Nixie Tube Clock
Nixie tube clock with temperature and radiation metering.
Aren’t they beautiful? We are of course talking about nixie tubes (in some parts of the world called “digitrons”) – neon gas cold cathode tubes. This one is a little rather fun project. We always wanted to do something with nixie tubes and what else could one do than the all time classic – a clock. Since a clock on its own is a bit boring, we decided to add something extra. There is a temperature sensor, RGB LED backlight and, most importantly, a Geiger tube for radiation detection. From here it was just one small step to give it a crazy name and labels in Cyrillic :-).
10x numerical nixie tubes IN-12B
Digital temperature sensor
Geiger tube SBM-20
2x high voltage power supplies (180V and 400V)
Machined and laser engraved aluminium tube with end caps and feet
Time is shown in the middle in HH:MM:SS and 24h format. Two digits on the left show the ambient temperature in degrees Celsius and two digits on the right show the radiation. The tube can detect beta and gamma rays and there is a large opening in the back of the unit to expose the tube to the ambient space so the particles can be detected. There is only a thin Perspex layer that covers the front and back openings. The radiation value shown can be switched between total accumulated number of detected particles and one minute average. Under heavy radiation exposure the display range automatically changes to exponential, which is indicated by blinking of the indicator. Then the first digit is the base number and the second is the exponent. There is also a buzzer to make the appropriate tick sound when particle is detected.
Each nixie tube has a small RGB LED in its socket and the colour of the backlight is adjustable either manually or automatically every hour in a pre-programmed pattern.
The enclosure is machined from a thick aluminium tube with the end caps and feet. All these parts were then sandblasted and anodized to a shade of titanium colour. The labels and radiation symbols are laser engraved.