Author Topic: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment  (Read 127029 times)

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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #75 on: May 19, 2016, 06:04:49 pm »
A bit of a ' fixer up' hopefully nothing too serious.

Ah, so you were the one who got it. Congrats. I look forward to your thread about its revival. I have its bigger brother that I haven't yet torn apart.
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #76 on: May 19, 2016, 06:21:22 pm »
A bit of a ' fixer up' hopefully nothing too serious.

Those 5221s are cute little buggers.  Fingers crossed that you bring it back to life with minimal effort.

Quote
@Cubdriver, I think I can hear the numitrons calling you! HiHi!

Rob, you're NOT helping here!!!    :box:

:P

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If it jams, force it.  If it breaks, you needed a new one anyway...
 

Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #77 on: May 19, 2016, 10:48:45 pm »
I have no measurement equipment with nixies, but my old Casio fx-1.
Here in front of modern LED technology.



I love it! I have a Sperry-Rand Remington 1259S, which is a rebadged Casio fx-1. Interesting details about this calculator's internal architecture, is that it is actually a programmable chip set, but rather than allowing the user to enter user generated programs, most of the scientific function keys at the top performs a ROM encoded sequence of actions to actually go through the math to work out those functions. This results in the beautiful "numerical neon dance", as I call it. The longest function to calculate appears to be the cube root. I LOVE watching this thing calculate! Check out the video of those nixies!  8) :-+

 

Offline tautech

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #78 on: May 20, 2016, 12:45:11 am »
Not mine...just a site I stumbled upon.

AVO nixie clock



http://www.bad-dog-designs.co.uk/testclocks.html
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #79 on: May 20, 2016, 02:22:21 am »
The longest function to calculate appears to be the cube root. I LOVE watching this thing calculate! Check out the video of those nixies!  8) :-+

Wow, I've never seen a calculator like that. It is fun to watch it go, especially the way the decimal point flies back and forth. The cube root does take quite some time. All that video needed were some cheezy sci-fi sound effects to go with the computation.
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Offline kultakala

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #80 on: May 20, 2016, 06:39:04 am »
I love it! I have a Sperry-Rand Remington 1259S, which is a rebadged Casio fx-1. Interesting details about this calculator's internal architecture, is that it is actually a programmable chip set, but rather than allowing the user to enter user generated programs, most of the scientific function keys at the top performs a ROM encoded sequence of actions to actually go through the math to work out those functions. This results in the beautiful "numerical neon dance", as I call it. The longest function to calculate appears to be the cube root. I LOVE watching this thing calculate! Check out the video of those nixies!  8) :-+



Yes, i love it too. Nixie tubes in general are very nice...  i use the fx-1 only at rare intervals but it looks cool.
And the cube root function usually lasts exactly 16 seconds. Dont know how many still exists but i hope mine will keep working for quite a while.
 

Offline Martin.M

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #81 on: May 30, 2016, 08:53:34 pm »
the next restoration,

I will name them Plus & Minus  :)

greetings
Martin

 

Offline Martin.M

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #82 on: May 30, 2016, 09:18:27 pm »
Not mine...just a site I stumbled upon.

AVO nixie clock



http://www.bad-dog-designs.co.uk/testclocks.html

in my eyes that is a destroying of old instruments  :--

greetings
Martin
 
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Offline guido

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #83 on: May 30, 2016, 10:18:47 pm »


5.5 digit meters with Panaplex displays.
 
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Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #84 on: May 31, 2016, 12:53:42 am »
So, remembering my dad's old seed planter monitor (with the numitron tubes) reminded me of another agricultural dohickey™ I found. I promised next time I got out to my storage unit, I'd get photos. Before I get into that, here is an instrument with actual nixie tubes. Sadly, it was low in the stack, and I couldn't be bothered to unstack a 5 foot tall stack of rack mount instruments to snag it from the third to bottom position. I'd have plugged it into my car otherwise. Rest assured though, that it works. The unit is used for testing synchro transformers, and you use the buttons to advance it by 5° at a time, or to reset it to 0°. Pretty straight forward. The Nixies display the degrees of rotation that you are testing the synchro at.


