Author Topic: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment  (Read 74302 times)

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Offline SLJ

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Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« on: October 06, 2015, 01:14:58 pm »
Since I collect antique test equipment I love Nixie Tube gear.  Always interested in seeing what Nixies were used in.  Here are a couple of mine.

Everyone needs a calculator on the workbench - Remington Nixie Tube Calculator:


HP Frequency Counter/DVM:


OK, I showed you a couple of mine now show me yours...

Offline SteveLy

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2015, 01:52:57 pm »
Phew, only a 12 digit display. Nobody likes a show-off! ;-P

I'm not showing mine because it's going to Dave's mailbag and I don't want to spoil it. It has something to do with electronics in Australia in the early 1970s. ;)
 

Offline dexters_lab

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2015, 07:26:55 pm »
Yea i have a soft spot for nixies... so fresh into the lab... a Solartron LM1619 volt meter and the nixies are not the only tubes in it

oh and 1KV on unshrouded banana sockets? i guess things was different back then! :-+ :-DD
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Offline SLJ

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2015, 10:47:33 pm »
oh and 1KV on unshrouded banana sockets? i guess things was different back then! :-+ :-DD

Nice... and love those banana plugs with the protruding set screws. Makes things more challenging.

Offline dexters_lab

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2015, 08:17:46 am »
oh and 1KV on unshrouded banana sockets? i guess things was different back then! :-+ :-DD

Nice... and love those banana plugs with the protruding set screws. Makes things more challenging.

lol, to be fair the banana plugs are just the output of one of my low voltage power supplies, we're all safe!
"A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams
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Offline Arhammon

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2015, 11:23:18 am »
1986 Soviet 7-digit DMM ?31 ([Shch]31):
 

Offline Vgkid

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2015, 12:08:29 am »
^^^
That looks cool. Can you post more pictures/ specs if you can find them.
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Offline Arhammon

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2015, 09:12:22 am »
I have some old photo:
Oven: Main Zener, Divider 100V, 1000V.

Analog unit

Manganin foil resistor network on board

Accuracy class, needed external  standard cell :( And it is produced in 1987
« Last Edit: October 12, 2015, 09:15:56 am by Arhammon »
 

Offline RJFreeman

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2015, 11:10:45 am »
HP521 - spot the dead Pentode and steamy electrolytic....
 

Offline RJFreeman

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2015, 11:11:58 am »
a few more
 

Offline smbaker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2015, 07:30:17 pm »
Does it count if you built it yourself? ;)

 

Offline tautech

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2015, 07:43:49 pm »
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline RJFreeman

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2015, 12:17:08 am »
Does it count if you built it yourself? ;)


It counts more if you built it yourself, and more again if you designed and built it yourself.... :-+
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2015, 02:22:30 am »
Thanks for starting this thread. Looking forward to seeing many more cool Nixies!
I TEA.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2015, 02:25:38 am »
Does it count if you built it yourself? ;)



 :-+ Very nice job.  Do you have any details on the design?     
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online lowimpedance

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2015, 01:54:49 am »
Does it count if you built it yourself? ;)
Even more so  :-+.

HP521 - spot the dead Pentode and steamy electrolytic....
Never seen or heard of this beastie, interesting look. I like the number of tubes they managed to stuff in there  :).

And now for a few of my 'orange displayed' kit. ;

The 7205 works except for an fixed offset in the reading and no manual to tell me what the hell are all the trim pots with odd names mean  >:(.
The 7004 works , but occasionally drifts off with a mind of its own !. Unable to track that issue down.
The 6052 works fine.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 02:07:47 am by lowimpedance »
The odd multimeter or 2 or 3 or 4...or........can't remember !.
 

Online lowimpedance

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2015, 02:02:05 am »
And two more ;
The DT-360 works well and I have two of these with manuals.
The Systron donor seems to work but has an issue with the decimal point and the case is missing !! :(
The odd multimeter or 2 or 3 or 4...or........can't remember !.
 

Offline smbaker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2015, 05:54:57 am »
:-+ Very nice job.  Do you have any details on the design?   

Sure, on my blog at http://www.smbaker.com/nixie-tube-calculator-powered-by-a-raspberry-pi

I tried this on Kickstarter last year, but unfortunately my price point was just too high for most people. I've made a few revisions since the photos were taken, for example the case is now fully enclosed. The thing is still sitting on my desk, it doubles as a clock.

 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2015, 07:20:45 am »
:-+ Very nice job.  Do you have any details on the design?   

Sure, on my blog at http://www.smbaker.com/nixie-tube-calculator-powered-by-a-raspberry-pi

I tried this on Kickstarter last year, but unfortunately my price point was just too high for most people. I've made a few revisions since the photos were taken, for example the case is now fully enclosed. The thing is still sitting on my desk, it doubles as a clock.

Thank you for the link.  I will read this when I have a chance. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2015, 09:02:48 am »
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2015, 10:37:04 am »
An old favourite and a newer one.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline RJFreeman

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2015, 12:09:55 pm »
The DT-360 works well and I have two of these with manuals.

Ah, yes, You just reminded me I have a DT360, waiting repair somewhere....
 

Online lowimpedance

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2015, 11:00:49 pm »
The DT-360 works well and I have two of these with manuals.

Ah, yes, You just reminded me I have a DT360, waiting repair somewhere....
In case you need the schemattics for the DT360, here you go;
The odd multimeter or 2 or 3 or 4...or........can't remember !.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2015, 02:17:18 am »
Here are two, with more to come as I resurrect them.

HP 5245L counter:


HP 3440A DVM:


They have so much more personality than LCDs, and are just cool to look at.

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

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2015, 11:35:51 am »
I only have a couple of nixie instruments, despite my avatar. One is a Systron Donner counter 1017, with 1291A 50-500MHz frequency converter. Doesn't work and so far I found a manual for the 1017, but nothing for the 1291A converter. I don't suppose anyone has a copy? I'd like to get this working. Mmmm... ring counters.
Yes, it needs a clean. But I don't see much point, unless I can get it working.
This is what my '5' avatar is taken from.

The other is a HP 5326B Timer-counter-dvm. Works, could do with a clean and cal. Ahem... actually, all my multimeters could. There seems to be some disagreement...
Collecting old scopes, logic analyzers, and unfinished projects. http://everist.org
 

Online snik

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2015, 02:43:03 am »
Here is my Nixie Tube equipment. An Heathkit IM-1202 Multimeter and two Frequency counter : Monsanto 100B & Philips PM 6607   :)
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 02:46:08 am by snik »
 

Offline RJFreeman

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2015, 05:36:52 am »

Never seen or heard of this beastie, interesting look. I like the number of tubes they managed to stuff in there  :).


it certainly is an interesting beasty - the modules at the top are removable and (apparently) generic counter modules model AC-4 decade counters. the HP521D (the one I have) uses the AC-4K which takes up to 120 Khz.

The valves are twin triodes with each one making up a flip-flop (or 'Binary") so the 4 flip-flops make up the counter - although it doesn't quite put out regular BCD (not sure what this counter is called).
the counter modules have a stair case output to let you make recordings on a chart recorder and decode to one of ten for the Nixie Tubes  is done by an array of Neon lamps and photo resistors.
For those who are interested, the manual for the AC-4 counters can be found here:
http://www.nixiebunny.com/hpac4/index.html

 

Offline edpalmer42

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2015, 08:22:52 pm »
My only piece of Nixie equipment is a Fluke 8375A DMM.  5.5 digit, one year accuracy of .01%, input impedance up to 10 Gohm, gold-plated traces on critical boards.  I was surprised to see a flexible circuit board in a Nixie-equipped unit.  I didn't realize that flexible circuits were used that far back.  Date codes suggest that some boards have been swapped.  They vary from '72 to '84.

