Nixie tachometer

A Nixie tachometer is new to us. We’ve seen tons of various displays, but not a tachometer. After having extensive annoyances with the factory ignition timing system in his totally awesome Holden Gemini, [Brett] installed a MegaJolt electronic ignition system. To top things off and add that extra bit of flair, he built a nixie tachometer to sit on his dash. Not only does it have the numeric read out, you can see a nixie “bar graph” on top as well. Skip to about 2:30 if you want to go right to the action. You can download the Arduino code from the forum post.


  1. Hackius says:

    That would go well in my time machine

  2. draeath says:

    The next ideal step – integrate it into your dashboard. Bonus points for using a filter to change the color (or a set of filters to color-code the graph)

    Do want!

  3. FDP says:

    Gotta love the look of Nixies. Definitely a good use of the arduino (unlike those blinking LED “hacks”).

  4. pithed says:

    wow, that is a coincidence. I was working on making an mpg gauge yesterday and was thinking it would be pretty cool to use nixie tubes so it was great to see it in an automotive application.

  5. Very nicely done! I wanted to do something like this for my 1976 Triumph Spitfire but I feared the vibration of the car would kill the nixi tubes.

  6. fdsa says:

    man, the arduino just makes me feel like my EE degree is worthless…

  7. Nitori says:

    I think I might need to make one of these for my car though I’ll have to alter the code to make it work right with a V8.

  8. drew says:

    i actually had this idea, i was gonna make it look umm good though. im putting it on the steering column of a 50s hotrod

  9. Michiel145 says:

    LOL.., that guy could be me. I have my MegaSquirt fitted and I’m busy building my custom microchip LCD dashboard.., hehe. :D

    But nice one, I love those Nixie tubes! :)

  10. Jack Sprat says:

    Could put a shield on top so it doesn’t reflect in the window.

  11. Bruce says:

    I read his (very long but worth the read) post that goes with this, and he said that it was built as a prototype for his Charger that is being rebuilt. So it’s only sitting on the Gemini’s dash temporarily while he fine tunes it.

  12. Knightrous says:

    Awesome stuff Brett. Good to see you made it on Hackaday!

  13. the music says:

    oh my god.. the music. it is terri

  14. Robert says:

    The above post is SPAM from the losers with really bad food @ Papaginos.

  15. SPARCS says:

    that would look sooooooo good im my 66′ split screen kombi…

  16. M4CGYV3R says:

    I need one in my DeLorean

  17. Spork says:

    I’d be afraid to put one in my Nova. The motor would take a beating because I wanted to see the tubes change, haha.

  18. thunder storm says:

    it seems to be a little slow on the update for the rpm. but i like it very much. same thing i want to do as well. could make for a nice tach/speedo combo meter.

  19. Victor says:

    I have always had the idea to measure the total amount of engine revs instead of kilometers runned for maintenance purposes.
    You wouldnt need more than 5giga_revs to fit a 2million kilometers capable motor.
    Then instead of saying “at 5000 km u do oil change” u would say “do oil change at 15.5Mrevs”
    Just made an oversized estimation on hw to convert runned distance to total revs made by the engine.
    At 100km/h (~60mph) supposing the engine is running at 4000rpm then you do 240.000 revs for 100Km, from there u get less than 5Grevs for 2Million km (something rarelly will be done)

  20. Polymath says:

    would it be possible to do this on a modern vehicle by plugging into the OBD port and skipping the whole trigger wheel setup? I’ve always liked the look of retro displays.

  21. Mitch says:

    Dude I want one in my rat rod .but no case just tubes sticking up out of the dash, like HUD .

  22. Cameron says:

    Can I buy one of these for my four cylinder car? Where can I find one of these or someone to do a build up? Seriously.

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