Although they haven't been manufactured since the early 1990s, Nixie tubes have become popular again thanks to the warm glow and desire to mix older display technology with newer control systems. And doing so is easy with the Arduino platform, as demonstrated by Andrea Biffi.
Andrea has made a stunning Nixie tube clock, with some interesting design decisions that simplify connection to the Nixies which allows for easy tube replacement and also a neat magnified look. In essence the tubes are held in the centre of a wooden circular cutout, and jumper wires run to the pins instead of using cumbersome sockets.
The control is a custom PCB however this can be easily replicated with an Arduino or compatible, a real-time clock and some external nixie driver circuitry (such as 74141 shift registers).
The fina result is a clock that is not only accurate and wouldn't look out of place in any modern living room. For complete details, check out Andrea's project page. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.
The most important part of any clock or timer-based project is the inclusion of an accurate real-time clock IC. Here at Freetronics we have the Maxim DS3232 real-time clock IC module:
Apart from keeping accurate time for years due to the temperature-controlled oscillator and having a tiny coin-cell for backup, it is very simple to connect to your Arduino project. A driver library allows your program to easily set or read the time and date. Perfect for clock projects, dataloggers or anything that needs to know the date and time. Furthermore it contains a digital thermometer and 236 bytes of non-volatile memory to store user settings and other data. For more information, check out the module page here.