Make Your Own Retro Nixie Clock With an RTC!

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Introduction: Make Your Own Retro Nixie Clock With an RTC!

About: Awesome Electronics Tutorials, Projects and How To´s

In this project I will show you how to create a retro nixie clock. That means I will show you how you can control nixie tubes with a high voltage DC power supply and then I will combine 4 nixie tubes with an Arduino, a Real Time Clock (RTC) and a custom 3D printed enclosure in order to create the nixie clock. Let's get started!

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Step 1: Watch the Video!

The video gives you all the information you need to create your own retro nixie clock. During the next steps though I will present you some additional information.

Step 2: Get Your Components!

Here you can find a parts list with example seller (affiliate links):

Amazon.com:

4x IN-14 Nixie tube: https://amzn.to/2P2kNUr

4x K155ID1 Nixie tube driver: https://amzn.to/35hvV5i

1x LM7805 5V regulator: https://amzn.to/2E35vZo

1x Arduino Pro Mini: https://amzn.to/2SajbK6

1x DS1307 RTC: https://amzn.to/2YtNvAI

SMD Capacitors (1206 10uF, 100nF): https://amzn.to/2RzisSw

Male+Female Header: https://amzn.to/2YxJE5N

4x 10kΩ Resistor: https://amzn.to/2YB2BEr

1x 170V DC Supply: https://amzn.to/2P7Xclr

1x DC Input Jack: https://amzn.to/354Yt2b

Ebay:

4x IN-14 Nixie tube: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

4x K155ID1 Nixie tube driver: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x LM7805 5V regulator: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x Arduino Pro Mini: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x DS1307 RTC: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

SMD Capacitors (1206 10uF, 100nF): http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

Male+Female Header: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

4x 10kΩ Resistor: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x 170V DC Supply: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x DC Input Jack: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

Amazon.de:

4x IN-14 Nixie tube: https://amzn.to/342RTrt

4x K155ID1 Nixie tube driver: -

1x LM7805 5V regulator: https://amzn.to/2qB7iBL

1x Arduino Pro Mini: https://amzn.to/2LBpBy3

1x DS1307 RTC: https://amzn.to/2YAUrMy

SMD Capacitors (1206 10uF, 100nF): https://amzn.to/356UnGy

Male+Female Header: https://amzn.to/38nmZ0v

4x 10kΩ Resistor: https://amzn.to/33ZDpbS

1x 170V DC Supply: https://amzn.to/36l52NY

1x DC Input Jack: https://amzn.to/2qAbVvL

Step 3: Order Your PCBs!

Here you can download the Gerber files for the PCB that I created. Upload them through https://jlcpcb.com/quote#/ to order them.

Step 4: Solder the Components in Place!

Here you can find the schematic of the circuit along with reference pictures of my own assembled PCB. Feel free to use them in order to finish your own PCB.

Step 5: Upload the Code!

Here you can find the code for the clock. Upload it to the Arduino with the help of an FTDI breakout board.

Also you will need to download and include the following DS1307 library: https://github.com/MajicDesigns/MD_DS1307

Step 6: 3D Print the Enclosure and Assemble the Clock!

Here you can find the files for 3D Printing the enclosure along with reference pictures of the assembly of my clock.

Step 7: Success!

You did it! You just created your own retro nixie clock!

Feel free to check out my YouTube channel for more awesome projects: http://www.youtube.com/user/greatscottlab

You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for news about upcoming projects and behind the scenes information:

https://twitter.com/GreatScottLab

https://www.facebook.com/greatscottlab

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    19 Discussions

    0
    jensGS
    jensGS

    Tip 6 days ago

    I have made it!
    I use A6 for switches. 10k pullup on A6. One switch to GND. 2nd switch over 10k to GND. If Analog.read(A6) is >1000 no botton is pushed. If A6 <100 Botton1 is pushed. If A6>300 and A6<700 2nd Button is pushed.

    Nixie.jpg
    0
    jensGS
    jensGS

    Reply 6 days ago

    here the menu used:

    Uhr_Menu.png
    0
    jensGS
    jensGS

    Reply 2 days ago

    Now I have delete the RTC and use a external GPS Modul with a CR2032.
    This Modul has a bulidin RTC, if the smal supercap is powerd all time.
    From the GPS Modul goes the TX line over a 74hct08 (2.Input high, 3V3 -> 5V ) to the RX of the Pro Mini. I use TinyGPS++.h
    Add some tricks:
    If A1, B1, C1, D1 is high the nixie will blank. I add a AND-Gate, than I switch the 170V off (only 10V).
    I use the PPS (blick signal if GPS is fix) with a MPSA42 transitor to blick two dots in the display

    0
    jensGS
    jensGS

    Tip 2 days ago

    Idea: I have some PCB left. why not use it as a Nixie thermometer? Use a LM75 instad of the RTC. A IN-9A has a nice "°C" symbol. with three IN-14 I can display 2 3. 4 °C ...

    0
    Fabri91
    Fabri91

    5 days ago

    Made it too! I didn't quite have what was needed to make a 2710 Ohm pulldown resistor as specified in the video, so with a 3000 Ohm one there's a slight issue with the third tube displaying both a 2 and a 1 when a 2 is commanded, so that needs to be fixed. How did you compute this value, though? I also second the request for an updated PCB that would negate the need fot the "bodges" mentioned in the video.

    IMG_20200119_114036976.jpgIMG_20200118_222017671.jpg
    0
    jensGS
    jensGS

    Reply 2 days ago

    I have non Pullup Resistor on the digital pins. Only a pullup on A6 because I use it as a "analog" switch.

    0
    K is Awesome
    K is Awesome

    Question 10 days ago on Step 2

    Hello how do you program the rtc with the serial communications what format do i use

    0
    flufypanzer
    flufypanzer

    Question 5 weeks ago on Step 3

    Hi can you upload link to EasyEDA schematic because i would like to make such a clock on IN-12 lamps and i only nead to change them in schematic



    1
    Nesph
    Nesph

    Answer 5 weeks ago

    I'm pretty new to this, but you can actually make this with different lamps? I've found cheaper ones around (IN-16, IN-8, ...) and I was wondering how to fit this guide to those. What would you change in the schematic?

    1
    ronnievada
    ronnievada

    5 weeks ago

    Hi,

    Question,

    How do you set the time? Because there are no switches buttons.

    0
    jperry37058
    jperry37058

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    It is done with a RTC module ds3231

    0
    jensGS
    jensGS

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    May by better to use a GPS Modul and RX in to M328P to set the time automatic.
    I want to build this option soon, if the parts arrive...
    Also you can use a DFC77 Modul, pin A3 is not used in this projekt ...

    0
    Catalyzmu
    Catalyzmu

    Question 5 weeks ago on Step 5

    What FTDI breakout board did you use to upload the code?

    0
    jensGS
    jensGS

    5 weeks ago

    My be use a mega328PB. This IC can use A6 and A7 a an output and it have 2 IO-Pins more

    0
    Robear51
    Robear51

    5 weeks ago

    Wow.. very nice indeed. That could be my next project.

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    5 weeks ago

    Dang! That's a great looking clock :D

    7
    motorcross3973
    motorcross3973

    Question 5 weeks ago on Step 4

    Hey Scott, would it be possible to upload the gerber files with the *bugfix* you made in your youtube video, in which you changed the pins A6 and A7 on the arduino. Would be great so I could send it direkt to jlcpcb ;)
    Greettings motorcross