Driver Board Makes Nixie Projects Easier Than Ever

We know, we know — yet another Nixie clock. But really, this one has a neat trick: an easy to use, feature packed driver for Nixies that makes good-looking projects a snap.

As cool as Nixies are — we’ll admit that to a certain degree, familiarity breeds contempt — they can be tricky to integrate. [dekuNukem] notes that aside from the high voltages, laying hands on vintage driver chips like the 7441 can be challenging and expensive. The problem was solved with about $3 worth of parts, including an STM32 microcontroller and some high-voltage transistors. The PCBs come in two flavors, one for the IN-12 and one for the IN-14, and connections for the SPI interface and both high- and low-voltage supplies are brought out to header pins. That makes the module easy to plug into a motherboard or riser card. The driver supports overdriving to accommodate poisoned cathodes, 127 brightness levels for smooth dimming, and a fully adjustable RBG backlight under the tube. See the boards in action in the video below, which features a nicely styled, high-accuracy clock.

From Nixie tachs to Nixie IoT clocks, [dekuNukem]’s boards should make creative Nixie projects even easier. But if you’re trying to drive a Nixie Darth Vader, you’re probably on your own.

13 thoughts on “Driver Board Makes Nixie Projects Easier Than Ever

      1. Those aren’t the only types. I love to build, learn, and try, but I don’t always like to do that for absolutely every part of a project. I understand how to drive Nixie tubes and I could make a driver myself, but if there’s a good ready-made solution to do it, why should I waste my time on NIH syndrome?

        That said, KAN is right, the high voltage traces on these boards run very close to ground planes and stuff, so at least a revision of these boards might be a good idea.

  1. Interesting implementation, one thing i don’t like is that the SPI implementation is not daisy chain-able, each module will need its own CS line, but i guess since you already have access to the code you can rewrite it to basically make ‘595 on steroids :)

    Also the math for the “cathode” resistor seems to be wrong and the power rating for the 0805 resistor used for current limiting is a bit too close to the limit.

Leave a Reply to Vlad Conut Cancel reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.