A Russian Bargraph-Nixie-tube shows similar like in the good old time a mercury thermometer the room-temperature with a variable glow hight lenght; however with NixieTherm RGB you have a wonderful red-orange glow. At the same time six high quality 3528 SMD-LEDs, together with a true RGB controller with selectable colour pattern, give a never ending play of million different colours.
This is NixieTherm RGB - The Original, first published in 2011
It is the eye-catcher par excellence – at your home, your office or as a very specially gift idea for Birthdays or Christmas.
Oh, what are "Nixie-tubes"?
The word "Nixie" was formed from the words Numeric Indicator eXerimental No. 1 and first introduced 1954 by Burroughs Corporation from USA as a brand name for numeric displays. Nixie tubes were used until the mid of the 1970's as numeric displays in measuring devices, calculators, TV sets and the very first computers. The evolution of modern style display types like Numitron, VFD, Light Emitting Diodes and Liquid Crystal Displays, which have a very low supply voltage (battery power supply) eliminated these Nixie tubes from the market, and they are not produced anymore. In the former USSR Nixie tubes were produced as surplus in vast quantities until the beginning of the 90's – and from this sources is this tube. But even these supplies are now running short. And when they're gone, they're gone. The tube is taken from "NOS", what means New Old Stock. They were never used before and spent their first thirty or more years forgotten in some Russian warehouse. The principle of the Nixie tubes is based on cold cathode discharge and it is used today a million times e.g. in small neon bulbs of illuminated mains power switches.
The Bargraph tube in the NixieTherm RGB is a special Russian construction of such a neon bulb, it can produce a current depending variable glow hight lenght when a current regulated voltage of around 140 VDC is applied.
Often I was asked: "What is the lifespan of a Nixie tube" and than there is a simple answer: "Have a look at your illuminated power switch of the multiple outlet strip. How many years does this small neon bulb lights continously without any aging issues?"
Only analoge technique is used
The temperature display electronics runs without any processor or other digital circuity.
Power supply via USB
Power consumption is as less as NixieTherm RGB can powered up from a simple USB port. No driver needs to be installed. NixieTherm RGB only "catches" the supplied voltage. As an alternative, NixieTherm can be powered from a standard Mini-USB charger.
Low power consumption and self heating
25...300 mA @ 5VDC depending on the lenght of the glow coloumn and the RGB LED brightness thanks to the high efficiency voltage converter in the HV supply.
High accuracy with the expensive Texas LM35DZ temperature sensor
+/- 0.5°C (+/- 1°F)
Displayed temperature range
14...35°C / 58...95°F can be easy adjusted with a slotted screwdriver
Fully smoothed display
Stepless and in realtime
Build-in true RGB controller
with a lot of selectable colour sequences, operates by pushing a simple button
The electronic kit:
You get a complete electronic and mechanic DIY kit – and complete means complete:
• All electronic parts + PCB with assembled and soldered SMD parts
• Tested IN-13 Nixie bargraph tube (also available w/o tube)
• All mechanical hardware and enclosure parts
Thanks to the SMD pre-assembly and soldering only a small handful of through hole parts (and a few "big sized" SMD components) needs to be fitted and soldered by hand.
Optional assembed and tested version
If you don't have enough soldering or electronic skills, you can also get a fully working NixieTherm RGB together with an USB power supply with EU / UK or US mains.
The SMD preassembled board - please note that this is a fully hand soldered prototype; you'll get a machine assembled and soldered board.
The bag with the through hole components for hand soldering and mechanics
What you'll need for the DIY kit
- Around 2 hrs of your evening time with no hurry
- A clear, well-lit area in which to work
- Soldering station with fine tip and fine electronic solder
- Multimeter to check and adjust the generated voltages
- Electronic tools
- TX10 (Torx), PH1/2 and small slotted screwdriver
- Download of the assembly manual from www.Nixiekits.eu
- Enjoyment of your work of course
- And last but not least a simple USB port on your PC or a Mini USB charger to power up the NixieTherm RGB.
The programed RGB pattern
Improvements compared to the former NixieTherm SMD
- PIC processor based true RGB controller with pre-assembled LEDs. The colour sequences can be stopped at every desired colour by pushing a simple button instead of continuously colour changing LEDs in the former SMD version as many customers from the former version don't want to have a "light organ" but a constant colour for the scale.
- More brightness of the RGB LEDs compared to the SMD version.
- Fully satuated colours possibe (incl. true yellow).
- The calibration potentiometer can be easy accessed without demouting the top cover.
- Bigger sized through hole potentiometers instead of very tiny SMT versions.
- Higher accuracy because of optimized circuity design and less self heating.
- Expanded scale to 35°C or 95°F temperature range.
- And last but not least we could keep the price at the same value as the SMD version.
See here the comparement: Left: NixieTherm RGB • right: The former NixieTherm SMD
Photo of the very first NixieTherm version in middle of 2011
and here is the PDF for design protection from 13th June 2011
Customizing the NixieTherm RGB
When ordering at least five kits / assembled versions we can make a modification of the scale engraving and / or enclosure colours for free. See here an example:
for availabe colours have here a look. Please mail to: Mr.Nixie@Nixiekits.eu
Risks and challenges
The Story behind NixieTherm
The first version of the NixieTherm was introduced in 2011.
In the meantime more than 950 devices has been sold.
After launching the NixieTherm SMD in 2018 on Kickstarter with successful crowdfounding, the remaining batch is now nearly sold out. So a new version needs to be created which considers many wished from the customers. This new PCB batch with build-in RGB controller needs to be ordered (and pre-financed for sure) with nearly fully SMD pre-assembled and soldered parts - and of course, a new enclosure design was created and needs also be ordered.
Fully hand made prototypes are working perfect, as you see in the photos / video.
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
In the meantime there are a lot of cheap copies - specially from Lithuania, Ukraine and - with faked accounts now also from Italy - on the market, but they have never reached the top quality of the German original Mr.Nixie's NixieTherm.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)