Ed
 

Offline tautech

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2015, 08:38:14 pm »
I was surprised to see a flexible circuit board in a Nixie-equipped unit.  I didn't realize that flexible circuits were used that far back.
Ed
You shouldn't really be, flexi boards were common in auto dashboards even in the 70's.
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Offline LaurenceW

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2015, 10:47:06 pm »
Well there was this fella. It's big. And it tells the time. So I called it The BigTime.
Radio synch, IR remote, chimes, ambient temperature and relay output. And it was BIG.
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Offline LaurenceW

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2015, 10:50:07 pm »
Oh, and this one. I was going to call it "one sixth of a BigTime", but it ended up with the slightly snappier "CYCLOX" miker, instead. Serial Man-Machine Interface!
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2015, 01:45:55 am »
Those are very cool, Lawrence. What do the neon bulbs on the far left and right of BigTime indicate?
I TEA.
 

Offline LaurenceW

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2015, 11:43:13 pm »
Far left Neon is for AM/PM indicator (over here in Europe we prefer 24 hours a day rather than two lots of 12 (!), so it's superfluous)

Far right neon indicates alarm is on/off or in snooze.

Middle two neons just mark the seconds, really, but for added cool are PWM'd to fade dim/bright/dim... ;D
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 11:44:53 pm by LaurenceW »
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2015, 06:04:33 pm »
Breathing neon. Cool!

On my own stuff, I use 24-hour time and yyyy-mm-dd date formats. They make more sense. The rest of the house, though, is US standard. ;)
I TEA.
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2015, 01:17:48 pm »
Here is one that's been sitting on the shelf for a couple years patiently awaiting a restoration.

Systron Donner Model 6152 counter from 1971.


Online dr.diesel

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2015, 06:00:19 pm »
BK Model 281, currently employed as a DC battery bank monitor.  Sorry for the crappy exposure, pretty dark in here, it's reading 13.3v.

Offline AF6LJ

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2015, 06:07:59 pm »


Sue AF6LJ
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Offline Martin.M

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2015, 04:44:35 pm »
very nice equipments here.  Where are the custom nixies?  :)

Grundig Counter UZ144 , the custom nixie can display  ms, s, Hz and kHz. This unit is an OEM, made by Rohde&Schwarz




Hartman & Braun DC Voltmeter T2001 with VFD Tubes from Tung Sol they are well shieldet behind a metal mesh :)






greetings
Martin
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 05:08:35 pm by Martin.M »
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2015, 09:26:47 pm »
Very nice, Martin!

-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 #39 on: November 19, 2015, 04:38:37 am »
Martin, I really like the units tube on the Grundig Counter. Very cool.
I TEA.
 

Online med6753

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #40 on: November 19, 2015, 01:37:54 pm »
Bell and Howell (Heathkit) DVM. The '1' digit is actually a neon bulb.

« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 01:41:17 am by med6753 »
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Offline krivx

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #41 on: November 19, 2015, 02:11:08 pm »
Here is one that's been sitting on the shelf for a couple years patiently awaiting a restoration.

Systron Donner Model 6152 counter from 1971.

Do you have a manual? I've had one for a while that also needs going over...
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2015, 02:12:21 pm »
Here is one that's been sitting on the shelf for a couple years patiently awaiting a restoration.

Systron Donner Model 6152 counter from 1971.

Do you have a manual? I've had one for a while that also needs going over...

Nope, no manuals, appears they are not readily available either. 

Offline krivx

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #43 on: November 19, 2015, 02:19:47 pm »
Here is one that's been sitting on the shelf for a couple years patiently awaiting a restoration.

Systron Donner Model 6152 counter from 1971.

Do you have a manual? I've had one for a while that also needs going over...

Nope, no manuals, appears they are not readily available either.

Yeah, just unanswered requests online. Shame...
 

Offline Martin.M

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2015, 04:15:52 pm »
we can do the same, I will start restoring this 6053  :)

 

Offline fossi

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2015, 11:09:08 am »
some of my stuff.
A frequency-counter from HEB
and
a flexibel instrument Symetra D from METRAWATT with plugin E12 for temperature measuring with different types of heat probes. There exists another plugin which works as multimeter.
Interesting is the additional analog instrument underneath the nixies.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2015, 09:24:32 am »
A recent acquisition - a little 3-1/2 digit nixie meter.  It's a United Systems Corp. 262A, made in early 1971 based on the date codes on the parts inside it.  The case is a bit rough (it seems to be covered by something that feels slightly rubberized, and it's not fared well over the 45 years since it was made - it's rather scuffed and battered).  It needs a good cleaning, but seems to work based on a quick checkout.


It's mostly discrete construction, with a few 14 pin DIPS - some Motorola ones that appear to be simple logic chips based on what I've been able to find (don't have Motorola data books of that vintage), and some that might be Fairchild, that based on their number and location seem to have something to do with driving the nixies.


A cool piece of equipment for $10.

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

Offline SeanB

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2015, 09:46:38 am »
Looks like all the transistors are Motorola there, that shape and the dimple on top are very common on parts from them. The drivers are Fairchild.
 

Offline cncjerry

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #48 on: January 07, 2016, 04:04:40 pm »
Not wild about the picture, but the meter works.  I love old Keithley equipment.

I've not had a lot of luck posting pictures, let's see if it works this time.

 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #49 on: January 09, 2016, 12:35:18 am »
New 'toy' (Chistmas Present) ;D
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline matseng

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #50 on: January 09, 2016, 05:31:01 am »
I really can't classify this as "equipment" even if it actually works as intended being a 0.1..999.9mA constant current load, but I thought that I'd just post it here anyways.

I did this as my entry into the Dangerous Prototypes 7400-competition some years ago. It's a digitally controlled constant current load built out of 4000-series CMOS logic running at 12 volts except for the  K155N1 Nixie drivers which is TTL on 5 volts. No microcontroller here....  It looks like crap having different colored random sized pcbs and so...

The project is documented at http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=4735#p45823

   

 

Offline SLJ

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2016, 03:59:42 pm »
New 'toy' (Chistmas Present) ;D

I like it. "It's always 57 somewhere".

Offline lausvi

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #52 on: January 12, 2016, 05:37:48 pm »
This is currently my only working Nixie-thingy: a Philips PM2423 Digital Multimeter. It has AC/DC voltage and resistance measurements in 3.5 digits. Some more info in here: http://www.glowbug.nl/neon/PM2423.html. It's a bit limited but I have always liked it's slim look.

It has two more indicators on the left-hand side next to the display: negative polarity, resistance measurement mode indication and '1' for the .5 digit.

Couldn't find any references on the precision but seems to be running pretty good.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 05:39:32 pm by lausvi »
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #53 on: February 01, 2016, 09:51:42 am »
I loved the 5245L when I saw it and found a 'dead' one for a good price, one fuse later and she is glowing! A bit of spit and polish needed.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #54 on: February 01, 2016, 10:14:20 am »
You can't make a Nixie Tube current load and put a nasty keypad on it! You need a proper rotary dial.

« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 10:17:22 am by HAL-42b »
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #55 on: February 01, 2016, 04:03:06 pm »
I loved the 5245L when I saw it and found a 'dead' one for a good price, one fuse later and she is glowing! A bit of spit and polish needed.

Loverly.  A 5245L was my first nixie equipped test box.  I blame it for the rest that have since come into my possession.   :-DD  I figure there are far worse things I could be blowing my $$ on...

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

Offline matseng

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #56 on: February 02, 2016, 07:57:07 am »
You can't make a Nixie Tube current load and put a nasty keypad on it! You need a proper rotary dial.



Hm... Yes, I think I actually agree with you. Unfortunately I don't have a rotary dial in my otherwise rather ample junkboxes and the ones I can find at local auction sites are classed "as antiques" and have asking prices approaching $200. :-(   But if I a rotary phone just happen to more or less just fall into my lap I'll retrofit my CC load - I promise.
 

