Nixie Tube Clock

Glow Of Nixie Tubes

Nixie Tubes are amazing. They are also ridiculous, they break, are expensive, no one makes them anymore, but still, they’re amazing. Originally made a boring amount of time ago, they’ve been fully replaced by LED’s and other semi style light emitting components. However nothing compares to the glow of a Nixie Tube. Inside each tube is the numbers 0, 1, 2 >> 9 and they are powered to illuminate, and when they do they glow – I mean they literally glow. The readout of a number is not glowing from heat like a red hot power, the air around the metal number glows, the glow is just amazing (it literally is a glow around the metal, hard to describe without seeing).

The name Nixie Tube is a brand name, made by The Burroughs Corporation – they could always just be called “Cold cathode neon readout tube” but Nixie Tube sounds so much better!

Here’s a great explanation on how they work.

Nixie Tube close up with the number 2 shown
Front of Nixie Tube with 02:12:0 shown in the display with resistors and PCB
Nixie Tube Clock

Double PCB + Clear Acrylic

The overall design of this project was simply stunning. I can not remember who the project kit was originally designed and produced by, but they did such a great job. The acrylic case really exemplified the care taken to design a wonderful piece.

The case isn’t as much fun a Gray TV which features rocket switches, but what it lacks for buttons and dials, it makes up for in sheer class.

Nixie Tube Clock

Stand Up Resistors

One of my favorite PCB resistor layouts ever is utilized in this project, the line of resistors connecting the Nixie Tube top circuit board to the bottom board. It’s such a clever visual supplying functional power for the Nixie Tubes.

I throughly enjoy PCB artwork, like this smily face layout that I designed on a Pong Video Game PCB.

Nixie Tube Resistor PCB Layout
Close up of Nixie Tube showing 02 15
Nixie Tube Clock

They Look Amazing

The Nixie Tube is so great to look at. They are not the most practical because when compared to LED’s, they’re terrible. They just can’t compare to an LED’s package size, power efficiency, low voltage consumption, and so on. But that glow, omg that glow…

Nixie Tube Clock

Burnt Out

Assuming these things just burn out over time, I just Goggled to make sure that’s the case but it looks like they last a long time. However I’m still suspecting that the furthest right tube has died because it’s the one that changes the most often, as it’s the seconds display (changing from 1, 2, 3, 4…).

Close up of Nixie Tube showing 04 13 3