Nixie Basics




About: 25 years old(god I feel old as shit), student. Hobbies include tinkering, getting my hands dirty/scarred, and trying not to kill/severely maim myself in the process.

Besides the basic soldering kit, I used the following:
1) Female Socket Breakaway Headers(the machined pin style, aka Swiss pin)
2) Pad-per-Hole perfboard(mine came from RadioShack)
3) 1.5mm Drill bit
4) Dremel

The pin headers I used are quite cheap, on eBay they are less that $1 for 100pins. When you first get them the pins are still inside of the molded plastic housing, I removed the plastic but you can leave it. (I don't have any photos of the removal of the pins, as I did this before I decided to make an instructable.)


Step 1: Attaching Pins to Board

The perf board that I used is pad-per-hole from Radio Shack. The body of the pins were approx 1.35mm which is larger than the holes on my board, so I used a 1.5mm drill bit with my dremel to open up the holes slightly. Be careful not to use too large of a bit, because you'll remove all the copper pad and have no way to solder the pins in the next step.

Step 2: Soldering and Plugging Wires Into Receptacles

I soldered each pin to its own pad. I marked the anode pins for my own reference, using a sharpie. The pitch of the perf board is slightly wider than the leads on the base of the plastic standoff/spacer, but after widening the holes in the earlier step the pitch is close enough even though my tube has fairly short leads. I had to use some needlenose pliers to assist in bend the wires into the correct pattern but it was still pretty easy.
When testing the pin headers, the wires seemed to be to narrow for the socket to grip well but with 14 sockets they collectively have enough grip to hold the tube pretty securely. I WOULD ADVISE YOU TO DEPEND ON THE SOCKETS TO HOLD AGAINST MUCH FORCE! But they held against gravity.

A further step that you might consider is cutting out the soldered socket, that way it could be used like a regular socket.



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    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    What is in the first picture? Where did the 14 pin socket you attached to the perfboard in Step 1 come from?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I keep having hiccups with organizing/editing this page, but to answer your question the long thin black thing is what the pin sockets look like before any modification. They usually come in length of 40 pins, and you snap off however many you need. If you were asking about the black plastic thing on the bottom of the tubes between then and the board, they are little spacers/standoffs that some tubes come with and some don't. It's not a "socket", the wires just pass through it. I believe the were originally just a way to support the tubes that have wire leads, so that the tubes don't get squished down if they get bumped(which might damage the tube or the wires). I added a photo of the plastic base, so you can see that the wires just pass thru. Hope that help!

    jean Perier

    3 years ago

    C'est aussi parfait pour reconstituer un circuit imprimé détérioré.