Offline BU508A

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #57 on: February 02, 2016, 07:56:01 pm »
Hi,

this is my Nixie Digital Multimeter UGD 51 from Rohde & Schwarz. Based on the datecodes on some TTL IC I think it was build in 1974 or 1975.
It is a real nice meter and very seldom.
Enjoy the pictures. :)

Edit: This is the data sheet for the UGD 51, sorry, but I have it only in german:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5n1okvd3nhbgfqn/UGD_51_Datenblatt_234051.pdf?dl=0
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 09:13:29 am by BU508A »
“Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order, because it is better organized.”            - Terry Pratchett -
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #58 on: February 03, 2016, 03:19:09 am »
Tubes ICs and Dzus fasteners on the front panel. Seems rather like some sort of aviation gear  :-+
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #59 on: April 17, 2016, 12:50:04 pm »
A nixie tube clock Nixies have developed some cathode poisoning, so I decided to have a go at 'cooking' it off as per 'tube-tester' Dieter's http://www.tube-tester.com/sites/nixie/different/cathode%20poisoning/cathode-poisoning.htm
The voltage discharge curve on a Nixie is a bit tricky so I used a LR645 (up to 400V in 10V linear regulator) and built a constant current source. So far using about double the data sheet max I (2x2mA) has cleaned a "2" in a IN14 CCCP tube.

LR 645 Data Sheet http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/DeviceDoc/LR645%20A062113.pdf

Pic below 180V DC into current controller, 4.4mA, 163.4V out.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 12:52:01 pm by VK5RC »
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #60 on: April 17, 2016, 04:21:29 pm »
Rob, that's great!  :-+

Another useful tidbit learned here to tuck away for future reference. Keep us apprised as to how long it ultimately takes, and how well it works when put back in the clock.

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

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #61 on: April 19, 2016, 09:21:28 am »
I have posted a few photos and a description of my Nixie rejuvenation experience at 
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/repair/rejuvenating-nixies-some-comments-photos/msg922119/#msg922119
It works well , go for it fellas ( and gals ).
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #62 on: April 24, 2016, 07:40:49 am »

Here is the Sony Sobax ICC-600W I restored. On the shelf, it's the black and silver machine next to the blue and white machine.


In addition, I have a Commodore 512 and it's Casio equivalent, A Monroe 925, and A Remington 1259S, all using Nixie tubes. I can't recall if any others are using nixies, however, of special note (and NOT using Nixies) is my Smith Corona-Marchant Cogito 240 SR. It uses a CRT instead of nixies, but is absolution amazing anyway. It was made in 1965, and uses discrete resistors and diodes for it's logic. Transistors are generally reserved for line driving, inverters, and flip flops. Some of the other calcs use VFDs or panaplex displays.

The Canon 163 also uses Nixies.
 
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Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #63 on: April 24, 2016, 07:46:19 am »

I built my PC case from a 1939 Philco radio cabinet, and installed a nixie clock in the front (those were postal box doors). The radio was long gone when I found the case. I've been wanting to mod it with a dekatron spinner that spins to drive access activity, and I've already added a seconds display to the second window!


In addition, I have six nixie tube/thyratron decade counter/dispaly boards from a 1961 TUBE based ANITA Mk7 calculator.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 07:55:06 am by richfiles »
 

Offline Arhammon

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #64 on: April 27, 2016, 12:37:08 pm »
This is my 5.5 digit(6.5 digit in millivolt range) Soviet multimeter. Based on i8080 compatible CPU. It has segmented nixie? display. It looks like a VFD but is powered by 200 and 133 volts.


Display. Fortunately, this is not my photo.

 
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Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2016, 08:16:23 am »
This is my 5.5 digit(6.5 digit in millivolt range) Soviet multimeter. Based on i8080 compatible CPU. It has segmented nixie? display. It looks like a VFD but is powered by 200 and 133 volts.

Looks like it's probably a Soviet variant of a Panaplex display. My Monroe 344 Statistician uses a genuine Panaplex display. They were filled with neon gas, and worked very much like a nixie tube, except segmented, of course. They were generally multiplexed. Mine works perfectly fine. It's just displaying an error cause the four "D" size batteries in it are nearly dead. it flashes the screen when batteries are low. These probably just need some batterizers **cough** or some such bullshit **cough**, cause it's now too low to do anything!  :bullshit: :-DD

Don't forget to check out Dave's teardown of a sister model to this one, branded under the Compucorp name.


« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 08:23:22 am by richfiles »
 
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Offline Martin.M

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #66 on: May 14, 2016, 06:32:19 am »
the restoration of my Systron Donner Counter 6053 is done, except I am searching for a new orange front glass, the old is rotten.

Here the oldie is counting a sine 1,25GHz delivered from my SWOB. (It can count up to 3GHz, a very fast counter)
It would be possible to enhance 2 nixies more by plugging them + 7 IC and to do 2 bridges, but a resolution of 10Hz in GHz mode requires for shure a external clock feed from a rubidium.


greetings
Martin

« Last Edit: May 14, 2016, 06:41:20 am by Martin.M »
 

Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #67 on: May 14, 2016, 06:54:55 am »
I am actually really sad about the first nixie tubes in my life... They are sadly long gone... :'(

When I was a kid, I used to ride with my dad in the tractor when he was working in the fields, and the corn/soybean planter was equipped with a counter in the tractor cab that used nixie tubes to show the seed flow rate. It quit working ages ago, and then he got a bigger, better planter. At some time between me being a kid, and me realizing what he had... it had been removed and discarded.

I can't even find a decent picture of one, and my Google-fu is failing me... I wanna say it had three digits. I also recall that it had one of those sonalert style buzzers that you could twist to adjust the loudness. That was to notify you if your seed flow rate was too high or low. I can't recall how the rate was set. Whether it was pre-sets, analog, or a press to match? I dunno? It's been too many years. It would have been the 1980s when this still worked.

I wish he had thought to let me take it, but it just didn't happen. Seeing all these cool nixie tube counters reminded me of it. :(
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 03:35:56 am by richfiles »
 

Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #68 on: May 19, 2016, 03:33:49 am »
So, I did a little more research, and once I found the magic words (for Google), I FINALLY found that seed flow monitor. it was an International Cyclo 400 Planter Seed Flow Monitor.

My memory recalled a lovely glowing orange tube... That much is true, but it turns out it's a Numitron tube, not a nixie. These were seven segment displays, but instead of LEDs, each segment was an incandescent filament inside a glass tube. It was an easy way to get a digital readout with a 12 volt DC power source, and not need to generate high voltages. The catch, of course, is that the filaments can burn out. The tube did not display the count. It only displayed the row selected (using the "Step" switch). It checked the flow rate based on three presets, and would use the lights on the left to indicate normal seed flow, or if the flow was high or low. The A, B, and C settings would have been used for general flow setting, and the "Auto/Manual" switch I think scanned through each row automatically, or held till you manually stepped it.

The crazy thing, is since people STILL use the old Cyclo 400 planters from the 1970s for regular use... These still sell on eBay from time to time for $200 or more! Yikes! Farm equipment never dies... It just keeps getting maintained or passed to the next farmer.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 03:40:50 am by richfiles »
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #69 on: May 19, 2016, 04:31:09 am »
Must-not-start-searching-out-things-with-numitrons   |O

 :-DD

Actually, I've been pretty good - it's been a few weeks since I bought anything with nixies in it!   :phew:  (Though I am supposed to be picking up a Tektronix 310 scope tomorrow, so the tube addiction hasn't abated...)

