Building a WiFi enabled Nixie counter

wifi-nixie-counter

[Kevin Ballard] built this Nixie counter on the company dime. Tubes like this are getting more and more difficult to find since they’re no longer being manufactured. But when the Bossman hands you a corporate credit card those kinds of concerns take a back seat to your parts-shopping impulses. Start to finished this WiFi enabled counter took six weeks to build.

Connecting the board to the internet was very easy thanks to the Electric Imp that drives it. The difficult part comes in building a driver board and sockets for the tubes. We don’t see a lot of detail on how he’s generating the high voltage. But you can get a good feel for the tube connectors from the picture. He’s using an adapter PCB from Kosbo which breaks the tube pins out to two rows of 0.1″ pitch pin headers. The acrylic base has a port for each made of pin sockets spaced by a thick chunk of acrylic. Wiring harnesses wrap around the back side of the base to mate with the driver hardware. It’s programmed to count some type of company metric (it was funded by the corporation after all). They must be fairly successful because those numbers are flying by in the demo video.

[via Reddit]

13 thoughts on “Building a WiFi enabled Nixie counter

  1. This article is one of the few where you see the title go downstairs pick up a beer and peruse the article you just know you wont be disappointed.

    Great work.

  2. “It’s programmed to count some type of company metric…”

    I’m pretty sure those numbers are employees checking their Facebook pages.

  3. “The result is a real-time counter of global TellApart Ad Impressions”

    Is that not the metric you were looking for?

    1. Switching speed has no effect on a Nixie. But exceeding the cathode current limits will reduce the tube lifespan.

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