Just When You Thought There Was Nothing New In Nixie Clocks…

Nixie clocks have become such a staple in our community as to have become mundane. They’re pretty, but show us something new! It seems [Marcin Saj] has done just that with his offering, because with a bank of 18 IN-2 Nixie tubes he’s telling the time –  but in binary rather than the usual decimal.

The tubes are arranged in three banks of six, the upper registering hours, the middle minutes, and seconds on the lowest. Each one only uses two digits, as you might expect from a binary device they are 0 and 1. Behind is a large PCB with the Nixie sockets, and on the back of that in sockets are a pair of Nixie driver boards, a real-time clock module, temperature sensor module, PSU module, and either a Particle Photon or an Arduino Nano IoT.  This two-option set-up for the choice of dev board is unusual, and there is code for both of them in the GitHub repository.

The result is eye-catching and unusual, and certainly a departure from the usual Nixie digital clock. Hackaday readers are probably more likely than the average Joe or Jane to be able to read binary at a glance, watching it in action in the video below the break is an interesting exercise in testing one’s binary-aptitude.

Meanwhile if binary Nixies are too commonplace, how about binary neon lamps?

9 thoughts on “Just When You Thought There Was Nothing New In Nixie Clocks…

  1. When I was quite young my dad built a bicycle computer, using magnets bolted to spokes and a hall effect sensor. This was in about 1977. Nobody had seen such a thing before (and, three of his friends used the basic design to start a company called Veltec Pacer that built the first commercially available electronic bicycle speed/distance computer, about a year before Avocet came out with their initial version.) All of the later versions, Pacer and Avocet, used some sort of digital display, like normal people expect, but because it was easier to build, Dad made his with a binary readout with yellow LED’s, one byte for speed and another set for distance. So when I would ride his bike to school I’d be all “I have the world’s only bike computer” and people would be impressed… right up until the binary readout, at which point I’d go negative cool. Just a warning to would-be binary display enthusiasts.

    1. I did something similar with a calculator in the 80s. A magnet + reed switch was attached to the “=” button. To start it, you pressed “1 + +” then you ride the bike for a minute. Then you get off the bike, subtract one from the number on the calculator, then multiply by the circumfrence of the wheel*, then convert to kilometres per hour :-)

      *I was about 8 at the time. Can’t remember if i knew about pi or just measured the circumfrence with a tape measure.

  2. It looks really stylish but my concern would be that IN-2 tubes aren’t considered to be the long life (mercury containing) type and may not last. Only using two digits will also accelerate their demise. It will be interesting to see how often they need replacing. Great project regardless.

  3. to whom it may concerns
    i have a question about phone DC voltage from VOIP of 42DCV and my security panel required 50DCV how can i create a booster to the line
    many thanks
    Ben

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