-Pat
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 #70 on: May 19, 2016, 07:16:46 am »
It's odd, but the ONLY numitrons I've ever encountered in the field... ahem... have been in agricultural equipment. Pardon my pun... ;)

The only device I own that has a numitron is an item I picked up at a thrift/antique store a couple years back. It was CLEARLY a one off, fully custom gadget. It was clearly hand made. I don't recall the function, but it was some manner of equipment someone would have used in an agricultural setting. Obviously the other numitron I'd encountered was in the Cyclo 400 planter monitor I previously mentioned my father having in his tractor when I was a kid.

Even though this is primarily nixies, I'll try to remember to get a shot of the device next time I am at my storage unit.

I suppose, it makes sense, given the fact that I live in an extremely rural location. While test equipment, lab equipment, and general digital devices are the first things that typically come to mind when one thinks nixies and numitrons... There really aren't any such industries locally. Best option would be the testing lab I work at, and they don't have any electronic equipment much older than 1980s. They actually keep their equipment reasonably up to date, at least by terms of usability and accuracy.

The cutting edge in technology developing in an area such as where I live, was bound to be the latest and greatest in farming machinery. In the 1970s, most rural families likely had a radio or two, one TV, not necessarily even a color model, and nothing beyond those two items more complex than your typical kitchen appliances and an electric clock (almost always in the kitchen, it would seem)... Yeah, the best tech was gonna be the fancy accessories in the newest farm equipment. Local banks might have made the switch to electronic calculators, but many small banks would still be using mechanical adders, and a family might have eventually got one of the new-fangled pocket calculators, once they dropped below $25... Half novelty, and half to make tax season and managing the budget less of a burden. Given the garage sale findings when I was a kid... People were just as likely to still just have mechanical calculators back then.

We got digital seed flow monitors in the 1970s. We had even more digital readouts in the tractors in the 1980s. Ground speed radar, GPS, and auto "row drive" were introduced in the late 90s and in the 2000s. Now there are even driverless tractors (both follow the leader and fully autonomous types). Agriculture is always at the cutting edge. Small time farmers just get the hand me downs! :P

We were using that little numitron equipped flow monitor through the 80s... Maybe even into the 90s. My grandmother bought a few houses in town in the mid 1970s, when realestate was low. She rented those out for years, and then sold them in the 90s... We still had pre-owned tractors!

I suppose, tho point of my long and rambling mental wanderings, is that devoid of any tech industries, the only real tech industry in my local would have been agriculture itself. That's why I only ever find ag equipment with these retro display technologies... All my goodies have to come by way of eBay and exorborant expendetures! :o RIP wallet!  |O
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 07:40:48 am by richfiles »
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #71 on: May 19, 2016, 11:36:39 am »
A bit of a ' fixer up' hopefully nothing too serious.
@Cubdriver, I think I can hear the numitrons calling you! HiHi!
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2016, 11:54:06 am »
Quote
It's odd, but the ONLY numitrons I've ever encountered in the field... ahem... have been in agricultural equipment. Pardon my pun... ;)

Numitrons were widely used in Petrol (gas) pumps in the UK until relatively recently (in the last decade anyway) they've all gone LCD these days.
Chris

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Offline SeanB

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #73 on: May 19, 2016, 05:03:45 pm »
Military moving map display, with a board on top driving the display. Serial data in to a whole load of shift registers, then a transparent latch and finally the lamp drivers, a whole load of CD4050 buffers. We did convert a few to LED displays, using a small PCB sandwich and a cordwood construction to fit in place of the original numitron sockets, and using the existing wire leads. Think of putting 10 1/8W resistors in the space normally occupied by a low profile connector, and the 2 PCB units and the solder in pin sockets used to plug in the display. Then wire up the whole board with the 20 odd displays, place in the housing then find out they are way too bright. Solution, other than to remove the boards and replace the 180R resistors with 330R ones ( I was not involved in the design, just the helper in putting them together) was to use a pair of 6A diodes in series in the common lead from the display, to drop 1V2 or so, and drop the current. 6A diodes, as the display current was in the order of 5A on full brightness and with display test pushed in.
 

Offline kultakala

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #74 on: May 19, 2016, 05:29:48 pm »
I have no measurement equipment with nixies, but my old Casio fx-1.
Here in front of modern LED technology.

 

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

-Pat
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.
I TEA.
 

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
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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?
I TEA.
 

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 »
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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
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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!
I TEA.
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #100 on: July 29, 2016, 10:06:26 am »
Very nice construction, the PCB home made as well I suspect,  :-+ :-+
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #101 on: July 29, 2016, 10:13:18 am »
Beautifully implemented Enigma-man! I particularly like the use of smaller displays for the annunciators. And my type of 'fun' engineering too.  :D

Yes, all the pre 106x Datrons used socketed Sperry / Beckman / Babcock/ SP3xx displays. The mV / V etc annunciators were done with dim lamps behind transparencies. They are also a 'micro free', no batteries, no eproms, just discrete analogue and socketed logic, making it possible to maintain them more or less indefinitely. They still achieve 0.01% class accuracy and stable 1uV resolution. Well worth grabbing if you see one cheap (avoid the 105x 5 1/2 digit series, it uses an unobtainium custom PMOS counter logic chip and a very touchy triple slope conversion circuit).

I think it was sad that adopted a custom panaplex display on the later models, but every major manufacturer did the same, but it is a definite weakness when it comes to restoring older units. Remember though that a lot of the 106x meters on the market have been left on 24/7 for decades.

@bitseeker:

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

 No idea, it's on the surface and definitely not heat related, my guess is either flux residue or lacquer. It's not sticky and I've never tried removing it. BTW did you notice the big beehive trimmer cap up next to the glass encapsulated crystal in the top right corner? That's the frequency trim. ;D

Quote
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?

Life is certainly way better than VFD - particularly due to absence of uneven brightness loss. The Sperry / Beckman spec states a blanket 10 years with a note that operating at Maximum rather than Typical ratings can reduce life. In practice it's difficult to get them dim enough, even at Minimum specified current (They were specified at 200ft lamberts ( :-\) and a viewing distance of 40ft). I suspect that minimum current drive increases their life even further. Like all cold cathode tubes, the cathodes will splutter if overdriven.

As you say Cubdriver, they are more mechanically sensitive than anything, the front glass is bonded  as are the pins, but I think they use glass 'frit' seal (as cerdip packages). There are also internal getters (the little ring structure at the bottom) to mop up gasses. Given that many of the ones still in use are 40+ years old, long term leakage doesn't seem to be an issue.

@Arhammon: Yes the Philips one is particularly nice, it's a multiplexed display (multiplexing does seem to look better, maybe because it drops the brightness below what can be achieved at minimum current in static drive). It looks a lot nicer than the LEDs they used on later counters.


P.S. I should probably qualify that multiplexed display comment. What sets the minimum current spec of the display is having sufficient current density to light up the entire surface of a segment. When multiplexed, the segments get driven at higher current, but for lower duty cycle. This seems to make them look dimmer and 'sharper'.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 10:23:19 am by Gyro »
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #102 on: July 29, 2016, 06:24:04 pm »
Thanks for all the info, Gyro. The only regret will be my lighter wallet after having learned more about Panaplex displays. ;D
I TEA.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #103 on: July 29, 2016, 07:16:48 pm »
Chris

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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #104 on: July 29, 2016, 07:54:44 pm »
That's true.

The pins are going every which way on the back of that display. Poor thing.

And that's how it starts, right Pat? (Well, that's one way of many. :-DD)
I TEA.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #105 on: July 29, 2016, 09:47:22 pm »
Thanks for all the info, Gyro. The only regret will be my lighter wallet after having learned more about Panaplex displays. ;D

Yup.  I have a half-assed search for Datron stuff on the 'bay, I will doubtless now be looking more carefully.   |O

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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 #106 on: July 30, 2016, 08:55:16 am »
One is glad to be of service. ;D

Maybe I'll do a teardown sometime, if pressed (better let this thread get back to Nixies).

