Single Digit Numitron Clock


The above may look like a Nixie tube, but it’s a Numitron: the Nixie’s lower-voltage friend, and part of [pinomelean’s] single-digit Numitron clock. If you’re unfamiliar with Numitrons, we suggest you take a look at our post from a few years ago, which includes a helpful tutorial to catch you up to speed.

[pinomelean] built this little device to capture a steampunk-ish look on the cheap for a clock small enough to fit on a wrist. The build uses a PIC16F84A uC and a 4MHz crystal on a custom PCB. A small button on the side lets the wearer set the time. Similar to the Vibrating Timepiece from last month, the Numitron clock isn’t perfect, though it is more accurate: gaining only one minute every 3 days.

Check out the video after the break to see it being set and keeping track of the time. It may take a moment to understand how to read the clock, though. Each of the four LEDs indicates where the number in the Numitron tube belongs. The LEDs light in sequence from left to right, displaying the clock one digit at a time.

17 thoughts on “Single Digit Numitron Clock

  1. Not to knock the build but am I the only one that thinks that most Steampunkers are so far off the mark that one wonder why they call anything they do Steampunk?

    Tossing together a bunch of LEDs, a microcontroller and a PCB along with a numitron or even a nixie tube does not make Steampunk. And I bet someone will say that we still run steam so anything of recent vintage can be steampunk…. to that you don’t get it either.

    I’m just saying…

    1. What really amuses me is how many steampunk enthusiasts seem to have no conception of the actual history of the era they fawn over; as someone who enjoys reading about and understanding such history, I have found it to be an amazing period of human history which has been misunderstood while being well documented. There is really nothing in the steampunk genre that can compare to the reality of the Victorian/Edwardian era – socially or technologically – IMHO.

      1. I’m not a steampunk enthusiast but i think you are mistaking that group as enthusiastic historians of a certain era, when in reality they are enthusiasts of a certain look/feel of a fictitious version of that era. For the most part I don’t think they could care less about the actual history. It would be like you saying Flintstones fans are silly because they don’t know the history of the caveman, when the reality is, the two aren’t even closely related.

          1. Sooooo… what exactly WOULD make a USB stick “steampunk”?

            I agree that gluing on some gears doesn’t appeal to me either, but for one, people forget that this is fantasy, like science fiction. There are no ‘rules’ to it. Second, people criticize it but often can’t offer any better suggestions.

          2. The definition of steampunk is going to stay nebulous in a social setting where we talk about it. It may not be ambiguous to each individual with regard to their own opinion. I’m not sure the argument about pornography, or music, or art in general is any different. Its the individual viewer who defines it and there are lots of different viewers. We’re going to have differences and its best not to take those differences to seriously. It tends to hinder the creative process. If you don’t like what you see, stop looking and move on. If you do like it, encourage the artist.

      2. As it says it’s meant t be the a size for a wrist-clock I expect the steampunk theme would become apparent after the enclosure is done, because surely you don’t keep it on a wrist in this state.

  2. Nice, I like it. As for steampunk, well this could be steampunk as the incandescent light bulb is one of the more important inventions of the Victorian and this numitron tube is basically an 8 segment addressable light bulb, so I think this could qualify as steampunk.

      1. @Pinomelean – So very articulate, your parents must be proud. :-) Also anyone who doesn’t appreciate the coolness of a one digit clock just doesn’t get it. Its an “art” thing, hardly practical. With a particular piece of art and a particular viewer, he either gets it or he doesn’t. Apparently vonskippy doesn’t get it with this creation. Its no big deal. Try not to be so abusive.

  3. “gaining only one minute every 3 days.” The phrase makes me cringe a bit. The pendulum clock on my wall does a better job than that. Still, having a watch that is a bit fast or slow is ok if you want to enjoy tweaking it anyway. :-) Having to reset it and watching the beautiful glowing numbers fly by could be a real pleasure.

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