Nixie Tube Watch Anyone?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Crusader68, Dec 17, 2015.

  1. Crusader68

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2015
    Just bought 4 NL-5870s and they are a little to small for an aesthetically pleasing clock, so I'm planning on doing a watch.
    No where have I been able to locate any open-source nixie based watches. The closest I've come across is CathodeCorner's watch, which is like the originator of the nixie watch, were they show a schematic of their watch but it's in pdf form. I've used CAD software like, Eagle, but never on something this complex and since it's a pdf, and not a Eagle .sch file, it's not really usable ATM.
    Does anybody have a board that they've made for nixie watches? I'd be willing to compensate for a board or board files. I guess I could hire someone to turn that schematic into a proper format for production, but I would imagine it would be quite costly so I thought I'd check here first.
  2. AnalogKid

    Distinguished Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    Production? What are your market projections? Also, how about a link to the board and schematic you described?????????????

  3. Crusader68

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2015
    No market projections, I'm not interested in selling anything, plus the design isn't licensed for commercial reproduction. By production I just meant files that can be readily sent off for fab to one of the small batch PCB fab services, like OSHPark or DirtyPCBs.
    Schematic can be found here
    Overall I think this is a well done circuit but I would change a few things, make it more simple and fit into a smaller case.
  4. JohnInTX


    Jun 26, 2012
    I'm actually kind of charmed by the idea of a Nixie watch. My kids have Apple watches. I would love to roll up my sleeve, flip up the tubes and get the time, preferably accompanied by the soft whine of a HV flyback converter firing up for the tubes.
    Let me know if you need help with the PIC code..
    @Wendy has posted stuff on 3D printing on the forum - maybe for the case?
    Carry on!
  5. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    No problem with that. You draw a mechanical drawing and I'll translate it into a 3D drawing (they are basically the same). I tend to use SketchUp, but any CAD program that comes out with a .stl file will work.
  6. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
    I have some neon displays for clocks, some a bit small, they are flatter and use a 7 segment format in HH:mm format. would they be of any help?
  7. Crusader68

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2015
    I will definitely be interested in taking you up on that offer. I want to remove the adxl335 accelerometer that this code uses to activate the display in order to safe the battery life. I plan on adding a touch sensor/switch to trigger the display, to me it's much more simple and less prone to accidental activation.
    Plus I am thinking about doing away with the CR2 battery in favor of either a coin cell or a lithium polymer battery with a micro USB recharging feature. I'm just concerned with the reliability and safety of the LiPo batteries.
    I started trying to cobble together a board layout based off of the schematic above. I was using EagleCAD but none of the ICs are included in the "Components" library, so I've been trying out Upverter's layout program. The cool thing about Upverter is that if a component you want to use isn't among the pre-loaded parts, you send a copy of the datasheet to the "Concierge" and they will create the part symbol for you! My progress is quite slow going.
    This might sound like a dumb question but when you read s circuit schematic, is there any way to tell what size/packaging of each component? Or is it up to the individual to decide?
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  8. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012

    Funny you mention Apple and Nixie in the same post. I met the guy who made this watch for the Apple co-founder. "The Woz" doesn't wear no stinkin' Apple Watch!

    absf, SgtWookie and JohnInTX like this.
  9. Crusader68

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2015