There are very few constants in the world of home-made electronics. Things that you might have found on the bench of a mid-1960s engineer working with germanium PNP transistors just as much as you might find on the bench of one in 2017 working on 32-bit microcontrollers. One of these constants is the humble Altoids tin. The ubiquitous mint container is as handy a size for the transistor circuits of previous decades as it is for the highly integrated circuits of today, and has become something of a standard form factor.
One thing you might not expect in an Altoids tin though is a vacuum tube, even one protruding through the lid. [opeRaptor] though has done just that, though, with a very nicely executed design for a NIXIE clock in your favorite mint container. We’re writing this up as a Hackaday Prize entry so at this stage in the competition the boards are still in design for the prototype, but the difficult power supply to make 180 V DC from a single cell is already proven to work, as it the clock circuitry. The final clock will be a very compact device given the size of the tin, and will contain an ESP8266 board for wireless network connectivity.
For a project at this early stage, there is frustratingly little real work to go on aside from some renders, but there is at least a video showing the PSU working driving a NIXIE, which we’ve put below the break.
Surprisingly this isn’t the first Altoids tin clock we’ve brought you, there was this much more pocketable binary example.
13 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Obsolete Time Lite”
I’ve scored a couple of altoid tins from globe trotting relatives. but alas, the altoid form factor largely eludes the Australian constructor.
We used to have Strepsil throat lozenges in a similarly sized tin which made great cases but these have been replaced with cardboard boxes.
Jenny, your second sentence seems to be missing something .
In the U.S., it was the Sucrets tin, until the Altoids invasion.
“There are very few constants in the world of home-made electronics.”
Even the lowly bench has changed.
Thank you for writing about our hard work! The board has been sent out for manufacture, we should be assembling and testing very soon, stay tuned!
Congrats Pierre (and team)!
Have a look at the project page, the boards are assembled and working. Stay tuned for a lot more!
Will you guys get off the damn altoids tin bandwagon already. Geez. It gets very old. Like makezine showing how to make led throwies or learn to solder or another guide to the pretty colors on resistors. Urg.
Altoids and Arduino never were relevant to the projects, but they are necessary for the blog cred. Arduino now is pretty much out, only Altoids remain. Expecting an Altoids vs Altoids case.
We have a mint habit to sustain.
Really nice project, I’m also building one, originally with an arduino and I just started with the ESP8266. Would you mind sharing your code for the ESP8266 programming ? It would be a huge help, thanks !
I sort agree with the sentiment. Altoids is a horrible case idea and it needs to die the death it deserves… Like bell-bottom jeans and calling things “groovy”.
We don’t really have a position on the Altoids tin, but we do have one on the cool project. If someone brings us a cool project, we’ll write about it. Whether it’s in an Altoids tin, a Frosties box, or a carbon fibre-ceramic composite shell.
“One thing you might not expect in an Altoids tin though is a vacuum tube…”
I’m looking, but I’m not seeing any vacuum tubes.
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