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What is a nixie clock

A nixie clock is a digital clock with Nixie Tubes or a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD). The display elements are usually placed in glass tubes, similar to the old vacuum tubes you might have seen in old lamp TVs. These are vacuum tubes that resemble an old vacuum valve, except that they do not use a heated cathode. Instead, they are more like neon lights - they contain a low-pressure gas that is ionized at high voltages and causes glow. Each thread is bent into a shape, in our case into numbers, and only one of them is glowing at the same time or any other information, during the time indication.

This technology was used from the mid 1950s to the early 1970s, but was replaced by LED 7-segment displays because they are much easier to use, do not require high voltage and provide a clearer display. The Nixie Tubes seems to have recently returned thanks to its aesthetics and "steampunk" authenticity. Electronic tubes, Nixie or VFD displays are now mostly obsolete. But there's no modern technology with the same kind of look.

Interestingly, 7-segment LED or LCD displays are sometimes called "tubes", especially by sellers in China. VFD tubes can also be manufactured in flat versions. It is popular in home audio/video equipment, old calculators and cash register displays. Flat VFDs are not called nixie clocks, despite an identical operation. There are also traditional digital clocks with LCD/LED displays where LCD/LED screens are mounted in glass tubes similar to Nixie/VFD designs. This is also not a real nixie clocks.

Nixie Tube Clocks are very popular with electronic nerds. Many people assemble them at home, either from Nixie DIY kits, or copying well-known designs, or design on their own. They look extremely cool (see pictures below) and they are great projects for electronics enthusiasts or just as a gift to your father or husband.

Behind the display, this nixie clocks works just like any other digital clock. There are special integrated circuits for VFD clocks, but most of them consist of a microcontroller and separate driver/power circuits. You can find a lot of information on how these displays work on the Internet. Similar things for fans are oscilloscopes and electroluminescent clocks., but we will tell you more about them later inb our posts.

Nixie Tubes are mainly neon tubes - with numbered electrodes. Because of the neon filling, they lid with an orange glow. The operating voltage is 100-200 V and can be dangerous - the shown above versions of printed circuit boards of the nixie clocks are not protected by the hood are not recommended to be left unattended if there are children nearby who may touch the circuit.

There are three different versions of the Nixie watch in our online shop. Nixie watch with IN-14 tubes, Nixie watch with IN-12 tubes or watch with IN-4 tubes. All this is worth your attention.