An ARM powered low cost Nixie clock

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It's yet another Nixie clock. Plain and simple. But... it is cheap and uses components commonly available anywhere (well except the Nixies). No special Nixie drivers, no multiplexers, and no Arduinos either. Just an ARM micro with some transistors and other common components.

What can it do? Display time and temperature. Turns off and on automatically at some preset time so you don't have to turn it off when you go to sleep.

You can get the detailed bill of materials on github. But basically you will need:

  • 4 IN-1 Nixie tubes
  • STM32F051R4T6 ARM Micro
  • DHT22 temperature sensor if you want temperature display
  • 30 FMMTA42 transistors that are used to drive the Nixies - so no special Nixie drivers required
  • LM2937 3.3V voltage regulator
  • 555 timer
  • A bunch of other electronic components - resistors, caps, diodes, ...

You will also need a 9V power supply and a coin battery. And of course a way to manufacture the PCBs and a 3D printer to build the case (if you want).

Total cost of the project (with all of the materials, PCBs and everything else) should be around 120€ - with shipping included. Shipping costs are of course different from country to country but this should give you some basic ballpark figure.

Don't like how it looks with the IN-1 nixies used? You can use the PCB to drive almost any Nixie tube. So use the PCB as the driver board and wire your prefered Nixies in. You will of course need to change the 4 resistors in the middle for the correct ones based on the Nixies used. And that's really it. Everything else should stay the same.

  • 1
    Step 1

    Download the project from github

  • 2
    Step 2

    Manufacture the PCB at your favourite PCB fab (I recommend I've already included the gerbers so you don't even have to use eagle to export them - they are exported for use with elecrow so you may need to export them again if you want to manufacture them somewhere else.

  • 3
    Step 3

    Order the necessary parts listed in bill of materials (I recommend Farnell/Element 14). Nixies themselves can be bought at or somewhere else. Some of the things you probably already have or can be bought cheaper on ebay - like headers, power jacks, ...

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Thomas Flayols wrote 03/12/2018 at 06:50 point

Hi! I like your project, and love this tubes! Too bad they come with misalignment...

I'm using the same tubes, and to compensate for this angles I made a slot version of the footprint see here:

  Are you sure? yes | no

Andrej Rolih wrote 03/12/2018 at 07:08 point

I love the footprint. It's certainly a good idea. When I first designed this I did actually screw up the footprint a bit (I used a spacing that was slightly too small), but that's a different issue.

Though the misalignment never really bother me too much. But I know that it bothers some people.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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