Nixie Clock 2

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

The clock is constructed on two boards; one carries the HT generator and the processor logic, the other the tubes. Thisallows a slightly more compact design that the previous effort, but didn`t save as much real estate as I`d hoped. The tubes are mounted on a DIP 0. 3` grid. This isn`t ideal, but it has the advantage that the tube legs are diagonally braced and are far enough

Nixie Clock 2
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separated that tracks can be run between the lands. The bad news is that if the tubes are placed nearer than half an inch or so to the board, there is excessive stress on the leads which might have adverse effects on the seal. The box is cut from recycled ebony. 3mm thick sheets were cut from a block and glued together to create the shape; it was sanded on a belt and then by hand for the smooth surface, which was then polished using Danish oil and elbow grease. The holes were drilled before glueing but after cutting. The reason they`re a little off-centre isn`t a problem with the circuit board; I used recycled nixies too and the legs were a little bent before I soldered them in, and the holes are cut to fit. There are no particular efforts taken to regulate the crystal, but in service in the case, it`s been gaining a second a week. Near enough for me, I think; it`s usually closer to the real time than another mains-regulated nixie clock I also have. I don`t like mains on circuit boards, particularly when - as here - there might be a risk of exposed mains in the case of a breakage, and there wasn`t room for an isolating transformer, so instead the clock is powered through a surplus laptop power supply, providing a regulated 15v at up to 2A. I haven`t measured the current, but as an estimate - 1mA each at 180v for the tubes; say 50% conversion efficiency gives about 1. 5W for the display, and maybe 200mW for the driver logic....

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