World Maker Faire was host to some incredible projects. Among the favorites was Nixie Rex [YouTube Link]. Nixie Rex is actually a Panaplex display, since it’s glow comes from 7 planer segments rather than 10 stacked wire digits. One thing that can’t be contested is the fact that Rex is BIG. Each digit is nearly 18 inches tall!
Nixie Rex was created by [Wayne Strattman]. Through his company Strattman Design, [Wayne] supplies lighting effects such as plasma globes and lightning tubes to the museums and corporations. Nixie Rex’s high voltage drive electronics were created by [Walker Chan], a PHD student at MIT. Believe it tor not the entire clock runs on an ATmega328P based Arduino. The digits are daisy chained from the arduino using common Ethernet cables and RJ45 connectors. A Sparkfun DS1307 based real-time clock module ensures the Arduino keeps accurate time.
[Wayne] and Rex were located in “The Dark Room” at Maker Faire, home to many LED and low light projects. The dim lighting certainly helped with the aesthetics, but it did make getting good photos of the clock difficult. Long time Hackaday tipster [Parker] graciously provided us with a size reference up above.
Click past the break to see a closeup of that awesome cathode glow, and a video of the Nixie Rex in action.
10 thoughts on “World’s Largest “Nixie” Clock At World Maker Faire”
Those are some impressively large “nixie” tubes. But they’re not as big as the ones they used to have in the Evoluon science museum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. They hung above the entrance and counted visitors, and they were about 3 meters / 9 feet high.
See http://www.dse.nl/~evoluon/index-e.html and click on “Evoluon Film” on the left, for a page that has a picture. There’s also a short film that shows what was there (the building still exist but it’s no longer a science museum), and shows how they work.
Oops, that did not come out right.
Copenhagen train station, ~8′ digits with segmented neon tubes: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-F_GJAm2PUkI/T2Xjzuh6p4I/AAAAAAAABbw/YmFSGvH3FvQ/s1600/IMG_6024.JPG
and London train station, ca. 1931, 3′ digits on steel belts:
Nice, but those Evoluon “nixies” were fake. They weren’t actually gas discharge tubes at all (unlike the tubes from this article), just made to look like them.
Actually, the nixie tubes at Evoluon are neon letters stacked made to look like nixie tubes.
There’s a small typo (planer should probably be planar)
At this point, are these not just Arduino controlled neon numbers?
Yes, but they’re big. Real big. BIG, even.
Damn! Evoluon would have been so neat to go to.
“Believe it tor not the entire clock runs on an ATmega328P based Arduino.”
That’s an odd statement. Is it somehow amazing that an Arduino is capable of performing the logic functions of a digital clock? This clock may have an unusual display and drivers, but neither places any additional demands on the MCU over driving a normal display.
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