November 11, 2005

Night of The Nixie (clock) - Part 1

So you want to make a cool Nixie clock but you have no skills? Me too, me neither.

Here is what I have some up with so far....

The best logic board/processor is from They sell it in both kit and assembled form. Since I have no solder skills to speak of, the assembled kit will do.

Now most GEEKOIDS will disagree (because they have yet to reach my level), but THERE IS NO GLORY IN THE BACK OFFICE. Maybe I will explain this in some future post, but the important thing to remember here is that 90% of the time/energy on this project should be making it LOOK COOL. No one really wants a PCB with some wires hanging off of it sitting on their desk. On with the show....

We need a case: There. I just saved you 4 hours of Googling. By they way, the technical term for these cases are Project Boxes. Duh! Why didn't that immediately come to my mind??

How about a power supply. No big deal, right? Wrong!

What about that GPS Receiver with the RS-232 interface. Well, it turns out that the RS-232 units are not nearly as prevalent as the PS/2 or USB models. They best I found is a Globasat BR-304. All others seem to require a cable kit which adds $$$$. Avoid Garmin.

Ok, so the core is done. Cut out the case to fit the boards in, etc. You will need to extend the 40pin plugs with a cable. These IDE Extension cables are expensive. You should make your own to save money, but here it is:

To add some flare to the project, some old school meter will due to trick. Try this search:
Look for the old looking ones (round). Pay attention to the scale of the gauge. You don't want to hook up a 1-300 volt gauge on 12 volts. That would be boring. Attaching a 1-200 volt dc voltmeter to the last seconds digit will yield a pendulum effect. Add another measuring the input voltage (12) and maybe the amperage (1).

Some cool switches are required. Check ebay. For the buttons one and two, they need to me Momentary Switches.

Ok, so all of the gauges and such are on. You need some cool graphics.
Print some stuff and the put the decals on.

Well. That is as far as this project plan has gone. Should have some pics and such in the next 2 weeks.


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