Tag Archives: Tyler Nehowing

ATmega328p powers this Smart Nixie Tube

The Smart Nixie Tube – which recently surfaced on Kickstarter – is an open source platform powered by Atmel’s versatile ATmega328p microcontroller (MCU).

Designed by Tyler Nehowing, the platform is fully programmable using the unmodified Arduino IDE, as it appears as an Arduino Uno running at 16MHz/5V.

“The Smart Nixie Tube was created to fill the gap that all other Nixie Tube displays create by allowing unlimited digit length – from one digit to as many as your project requires,” Nehowing wrote in a recent Kickstarter post.

“Adding more digits is as easy as connecting headers together. You can chain Smart Nixie Tubes together and control them from anything with a serial port.”

According to Nehowing, the Smart Nixie Tube is equipped with a status LED on pin 13, meaning users can download the ubiquitous ‘blink’ sketch to get started.

“Using the included FTDI programming adapter, you can program the Smart Nixie Tube using the standard Arduino Development Environment,” he explained.

“Use the example code provided or create something brand new, it’s extremely easy to program since you can treat it exactly like an Arduino Uno.”

The Smart Nixie Tube is packaged with headers that can be soldered to the top PCB allowing user to chain multiple Smart Nixie Tubes together. Each Smart Nixie Tube consumes a maximum of 300mA at 9VDC, with the example code treating the data as a First In First Out (FIFO) buffer.

“You just have to connect the FTDI adapter to the leftmost digit. Data is then passed from left to right, from Smart Nixie Tube to Smart Nixie Tube until all digits have data,” Nehowing added.

Interested in learning more about the Atmel-powered Smart Nixie Tube? You can check out the project’s official Kickstarter page here.