MAKE vs BUY – Nixie clock kit vs LED “tube” clock

MAKE vs BUY – Nixie clock kit vs LED “tube” clock


For $200 you can buy the Tubes Clock by B&W, they’re selling LCDs inside little tubes for the nixie effect or you can buy your own *real* nixie tube clock kits for $150 or less and learn about building electronics. Here are a few of the kit makers to check out…


Tube Hobby, Nixie clocks & kits for collectors and designers – Link.


Nixie Tube Clock – The GeekKlok – Link.


IN14 Nixie clock kit – Link.

14 thoughts on “MAKE vs BUY – Nixie clock kit vs LED “tube” clock

  1. jeromelab says:

    Please don’t link to the geekclock or four letter words by ray weisling(zetalink), if you order from him you will never see your kit. I have been ordering from him more than one year ago, he doesn’t answer emails anymore. And no clock is even worse than a B&W led “nixie” clock.

  2. _fluffy says:

    Nitpick: the B&W clock is LEDs, not LCDs. Although their acronyms coincidentally share 2 of 3 letters and both things happen to be used for similar purposes, they are entirely different.

  3. p914 says:

    The kits Peter jensen sells are awesome and well worth the price. The instructions are first rate and he includes everything you need, including solder and solder wick! Ok, you still have to supply the soldering iron and a pair of dikes, but that’s about it!

  4. Fredex says:

    The LED clock has the advantage of being kid safe (or inexperienced experimenter safe) since it does not have the high voltage used in a Nixie clock.

  5. philliptorrone says:

    @Fredex – the B&W isn’t a kit, so i’m not sure if there’s any experimenting (anyone could take it apart though)

  6. eccramer says:

    The problem with the actual Nixie clocks is that Nixies are of finite supply now. Nobody makes them anymore to my knowledge, they’re all just scavenged from old electronics displays. What we really need is someone to start making Nixies again, but that’s very unlikely given the cost to demand ratio.

    Maybe someone needs to buy the B&W kit, take it apart, reverse engineer it, and then release “cloned” (different enough to avoid legal action, but close enough to still be awesome) plans so that it could become a kit. I’m sure Ladyada would be up to that challenge. ;)

  7. HalfWalker says:

    No need to reverse-engineer the BW clock. Basic clocks are really quite simple – the code is dead easy. The toughest part is the interface to the display units, be they true Nixies, 7-segment LEDs, VFD displays, LCDs or whatnot.

    Basically have a timer that ticks over regularly, 1sec, 32kHz, whatever. Every elapsed second update your stored time, then twiddle the display control outputs to show the correct digits. Rinse, repeat.

    There are tons of clock schematics on the net, for every conceivable display device. A cool one I remember some time ago was a pin-display. Teeny solenoids poked pins up through a faceplate to form the digits. Wicked.


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