Friday, June 26, 2009

Nixie crossing

I am working on a nixie clock. That is, a digital clock that uses nixie tubes to display numbers. Nixies were used for numerical displays before the now-ubiquitous seven-segment LCD display was introduced. You can find more information on the wonderful Wikipedia.

Here's a video of a Nixie clock in action. Note the warm, fuzzy glow that these tubes exhibit.

I just ordered 18 tubes from a Nixie seller on eBay. Even after adding in shipping charges from Russia, the tubes wound up being about 2 dollars each. They're IN-12 model NOS tubes (New Old Stock, which means that they were manufactured ages ago, likely in the Soviet Union, and have been sitting in a warehouse since). The IN-12 tubes look a little different than the ones in the clock I posted. Here's a picture! Notice how all the numbers are stacked.

IN-12A Nixie Tube (front view) by Nick Ames.

I'm going to be using six of these guys to make a clock that displays HH:MM:SS. In the future, I'll be putting up some schematics explaining the digital circuitry that will drive the clock. I'm not using any microprocessors, prefering to get down and dirty with some ICs.

Here comes anticipation. I'll have a nice photo of the tubes once they arrive. Until next time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Greetings, and a hint at things to come

Hello, and welcome to Acoustical Resonance! I am Tom, an electrical engineering student with interests in electronics, computers, writing, and fun in general. It's a pleasure to "meet" you!

This summer I have several projects lined up, all designed to sharpen my skills in electronics and to look generally awesome when finished. Here is where I will document their progress and explain their inner workings for those who are interested.

Here's what's coming in the near future
Nixie tube clock - A digital clock using neat old-school vacuum tubes to display
Talking Mr. Saturn - A character from the Super Nintendo video game Earthbound. This one will be a fuzzy plushie figurine complete with a voicebox.
Tesla Coil - A discussion of these impressive high voltage air-core transformers. This will be built with the High Voltage Electronics Club at the Ohio State University this autumn.
Computer Things - I've done a lot of programming in the past, and have some interesting projects to work on at the moment. I'll be sharing past and present work of computer land.

With that said, I humbly dedicate this page to the blogsphere. Please don't be too hard on it, cruel world!

Thanks for reading! I look forward to sharing my adventures with you.