The Seductive Steampunk Await Of Nixie Subway Scheme Displays!

- January 02, 2019
Who could e'er error the seductively brilliant orangish display of a Nixie tube, right?

The 1960's-70's was the menses of greatest popularity of Nixie tubes every bit a hateful to display data without having to electrically oestrus a filament such every bit inwards the instance of cathode ray subway scheme (CRT) displays together with light-emitting diode (LED) displays. The confusion betwixt CRTs together with Nixie tubes comes from the fact that they both hold back a whole lot the same. However, the cathode chemical ingredient within a Nixie tube does not heat up. The Nixie tube plant to a greater extent than similar a neon light amongst metallic cathode elements within it. When the neon gas within a Nixie tube is excited (plasma) together with the metallic cathode chemical ingredient is energized, the reaction causes the peculiar orangish glow to appear really close to the metallic cathode element. Believe it or not, the actual cathode chemical ingredient itself doesn't create the glow.
So was the popularity of Nixie tubes that many 1960's/70's TV shows would characteristic one. One of the most popular 1970's TV demo - the Six Million Dollar Man - featured a Nixie display counter inwards the opening intro sequence of the show. Many people in all probability didn't notice the Nixie display but if you skip towards the end-part of the intro that shows a fast counting digital display piece he's running on the treadmill machine, that's the 1 (I'll add together the video intro of the Six Million Dollar Man below)

Nixie tubes were used by together with large every bit digital displays inwards early on scientific equipment together with instruments, together with many of these old instruments have got been turned into cool modern gadgets that resemble engineering of the wild westward or the Victorian era! By the way, if you lot are wondering where the call Nixie comes from, it comes from NIX1 (for Numeric Indicator eXperimental #1).

Below are some cool gadgets that used Nixie subway scheme displays:

Nixie Tube Calculator
Calculators amongst Nixie subway scheme displays such every bit the Denon Nixie Calculator had a really short-lived hype due to LED displays taking over the reckoner marketplace inwards around 1973/1974 (only iii years later on Nixie subway scheme calculators showtime came out). Nixie tube calculators used the B5870 Nixie tube, which was designed originally for operate inwards Nixie subway scheme reckoner displays inwards 1970. One of the most pop Nixie subway scheme calculators was the Olympia CD401 Nixie Calculator, which had a rare per centum Nixie symbol most nixie subway scheme calculators didn't have got at the time.

Nixie Tube Tuner
Hi-Fi receivers such every bit the SAE Mark VI digital tuner were FM-only tuners amongst analog tuning knobs together with mechanical tuning capacitors, but had the digital frequency display made amongst Nixie tubes. There was likewise the sci-fi looking Scott T33S digital tuner, which had perforated cards acting every bit retentivity presets that you lot had to perforate yourself amongst the Scott-supplied perforate! The Revox A720 was some other pop pick at the fourth dimension every bit it was a digital FM Tuner pre-amplifier amongst beautiful Nixie tubes.

Nixie Tube Watch
The nixie subway scheme spotter is definitely inwards fashion now, e'er since the inventor of the Apple 1 personal computer -Steve Wozniak- wore 1 at TEDMED inwards 2009. Cathode Corner together with the Kopriso Nixie are ii companies who make Nixie tube watches. Kopriso likewise makes a Nixie watch that is solar-powered. The Nixie watch Steve Wozniak wears has the old trend circular crystal window. The beauty about the Nixie watch is its simplistic hold back together with cool layout exposing the electronic workings of the watch, which include an CR2 lithium battery every bit good every bit the two Nixie tubes themselves. Inside of each Nixie tube, you lot discovery a wire-mesh anode together with cathodes shaped similar numerals (0 to 9). When the cathodes are energized they omit an orangish glow discharge.

Nixie Tube Voltmeter/Multimeter
I am a large fan of classic engineering from the industrial historic menses together with the Nixie tube voltmeter/multi-meter is yet another cool slice of steampunk-looking technology. One bang-up instance of these is the Fluke 8100A Nixie tube multimeter. And but similar all Nixie tube engineering of the day, they didn't operate an Arduino. These voltmeters with Nixie tubes were driven from TTL logic, instead of the microcontroller technology that nosotros operate today.

Nixie Tube Frequency Counter
One of the showtime times I call back seeing a Nixie tube frequency counter was inwards the painting Futureworld which came out inwards 1976. Nixie subway scheme frequency counters are almost 50 years old at in 1 trial together with pretty much obsolete, though you lot tin even together with so discovery them around at flea markets or kicking fair for every bit niggling every bit $30. You tin fifty-fifty find Nixie tube frequency counters on eBay. It's quite amazing truly how the Nixie tubes inwards the frequency counters exercise non issue contrast. No wonder Nixie tubes were 1 of the most popular methods for displaying information.HP 5321B frequency counter with Nixie tubes. 

Nixie Tube Pinball
I've come upwardly across unusual modifications for a pinball machine display, together with 1 of the coolest I've seen is Nixie tubes installed inwards an arcade pinball machine display.The enthusiast behind this particular Nixie tube pinball display project used a Bally Star Trek tabular array from 1978 “mirrored” together with re-worked into a Star Trek Mirror Universe pinball tabular array amongst vii digit Nixie Tube Displays which he reversed engineered past times custom-making an Arduino compatible Audio tester to verify the Audio menu pattern of the original. The tabular array art, backglass together with plastics had to live likewise custom-made, piece the physical rollover switches were replaced amongst magnetic eddy sensors to feel the ball. The master Bally Transformer was replaced amongst an ATX ability supply.

Here is the intro scene to the Six Million Dollar Man demo I was telling you lot about. Watch for the digital counter counting downwardly from 59 piece he's running on the treadmill machine.
 

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