Warm Tube Clock, Take 2


[Mure] wrote in to let us know he has put the finishing touches on the second iteration of his Warm Tube Nixie clock. We featured his original creation here last year, and while many things remain the same, he has still found a few things that he was able to improve on.

The first notable feature is the new real time clock. Instead of using a discrete crystal to keep time and a temperature sensor for compensation, he has opted to use a DS3231 RTC IC. It is far more accurate than the crystal, and it features a built-in temperature sensor as well. The alarm functionality has been simplified too, moving the controls into firmware rather than having to use a sliding switch to do so.

With the mainboard redesign, it would have been easy to leave behind the nixie “shields” he created for his first clock, but with a focus on interoperability, he chose to make this clock fully compatible with version one’s shields and vice versa.

While the changes aren’t groundbreaking, it’s nice to see a project like this undergo continued refinements. If you want to build a clone of this clock, [Mure] has made sure that all of the schematics and source code are available on his site.

Continue reading to see a brief video demo of the clock in action.


23 thoughts on “Warm Tube Clock, Take 2

  1. Ok I have a stupid question. I dont futz much with high voltage things. . .

    Can some one explain the blue hue at the bottom of the nixie tubes. Its perplexing me.

  2. WHY do people keep adding LEDs to nixie tubes?! I don’t understand this. They already light up, and what makes them cool is that they are vintagey and warm in their glow. So why add cold, modern, dare I say boring LEDs? It’s a fine build and all, I just don’t understand why people do this.

  3. I would leave the LED’s for indicators to show what is on the display, alarm, date, mode, etc. but not for general seconds. I think the neon colons do that just fine.

    BTW what is the life expectancy of Nixie tubes, and are they dimmable to a soft glow for a bedroom clock? My dad had a blue vacuum tube clock, and even on dim it was blinding to see in the dark.

  4. I saw the earlier iteration of this on HAD… nice progression.

    I love HAD, but so many of the questions/comments on this post could have been made redundant… had the question poster actually read the very short article. :-)

  5. Anyone know if there is a place where I can buy a kit or at least the PCB? I have a laser printer so I could make the boards but they are dual sided boards I think and that might not be the best for “My first etching” or even capable of being etched at home.

  6. @smithincanton, personally what I used to do(ok still do sone times) for double sided pcb’s just make both sides as single sided pcb’s and stick them together(I actualy use the through hole components to do that some times if it’s practical) ok so the board is a few millimetres thicker thank normal but if space isn’t too big an issue it’s a good work around. (as long as you get them the correct scales and line them up right)
    Looks like I’m off to the carboot sale Sunday if a see some tubes a may well give this a go my self. One can never have enough clocks… (my house may become BTTF-esc one day haha)

  7. Where would one go about finding some of these Nixie tubes if they wanted to try and make a clock? I love the look and glow these give off and would love to put one on my desk at work.

    Thanks in advance

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