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1  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Help - Wiring up six tubes on: February 24, 2014, 11:18:37 AM

You can read the associated post.
2  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Adding Control Buttons To ArduiNIX? on: February 24, 2014, 11:15:33 AM
You can check out my code (shared on this forum) to see how I've used a pushbutton and a rotary encoder for time/mode set inputs using the Arduino's analog pins. My code also solves the delay problem in getting inputs that the sample code would have. It doesn't keep time, though, as I used an external RTC. Hope it helps.
3  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: to multiplex or not on: February 06, 2014, 02:20:02 PM
it seems that if I choose to go non-mux, I can eliminate the driver transistors and basically just tie all anodes to +170v and simply send bcd nibble changes to each 74141 chip and latch them there until the digit/nibble changes.

You might not want to do this if you plan to have blank digits. While many 74141 chips use the high values (sending any hex digit A-F) as "blank" on the tubes, I've read that some don't, so that could cause an problem. At any rate, I found my chips to leak a fair amount of current when "off", so killing the anode line appears to be more efficient than sending a "blank" digit.

If you use I2C, make sure you add filter caps on the data lines. I ran an MCP23008 on mine to control the separators. The ArduiNix is noisy, though, and kept interrupting the I2C communication until I filtered it.
4  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: to multiplex or not on: February 04, 2014, 07:41:21 AM
Here's the best discussion I've come across:!topic/neonixie-l/gqA6OpDbdXM
5  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Help - Wiring up six tubes on: February 04, 2014, 07:34:27 AM
Bill -- That's a pretty good description of what's going on.

What I don't know is the sequence of the tubes - e.g. anode 1, cathode group 1 is the high order hours digit (or the low order seconds digit), etc.  Each combination will correspond to a time data element - you may have to play with that and you can always adjust it in the Arduino code.

There isn't a specific answer to that, because the ArduiNix doesn't have a predefined sequence. The sequence is created in the code.
For my clock, I chose:
A1 C0 - Hours high (tube 0)
A2 C0 - Hours low (1)
A3 C0 - Minutes high (2)
A1 C1 - Minutes low (3)
A2 C1 - Seconds high (4)
A3 C1 - Second low (5)
...which lights tubes 0+2, then 1+4, then 2+5, repeat.
But you can choose any sequence you can code.

I also built my own board and tube harness.
The harness photo didn't yet have the anode wires attached. I definitely recommend ribbon cable to keep the cables managed, but as you can see in the album I trashed the salvaged IDE (computer) cable I started with.

6  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: What arduino pins are used for arduinix? on: February 04, 2014, 07:15:07 AM
On an Uno, the ArduiNix uses digital pins 2 through 13. Everything else is available to you.

For my build, instead of the downward-facing male headers that are included, I used stackable pass-through headers. This gave me access to all of the Arduino pins, which was great for adding other inputs, but also for debugging (and I needed a lot of that).
7  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Blue Dot on: February 04, 2014, 07:05:01 AM
My understanding is that the 74141 (and Russian equivalent) which the ArduiNix uses is not suitable for driving IN-18s. You might find some tubes and some chips which work together, but this is mostly by coincidence and not by design. Unfortunately the fix is to use a different driver circuit than what the ArduiNix provides.
8  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Why is my clock fast despite RTC? on: October 09, 2013, 09:08:07 AM
I think your problem lies here:

  // Get milliseconds.
  runTime = millis();
  Serial.println (runTime);

  // Get time in seconds.
  long time = (runTime) / 1000;
  // Set time based on offset..
  long hbump = 60*60*clockHourSet;
  long mbump = 60*clockMinSet;
  time += mbump + hbump;
You are keeping track of time twice, once with the RTC and once with the Arduino.

