Great fun displaying my clocks at the Museum of Timekeeping Steampunk open day...Nice to see the clocks in amongst all those historical timepieces!
What are Nixie Clocks?
Nixie clocks are intriguing devices based on cold cathode display tubes which were the precursor of modern LED displays in all kinds of electronic equipment. They mainly date to the 1960`s, 70`s and 80`s - surviving longer in the Soviet Union where supplies of new tubes are still being discovered. Most widely used now in clock displays where the glowing amber digits and underlit glass tubes provide a spectacular display. Although they look similar to old radio valves there is no heat generated by these tubes. I`ve been building these clocks for a few years now. I love the challenge of mixing old and new technology - hours of work goes in to each one - finding a suitable case to restore and modify, machining and fitting parts, wiring etc. I usually base these clocks around the excellent kits by PV electronics which I have found to be well designed and reliable using modern microprocessor technology. The additional lighting effects are low voltage LED powered, and if possible I like to assign the original controls to new functions. Just about anything can be made into a nixie clock -only limited by your imagination! Unique and interesting conversation pieces - Passers-by have often knocked at the door asking to know more about them! Usually display time and also the date at the end of each minute, and many functions are easily user programmable. At the very least :-
- Hours, Minutes and Seconds display
- 12 or 24 hour modes
- Date display in either DD.MM.YY or MM.DD.YY format
- Alarm, with programmable snooze period
- Programmable date display each minute
- Attractive LED tube lighting
- Uses a Quartz Crystal Oscillator as the timebase
- Optional DCF / MSF / GPS synchronisation with status indicator LED
- Supercapacitor backup. Keeps time during short power outages
- Simple time setting using two buttons
- Programmable leading zero blanking
- Five programmable neon colon settings (Flashing AM/PM indication,
illuminated AM/PM indication, both flashing, both on, both off)
- Maintains time during setup mode, eg. When changing between
Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time
- Seconds can be reset to zero to precisely the set time
- Programmable night mode - blanked or dimmed display to save tubes
or prevent sleep disturbance
- Separate modes for colon neons during night mode
- Standard or fading change of digits
- ‘Slot Machine’ Cathode poisoning prevention routine
- All user preferences stored to non-volatile memory
***** Videos of most clocks in operation on individual clock pages
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I hope you enjoy looking at the clocks as much as I enjoy building them!
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