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1  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: IN-8 datasheet on: October 02, 2009, 03:57:55 AM
I'm glad if it's helpful. Feel free to take my full res originals (on the links) if you'd like.
2  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Lucky escape on: October 01, 2009, 03:50:14 AM
Ah! I knew about cathode poisoning, and I'd read something about how to cure it but I'd not understood. Now I get it, thank you. Using a cathode as the anode presumably drives off the accumulated crud that was making it dim and patchy in the first place. I imagine that prolonged reversal would cause a shorter life, but at least it's not so hard to detect (since the accidental anode doesn't work properly).

The more I learn about this technology, the more I love it.

3  Projects / ArduiNIX / IN-8 datasheet on: October 01, 2009, 02:43:44 AM
Hi everyone,

Since another thread mentioned IN-8s, I thought I'd scan the datasheet this morning and pop it online for people.



Hope this is of some interest / not totally incomprehensible!
4  Projects / ArduiNIX / Lucky escape on: September 29, 2009, 09:43:37 AM
You may be interested to know that, despite the high voltages involved, wiring the nixie tube's anode and a cathode the wrong way 'round will still almost work (except on the digit serving as the anode) and does not appear to cause permanent damage. Full function is restored when the error is corrected.


Ray: making stupid mistakes, so you don't have to.

(Don't try this at home. But, if you do, don't think all is lost.)

5  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Totally and utterly new to this on: September 29, 2009, 09:09:36 AM
Hi Shadow

The tubes I'm using are IN-8s. They might work quite well in this sort of role, although a slightly smaller size would be less deep and hence leave much more case room. Pic:

The Arduino+Arduinix combination is not very big, but has no single particularly small dimension - the way the shield board plugs in leads to quite a thick slab of circuitry, which is harder to tuck away in a tight space than a flatter design might be. The tubes are quite bulky and they require quite a lot of wiring. Finally, fitting things into round cases can also be tricky. I'm concentrating on getting my tubes all working first and worrying about enclosures later when I know how bulky the whole setup is. (I'm not really trying to minimise the size of mine, though)

Arduinix works fine with the current-generation Arduino Duemilanove.

The Arduinix board is very nicely made and easy to solder, but I'm glad I had a bit of experience before I did mine. I can very strongly recommend using chip sockets rather than trying to solder the ICs directly. By the way, definitely buy the whole kit. Finding all the parts separately could be a real pain. The crazy Russian 200 volt chips are probably not available in your local electronics store, unless you live somewhere way more awesome than I do. (Disclaimer: I have no connection with RobotPirate other than liking their kit and incredibly helpful attitude). You will still have plenty to do for yourself to turn the Arduino+Arduinix into a working clock, such as figuring out a good way to set the time, giving it a bell, sorting out the software, deciding whether or not to use a realtime clock chip, any further complications. Sky's the limit really.
6  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Almost enough volts but not quite! on: September 24, 2009, 03:00:34 PM
Stop the presses!

My Arduinix is working after all.

I didn't change anything, just scraped the trim pot back and forth a few times and now it lights an IN-8 beautifully. My guess would be that the trim pot had something on the contact. All good now. (12v supply, 47pF C3 - I haven't tried changing the cap)

Thanks so much for all your help.

7  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Almost enough volts but not quite! on: September 24, 2009, 03:40:06 AM
Bradley - thanks very much for the help and the v quick reply!

Thank you also for the kind offer of a capacitor, but as your last package took several weeks to get through customs - and they charged me a disproportionate amount of money for the privilege of evaluating that the customs duty would be very small - I think I'd rather try to find one in the uk. I know they shouldn't charge for a tiny package but I don't trust them  Undecided

Also, since it seems something else is not right, I would like to try to diagnose and fix that before I change the cap, otherwise it might not have the desired effect. I guess I must have screwed up a solder joint somewhere, although it looks OK to my untutored eyes. I did do quite a bit of connection testing with a multimeter while I was assembling, but I got a little impatient after a while and stormed on. Still, if I get 170v and can send it to the anode pins using the Arduino, *most* of it must be working as designed! So it shouldn't be too hard to narrow down if I control my impatience and get systematic.

