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Author Topic: Nixie Tube (and a lot more) clock  (Read 2920 times)
Professor Damien Tremens
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« on: December 22, 2008, 02:54:25 am »

I can't read it, but wow....

http://www.jogis-roehrenbude.de/Leserbriefe/Bruegmann-Digital-Roehren-Clock/Digital-Roehrenuhr.htm

Anybody read German?
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elShoggotho
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2008, 02:57:20 am »

Looks like an annotated plan how to build a nixie tube clock. Dig out your soldering iron, you're gonna need it.

Basically that guy tried to prove that fifty years ago, a digital clock would have been an enormous technical effort. It's a digital clock completely based on thermionic valves.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2008, 03:04:53 am by elShoggotho » Logged
Hikaro Takayama
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2008, 03:23:05 am »

WOW, that's just beautiful!  A digital clock using almost completely thermionic technology..... I'd hate to see that guy's electrical bill, though!
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"It is by steam alone that I set my contraptions in motion.
It is by combustion of coal and boiling water that the engines acquire speed.
For protection, the eyes acquire goggles,
The goggles become a warning.
It is by steam alone that I set my contraptions in motion."
elShoggotho
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2008, 03:30:03 am »

The integral power supply has an unregulated output of 250 volts DC for the nixie tubes, which is regulated down to the various voltages needed by the other valves. It eats up to 400 mA. The bill's gonna be astronomic.
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Lord.Escher
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 11:45:04 am »

I recently found a ton of vintage electronics, they came from the Grumman and some of them were from the space program. I should post pics.
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Hikaro Takayama
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2008, 06:20:28 pm »

The integral power supply has an unregulated output of 250 volts DC for the nixie tubes, which is regulated down to the various voltages needed by the other valves. It eats up to 400 mA. The bill's gonna be astronomic.

That's pretty low power usage (100W) for a tube-based system (particularly one that uses THAT many tubes... Still, it would be like leaving the light on 24/7, or using 2.4 KWH of electricity per day (~72KWH/month).... A fairly significant increase in your electrical bill, but not as bad as I thought.
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 08:49:54 pm »

The integral power supply has an unregulated output of 250 volts DC for the nixie tubes, which is regulated down to the various voltages needed by the other valves. It eats up to 400 mA. The bill's gonna be astronomic.

That's pretty low power usage (100W) for a tube-based system (particularly one that uses THAT many tubes... Still, it would be like leaving the light on 24/7, or using 2.4 KWH of electricity per day (~72KWH/month).... A fairly significant increase in your electrical bill, but not as bad as I thought.

That's just the plate supply. The filament supply is 25A at 6.3V, adding another 157 watts.
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Hikaro Takayama
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2009, 03:51:59 am »

AHA!  I thought that the figure quoted by ElShoggotho seemed way low for the current draw in a Vacuum tube based system....  Dang, 275 Watts... That's a lot of power for a clock!
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Workshopshed
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2009, 08:20:04 am »

I'm not intending to dismiss the skill of the above builder but I did hear that it was possible to create a counting circuit with less valves, by using pentode valves rather than the triode based flipflops. There were different ways of designing things with valves hence directly duplicating modern transistor based circuits in valves is unlikely to have produced the most optimal of solutions. I wonder too if it might have been possible to use the Nixie tubes themselves as part of the counting circuitry rather than just displaying the output?

Here's an article that explains the different techniques around the 1930s, including Wynn-Williams' pentode based design from 1932.
http://www.archive.org/stream/electricalcounti030911mbp/electricalcounti030911mbp_djvu.txt

However, the fact that Herr Bruegmann managed to get this to work at all is an impressive feat for which he should be congratulated.
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2009, 05:54:39 pm »

I did hear that it was possible to create a counting circuit with less valves

It's possible to build a decade counter (one digit, 0..9) with four tubes, plus a Nixie tube. There were once plug-in modules like that, and you could cascade them to get a multi-digit counter. http://www.prc68.com/I/HPac4a.shtml 1960s technology.

Quote
... I wonder too if it might have been possible to use the Nixie tubes themselves as part of the counting circuitry rather than just displaying the output?


There's a special tube for that.

This is a Dekatron. http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/count.html There's a ring of 30 electrodes, facing the top of the tube (the viewing end).  The electrodes are connected into 3 groups, alternating in sequence. By energizing each of the three groups in sequence, with at least one always on, a glowing dot of ionized neon is moved round and round the circle. There's a "carry" electrode, so you can detect the transition from 9 to 0 and feed the next tube. 1940s technology. Old 1950s educational films on "atomic energy" often show these things being used in radiation counters.

The most striking thing about pre-IC technology is how hard it was to store a value. There just weren't any low-cost memory components, mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic.

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SteamPunk Glass
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2009, 06:17:23 pm »

Ah! Bliss! I have somewhere in storage an old nixie tube calculator that I used pretty much everyday until it suddenly stopped working. I always meant to get around to fixing it, but over a decade later and three moves of address and it's still in storage, I so must find that again and get it working. So much nicer to use than LED or LCD, decent size display and no squinting at displays when tired at one in the morning - they really are due a comeback!
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SPBrewer
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2010, 05:04:16 am »

Now to make it COMPLETELY home made, follow this link to learn how to make your own tubes at home:
Fabrication d'une lampe triode


                                    The Sky Pirate

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The Sky Pirate
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Captain Shipton Bellinger
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2010, 09:16:21 am »

... and that is the sort of craftsmanship I love to see!

Pity that the pictures were all in French and I had no idea what I was watching.  Wink

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Capt. Shipton Bellinger R.A.M.E. (rtd)

SPBrewer
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2010, 10:48:38 pm »

For the French Text try this:
http://babelfish.yahoo.com/

But as for the French pictures, I'm sorry but I can't help  you.

                                     The Sky Pirate

... and that is the sort of craftsmanship I love to see!

Pity that the pictures were all in French and I had no idea what I was watching.  Wink

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