Nixie Clock Boards

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by magnet18, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. magnet18

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    I swear, I am NOT doing this again. Although I am glad that I switched to eagle, the auto-route makes the learning curve and re-doing the schematic 3 times worth it.

    Anywho, I attached the project file in the zip (.sch's, .brd's, and .pro's[whatever those are]), do the boards look good?

    If you were looking at it, would you be able to tell what parts go where?

    I Didn't give the HV as much room as I'd like, but I think it will do. I plan to have this made, assemble it, and run it for a few days and see if anything catches on fire or melts.

    Thanks for all the help guys!
  2. nerdegutta


    Dec 15, 2009
    Looks goods.

    Was it something like this you had in mind when you drew the boards?
    (I didn't have all the components in my PovRay library, and I didn't assign them a model. That's way some components aren't shown.)

    I think you have a power-connector named U$1 on the powerboard? I'm not sure but if so, I would name something else -> loosing the dollar sign.

    I've also noted that your traces have 90° and 45° bends. Why not stick to 45°?

    And one last thing... I think some of the transistors and resistors are a bit too close. Could be hard to solder.

    Looking forward to see pictures.
  3. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009
    Magnet18 can you take some screenshots of the PCB layout? I 'd like to see them but I 'm too lazy to install Eagle just for that. :p

  4. magnet18

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    @Nerdy, I'm planning on using smaller disc capacitors and I've done that layout of resistors and transistors before on perfboard and it wasn't to bad.
    And yes, I hid the odd names for the power supplies and they're labeled 9 & 12

    @georacer, sure, I attached them
  5. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009
    The rooting looks neat. Did you have to complete the routing by hand or the Eagle took care of all the connections at once?

    Did you print those already? Did you do it at home our sent them out for printing?

    Will those boards go side by side, right? Not on top of each other.
  6. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    I started looking at the Alarm schematic and board yesterday evening.
    It looks like when you were routing it that you had the grid set to some odd fraction, as the traces don't seem to line up on anything resembling a grid divisible by an even fraction of 100 mils? What did you use for the grid when routing?

    Anyway, Autoroute is fast, but stupid as shipped. It doesn't differentiate between power/ground planes and signals. It will loop traces all over the board in it's single-minded quest to join all of the named nodes together, whatever it takes. You can wind up with lots of extra length in the traces, which means added parasitics.

    I started moving some things around in the schematic (without breaking any connections) to make it more compact (it's nice to be able to print things out...) and to eliminate wire bends, but haven't managed to squeeze it within an 8.5x11 sheet.

    In the schematic, you need to keep in mind that the "+" displayed when you start off is the 0,0 reference point; you should try to keep that as your lower left corner. If you don't, attempts to print the schematic will result in multiple pages flying out of your printer. I learned this the hard way, as I did many things in Eagle. :rolleyes: I hadn't found the tutorials yet when I first started using it.

    One of the first things you want to do is to select one of the frames from Frames.lbr to give you a "boundary box"; drop it with the lower left corner on that "+" indicator, and it'll keep you in line - or at least give you a frame of reference (pun intended) as to what you'll need to do in order to get it printed.

    I'm attaching Alarm v2 sch.png so you can get an idea of what it looks like now.
    Note that I've used the Smash tool to free some of the text from components, as in the resistor networks; now you can clearly read the pin numbers, the part numbers and the values of resistance; before they were all piled on top of each other. To allow me to "fine tune" the location of the NAME and VALUE fields on the schematic, I temporarily set the grid spacing to 0.0125"; and immediately afterwards, I changed it back to 0.1". As I've mentioned before, if you don't keep it set to 0.1" in the schematic while moving parts around, your life can get very frustrating.

    I haven't cleaned up the text for the timers, etc - but you need to have them easily readable, or it will lead to confusion. [eta] You have R94 shown as 420 Ohms, which is not a standard E24 value. Use 430 Ohms instead.

    You really need to have at least reference designators (names) displayed on the boards, along with part numbers for the parts. You have the reference designators hidden or missing for a number of the ICs; this will make troubleshooting difficult for those who don't have access to the original Eagle files and a computer.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  7. magnet18

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    I used the eagle auto-route, which did it all at once (except the alarm board, on which I had to do 1 trace by hand.

    Haven't printed them yet, I'm going to send them out.

    The seconds/minutes/hours go next to each other, the other 2 will be mounted inside the clock.

    Yes, that was the only one where I had to mess with the grid size in auto-route, I think I used 35 :/

    Yes, but I doubt that anything I'm doing in this clock will be overly affected by that, none of this is that sensitive.

    Why thank you :)

    Thanks, I'll keep that in mind next time

    I usually set the alternate grid to a fine setting and then hold down alt to move things like names where I want them, and don't change the primary grid.

    Whoops, I just used the ohms law value, thanks, I'll change that

    Oh bother... I guess you're right...
    I started by removing the names on the transistor arrays and got a bit carried away...