Web Interface Controls Nixie Tube Clock

We love our clocks around here and we love nixie tubes as well. The combination of the two almost seems to be a no-brainer. With the modern twist of an ESP8266, Reddit user [vladco] built a minimalist nixie tube clock.

The build starts with the nixie tubes, Russian In4s, each one mounted on its own small circuit board. Each board is chained together and they’re mounted on a wooden frame. The frame is mounted inside a nice wooden case which was designed in Fusion 360 and milled out of oak at a local hackerspace.

There are no controls on the case. No buttons or knobs. This clock is set via the EPS8266 which gets the time and updates the shift registers that set the numbers on each of the tubes. The clock dims at night so it’s not as bright. [vladco] wrote a web UI to set the time and interact with theĀ  tubes.

The code and files for the case and circuit board are available online. The result is a nice, minimalist clock for your desk. There are plenty of clock builds on the site, several built from nixie tubes, including another nixie tube clock with an ESP8266, and another.

via Reddit

12 thoughts on “Web Interface Controls Nixie Tube Clock

    1. What are you doing on a hacker website?
      I tried to raise you right!
      All these years, from when I first felt you stirring in my womb, and the hours of labor I went through, the late nights I stayed up when you were sick, all those times I’ve changed your diapers, and bathed you, all those meals I prepared and dishes I’ve washed, all the times I cleaned your room being careful not to mess with all your electronic parts and tools because I believed you were going to grow up to be a respectable engineer. All those times I stood up for you at teacher conferences, telling them that you weren’t being disruptive, but creative! All those times I bragged to my friends over tea how you’d grow up to be a world re-known scientist! All the homework I helped you with, all the clothes I washed…
      And this is the thanks a mother gets…
      (sob!)

  1. Trivial. It doesn’t use at least one framework, and depend on other servers and services.

    ie: to set the time, you should need an account on “myclock.com”, and you would need to supply your home address, and give it access to all your personal data. That way, the clock will automatically be set, based on your geographical location!

    Setting things manually is for the birds!

    Or , for a small monthly fee, it could get the time from an atomic clock, closest to your location, with the lowest latency, all for say $9.99/Mo, and granting unlimited access to your personal data and files, for reference and to improve the service!

    1. the article doesn’t do a very good job at explaining how it works, but that is basically how it works, connects to wifi gets time via ntp, displays time. The webui allows some basic management, like wifi network, times zone/dst/time server and some hardware settings

  2. It’s a good design with one potential pitfall. IN-4 tubes are widely believed to be mercury free, short life tubes. They have a specified life of only 1000 hours. While they are likely to last longer than that there’s certainly enough anecdote around to suggest they really are short life tubes. Anything with mercury will last many times longer.

    1. Thanks for the hint. The IN-4 was chose due to its low price and availability at the usual places so even if it dies after 1000h I can buy/find spares. I my searches for tubes I have also found the ZM1020 which physically looks the same as the IN-4, do you happen to know if its mercury free?

      1. I doubt they will die after 1000h as that should be the worst case. One user on the neonixie-l google group reported three failures over two years though in a clock though. I have a ZM1040 based clock with zero failures over a couple of decades. The ZM1020 is definitely a long life, mercury containing nixie. I have some and the mercury “giver” is visible from the bottom of the tube. If you want low cost then there is also the IN-12 which has a good reputation for reliability and longevity if you don’t mind the tube shape.

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