After having wanted to get into kit making for some time, I finaly decided to give it a go. This year, I had a few Nixie clocks on display at Trondheim Maker Faire, and later also at Oslo Skaperfestival. The clocks generated enough interest to justify a limited run of kits.

I am now offering a Nixie Clock kit in two versions.

  • A “Full kit” version that contains all necessary parts for the clock. This includes parts for an acrylic stand / enclosure, a Raspberry Pi Zero W with firmware and source code preloaded on an SD card, all electronic components, PCB, nixie tubes, nuts, bolts, spacers, wiring, tube pin sockets, a CE certified wall adapter and a preassembled nixie Lumos HV PSU along with a 19 page assembly manual. Only 6 Full Kits will be made. One of these will be kept for my personal kit collection.

  • A “PCB only” version containing the unpopulated PCB, a bill of materials and the same assembly instructions as in the full kit.

Enclosure design files and firmware for a clock application are available under Apache 2.0 license from https://github.com/hansj66/NixieKit. Go Play!

All components are of the through hole kind. The only slightly “exotic” components are the IN-12 tubes themselves and the K155ID1 high voltage BCD decoder. Both of which are readily available on eBay.

Kit versions.

This clock is eminently hackable. Since it is running Linux and has wi-fi, you can open a secure shell on it an play with the source code on the device. Why not make it into something completely different than a clock?

Are you running running a server somewhere? If so, why not reconfigure it as a traffic monitor? Are you tired of being dragged into endless meetings all day at work? Give it a web server and a REST API for setting the number of participants and their hourly rates and you have a really cool device that can calculate the running cost of any meeting in realtime. Maybe a countdown timer for an important event ? What is the most creative use you can imagine for six beautiful neon digits ?

Assembled nixie clock. Front view.
Assembled nixie clock. Rear view.

Pricing

  • Full kit: 2000 NOK (Only 5 of these will be made available).

  • PCB only kit: 300 NOK. All parts can be sourced from your local hardware store, DigiKey and eBay

Alternatives

This kit is my kit, and I am rather proud of it, but there are of course other alternatives out there. Elektor Magazine have designed a GPS synchronized Six Digit Nixie Clock kit, that is available for €149.95 + shipping and local taxes. A quick google search will also reveal that there are a gazillion hobbyists that are offering clocks and clock kits on eBay and Etsy.

PS. I’m not quite sure if the stockpiles of soviet era new old stock Gazotron and Dyatkovo nixie tubes are drying up or not, but the prices are on the rise and it seems that fewer and fewer sellers are offering nixie tubes in bulk volumes. eBay sellers of the large IN-18 tubes have demanded exorbitant prices for as long as I can remember, but fortunately some variants, like the popular IN-12s and IN-1s are still relatively cheap.

Happy hacking !