Hack Chat Transcript, Part 2

A event log for The Art of Nixies Hack Chat

Art under glass

Dan MaloneyDan Maloney 10/28/2020 at 20:270 Comments

Dalibor Farny1:10 PM
Recycling - that would be very hard to do considering we produce very small quantity of tubes and sell them all over the world. We use just few grams of mercury per year - such a small quantity is enough for us.

Kevin1:10 PM
There are similar issues with LEDs and CFLs, IIRC. One uses mercury and the other arsenic. Forget which uses which.

Dalibor Farny1:10 PM
CFLs uses Hg as well

Lightning Phil1:10 PM
Nixie tubes are much nicer than CLFs :)

Guru-san1:11 PM
@Dalibor Farny what gas mixture/ratio do you use in your tubes?

anfractuosity1:11 PM
sorry if this was already answered , how does mercury increase the lifespan out of interest?

Kevin1:11 PM
I'm not in to chemistry or physics so I don't know what it is about the toxic elements that make them so suitable for use in lighting devices.

Dalibor Farny1:11 PM
BTW - is there anyone who could point me to a lawyer or some organization that could confirm that we fall under that RoHS exemption? I tried several people/organizations, but no one was able to give me good answer..

Kevin1:13 PM
Interesting to hear people are still making and using Nixie tubes. I don't think I've seen a device that uses those types of tubes since I last saw them many years ago where they were used in a photocopier for the counter display.

Dalibor Farny1:13 PM
It is believed that the large and heavy molecule of mercury inhibits fast moving ions of neon, so their impact to the cathode doesnt cause a knock-off of the cathode metal so often as it would happen without mercury. From my observations, the Hg filled tube is much more stable also from the cathode poisoning point of view.. From what I tried without Hg, all the tests were pretty disappoiting

anfractuosity1:14 PM
very interesting, thanks!

Dalibor Farny1:14 PM
@Kevin yes, we need to create our own market because nixie tubes doesnt have any advantages over modern lighting sources.. They are just beautiful and alien, so we make beautiful and alien clocks out of them :-)

curiousmarc1:15 PM
That's advantage enough for me!

Dalibor Farny1:16 PM
@curiousmarc fortunately this advantage keeps our little business alive :-)

anfractuosity1:16 PM
could you make a lighting matrix using nixie technology? i'm not sure if that's been done before or not

Andy Pugh1:17 PM
Can you claim that your tubes are just really badly designed thermometers? (assuming that thermometers are still allowed to use mercury)

What, like an LED matrix panel, just with cathodes for dots?

Dalibor Farny1:17 PM
I believe a matrix displays were made with neon..

Jeff Gough joined the room.1:17 PM

anfractuosity1:17 PM
oh cool

Andy Pugh1:17 PM
Nixie-ASCII art?

Seven segment Nixies? Would be kind of like a Numitron, no?

Dalibor Farny1:19 PM
@Andy Pugh RoHS is about the actual application - where customers use it, not about for what it is designed.. So if they are used in clocks, we need to match the rules.. :-)

Dalibor Farny1:20 PM
Numitron is another example of alien technology.. Nowadays all displays look the same, but look at 60s - nixies, edge-lit, numitrons etc..

Jeff Gough1:20 PM
@Dalibor Farny hey Dalibor, can you tell us a bit about how you bootstrapped the business- investors/business loans etc to cover your research phase? Seems the small nixie market might scare off conventional angel investors

Dalibor Farny1:20 PM
Just like the 6-wheel formula 1 decased ago..

Dalibor Farny1:20 PM

anfractuosity1:21 PM
i've got an electroluminescent display matrix that i need to get working

Guru-san1:23 PM
@Dalibor Farny what penning mixture your R|Z568M have? I read 99% Neon and 1% argon, but unsure if that's actually used in nixies. Also have you tried to play with different mixtures to change the glow colour?