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Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East

9/13/2012 11:59 PM EDT
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UncleRemus
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
UncleRemus   9/14/2012 4:42:30 PM
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$5.00 for a circuitboard from ValueProto? I don't think so. This must be wrong, I punch in a 2"x2" board and they quote 37 dollars.

UncleRemus
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
UncleRemus   9/14/2012 4:48:25 PM
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Maybe they got the "mention us in EEtimes" discount for those $5.00 circuitboards.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
Max The Magnificent   9/14/2012 6:11:19 PM
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@UncleRemus: Sorry -- this was my bad -- I was interviewing John over the phone -- he said "$25" but I heard "$5" and that's what I wrote down. I just touched base with John again, he says that the price was $25 each for a 1.5" x 4", quantity = 4, and a 2-week turnaround time. But still and all, I think $25 for a hobbyist prototype board of this level of sophistication is a REALLY good deal. I don;t want to think what I've ended up paying other board vendors in the past...

Max The Magnificent
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
Max The Magnificent   9/14/2012 6:13:50 PM
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PS For others just coming in, my article originally said $5 a board for the prototype (unpopulated) PCBs -- I made a mistake -- it should be $25 -- and I just made that change in the article -- so UncleRemus wasn't imagining things (grin)

ReneCardenas
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
ReneCardenas   9/14/2012 9:33:37 PM
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Awesome project, very niffty application, even at $25 each board that is a great value, as youo pointed it out Max. I have to confess to been also a fan of Eagle, for their powerful and user programmable scripts. I was able to place 25 items (SOP6 LEDs)with perfect spacing in a square array 5x5. So Excel is a handy tool but Eagle scripts could have been as well suited for that job. Thanks for sharing, wish I could make it, but work and other obligations would make it hard for me. Max, hope you can give us a photo gallery of the event.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
Max The Magnificent   9/17/2012 2:41:07 PM
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Hi Rene -- sad to relate I'm in the same boat as you -- too much to do -- so I won't be attending -- but I know some folks who are there (it starts today)

John Pote
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
John Pote   9/17/2012 11:00:37 PM
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WOW Nixie tube nostalgia! First desk calculator I saw, early 70s' in school, used them. LEDs and VF displays that followed just didn't convey the same quality. Curious how the circuit design is a 21st century solution to a 20th century problem, 1 MPU per Nixie. Luxury! Back then 1 MPU/CPU was all we were allowed but we could have a few of octal latches and lots of driver code to multiplex them. How well I remember filling a 2k byte eprom with intricately interwoven monolithic assembler. I still wind up colleagues by threatening to put a 'goto' in my 'C'. They fall for it every time.

Compotek_LB
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
Compotek_LB   9/18/2012 8:03:44 AM
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Nice application and at the first look I agree to John Pote: One uC per Nixie seems really a luxury. - The Nixies could also be controlled by some latched shift registers. So you use just one uC port pin for shifting and a second one for latching. But then you will need a uC that has some more PWM outputs for the independent RGB LEDs. So all in all the 4 uC solution is really a 21st century solution. uC are that cheap and breaking up a big problem in parts resulting in more, but smaller problems (thinking of hardware and software) is a very good way to solve engineering problems - IMHO the century doesn't matter in this case... :-)

Chris.Barron
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
Chris.Barron   9/19/2012 7:33:49 AM
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I don't see what is so revolutionary about this clock. I first put one uC per tube into my Microchip based B7971 nixie tube 'Smartsockets', back in 2006. I've since made several versionjs for different display types. I was also the first person to put coloured LED's behind nixie tubes. There's a lot about this clock which is familiar to me....I keep my project up to date and I've recently finished VFD display based smartsockets. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smartsockets/

Chris.Barron
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
Chris.Barron   9/19/2012 7:36:33 AM
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...I also put a video on Youtube of my Microchip based smartsockets driving different display types, here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek8S4r7bBUU

David.Jones_#2
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
David.Jones_#2   9/19/2012 7:21:30 PM
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Is this project publishing your board and code and other design/implementation files? Looks like a great DIY project.

Duane Benson
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
Duane Benson   9/23/2012 9:04:37 PM
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One of the aspects of this presentation that I really enjoyed was the walk through of their thought process when making design decisions. i.e. what MCU and how many, how to program, and things of that sort. All in all they did an excellent job with this.

David Ashton
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
David Ashton   9/24/2012 2:22:07 AM
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1 whole MCU plus 10 transistors to drive a Nixie? There's a 40-year old chip called a 74141 that does that (and you can still get them....) Yeah, yeah, they draw more current, and you can't easily blank them..... but were I doing this I'd use them, and just remove power to the whole display chain if it was not required. But then I always have been a bit of a luddite.....

Jean-Luc.Suchail
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re: Microchip's Nixie Tubes light up DESIGN East
Jean-Luc.Suchail   10/4/2012 1:23:04 PM
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Agreed. There is however an easy way to blank the nixie: send an invalid Hex code like 1111, (or any 11xx), the 74141 disables all outputs.

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