Single Tube Nixie Clock

This single tube nixie clock cought our eye today. After receiving an IN-8 tube from a friend, [Trax] wanted to find some project to show it off.  He decided on an art piece that doubles as a clock. Tastefully mounted in a simple wooden box with a pretty inlay, the tube is lit from below with a green LED that pulses every second. A single button, located on the back, out of view is pressed to request the time. You can see the time being displayed on the video above. To see the guts and read about how he’s using the PIC16F84’s built in clock to keep track of time, check out his site. Even though this is a Nixie, it reminds us of the Decatron kitchen timer we saw recently.

[via Hacked Gadgets]


  1. chicosoft says:

    Very cool indeed. Where do i find that kind of tubes?

  2. Tomasito says:

    i really love to see a nixie tube POV clock.

  3. tomas says:

    i really love to see a nixie tube pov clock.

  4. Agent420 says:

    Single tube nixie clocks are actually kind of old hat, but the construction of this project is certainly very well done.

    @chicosoft – they’re all over ebay

    @tomasito – in a manner of speaking, the first mechanical tv sets did use neon tubes and pov…

    and let’s not forget the neon vu/spectrum analyzer…

  5. glum says:

    Here is a nixie tube pov clock.

  6. Agent420 says:

    ^ ok, that is just damn cool.

  7. I’d love to see a nixie tube application other than a clock…

    the only two things I could come up with is a Nixie thermostat/termometer or a nixie calculator. The former might be kind of cool, the latter wouldn’t really be that useful.

    Can anyone else come up with any good nixie tube applications other than the stereotypical clock?

    hmm thinking about it just now maybe hack it into a tube amp to display the volume level :)

  8. Orv says:

    @twistedsymphony: I always thought a Nixie tube digital dashboard for a car would be cool. It’d have to be the right car, though; putting one in an ’83 Corolla or something just wouldn’t be right.

  9. OOOH that gives me a very cool idea. I’ve got a few Nissan 240SXs in the S13 chassis they came with an optional Digital gauge cluster which included a heads up display of the digital speed read out… I have said cluster and an extra HUD projector unit that I was planning on fitting up to one of my cars…

    the projector looks like it’s just a couple of 7 segments in a little reflector housing.

    once I’ve got that installed I might just try to see if I can fit up the spare projector with a couple of nixie tubes…

    you wouldn’t happen to know of a good circuit for driving nixie tubes using automotive 12V would you?

  10. calebkraft says:

    I’ve been tempted to do something along these lines with one of my vw busses. imagine a nice nixie display across the dash of this:

    that’s not mine, but almost identical. I’m thinking a clock might be my best bet, though a tachometer would work.

  11. Agent420 says:

    ^ while the nixie element might be cool, i’ve never been a fan of numeric dashboard displays… research has demonstrated that the brain can interpret analog methods such as dials or bargraphs much more readily than numeric symbols. i’m sure that’s the reason why digital dashboards quickly fell out of fashion after they were first introduced in the 80’s.

  12. JD says:

    I’m not sure about other people’s brains, but I utilize the center digital display in my car for speed (I can set it to different types of info) rather than the large analog dial speedo immediately to the side. My brain more easily recognizes huge “75” in red, rather than “roughly 2:30″. So, although I’m sure for the average folk, analog is a great “gauge” for their speed, I prefer to know if I’m going 72 or 78 on the highway (analog only gives rough indications) which means the difference between an uninterrupted drive to work and a speeding ticket (plus 6 years of surcharges on my insurance).

    Summary: A nixie tube dash would be awesome!

  13. @Agent420: I’ve read the same thing… I think it was related to airline controls where the pilot can more easily scan over the gauges to determine that everything is ok rather than try to interpret dozens of digital readouts.

    The thing about a digital speedo though is that most of the time speedos are off by a good 3-4% even more if you’ve swapped out your tires for a different size. Anyone who’s used a GPS and compared the speed readout of that to the readout on their dash should know what I’m talking about.

    some gauge clusters have an adjustment pot in the back, which is handy if you’re so inclined to improve the accuracy of your speedo. (FWIW tach outputs are typically spot on)

  14. John Smith says:

    “Can anyone else come up with any good nixie tube applications other than the stereotypical clock?”

    I have a nixie tube frequency counter.

  15. Ayush says:


    really? can you please english good?

  16. amishx64 says:

    I like. The green LED accents it very well.

  17. dthyne says:

    What about a nixie display of portions of what you get from top or htop? You will get huge props for making a whole terminal from nixies. I doubt anyone makes ASCII nixies though, so you would have to map certain characters to displayable characters.

  18. Nisei says:

    I like the idea of the flashing led beneath the tube but I would’ve used an IN-3 neon bulb which has the same color as the Nixie tube itself.

  19. Orv says:

    @agent420: I agree, actually. For practical driving analog gauges are best, and they’re what I want in my daily driver. But custom cars are often more about what looks cool.

    Actually, in my daily driver I took it a step further and twisted the auxiliary gauges (voltage, oil pressure, oil temperature) so that the needles all point straight up when I’m driving on the freeway and everything’s normal. That way I don’t have to read them at all, just glance at where the needles are.

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