Decatron stand-in

Think the swirling glow of a Decatron is cool but don’t want to deal with the voltage issues? [Osgeld] sidestepped the problem by developing a fake Decatron. Admiral Nelson (Captain Morgan’s cheaper cousin) provided the enclosure in the form of an airplane sized liquor bottle. The LEDs are common-something (not sure if it’s anode or cathode) so they end up being individually addressable through the mess of wires coming out the end. This will greatly simplify that kitchen timer we’ve been meaning to build. See the blinking lights go around and around after the break.


  1. Morten says:

    check the videos before posting maybe?

  2. osgeld says:

    common cathode

  3. Erik says:

    Video blocked due to the mafiaa.

    This might be cooler is the LEDs were at the base and extended up via (plexi)glass rods and frost the tips. Less mess, cleaner look, same effect. A beer bottle is a bit big, too – maybe a frosted film cap for a more authentic-ish tube size?

  4. osgeld says:

    also the video is blocked for “copyright” issues? OK anyway here is a link of the video hosted on my site

  5. hapah says:

    video got taken down.

  6. Erik says:

    Whoops, didn’t’ realize it was an airplane bottle!

    looks like Common Anode to me, the flat sides are facing out, btu n the underside the inside pins are all connected.
    And a single resistor for all those LEDs on the common?

  7. Nick says:

    hrmmm… Video blocked due to some copyrighting issues… Why can’t everybody just use Youtube instead of other dumb sites?

    Either way, great build.

  8. svofski says:

    @Nick: this time the dumb site in question is Youtube.

  9. osgeld says:

    This actually kind of pisses me off, who the heck is mahalo and why do they think my hand made object is their copyright

    PS: I didnt post this on youtube, I hate those sites and that is why I just originally posted it on my own host

  10. TJ says:

    Welcome to the scammers who are

  11. janin says:

    Yeah Mahalo is a scam site. The whole site is a huge heap of stolen content from other sites, and stuff to cheat search engines. They block newly popular videos very often to get people to know their name. Not the first time this happens to videos posted on hackaday.

    Anyway, nice idea. This whole coolness of decatron tubes is that they are a gas discharge counter, however … :)

  12. mjrippe says:

    Actually it’s spelled Dekatron…

  13. Paul Potter says:

    Nicely done.

  14. Mike says:

    I re-uploaded the video to YouTube. can suck it:

    Osgeld: Please let me know if you have a problem with me posting this video. I attempted to link to your site properly.

  15. osgeld says:

    no the link is cool but the is really a shit stain, I have left them about 2 dozen emails and 6 phone messages within the last hour or so and no one will even acknowledge I have

    you may want to drop these scamming leaches from your answers section, there’s nothing there that a decent forum system cant do anyway

  16. dana says:

    I suspect emailing is a waste of time, they already know they’re a scam site.

    What you should do (if you care) is file a DMCA counter-notification with YouTube.

    I’ve never done it, but YouTube has a help page here,

    Cool project idea, are you going to follow it up with a fake Dekatron clock or timer?

  17. Shadyman says:

    Mahalo is just a troll that’s citing everyone for copyright infringement as “advertising” for their site.

  18. glocky says:

    reminds me of the windows 7 wait cursor :)

  19. vic says:

    Osgeld, nice job replicating the look of the original tubes including the wires at the back, etc. Did you cut the bottle with a saw? I also like your “retro summer” idea.

    ps: we know about the scammers, let’s stop mentioning their name and making them any more publicity.

  20. osgeld says:

    yes I used a xacto razor saw, I suggest everyone have one (and they are cheap)

    also the retrochallenge is not my idea, check my block there is a link off to the side with nearly 30 people participating with various projects, if your interested check them out

  21. osgeld says:

    block heh I meant blog

  22. okay says:

    All this does not change the fact that this hack is just flashing leds. It’s like Arduino 101.

  23. Squirrel says:

    @osgeld “who the heck is mahalo”

    why don’t you mosey on over to and scroll down to the bottom?

