Finished IN-16 nixie tube email counter

Posted on 17 Oct 2010 23:26

nixie_monitor.JPG

This nixie tube counter displays the count of my gmail inbox. For a sense of scale, the counter is mounted on top of a 22 inch computer monitor, attached by a velcro strip.

nixie_finished.JPG

The top of the case is a little scratched from the build process, so I'll make another one soon (I have about ~100 such cases).

nixie_circuit.JPG

The module on the left is a $2 PL2303 USB serial adapter from ebay, which supplies both 5V power and instructions from the computer. The module on the right is the high-voltage anode driver for the nixie. The chip in front is an Atmel AVR attiny2313. The nixie tube is a Soviet IN-16, brand new from old stock. The cathode driver for the nixie is a Soviet K155ID1 (74141 clone) and is mounted underneath the tube.


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Nixie counter v1

Posted on 05 Sep 2010 20:35

nixie_counter_v1.jpeg

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nixie counter progress

Posted on 02 Sep 2010 05:38

I returned from traveling to find all of the parts I need to complete my nixie counter project had been delivered. So, I connected the tube to my new Russian 74141 nixie driver clone, which really is a handy part, as it's hardly more than a set of high-voltage NPN transistors in a DIP package. Then, I hooked up a microcontroller, an ATtiny2313 to…control it. I picked the 2313 because of the hardware UART, and it has enough IO pins to drive the 74141, drive a couple of extra NPNs for the decimal point elements, do serial communication, and PWM the boost converter.

From here, I'll finish the project in three phases:

  1. A fully functional breadboard circuit, using the nixie power module I got from John Taylor.
  2. Same breadboard circuit, using PWM boost converter.
  3. PCB circuit and finished aluminum case.

Next up is the comms interface for (1) and the software to feed it my inbox count.


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ebay bonanza

Posted on 22 Aug 2010 03:06

desktop.JPG

My Ikea rack project is coming along decently. The rack itself is finished, and I am now working on panels for my spectrum analyzer and bench power supply. These will look very cool when they are done, but it is taking time to work through the right materials and fabrication technique.

in16.jpg

The real news today was the arrival of a batch of parts for my nixie tube counter project.

Nixie tubes use a relatively high voltage anode at ~200V. However they consume little current, so it is a simple matter to boost a more convenient voltage source up to the desired level. In this case the source will be the +5V from a USB serial adapter that will also power a microcontroller. A few days ago I got a DC converter module to do the job, which I promptly destroyed by wiring up backwards. The replacement arrived yesterday.

This was good timing, because the IN-16 nixie tube and the transistors I'll use to switch the digits on and off arrived today. There are a lot of steps to make an email counter out of all of this, but each step is pretty small. I'll be travelling next week, so it might be a couple of weeks before I can put it all together.


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I need a cheap tabletop rack

Posted on 14 Aug 2010 03:20

I like these DIY Ikea-based racks. There are a few different styles, but I like these "Rast"-based builds most:

ikea rast 19" rack


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Projects

Posted on 12 Aug 2010 10:24

Lots of activity in the Projects section.

I have a nice build of my animated Vacuum Fluorescent Display clock, and working build of my 2.4GHz spectrum analyzer.


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Welcome to my new website

Posted on 06 Aug 2010 02:20

The Wikidot software seems to feature most of the things I need for personal publishing, so I'm relocating here from Wordpress. It's hosted, it's free, and most importantly, the module system allows you to generate pages from queries.

I'll be gradually moving or aggregating content from my other sites to this one, but this should already be good enough to use. There are still a few rough edges so please be patient.

To do:

  • needs some template formatting
  • needs some overall color & layout

Regards,
Corey


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