Chris.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 08:57:23 am by Gyro »
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #107 on: July 30, 2016, 09:39:33 am »
BUILDING A THERMIONIC TUBE TESTER (V , V , I curve tracer)
Whilst not a Nixie tube it is close, I have built and tested the uTracer3+ from foreverDOS. If you have a need for a thermionic tube tester I would recommend this as an interesting and high quality project, ultimately not cheap though.
It comes as a  complete PCB and parts kit with an great manual and an excellent website. You need to provide the box, a 19V laptop power supply, the 'pegboard' sockets and the tube sockets (these can get quite expensive).
The uTracer is basically 3 power supplies (and Voltage samplers) in the one unit controlled by a serial port and a program on your computer,
One low voltage variable , modest current continuous supply for the heater circuit
Two high voltage (boost SMPSU) relatively lower current supplies for the Anode/Grid,
The tester does quite a clever trick in that in only actively tests for some milli-seconds at a time , so the SMPSU can supply up to a 200mA or so briefly up to 400V(from -50V if needed) !
Wiring the multiple sockets is a bit challenging but made a lot easier by a wire stripper.
Below are photos of the complete PCB, the inside wiring of the sockets and testing a 12BYA , note the hot filament and while HV is active a warning light is displayed.

http://dos4ever.com/uTracer3/uTracer3_pag0.html

Note No association other than happy customer!
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #108 on: July 30, 2016, 09:28:49 pm »
Maybe I'll do a teardown sometime, if pressed (better let this thread get back to Nixies).

Could always start a "Let's see your Panaplex display equipment" thread. (Hint, hint, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean?)
I TEA.
 

Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #109 on: July 31, 2016, 03:26:24 am »
Boys and girls, today's show and tell is the following:

Here is an HP 5221A four digit Nixie counter.  It is in near pristene condition for a piece of equipment with date codes
of 1967 and 1968.  Some IC's have unusual codes. My guess is that this unit is from 1968 or 1969.  It is absolutely spotless
inside and out. All components are original.  Not bad for 48 years of age.  The logic board has the upside down Nixies and there
is provision for two more digits on the gold plated pc board.  The IC's are non-standard decade counters, storage and drivers.
7400 series 7490, 7475 and 7441 or 74141 could be subbed but are not direct replacements and would require a piggyback board
if and when repair is needed.
Judging by the condition, this 5221A didn't see a lot of use and could sit in HP's museum if they already didn't have some.

The big and heavy piece of equipment  which I thought was a frequency counter turned out to be a Gould K115 Logic Analyzer from around 1990.
 It has a 5.25 inch floppy with a diskette with that supposedly has a Z80 disassembler on it if it can still be read.
One day I'll fire it up. No real use for it but it's in really good shape complete with cables.

From Dr.Dobbs concerning logic analyzers
"There's two problems with these big logic analyzers. First, the Gould machines weigh something like 80 pounds and take up roughly the
space of a midsize PC tower. You have to be pretty desperate — I mean motivated — to go drag one of these out and clear off a spot for it."

I'm not desperate or motivated... I got it for nuthin' and he ain't kiddin' 'bout the weight... ;D

Back to the cutesy counter.  Here's the pix.
Mr. Sparky provides some comic relief.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 03:32:31 am by Enigma-man »
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #110 on: July 31, 2016, 12:22:38 pm »
Very nice Enigma-man. Nixies and HP have got to be a winning (and collectable) combination.

I agree, it would be nice to see the other two digits populated, but I'd probably only be tempted to do it if you could find original pin compatible parts, it would lose some of its charm with a piggyback board. Hopefully a scrap donor unit might come along.

Upside down Nixies are a bit of a rarity but they are shown on Dieter's Nixie World site here...

http://www.tube-tester.com/sites/nixie/trade01-nixie-tubes.htm

It's a really nice site to go and browse, even if you don't have any of your own to play with. It also has useful Panaplex data too.

It looks as if your displays are Burroughs B-5560 from the description.


Oh, @bitseeker:

Could always start a "Let's see your Panaplex display equipment" thread. (Hint, hint, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean?)

Not a bad idea, give me a few days to take some pictures.  :)
Chris

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Offline b_force

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #111 on: July 31, 2016, 02:18:04 pm »
What type are normally those small nixies?
I like to use a few for a projects (hopefully there is a cheap Russian equivalent with a real five)
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #112 on: July 31, 2016, 03:34:29 pm »
@b_force:

The answer to your question is  go to Dieter's Nixie World link above and you will see there is nothing really "normal" about Nixie tubes.
You will see different sizes and styles.
If I were you, I would decide on a style after seeing what is available for purchase and budget if you have one.
You may have to settle for what you can get because some in the list are rare.  There appears to be a fairly good supply of Russian tubes.

@Gyro:

A piggyback board would only be temporary.  I would use two machine sockets where the Nixie drivers would go and use a DIP header to attach the piggyback board.
The upside down Nixies may take a while to find.  Most likely things will remain as they are for now.  The service manual showed the extra digits as options.
If someday I do find a donor, the options will be done in a proper fashion.

pmanning at smugmug.com shows his nearly beat to death six digit 5221A as received and after cleaning etc.     I like the one I have better...    :D   

https://pmanning.smugmug.com/Electronics/HP-5221A-Electronic-Counter/
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #113 on: July 31, 2016, 04:51:27 pm »
Ah yes, I see. I was surprised that the footprints aren't industry standard but looking at Wikipedia, 54 series parts weren't around until 1964 and 74 series until 1966. They may be based on Sylvania (Edit: SUHL) parts (1963). That's quite a teardown pmanning did... 55 photos.  :o

It's a bit surprised that anyone bothered to order the counter without the 6 digit option. The cost difference should have been minimal unless HP loaded the pricing. Datron offered an extra digit resolution on the 1030 RMS voltmeter as a no cost option but that was just an extra driver chip as the Panaplex display already included the digit (actually according to the assembly drawing, the chip got unplugged after factory test!).
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 04:56:19 pm by Gyro »
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #114 on: July 31, 2016, 05:35:44 pm »
@Gyro:

All of pmanning`s restorations are like that, which is good for comparison.  I suppose the best gauge for any attempt is opening up whatever it is and
see what`s there or missing, be brave and fire it up.  If it doesn`t blow fuses or burst into flames you have reached the first step.  How far one gets
depends on the "unobtanium factor".
In the 5221A there are decade counters that are in TO-5 cans listed as IC2, IC3 and IC8.  They are TTL with HP numbering.   

According to the Hewlett-Packard Journal 1967-08, the 5221A was introduced and was said to have readily available off-the-shelf Texas Instruments 74 series as
replacements.  TI had their pinout, Motorola and others had their own.  Not sure who won out but it was probably Motorola.  TI went with the standard as I do have several
74 series TI chips.
The 5221A, four digit counter is listed at $475 US.  There was also a time base upgrade option.  I think I saw a price of $675 US for the six digit model with time base option, somewhere...

Looking at schematics from HP equipment in the early 70's and comparing with a Motorola TTL Databook one can determine the following:

1820-0055 is a 7490 decade counter
1820-0100 is a 7441 decoder/driver
1820-0707 is a 74141 decoder/driver (improved 7441)
1820-0301 is a 7475 four-bit latch


 

Offline b_force

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #115 on: July 31, 2016, 05:37:54 pm »
@ Enigma-man
Thanks. :)
I am already familiar with nixes. I have a bunch of clocks (developed) myself.
I was only wondering if people would directly know a specific type or so
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #116 on: July 31, 2016, 06:23:05 pm »
Wow, E-man -

That counter is in beautiful shape - looks like it came from us of the box yesterday.  Mine looks like it went through the war in comparison (as you saw from the SmugMug pictures).  I've gotten a replacement tube since the photos were taken, but haven't found the time to get it back on the bench to install it and for further surgery.  It has some other issues, and I plan to try to clean it up more as well.

