clock.  The first is mounted in a traditional desktop display while the second clock has the PCB behind the display for wall mounting.

The clock is powered by a 16v power supply.  There is an on board DC-DC power converter that is used to power the clock & B7971's.  Sadly, this design requires an obsolete MAX771 switch-mode power supply.  Time is measured against the local mains reference but these clocks do include an internal RTC to guard against a power failure.  The display itself is multiplexed (as opposed to directly driven.)  Given that there are 15 segments per tube, this isn't surprising :)


B7971 GeekKlok nixie clock

B7971 GeekKlok nixie clock


Other features (according to manufacturer)

  • 50 different number fonts (character sets) to choose from.
  • Fonts include number variations, distorted numbers, contorted numbers, fanciful numbers, etc.
  • Time can display using animated characters. Clock optionally shows seconds on underline segments, simulating a left-to-right progress bar (2 variations)
  • Special fonts for Roman (digit by digit) , true Arabic, Chinese/Japanese, and Klingon numerals.
  • Other "secret" fonts available for "private" reading capability
  • 12- or 24-hour clock modes available. In 12-hour mode leading zero can be blanked or allowed to show.
  • Alternate time zone display can alternate with main display at different rates, and can use any alternate font.
  • Date can use any alternate font to help differentiate it, and can be displayed at different rates or turned off.
  • Date displayable in DD-MM or MM-DD (numeric) format.
  • Time Setting and User Preference register editing can be locked out by DIP switch setting.
  • 35 User Preference Registers control options and settings, use mnemonic names for editing.
  • User Preference Registers and Font Use Settings can easily be edited.
  • Date or alternate time zone display can also use one of several display variations (wink, spasm, etc.)
  • Serial (RS232) input to set time, or control blanking and font selection.
  • Serial (RS232 or direct) output can be used to make chime tone modules or alarm modules.
  • Accessory jack for seconds display module (intended for smaller numerical nixies, no font changes available).


**Read this before even considering placing an order.  It appears that no one has received merchandise that they paid for Raymond since 2005.  From Jeff: "Do Not believe that you might receive any paid-for products from Raymond Weisling. Although the zetalink cover page notes that he is temporarily unable to deliver, the swreg shopping cart is fully operational and will accept your payments!"

Sculpture by Josiah H.


Dekatron LED Argon Sculpture


Okay, this isn't a clock but I think you're going to like this.  Josiah emailed me to submit a few of his creations to the site.  I've broken his submission in to several posts and this is the first.  It is a sculpture based on:

  • OG-4 Dekatron (x3)
  • OG-3 Dekatron (x1)
  • IN-9 indicators (x4)
  • GE AR-1 Argon Glow Discharge Lamp (1)

All of this is supported by an acrylic column that has a right blue and green LED illuminating the center.  He achieves a smooth fading effect by using PWM to smoothly transition between the colors.  This thing just looks amazing.  As far as the motivation to build all of this?  He states: "The result of about a week of work after a friend asked me to build an interesting lamp for his art installation at the Coachella Music Festival."  Mission accomplished!

I am not going to steal all of his content and publish it here so be sure to stop by his site for more information, photos, and schematics.

Dekatron LED  Argon Sculpture


Dekatron LED Argon Sculpture


Images and text used with permission.

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