As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, there really is nothing quite like the comforting glow of a Nixie tube. Reboots apparently couldn’t agree more, as the retro modern Nixie clock he designed clearly illustrates.
According to HackADay’s James Hobson, Reboots was inspired to build the clock after coming across an old General Electric battery charger for sale.
“The Nixie tubes he chose for the project came from a lot sale on eBay, Russian surplus IN-12 tubes. He even managed to find an English datasheet for them,” Hobson explained.
“Having decided on the Nixie tube, driver, and case, he now needed a reliable power supply. Threeneuron’s design fit the bill nicely, however it ended up being a bit noisy under load, but the TubeClock kit used a free-running transistor oscillator, which was in fact even louder under load.”
From there, said Hobson, it was a matter of testing the tubes, prototyping PCBs and programming Atmel’s stalwart ATmega48 microcontroller (MCU) for the task.