For what it's worth, I looked up the prices in the 1970 HP catalog:

5221A base model: $425.00
Option 001 - 1 add'l digit: $75.00
Option 002 - 2 add'l digits: $125.00
Option 003 - Xtal time base: $100.00

This all seems cheap to us now, but on a relatively inexpensive counter I suppose it was a pretty big nut at the time.  It's also quite possible that many were using it literally as a counter (I think we're predisposed to always think 'frequency' here) and had applications that would never go over 9999 counts, thus not needing the extra digits at all.

-Pat
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Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #117 on: July 31, 2016, 06:30:01 pm »
Sorry Pat, I didn't realise it was your teardown!

They really did load the pricing for those options didn't they.
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #118 on: July 31, 2016, 06:47:56 pm »
Sorry Pat, I didn't realise it was your teardown!

They really did load the pricing for those options didn't they.

No worries!  Between forum screen names, first names in signatures and other account names, the connections aren't always obvious.  (And, I don't recall posting that counter in this thread.)

HP's stuff wasn't cheap, but if they manually reworked the boards to add the digits I could see it costing a pretty penny to retrofit the additional digits, even at the factory.  The 'B' model of the counter, which as a base unit included the crystal time base, seemed to have been aimed more at the cheap (frugal?) frequency measurement crowd.  It had 5 digits with an optional 6th, and IIRC more gating positions on the switch.

-Pat
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #119 on: July 31, 2016, 08:41:17 pm »
@Cubdriver:

I almost (not really  ;D) felt bad seeing the condition your 5221A was in when you received it and for that matter some other pieces you have. 
Sometimes one gets a really good one, like me for instance... >:D

Seriously, though I did feel bad and we learn something new everyday.  :D

 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #120 on: July 31, 2016, 09:57:13 pm »
E-man,

That's a beautiful 5221A! It's the first time I've seen the A version with the default four digits. I started my Nixie adventure hunting for either a 5221B or its sibling the 5321B. The B version has five digits standard with an option for the sixth. The 5321 is a half-height (or thereabouts) and slightly longer/wider variation of the 5221. Both are nice desktop units.

During my hunt, I discovered and acquired a couple of HP 5216A counters. This model looks like a wider version of the 5221 with seven Nixie tubes. I guess I should post a few pics here since I haven't yet gotten around to tearing it down for its own thread. Both units are a bit flaky. I just hope it's not the ICs that are bad since HP built in additional decoder states to blank the left-most zero digits.

Pat,

It's nice to see your fully-populated 5221. I guess I'll be picking your brain when it comes time to work on my 5216. As for the dead tube, I have yet to run across any available replacements. If I do, I'll be sure to let you know.

Does the SmugMug gallery represent the current state of your 5221? Are you looking for other parts for it such as the logo, knobs, etc. to fully restore it?
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #121 on: August 01, 2016, 12:13:22 am »
Bitseeker -

I've been on the lookout for a B model as well (it has the better time base, among other things), and would like to find a 5321 of either flavor just for the variety.  No luck so far, but I did snag another 5221 from the 'bay a few months back.  It is a base model with only four digits, and hasn't yet been wrung out or photographed.  It was modified by a previous owner and sports dual banana jacks for the input rather than the BNC it initially came with, so it's not entirely original.  It's also not nearly as abused as the poor one shown in the SmugMug pics was...

I did eventually find a replacement tube on the auction site; just haven't gotten to putting it in thus far.  My best suggestion for finding a replacement is to set up a couple of ebay searches, one with its HP part number and another with its manufacturer's part number at least.  Then be patient - they seem to turn up once in a blue moon.  The Electro Instruments meter is presently occupying the bench, so it may be a bit before I get back to the 5221.  If I should stumble on any replacement tubes in my travels I will point you towards them, or grab one for you if it's at a swap meet.  It kills me when equipment like this is ruined so that people can make clocks when there are gazillions of NOS Russian nixies available that can be had inexpensively and without the murder of fine old test gear.

I'll be happy to help however I can when you get to the 5216.  I'm on the lookout for one of those as well; eventually one will turn up.

Yes, the pictures in the gallery do show the present state of the counter.  I'm going to revisit it and see what I can do to make it prettier, and would love to stumble upon a box of logo badges - they seem to be missing on a lot of instruments.  I'm not sure if they fall/break off or if people are prying them off as keepsakes or something, but regardless of the reason it's annoying to me when they're missing!  I do have some spare knobs from a swap meet buy a year or two ago, but need to excavate them from wherever they've gone off to to hide.  My house eats things - this should come as no surprise to anyone who's seen the pictures of the bench area and the metro cart (wire shelving rack) with the test gear on it.

It's nice to see this thread still alive and kicking!

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

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #122 on: August 01, 2016, 12:57:13 am »
@Cubdriver:

I almost (not really  ;D) felt bad seeing the condition your 5221A was in when you received it and for that matter some other pieces you have. 
Sometimes one gets a really good one, like me for instance... >:D

Seriously, though I did feel bad and we learn something new everyday.  :D

 :-DD :-DD  I only just now expanded that thumbnail.  Somehow I doubt that little tid-bit of knowledge is even in the same GALAXY as E=mc^2!   :-DD :-DD

Well, the condition winds up being whatever it is, and there are some things I've passed on due to the shape they're in, but in other cases depending on the rarity or cost, it's worth the roll of the dice to try to snag and restore something.

-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 #123 on: August 01, 2016, 03:51:36 am »
Pat,

I've seen a few 5321 go by a couple-three months ago. This B model was a bit more than I wanted to pay and was missing the logo (yeah, what's up with so much HP gear missing that logo?). Earlier, this A model I saw was complete and cosmetically good. The "blows fuses" issue didn't bother me, but it had the basic four digits and one or two tubes looked like they might be blown. So, I passed on it too.

I'm not actively looking for one, so there's no worry about bidding against each other if you do see one. Once you get one, though, anything's possible. :-DD
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #124 on: August 01, 2016, 03:55:27 am »
Before getting off the topic of the 5221A, I thought it might be a good idea to extend the range to above 100MHz by connecting a homebrew
ECL divide by ten prescaler.  I have ten 10138 counters that can be wired for divide by 2, five or ten.  It would function as an inline device so the
5221A would remain unmodified.  A crystal oscillator as a timebase would be better than the AC line frequency divided by sixty as is now the case.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #125 on: August 01, 2016, 03:59:59 am »
Funny you should mention that. I was thinking along those lines as well. It would be a non-intrusive way to keep these counters useful. The 5216 I have is a 12.5 MHz counter, so a /10 pre-scaler would make it a nice 125 MHz device.
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #126 on: August 01, 2016, 04:15:13 am »
@bitseeker:
Glad you liked my 5221A.  The prescaler would be easy to construct.  The only downside is powering the thing with an external power supply.
I suppose one could take +5V from the unit itself and run the wire through a perforation on the bottom plate.

I wonder why the previous owner of Cubdriver's 5221 would modify it to accommodate banana plugs when all he had to do was hook up the jacks to
a piece of BNC cable. ???
It still serves the purpose and saves time by not having to modify/bastardize the unit.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #127 on: August 01, 2016, 06:52:21 pm »
I'd be very interested in making a prescaler. Although I have an idea how counters operate, I don't have in-depth knowledge of their design and operation. Thus, mine will serve an educational function in addition to bringing them back to full operation and looking cool on my bench.

