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Build Yourself a Nixie Tube Clock

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You can build an old-fashioned Nixie tube clock by yourself. In this slide I introduce all the challenges and how I overcome them. I also publish all my design on website easyEDA and Github, you can use the design freely if you want to build your own one.

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Build Yourself a Nixie Tube Clock

  1. 1. Build Yourself a Nixie Tube Clock 李祐棠 YODALEE <LC85301@GMAIL.COM> COSCUP 2019 1
  2. 2. About Me  Yodalee <lc85301@gmail.com>  Study EE in college, Microwave in graduate school, now rookie engineer in Synopsys. 2 Github: yodalee Blogger: http://yodalee.blogspot.tw
  3. 3. Why I Make This 2011 animation Steins;Gate 3 2018 animation Steins;Gate 0 The real reason:
  4. 4. Nixie Tube 4 Nixie Tube LED 7 Segment Display Used in 1955 - 1970 1970 - present Drive voltage 180 V 3 V Drive current 0.3 - 2.5 mA 10 mA Others Fragile Robust Cathode Anode
  5. 5. Nixie Tubes Revival 5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixie_tube#/media/File:Nixie_Wozniak.jpg Nixie Watch Nixie ClockPortal 2
  6. 6. Challenges 1. Where to buy it? 2. How to get 180V power? 3. How to control it? 4. How to make custom PCB? 6
  7. 7. Challenge 1 : Where to Buy It  Ebay: IN-14 Used: USD 5 / pcs, New: USD 12 / pcs  Totally new from Dalibor Farny: USD 145 / pcs 7
  8. 8. Challenges 2: High Voltage Circuit  DC Boost Converter: from 12V to 180V.  Make your own or buy one.  Control chip: MC34063.  Switch MOS: IRF840  Inductor: 100uH coil (important!)  Voltage Divider: 511k / 3.3k + 2k variable Control range: 120 ~ 193 V 8 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/Boost_circuit_2.png
  9. 9. Challenges 2: High Voltage Circuit 9
  10. 10. Challenges 2: High Voltage Circuit 10  How do you control 180V current Solution Disadvantage K155ID1 high voltage driver IC Difficult to buy TLP521 Photocoupler VCEO = 50V MPSA42/92 NPN/PNP transistor
  11. 11. Challenges 3: Controller 11  RTC: DS1307  12V to 5V: 78M05  Decoder: 74HC238, 74CD4514  Controller: Atmega328p
  12. 12. Challenges 3: Controller 12  In the good old days, we write our bare metal program.  Nowadays, we have Arduino.  Write Arduino bootloader to Atmega328p chip.  https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/ArduinoToBreadboard  Configure to use internal 1MHz clock.  Program with serial TX/RX pin
  13. 13. Challenges 4: Custom PCB 14  Layout with EasyEDA: https://easyeda.com  Fabrication with JetPCB: http://tw.jetpcb.com/ V1.01 Size 26.4 cm x 10.4 cm
  14. 14. Challenges 4: Custom PCB  Software Choice: Protel, Altium (proprietary), EasyEDA, Eagle (need register), Kicad (free)  EasyEDA advantage:  Component/Layout are shared, easy to import other’s component.  EasyEDA disadvantage:  Lag when edit a lot of components  Some function are difficult to use 15
  15. 15. EasyEDA 16
  16. 16. EasyEDA 17
  17. 17. EasyEDA 18
  18. 18. EasyEDA 19  Signal line width: 0.4mm  Power line width: 1.0 ~ 1.2 mm
  19. 19. EasyEDA 1. Draw schematic 2. Convert to layout 3. Draw layout 4. Place copper layer Easy right? 20
  20. 20. Nixie Tube 21  Current limiting resistor: 22K for digit, 75k for dot  Buy nixie tube base => Difficult to buy. Use single IC socket as base
  21. 21. Programming  Control DS1307 using Arduino Library  https://playground.arduino.cc/Code/Time  Write my own function to read/write 56 bytes NVRam on DS1307 to store information.  Do not light up single digit constantly. Cathode poisoning on other cathode. 22 // core code fun updateTube: for each tube: update Tube // 74HC238 update number // 74CD4514 delay(2);
  22. 22. v1.02 23 V1.02 (photo by HeiHei), shrink size to 26 cm x 8 cm  Progress so far: it can light up tube.
  23. 23. V2.0 24 • Split PCB to nixie tube PCB and control PCB • New high voltage circuit http://www.nixieclock.org/?p=1454 • Use SMT component. • Replace DS1307 with DS3231 No schedule right now
  24. 24. Open Resource  Note: https://yodalee.blogspot.com/2018/10/nixie-clock0- introduction.html  Source code: https://github.com/yodalee/NixieClock  V1.01 Schematic and Layout: https://easyeda.com/lc85301/nixieclock  V1.02 Schematic and Layout: https://easyeda.com/lc85301/nixieclock_v1-02 25
  25. 25. Reference 1. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixie_tube 2. Tube-Tester: http://www.tube-tester.com/ 3. 復古咖啡 (Closed) 4. 工作狂人 26
  26. 26. Thank You for Listening EL PSY CONGROO 27

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