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.

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