On the 5221 and 5216, pin 3 of the digital recorder/printer connector provides 5V and pin 1 is ground. However, I haven't looked into the schematics to see if it could actually take a load. It's intended to be a 5V reference for the data lines. Nevertheless, if you took power from elsewhere inside the unit, you might be able to make use of the space around the card edge connector to run the wires to the prescaler. I'd be fine with just putting a DC jack on the prescaler or using a bench supply (got plenty of those).

Regarding the banana plug modification, it's also odd that a simple BNC-to-banana adapter wasn't used. Although that counter sounds familiar, I don't recall how good of a job the owner did. Hopefully, it doesn't look bad.
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #128 on: August 01, 2016, 07:40:32 pm »
I think the prescaler for my 5221A would be a waste of time.  With only 4 digits and no over range indicator, there's no way to
tell what the actual frequency is.  When 1MHz is applied all I get is the rightmost digit showing a zero.  ;D
I think my unit may have seen use as an event counter of some sort.  When the switch is in "OPEN" position, it counts up until 9999 then goes back to zero.
Not a big deal for me and the 5221A won't see a lot of use unless I can add two more digits in future. It's more of a show and tell item.
It works as a frequency counter in a limited capacity.

However, I will breadboard a prescaler then hand draw a pc board if you want one.  It's not a complicated piece of hardware. 

I have close to 100 RCA CA3179 1.25GHz prescaler IC's.  The only drawback is that they divide the VHF signal by 64 and the UHF by 256.
The timebase of the counter would have to be modified to see the true frequency.  A one or ten Hertz timebase would show the input signal
as the result of the input frequency divided by 64 or 256.  That's why I never used any of them.
700MHz would show 10937500 on the counter.
A calculator would give you the proper result 109375 X 64 = 700,000,000
If I was making a kit, I would toss in a dollar store  $2 calculator as  an "Auxillary Display Device"...  ;D
Getting ahead of myself here.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 07:46:49 pm by Enigma-man »
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #129 on: August 01, 2016, 08:52:42 pm »
With only 4 digits and no over range indicator, there's no way to tell what the actual frequency is.
I see. So that might be why the B version has five digits standard.

Quote
Not a big deal for me and the 5221A won't see a lot of use unless I can add two more digits in future. It's more of a show and tell item.

As a show item, it's certainly easier to live with on the desk than a full rack width counter. :)

Quote
However, I will breadboard a prescaler then hand draw a pc board if you want one.  It's not a complicated piece of hardware.

Thanks, very kind of you.

Quote
I have close to 100 RCA CA3179 1.25GHz prescaler IC's.  The only drawback is that they divide the VHF signal by 64 and the UHF by 256.
The timebase of the counter would have to be modified to see the true frequency.  A one or ten Hertz timebase would show the input signal
as the result of the input frequency divided by 64 or 256.  That's why I never used any of them.

Yeah, that sounds like a pain.

Quote
If I was making a kit, I would toss in a dollar store  $2 calculator as  an "Auxillary Display Device"...  ;D

LOL! I'd probably hook up an Arduino to the digital recorder port and have it do the conversion for proper display. Of course, one could also do the division with a dedicated circuit.
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #130 on: August 02, 2016, 05:51:49 pm »
More seven segment Panaplex  gas discharge displays...
The small ones are made by Sperry.  The two digit ones are SP-336 and three digit are EX-337.
Sphere was asking $49 each for the three digit  and $15 for the two digit.  The Beckman 1.5" are
shown for size comparison.
Two Beckman DD-700 7 seven segment driver chips are on the foam as is a 1.25GHz RCA CA3179 chip. (Not relevant)
Last but not least, the first IC I ever bought... A TI SN 7450P in a ceramic package with metal top dated 6626.
I have quite a collection of vintage CPU's and memory devices as well.
I have 25 Sperry flat pack RTL uL925's in an unopened package dated 6520.
That's for another thread.
I forgot to mention that the little red rectangle is a three digit multiplexed LED display. The digits are barely more than  1/10 inch high.
Man, that is small...
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 05:55:08 pm by Enigma-man »
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #131 on: August 02, 2016, 09:26:14 pm »
What are the triangles and squares that I see below the digits on many of these Panaplex displays?
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Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #132 on: August 02, 2016, 09:31:14 pm »
I think the triangles are intended to be decimals/commas, and the square bits at the bottom are likely part of the metal of the electrode... I can never remember if it's the anode... I wanna say the segments are the cathodes... Gah! I can never remember!   :-//
 
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #133 on: August 02, 2016, 10:43:43 pm »
Yes, the triangles are decimals.  The small Sperry displays only had decimals while the bigger Beckman displays could be used in clocks since they had
the colon as well as a decimal and bar to make a comma.  I'll hook up the big ones to a voltage source as they are already in sockets and on the pc board.
I don't have any sockets for the small ones but I'll see what I can do and post some pix.
Actually, the small ones were used in my capacitance meter a few posts back so you could see them there.
 
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Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #134 on: August 03, 2016, 09:49:34 am »
Yes, the triangles in line with the bottom edge of the digits are decimals. The triangle down at the bottom (between the rectangles) is a 'keep-alive' electrode; it is constantly driven at low current when the displays are multiplexed. This provides a ready source of ionization to ensure that the display can re-light quickly.

The rectangular structures are spring contacts that make contact with the front glass. The anodes are actually a conductive coating on the inside of the front glass, if you look in the right light you can see the conductive areas, one for each digit. Having the anodes on the front glass means that the glow is concentrated on the front of the cathode segments, making them sharper (unlike nixies, there the various cathode shapes aren't terribly sure where the nearest bit of anode actually is  :)).

The circular ring around the leftmost rectangular spring is the getter, for mopping up unwelcome gasses.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 09:52:21 am by Gyro »
Chris

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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #135 on: August 04, 2016, 10:52:32 pm »
Here is a Nixie power supply I made to power the Beckman's.   It is a 555 driving an IRF740 Mosfet. The coil is a Coilcraft
100uH surface mount inductor.  The other power tab is a fast recovery diode rated at 1200V and 8 amp.  A bit on the overkill
scale but who cares ?  I have some and might as well use 'em.  It put out 192 volts when I first turned it on and haven't adjusted
the voltage yet.  The Beckman's take more current than Nixies do.  I found some application notes from Beckman that I still kept
after all these years. The app note says 5mA.
The display isn't as bright as it appears.  It's the camera's fault.
The Eldorado shows the voltage.  Now to make something with the Beckman's...
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 10:54:55 pm by Enigma-man »
 
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #136 on: August 05, 2016, 12:22:48 am »
Here is a Nixie power supply I made to power the Beckman's.

At first glance, I thought you built a power supply with a Nixie tube display. The thumbnail of the Eldorado meter looked like it was the power supply's front panel and display. ;D
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #137 on: August 10, 2016, 04:43:07 am »
Today's show and tell is a Fairchild 7050 3.5 digit meter with National NL-848 style Nixies.
It's in pretty good shape for something made back in 1967 according to datecodes inside.
Some minor issues resulting from shitty repair attempts like damaging the pc board, solder pads missing,
but nothing too serious.  It needed minor cleaning in and out.  The unit is still reasonably well calibrated.
When I hooked up my AD688 10V reference, it showed +10.02 volts. Not bad, but it was adjusted to +10.00V
I found a service manual for it which reads Systron Donner Model 7050.  It's exactly the same so it looks like
Fairchild made them for SD.  This is all RTL logic, some Fairchild types as as well as the old ul9XX series. Round can
types for decade counters. 
It's pretty compact for what it does. Everything is on one pc board.
The plus/minus and the 1 indicator are standard NE-2 bulbs shining through a square piece of clear plastic.