    That said, I don’t like mahalo either

  24. glagnar says:

    i’ve seen claim copyright infringement on the stupidest crap. who the hell are these people and wtf is youtube doing honoring these obviously ridiculous requests for removal?

  25. DXR says:

    Use the counter claim system, they are committing a crime by posting a false DMCA.

  26. Whatnot says:

    Anybody know why the last few days my youtubes have the fullscreen button disabled half the time? (no I don’t use an account and it was not those hackers that hacked youtube messing up my cookies, and yes I use a viruskiller)
    I have flashcookies blocked but this is new.

    And while I’m at it, what’s with those sites who now have their normal navigation menus hosted on I mean really, that goes too far, I now HAVE to allow freaking google to track me to have basic functionality from normal sites, who signs up for that? Sometimes the internet really pisses me off -_-

  27. error404 says:


    They are obliged to honour the request due to the stupidity of the DMCA’s notice and takedown system. It is illegal to submit a fraudulent request, but since Mahalo is probably offshore, there’s no chance anything will ever happen to them.

  28. Tech B. says:

    We can take them down, if everyone hops on the wagon of DDoS.

  29. Joscience says:

    @osgeld: Nice build! As an aficionado of dekatrons, I definitely think you did an excellent solid state recreation. Anyone who says this isn’t a “hack” has likely never built a piece of hardware in their life and subsequently can’t appreciate the work involved in making something even relatively simple (a chain of LEDs) look neat and *professional*. You clearly took effort to get the details right: the size and shape of the “envelope” (mini-booze bottle was an inspired choice), the black Bakelite lookalike base, orangish-red LEDs to mimic neon, etc.

    So I’m curious, did you realize you were making it a “duodecatron” (base 12) instead of decatron (base 10)? Obviously when just being used as a visual display it doesn’t matter, but people might be interested to learn that dekatrons actually *did* something useful (counting) rather than just spin and look cool… ;-)

    @mjrippe: Dekatron is a specific brand name of decatrons, so yeah, you really have no idea what you’re talking about.

  30. Osgeld says:

    for the record mahalo’s address is in California

    in fact

    902 Colorado Avenue
    Santa Monica, CA 90401

    and yes that number works though its only voicemail to a ignored box

    please, let them know what you think :)

    meanwhile about getting anything done, I dont know since the youtube video was not posted by me, hopefully there will be talk of this tomorrow @ hackAday HQ, and I hope they do not choose to continue supporting them in the answers section

    @okay yea the led’s blink, what did you expect dancing? its not about making things blink its about building something out of garbage. (I cant believe I have to explain that on hack A day)

  31. Osgeld says:

    bullshit! they claimed I stole from them I better get a BIG ASS APOLOGY and if your in bed with these clowns I DEMAND my content to be removed

    all of it, post’s articles and anything in answers, I will not be trampled on by some shit stain wordpress forum just cause someone wanted to gain free advertising from my work

  32. Osgeld says:

    oh yea and apparently claim full copyright of it too

  33. DJ Charlie says:

    @Osgeld, I support you. Here’s hoping that you get that apology!

  34. Osgeld says:

    I am more worried about the ownership of the IP for anyone posting here, right now it seems that mahalo assumes full ownership on submission, I wont have that, unless they want to start cutting checks (haha)

  35. Regulus says:

    This is a cool hackery thing. It is better than many articles on hackaday.
    The discussion below is stupid and full of angry fools. It is rather worse than an article should inspire.

  36. Regulus says:

    Furthermore, the mix up is nothing more than mundane.
    The implication of my statement is that anyone saying otherwise is either trying to make a ruckus or living in a fantasy. It is not a big deal.

  37. Dave says:

    Understand your irritation, but a real apology would have been classy. Your apology was not.

    • Caleb Kraft says:

      You know what? youre right.

