Nixie Tube Clock

Always loved the look of a Nixie Tube Clock, (and I see it’s good enough for Wednesday Adams!) so I decided to make one myself. To speed things up I bought a cool pre-assembled nixie tube driver board. I have had these driver boards running for a while now and can recommended them! There is some good information¬†here on how to get started with the tubes, and recommendations for a high voltage supply.

I started with a nice block of rosewood, and proceeded to drill holes for the tubes and then hollow it out.

Next came assembling the electronics. Each tube required 6 connections to get it working. Five of the connections are actually common to all for boards, and it’s only the Chip Select (CS) pin that is individual. This still ended up being a mass of wires!

Next came some software. For the microcontroller I’ve been liking the ESP32 a lot lately, and a dev board can be picked up for less than $10. This allowed a connection to a NTP time server using the ESP’s WiFi connection, so I never have to set the time again!*

(* Except for daylight savings offsets – twice a year)

Combine the ESP32 with mongoose-os and all the hard bits are already done! Mongoose-OS handles the wifi connection, and NTP time updates. All I need to write was the SPI driver for the Nixie boards.

Here is my code on Github: nixie-clock code.

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