Geerts clock

Happened to have in my NIXIE collection a single beautiful giant ZM1042 (for the record, I got it from Jim Oostveen). For me it was obvious that a single digit NIXIE clock built around this tube would be just the thing for Geert. Some time ago, while visiting our local IKEA store, I found just the perfect case for the clock: a 14x19x8 cm wooden frame with a glass window front and a white hardboard back.
Geerts clock - schematic

It was just after I made the random color design for Jan Verhoevens farewell present, and it seemed a nice idea to combine the single tube NIXIE clock with an ambient light feature. Personally I am completely mystified by the success of the Philips "ambi-light LCD" TV. I work at Philips Research myself, and I would never have believed that somebody would pay extra money for a TV that projects a colorful aura on the wall behind the TV, but the fact is there. Also the positive reactions I got on Jan Verhoevens color changing farewell clock, let me to the conclusion that colors are very important to people. I myself am totally color blind, so unfortunately I will never be able to appreciate this. But, Geert is not color blind, and he thought it was a great idea! For some time now I have been playing around with the idea to make a clock in which the high voltage for the NIXIE tubes is derived directly from the mains, without the need for an high voltage transformer or switch-mode power supply. Since there was only very little space in the wooden case that I had in mind for this clock, I decided to use it for Geert`s clock. Connecting a clock directly to the mains requires some special precautions, which will be explained in one of the next sections. To make the clock even more interesting I wanted to make the digits in the NIXIE tube to fade slowly on and off. Especially for these giant NIXIE tubes the effect is very striking....

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