      Osgeld, Sorry your video was temporarily taken down. I sent emails up the chain till it was resolved. It was a simple misunderstanding of an automated system. Pretty silly too, since I think it was filtering stuff that linked to hackaday (even though it was our official account).

  38. ThrashWolf says:

    Stay classy HackADay.

  39. Osgeld says:

    that is the point though, its my video, and none of mahalos business where I post MY video or who I give permission to

    oops doesnt cover it

  40. Osgeld says:

    I want a formal apology in my email by “someone” representative of your parents company and a clear statement of what rights I reserve for using their services

    where I stand now I was asked if it was OK to be posted on youtube by hack a day staff, nearly 2 hours before I responded it not only had been done but claimed copyright ownership by your parent company

    forgive me for blowing the issue up, but thats a nice kick in the balls

  41. Anarc says:

    Meanwhile, back at this mind-numbingly trivial build…

  42. Osgeld says:

    do better anarc, then post it here so that instant ownership of the entire thing is automatically assumed to be property of

    till then stfu please

  43. Icarus says:

    I’m surprised no one mentionned Osgeld-punk yet

    pretty neat build

  44. If you wanted to improve the dekatroness, I would fit one or two 74xx TTL gates in there to have a counter and a decoder inside it such that you only need to pulse a single guide “cathode” to have it count. One solution would need a divide by ten counter and a 4-to-16 decoder… Nice build, otherwise.

  45. erik says:

    “Mahalo is our parent company sortof”
    What do you mean by that exactly? I cannot find any link between and other than that appears to be run by them.

    A little digging turns up the Mahalo TOS which notes that “By submitting any Content to the Site, you agree to grant Mahalo and its users permission to access and use your Content… you hereby grant to Mahalo a non-exclusive, worldwide, assignable, sub-licensable, royalty-free license to publish, use, reproduce, distribute, transmit, adapt, modify, create derivative of, provide user access to, publicly perform and publicly display, in every manner and medium now or hereafter known, any and all Content (in whole or in part) solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted…”
    Does this imply that any content we submit to is owned by Mahalo Inc?

    I am also confused why Mahalo would go to the effort to file a DMCA takedown notice for a piece of material they do not claim exclusive ownership over (“…you hereby grant to Mahalo a non-exclusive…”). They have enough time to file a false DMCA takedown request but not to respond to e-mails or phone calls from the content producer?

  46. nicco says:

    i know next to nothing about dekatrons. that being said, this thing you made looks pretty bitchin’.

    about the mahalo thing… no offense to anybody, but caleb didn’t exactly do anything that he should apologize for, did he? when he found out about the error, he did his part to rectify the situation. giving him shit for what his parent company did is like yelling at the best buy guy for a crappy sony product. sort of. totally agree that osgeld should be compensated for mahalo’s actions, though.

    anyways, that dekatron thing is still purty to look at.

  47. You know what would be cool? To make this 170V compatible :)

  48. Reggie says:

    I’d say that anything directed at caleb is because his parent company is hiding behind him by not engaging with the people who’s content they want rights to, so he’s the conduit for any communications with mahalo and shouldn’t take it personally as he is effectively acting as their reprasentative in at least this post.

    and then hex/decatron looks cool.

    • Caleb Kraft says:

      I’ve apologized to Osgeld for the youtube filter shutting down the video for a short while. There isn’t anything else to do.

      This isn’t going to keep being a flamewar about mahalo. Though we are connected through the owner of both, we operate fairly independently.

      there was a mistake, it was remedied, I apologized.

  49. Mike says:

    (I reposted the video on YouTube)

    @Osgeld: Just so there’s no misunderstanding, I am only a Hackaday reader, not staff. I just wanted you to be able to show your project, but if you can post it or don’t want it up on my account, I’ll take it down.

  50. osgeld says:

    as per my email last night you have no terms of service here, therefore it defaults to mahalo tos which clearly states anything published on a mahalo network site becomes their property

    99% sure and fairly independently mean nothing when it comes down to it, be sure, be independent, or post a TOS we can see and hold you to

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