Nixie Inspired 7 Segment Display

The supply of Nixie tubes from east European stock piles is still enough to keep their prices down. But once those start dwindling, prices will move north. Besides, if you want to use them, you need to work with high voltage supplies and worry about not getting zapped while trying to debug a circuit. [FilleK] had some time to spare and decided to build a cheaper substitute for a real nixie tube using a regular 7 segment LED display.

We have already seen this hack before, in the Arduino-based ENIGMA replica. But [FilleK] improved on that by adding an extra LED to simulate the radiant glow typical of Nixie tubes. His project log describes the fairly straightforward process using parts that can be found easily. A piece of plastic, painted in a shade of copper and fixed around the 7 segment display, acts as a nice baffle to contain and reflect the ambient glow of the back-light LED. A nice improvement would be to add a random flicker to the background LED. Maybe add an Octal socket (the decimal point had to be nixed though!), and cap it in a proper glass tube. If you’d rather work with the real McCoy, check out our archives.

15 thoughts on “Nixie Inspired 7 Segment Display

  1. Being a nixie collector/hoarder/lover myself I must admin that these “fake-nixies” actually doesn’t look thad bad at all. They might even be acceptable in some situations with a less picky public. But it’s kinda hard to tell from photos, need to see them in real life….

  2. Interesting! I think I would fake it with a vacuum formed “glass tube” – with some thin plastic. And yes, a little flicker would fool anyone that’s not a crazy person like most of us!

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