At startup, all seems fine:

RTC time = now
runTime = millis --> 0
time +=  mbump + hbump --> 0 + (now)
Result: time = now

But here's what the code is doing 10m in:

RTC time = now
runTime = millis --> 10m
time +=  mbump + hbump --> 10m + (now) ... see how it's adding the time twice?
Result: time = now + 10m

Get the time from the RTC, then try something like this instead, deleting the other lines noted above.

  // Set time based on RTC
  long hbump = 60*60*clockHourSet;
  long mbump = 60*clockMinSet;
  long time += mbump + hbump;
9  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: How many/ What type of wires for connecting Nixies on: July 12, 2013, 06:34:48 AM
10 per tube for the digits, one per tube for the anode. I'm not sure if the IN-12 has a decimal as well, but if you plan to use it with the ArduiNix that would mean having another wire (as well as complicating your code quite a bit).

I bought the 12" ribbon jumpers off Adafruit, and cut them in half and peeled them apart where I wanted. It worked well. Before that I used old computer IDE cable, which worked fine but was hard to deal with and difficult to fit into the case I was building.
10  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Weller tip for assembling Arduinix on: July 12, 2013, 06:28:29 AM
If you're comfortable soldering through-hole boards with what you have, you should be fine. There are a couple tight spots but nothing extremely challenging. I am not a soldering expert but did not have trouble. Follow the excellent guide provided on the site.
11  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Help with parts for clock. on: July 12, 2013, 06:26:37 AM
- You'll need an Arduino, plus some way of connecting the parts together (wires and connectors), plus any inputs or additional hardware you'd like to have (buttons, RTC, etc).
- There are no pre-built cases that I'm aware of (unless you buy a whole-clock kit or something). Get creative! I built mine from Oak, you can browse this site or the web in general to find other examples for inspiration.
- The ArduiNix does not keep time. You'll have to program that with the Arduino. Some (such as myself) have used an external RTC.
12  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Cathode pin issue? on: May 16, 2013, 04:31:47 PM
Actually, it's probably fine.

The tube driver chips leak current. "off" drops the flow enough to shut off nixies, but doesn't drop it to 0V. For my recent build, I tried to power small neon bulbs off them and was completely unable. I had to use a discrete transistor. My chips leaked at about 45V (but I run the Arduinix at 170V). As long as the "off" state is below the voltage needed to sustain nixies, I think the chip is considered to be working normally.

- Check the voltage out at the Arduino and see if the pins there are going as expected.
- Try turning one each of the anode and cathode pins on. Outputting a "0" is fine, but your code sets three anodes to LOW, effectively telling the arduinix to keep those off. However, I believe A1 is controlled by Arduino pin 13, which isn't being controlled in your code at all, and is probably floating. Be sure when you test that you know what all your cathodes AND anodes should be are doing.
- If those both look okay, hook up a test tube! I don't believe lower than expected voltage can hurt anything.

Good luck!
13  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Suggestions for Ribbon Cables and Connectors on: April 10, 2013, 11:33:20 AM
I tried IDE cable at first. It worked but was hard to manage. For my final I ripped all the IDE out and used the pull-apart jumpers from Adafruit. Easy ribbon cable in any width you need.
14  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Cathode Poisoning prevention on: April 10, 2013, 11:28:28 AM
Check out the code I just posted for my project. The poison prevention routine is at the beginning of the loop().
15  Projects / ArduiNIX / Re: Driving IN-3 bulbs on: April 10, 2013, 11:20:32 AM
I solved this.

Basically, start by giving up using the ArduiNix by itself. It might work for INS-1s, but not for IN-3s.

My solution was to set one of the ArduiNix anodes always high, giving myself a 170V line-out. I put enough resistance on this line to drive the bulbs appropriately. Then I brought in an output expander, an MCP23008, but using an Arduino with more outputs would be fine too. Hook these outputs up to transistors to control the flow to the bulbs. As far as choosing the right transistor to power it, I looked at the ArduiNix itself to see what it used internally and bought the same exact part.

Hope that helps someone.
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