About this project
This project uses retro technology for a cool looking clock. Nixie tubes were used in the 1950's, 1960's and early 1970's. The goal of my project is help our generation not only understand how far we have come with technology, but also to appreciate the beauty of previous designs.
Special Thanks to ...
Peggy Budai (my wife) for helping with the video and putting up with all my electrical and chemical mess around the entire house.
Jamie, Kylee and Sarah (my daughters) for helping me clean up my lab area so I had a clean place to do experiments.
Kerry, my friend, for doing all the woodworking on the prototype clocks. << Sorry I took credit that in the video. >>
I am thinking about making the top in solid copper instead of wood. I will be in contact with all people that are donating enough to get a completed clock. I can produce both the wooden top and copper if there is enough interest in both.
Risks and challenges
The design is proven to work well but the sustainability of the project may be limited due to the limited supply of nixie tubes. That being said there are currently enough tube available for me to complete a few hundred clocks.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
They do not burn out like a light bulb, but they will not last forever either.
A common light bulb creates light and heat with 20 to 100 Watts of energy. The nixie tube does not require very much energy to operate, they only require about 0.5 Watts of energy. The tube does not get hot. It produces an orange glow by activating the neon gas within the tube, not with a great deal of energy being pumped through a small filament like a light bulb does.
I would expect these tubes to be good for 3 to 10 years or more. Nixie tubes were designed to provide a long life, I have worked with old test equipment that is over 40 years old and their nixie tubes were functioning fine..
They can become dimmer, but the most common failure is parts of one or more digit will not fully glow because of contamination inside the tube. This contamination is call "poisoning" and usually can be reversed with a little effort.
Another failure mode is contamination inside the tube causing two digits to turn on at the same time. In many cases this can also be reversed.
If a backer pledged for the raw pcb board, What is the estimated cost of the rest of the components required to build a complete working board including tubes?
I estimate all the components except the tubes will cost about $65. The tubes will cost $5 to $10 each and you need 6 tubes. The $5 tubes would be used, but I highly recommend new old stock tubes which are between $8 and $10 each.
This clock uses IN14 tubes. The digits are about 0.7" (18 mm) tall. The tubes are about 2" (54 mm) tall and have a diameter of about 0.75" (19mm).
Yes, it supports both 12 hour (as shown in the video and photos) and 24 hour. The user can select which time format they prefer. I will set the default format for all USA clocks to 12 hour and all international shipments to 24 hour clock. They user may change these default setting at anytime.
Yes. It will come with a universal ACDC power supply that will operate from 100 to 240 VAC.
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- (30 days)