It's a Gertsch Synchro Bridge, used in the manufacturing and testing of synchros. I actually have a thread on emulating synchros, to drive aviation equipment. That project is slow going, we shall say...  ::) I'll get to it again. I did snag a resolver standard and a resolver bridge from he stack (thankfully near the top). No, they don't have nixie tubes, or even panaplex or numitron tubes, but they do have tape displays. I am considering salvaging those to make into tape meters fro my Kerbal Space Program controller. Tape meters are SO HARD TO FIND! (those are meters that have a fixed pointer, and a scrolling reel of "tape" marked with numbers that moves by to indicate). These resolver bridge/standards have a rather complex switch arrangement that provides absolute position feedback for where the tape is at, for 72 absolute positions... Not bad!


Now, I promised some numitrons! This is the Harvestall "Topdrop" Integrated monitor and control of differential temperature. I suspect it was built as some sort of demonstration unit for some manner of crop drying monitor. The chips have mostly 1978/79 date codes, and I suppose most digitally controlled anything was fairly new back then, at least in the ag industry. This unit once had a cover, as evidenced by latching hardware on either end. Likely, it had a cover that closed the whole demo unit, and had a handle at the top. The cover was not with it when I found it.



This contraption looks hand made to me, with a few manufactured components. The PC board was professionally manufactured. Much of the rest looks custom. Again, no idea how this would have been used to demonstrate the product they were selling. I don't know the nature of the demonstration, or how it worked, but there is a fan in the unit, and lights inside the assembly at the left. There are two temperature probes (not sure if thermistor or thermocouple). As per the function, it seems to monitor an internal temp and an ambient temp, and then show the difference, as far as I am able to tell.


No idea what the switch is selecting.  :-//


I do suspect the unit was related to grain drying. The object to the left is shaped like a grainary. For city folk, that's a concrete or steel building, typically cylindrical, that is used to store seeds and grain. They are filled by dumping the seed in through a hole at the top, and unloaded through a chute at the bottom. A lot of farmers use grain driers to dry the seed, which nets a higher payout for selling, as dry seed is lighter to transport, and has a lower chance of spoilage (mold, etc). There is of course, a cost benefit ratio in drying the grain yourself. The logo made from two arrows resembles a granary. The contraption tot he left resembles a granary. The function seems relevant to drying... It seems like that's probably what they were selling this for. I also LOVE that company's logo. It's got a very "Egyptian" theme! Don't know why I dig that.   :-+ Doesn't exactly scream "Minnesota", eh. :-DD

**EDIT**
Doing a little digging, it seems that Harvestall had been marketing a method of "chillcuring" grain. Rather than drying grain with heat, they were drying grains cool. They claimed it was more energy efficient, and was easier on the seed than hot air drying. They operated through the 1960s or 70s, and under the name Harvestall from 1977 until 1982, and continued some form of operation up to the 90s. The industry was heavily pushing hot air drying of grains, and agriculture got hit pretty hard in the 1980s by high interest rates and low profitability (at least in the US).

The controls make a little more sense now. They regulated airflow to maintain a lower temperature by drawing heat off with the moisture pulled away. Or something like that, I guess. The unit's switch has differential temperature detection points (in auto mode) for 0°, -4°, -8° (presumably F°, since this was marketed in the US). I suppose this likely regulates the fan. The only heat (besides efficiency losses of the electronics and mechanical systems) were a series of infrared lamps that were used for pre-drying intake air if the external ambient air conditions were unfavorable for drying. Their process didn't use kilns or propane for extreme drying, like how most grain drying is done. They mimicked the natural convection flows of old style corn cribs (a style of building for storing corn that has gapped slats instead of solid walls to allows air to flow through it). The more you know!

