This is not a complete description with all the circuits, .stl files and predigest “how to” chi chi. This is only a collection of all information and links you will need to build such a clock. It is more a learning manuscript or a badly written manual. I have tried to keep it short but informative. Read the datasheets in the links a have collected, make a lot of handwritten notes! Write a date on it! Use a pencil and any peace of paper! Write down what you plan and what you did! I am sure that the PCB and code etc. is not perfect. Build your own punk clock!  Tuwat and h4ck the pl4net!


I decide to build a punk clock with all the beauties of electronic numbers. So there are different methods from using a slide with a matt screen over glowing plasma and semi conductors.

Following the different segments I have found:

An old projector from an organ. This is a real little projector with 12 little bulbs and 12 little slides with the numbers 0-9, a dot and some letters. The illuminated number is visible on a matt screen. I replace the classic bulbs with RGB rainbow LEDs, just for the effect. I think it is from the 1950th or 60th. And maybe the oldest segment. Thanks to [Bendixxx] for this gift!

A Nixie tube. Some years ago I have found an old counter from HP with a Nixie tube array. Six of them are in my first Nixie clock and the left over one is now in my circus clock. It is a  B-5750 from Burroughs Corporation Datasheet:

Then a Russian Numitron tube IV-8 from e-Bay as Old New Stock Part. Quite simple to control. The segments are just filaments with about 30mA. You can use this instead of an LED seven segment. Datasheet:  

This is my favourite unless it is a little complicated to run this jewel. An ITS1A Thyratron tube. Three different voltages and an unhandy protocol to generate a number plus the weird method to bring this little phosphorus filled segments with secondary electrons to glow.  Datasheet:  

A vacuum fluorescence seven segment tube is the next one. I choose an IV-8. Datasheet:

The last one in the clock is a LED dot seven segment unit with BCD encoder HP 5082-7300. I think this is the youngest in the team. Datasheet:

Power Supply:

This was the most intensive work, also to think about this and to combine some circuits, also the testing and controlling via oscilloscope. All the tubes need a lot of different voltages. The following voltages are used to drive the tubes:

  1. +5V for the common electronics like LEDs, IDS1416P and the Arduino Nano
  2. +45V for the ITS1A and for the vacuum fluorescence tube (Booster 1)
  3. +90V for the ITS1A (Booster 1)
  4. +150V for the Nixie tube (Booster 2)
  5. -270V for the ITS1A (Booster 1)

The main input is 12V over a switching power supply (wall wart). The 5V will be generated with a 7805 and some capacitors.

To generate the high voltage a simple boost converter basis was used like on the page from Ronald Dekker and Frans Schoofs. (Thanks a lot for this great page)

I changed the R4, R5 and R6 for generating different voltages. (Fig. 3) In a normal mode this circuit can produce about 300V without any voltage multiplier and changed resistors. I used this circuit a lot and it is really a good alternative to the fancy boost chip you can find on the market. The NE555 is cult.

Two of these boost converters generating the needed voltages in the circus clock. To multiply the voltage especially for...

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