(I noticed this morning that the metal plate on the back of the FET runs 100v. Shouldn't it be at ground? That might be a hint, I'm definitely looking into that in more detail this evening)

Masoste - thanks, I'm sure you're right about needing the right cap for the tube. Unfortunately I don't have any other tubes to try.
8  Projects / ArduiNIX / Almost enough volts but not quite! - Presses stopped, nixies working! on: September 23, 2009, 03:59:38 PM
I reckon I've done something wrong while assembling. The voltage between ground and my test point reads 170v with my trim pot at one extreme. Turn it to the other and I get... 173v. My limited understanding of the circuit suggests it should be able to make a *bit* more difference than that.

Unfortunately, the data sheet for my tubes appears to say that I need 200v to get the blighters out of bed and shining. My Russian is not great, but the stats list is
Voltage (something), V, (something)... 200
(Something), mA... 2.5-4.5
Voltage (something), V, (something)... 100
(something I have no idea about), c, (eh?)... 0,5
so I guess the 200v is what I need to hit to light them up.

I have a 12v supply and the 47pF cap the kit came with. I have a 5.6pf cap somewhere but I'm not at all sure it's rated for 500v; I think I'm going to run out of patience and risk it fairly soon. The worst that can happen is bits of cap in my eye, and I've had worse.

In the meantime, does anyone have any hints as to things to check for if the trimpot has bother-all effect on voltage?

Many thanks!

9  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Separation of power supply on: September 15, 2009, 05:03:48 AM
Nice pics. I definitely need to do (and blog) "unwrapping" pics as well as pics of the project. Unfortunately my life and workspace are both in chaos right now  Angry

My original aim when I bought the Arduinix was to wire it to the output of my giant 1950s(?) geiger counter (it's an incredibly retro-looking die-cast box, about a 10" x10" x 8", with a 6" tube window on the front, plenty of spare room in there), as it would have looked perfectly in character. Unfortunately, the g/m tube seems to have gone unserviceable in storage and I don't really know how to fix it, and maybe the incredibly pretty Nixies should go in something I use more than twice a decade. Don't really feel like a clock at the moment so I'm still looking for an application - but that's no reason not to get them working!

I noticed they look awesome when switched off and under-lit, so I may modify the valve bases to have room for a nice bright LED - purely for aesthetic purposes.

(Edited to add: my IN-8s came with a lovely oily stained Cyrillic data sheet circa 1980, I will DEFINITELY be scanning, perhaps getting a Russian friend to translate)

10  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Separation of power supply on: September 14, 2009, 04:51:49 AM
My tubes arrived!

Life is batshit insane right now so I don't know when I can wire them up, but they're here!

Sorry to bother the forum with this, but almost no-one I know IRL would understand the excitement.

I just hope they work...
11  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Separation of power supply on: August 31, 2009, 09:28:31 AM
Thanks very much!

I don't know how long it will take my tubes to arrive but I shall definitely take pics when they do.

Thanks again

12  Projects / ArduiNIX / Separation of power supply on: August 30, 2009, 09:10:59 AM
Hi everyone,

My Arduinix arrived on Friday and I'm charging ahead with it! But I had one small newbie question I wanted to seek expert advice on.

I understand it's OK (maybe even desirable) to power the Arduinix off 12v. My Arduino doesn't seem to like my 12v supply very much; it gets warm. I don't have a 9v (except battery) so usually I run the Arduino off 5v and anything I plug into it off 12, voltage rails completely separate, grounds wired together.

I would like to do the same thing with the Arduinix. This is my first shield, and I'm not sure quite how to do this on a shield, but I notice that the Arduino has Vin next to two Grounds. If I connect the left-hand ground to the Arduinix, then put the Vin and the right-hand ground header pins the other way up (sticking AWAY from the Arduino), it looks like I could do what I want. Like this:


(side view of the power pins on the 'nix)
My multimeter tells me the Arduinix ground pins are wired together, so this should connect my grounds.

Does that make sense? Is this correct? Is it a valid way to do things?

Many thanks!
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