Further reading tells me the guy (Sylvester Steffen) who ran this business was into some weird pseudo-religious q/whack job new age thingamawhatsit that had him making amazing statements like how people are making such a big fuss about the right to life with the abortion debate... but what about all the wasted life from improper seed drying? What about the seed's right to life? SERIOUSLY:wtf: He was touting energy savings and drying techniques for seeds that were "easier" on the seeds, not for the sakes of energy savings and increased yields, but cause it was morally necessary in the fight to convert as much energy in the universe into living molecular organisms and to fight against entropy, staving off the chilling of our mantle! This guy...  :palm: I can't stop laughing at this guy! That's the freakin' 70s for ya! Whack job new age nutters!  :-DD

On a side note, totally explains the pyramids and the whole Egyptian theme... New age nutters freakin' LOVE pyramids! The actual reason they used the image of a pharaoh and the pyramids, is a reference to the "dream of 7 years of plenty, followed by 7 years of famine" told in the bible. In the story of the pharaoh, he built granaries to store food when it was growing well, so Egypt would not go hungry in the years that would follow, after Joseph interprets his dream. So I guess the whole granary thing kinda sorta makes sense? ish?

Now I'm REALLY glad I found this old demo tool... Satisfies my love of vintage electronics, AND gave me an epic laugh!  :-DD :popcorn:
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 02:07:52 am by richfiles »
 
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Offline BillyD

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #85 on: June 15, 2016, 04:01:46 pm »
Just stumbled onto this on youtube, a guy who actually manufactures nixie tubes. Amazing to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/user/daliborfarny/videos

 
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #86 on: July 26, 2016, 04:26:09 pm »
I came across this site a few months ago and decided to join yesterday. I was glad to see this thread and see some vintage Nixie equipment still operational.
Some unusual and slightly bizarre pieces to say the least.

@BillyD:
I saw the video. Dalibor F. has some serious engineering skills. Is there a video of him making the cathodes ?  Now that is something everyone wants to see.
 
At one time I had a B&K Model 281 2.5 digit multimeter as seen on a previous page.  The tubes broke after it fell from my workbench and that was the end of it.
Good to see a pic of one working again.  Made me smile.

Anyway, I have only one piece of Nixie gear as of today. It's an Eldorado Electronics Model 1820 Digital Meter which measures DC Volts, DC Current and Ohms.
It does not qualify as a true multimeter due to the lack of any AC measurement capabilities, but no big deal.  This unit is from the early 70's and is RTL logic
as can be seen from the 700 series IC's.   The analogue board is mounted underneath the logic board and appears to be a dual slope design which was common for this timeline.
There are no integrated circuits in the analogue section. It is all discrete components, some obsolete such as the dual JFETS made by Intersil.
A buddy of mine gave it to me and he didn't even know if it worked or not.  It sat in his basement workshop for years...
It did work when I powered it up, but with no input the display went crazy and would not settle down.
I had an idea as to what it might be.  Back in the early 70's there was not too much RFI. Computers were running at 1 or 2 MHz...
Last year my buddy gave me a Fluke 8500A with a similar problem which was solved by installing an AC filter module.

This is what the unit looked like when I received it last month.  Spotless inside and not beat to death. There are a few nicks here and there on
the front panel as would be expected from a piece of electronic history from the early 70's. This unit and the Fluke were from government installations and reasonably
well cared for.
After removing the top cover, no AC filter was seen.  There was a line cord going to a switch and fuse.  I removed the line cord and put in an AC filter module which
settled things down considerably. One learns from experience and I had an idea the wild display on the Eldorado was related to RFI coming from everything in the house !
The unit had and has other problems.  It zero drifts after a period of time.  Without a service manual it will remain unsolved.  I did make some changes as seen in the pic of the
logic board.
(1) The AC input filter module
(2) 470uF/35V
(3) 15000uF/10V
(4) 10K 20 turn trimpot to adjust the 3.6V reference. (It was at 3.52V originally)
(5) Not changed, but a previous repair attempt(s) by someone else. Pads were missing on both sides of the board.

Not shown was a 6.4V temperature compensated zener on the analogue board underneath that was open and you guessed it, now OBSOLETE.
It was a reference for the ohms section. I had two 6.2V temp compensated units from a failed Tektronix 7A12 vertical module from my 7704A scope.
Replaced diode and readjusted the ohms section trimpots accordingly.
Without a service manual the drift problem and residual .035 volts added to the input will have to remain for now, but that is okay.
At least it works and will serve as a piece of nostalgia from a bygone era.

I forgot to mention the Nixies.  They are Phillips ZM1000 for the digits.

I may have something else to show by week's end courtesy of my generous buddy.

« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 04:31:21 pm by Enigma-man »
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #87 on: July 26, 2016, 07:10:35 pm »
Welcome, Enigma-man. That's a good looking meter! Thanks for sharing it and I look forward to seeing the new arrival.
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Offline tautech

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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #89 on: July 27, 2016, 11:10:13 am »
@Enigma-Man , watch out this is a very dangerous part of electronics, not from the HV but the TEA  (test equipment addiction esp Nixie) poor old Cubdriver is too far gone now for saving! HiHi
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #90 on: July 28, 2016, 01:54:15 am »
Indeed!  'Tis a very slippery slope that, thanks to the wonder of ebuy, can cause great pain to both your credit card AND your friendly UPS/FedEx/USPS/<insert parcel delivery entity of your choice here> carrier.  They are typically used in older gear that was built back in the days when test equipment could also function very effectively as ballast or an anchor if necessary.

 ;D

-Pat
If it jams, force it.  If it breaks, you needed a new one anyway...
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #91 on: July 28, 2016, 12:36:02 pm »
More for the collection...

My old Advance (later Gould) 15Mhz Timer counter:



Nice solid internal construction:



And nice well though-out access for servicing:



As there are a few Panaplex displays showing up in this thread, here are a few more: My collection of Datron meters together with my Philips PM6622 Timer counter, also with a nice Panaplex display. Sorry, the displays look a bit washed out due to the flash, much brighter in reality.




« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 12:39:59 pm by Gyro »
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Offline AF6LJ

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #92 on: July 28, 2016, 02:13:15 pm »
Nice
Sue AF6LJ
 

Offline Arhammon

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #93 on: July 28, 2016, 04:17:46 pm »
Philips's panaplex display looks fantastic!
 

Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #94 on: July 28, 2016, 10:04:09 pm »
@Gyro:
Very nice,indeed.
Those Datron units look like they have Beckman seven segment displays.

I have four 1.5 inch high Beckman's that came out of two digit speedometer displays once used in diesel locomotives.
Long ago, I made a pc board for them but haven't yet put them to use.  A genuine, made in Japan, Burroughs Nixie is shown alongside for size comparison.
The Nixie was bought in the late 70's at Radio Shack and is unused with all its leads twisted together.
A simple 3.5 digit voltmeter could be made using an Intersil or Maxim 7107  which can drive these through inverters and MPSA42 transistors.
I suppose some other home brew piece could be made based on the above chip.



 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #95 on: July 28, 2016, 10:13:38 pm »

What's the sepia-colored staining on the PCB?

Nice solid internal construction:



Very nice construction, indeed.

Quote
And nice well though-out access for servicing:



Quote
As there are a few Panaplex displays showing up in this thread, here are a few more: My collection of Datron meters together with my Philips PM6622 Timer counter, also with a nice Panaplex display.

I really like the look of the Panaplex displays, but don't have any yet. What's a reasonable expectation for lifetime? I've seen others with, for example, Datron equipment and the displays have gone bad. Are they better, worse, same as VFD?
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #96 on: July 28, 2016, 11:15:38 pm »
I'd expect a panaplex to have a lifetime similar to that of a nixie tube, as it's for all intents and purposes the same thing - a neon display.  They might be more susceptible to mechanical failure as the face plate is bonded to the main housing, but barring that issue I'd expect them to last a very long time.

-Pat

Edit to remove extra word.  Inglish, as she is goodly speeked and writ.   |O
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 11:49:41 pm by Cubdriver »
If it jams, force it.  If it breaks, you needed a new one anyway...
 
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #97 on: July 29, 2016, 12:31:01 am »
Here's a few pix of a capacitance meter made by me in either '88, '89 or 1990.
It uses smaller Beckman displays.  The pix were taken yesterday.  It doesn't get a lot of use but it still works...
There was no internet back then. Only data books and application notes and good old do-it-yerself motivation.
Today everything is Arduino, Raspberry Pi or Beagle something or other.  Not as much fun as to me as the hands on discrete parts project.
To each their own, I guess... ;D
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #98 on: July 29, 2016, 12:51:16 am »
Nicely done!!

-Pat
If it jams, force it.  If it breaks, you needed a new one anyway...
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #99 on: July 29, 2016, 12:54:00 am »
Very cool displays, Enigma-man!
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