Well, that's it for now.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 04:47:12 am by Enigma-man »
 

Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #138 on: August 10, 2016, 09:27:00 pm »
A few pix of the Fairchild 7050 circuit board after minor cleaning and isopropyl scrub on other
side of board.
In my opinion, this was an underrated piece of gear.  It is very stable and surprisingly accurate and is way more stable than the Eldorado 1820A.
The service manual shows accuracy claims of .1% from 0.000 to 1000V...  Not too shabby.  :-+
I let it run all night and it still showed +10.00 volts this morning.
It gets a  :-- for looks.   
 
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #139 on: August 11, 2016, 01:58:00 am »
It's doesn't look that bad -- it's got Nixies!
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #140 on: August 11, 2016, 02:30:07 am »
Here are my HP 5216A, 12.5 MHz counters. The one on top is older, having an oval-shaped power socket, whereas the lower one has an IEC socket. The top one also didn't want to wake up today, so it gets its photo taken while napping.

Suffice it to say, they both need an overhaul, but since that may be a while I figured I'd at least share a photo for the thread.

I TEA.
 
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #141 on: August 11, 2016, 04:38:44 am »
I hate you...   >:(     Your two counters have a total of fourteen Nixies, while my 5221A has a measly, paltry four tubes, upside down rare types.

Good to see one working and they are both in pretty good shape.  Hopefully the napping one doesn't have a logic problem.
Finding the problem would be easier than finding a replacement RTL chip unless you have a donor.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #142 on: August 11, 2016, 04:48:59 am »
It took quite some time to find these in good cosmetic condition. They aren't that prevalent to begin with, regardless of condition. The Nixies are upside-down, though, just like yours. All the HP counters of this era have very similar parts, including the proprietary driver and decoder ICs.

I suspect that the primary problem with mine is in the power supply, in particular, and all the ecaps, in general, since one doesn't always wake up and both, when they are awake, count and/or gate intermittently. Some of the digits seem a bit flaky, though.

If there are failing ICs, I can either make one of the counters a donor (hence I have two of them), replace with standard ICs forgoing the blanking feature, or make a daughter board to restore the blanking functionality using standard logic ICs.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 04:51:34 am by bitseeker »
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #143 on: August 11, 2016, 05:03:48 am »
My 5216A has begun its eastward journey; it should be here in a few days.   :-+  Hopefully the gating problem it has won't be a show stopper.  And thanks to bitseeker for pointing it out and not bidding against me!  Now we can collaborate on fixing them.

The pair of boxes holding ~200 pounds worth of gear I shipped home from CA last week arrived today too, hopefully unscathed.  (If it is scathed, I've no one to blame but myself as I'm the one who packed it.) They contain more nixie goodies for the ever growing pile-o-projects.

The first has a Dymec 2401C integrating voltmeter and a 2410B AC/Ohms converter (unfortunately the 2401 lacks a couple of boards needed to interface with the converter, but perhaps I can cobble something together as a substitute).  The second has the 2402A DVM and 5360A Computing Counter I snared at the surplus place last December on the trip when I got the plague and didn't manage to ship anything home.  They'd been waiting patiently on the shelf at the office out there since then. After searching since December I finally found a copy of the 2402A manual that was being sold by someone who didn't think it was printed in platinum ink on gold leaf pages and want insane money for it.  There are some pics of the 2401C and 5360A taken out in CA on the SmugMug site, but I don't think any of the 2402A are up.

Now if I can just stay away from ebuy (there are a couple of more nixie, VFD and panaplex meters enroute, too) and swap meets and surplus dealers for a few years...  And maybe reinforce the foundation here before the house starts sinking into the ground.

-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 #144 on: August 11, 2016, 05:13:55 am »
Now if I can just stay away from ebuy (there are a couple of more nixie, VFD and panaplex meters enroute, too) and swap meets and surplus dealers for a few years...

OK, Pat. I'll do my best to avoid tempting you going forward. ;D

Enigma-man will have to rescue the next 5216A from the landfill. Maybe he'll stop hating me, then. :-DD
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #145 on: August 11, 2016, 05:18:22 am »
I'll call McFly and see if he's free on Friday so we can again take the DeLorean back to '69 or '70, hijack another shipment destined for the
local HP office and snag you a brand spankin' new 5216A...

From the photo, the top unit looks like it has standard Nixies. Must be due to a reflection.
You would have to change your power supply to accommodate standard 74 series devices and rig up a level converter in between .  RTL needs 3.6V.
I am assuming both have RTL devices or does it have a mixture of standard 74 series and HP's version of TTL ?
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #146 on: August 11, 2016, 05:19:03 am »
Now if I can just stay away from ebuy (there are a couple of more nixie, VFD and panaplex meters enroute, too) and swap meets and surplus dealers for a few years...

OK, Pat. I'll do my best to avoid tempting you going forward. ;D

Enigma-man will have to rescue the next 5216A from the landfill. Maybe he'll stop hating me, then. :-DD

 :-DD  It won't do any good.  It would have showed up in my watching feed even if you hadn't mentioned it.  What I should do (but won't, of course!) is turn off e-mail notifications. 

-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 #147 on: August 11, 2016, 05:23:11 am »
From the photo, the top unit looks like it has standard Nixies. Must be due to a reflection.

Yes, those tubes do seem to be oriented the other way. However, look above the tubes. You can see the edge of the PCB that they're mounted onto.

Quote
I am assuming both have RTL devices or does it have a mixture of standard 74 series and HP's version of TTL ?

I haven't gotten that deep into the details of these devices. Perhaps Pat knows.
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #148 on: August 11, 2016, 05:25:15 am »
I'll call McFly and see if he's free on Friday so we can again take the DeLorean back to '69 or '70, hijack another shipment destined for the
local HP office and snag you a brand spankin' new 5216A...

From the photo, the top unit looks like it has standard Nixies. Must be due to a reflection.
You would have to change your power supply to accommodate standard 74 series devices and rig up a level converter in between .  RTL needs 3.6V.
I am assuming both have RTL devices or does it have a mixture of standard 74 series and HP's version of TTL ?

Nope - they're the HP 1970-0025/Burroughs B5560 'Bat' tubes like those in the 5221/5231s.

-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 #149 on: August 11, 2016, 05:25:37 am »
What I should do (but won't, of course!) is turn off e-mail notifications. 

Yeah, that wouldn't help in my case. I found that I see new items faster than eBay can email me, so I don't even bother turning on those notifications anymore. :-DD
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #150 on: August 11, 2016, 05:47:56 am »

<snip>

You would have to change your power supply to accommodate standard 74 series devices and rig up a level converter in between .  RTL needs 3.6V.
I am assuming both have RTL devices or does it have a mixture of standard 74 series and HP's version of TTL ?

I just took a quick look through the manual and at the schematics - I think it's 74XX and HP TTL - all the ICs I saw seemed to be fed with a 5.1V supply and nothing else.  Unfortunately I don't yet have an 'HP to real world part number' decoder ring yet, and by and large the stuff I've had to go into and work on ain't had none of these here newfangled aye-sees in it, so my HP IC-fu has not yet been developed...

-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 #151 on: August 11, 2016, 05:55:29 am »
No worries. We'll just have to get up to speed during our co-op restoration.
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #152 on: August 11, 2016, 06:00:23 am »
What I should do (but won't, of course!) is turn off e-mail notifications. 

Yeah, that wouldn't help in my case. I found that I see new items faster than eBay can email me, so I don't even bother turning on those notifications anymore. :-DD

I start to run into 'problems' when I'm bored and start doing random searches of test equipment.  That's how I have several other-than-HP digital meters here, shipping shortly or enroute as we speak.  (I also partly blame Enigma-man and his panaplex postings for this!)  Brown Santa dropped off a Data Precision 3500 the other day (after opening it and extracting a pair of loose star washers and nuts that were rattling around because someone along the way stole the rear feet I fired it up and it appears to be functional.  Mmmm, panaplex! ;D); a Data Precision 134 and a United Systems 252-1 should be on their way shortly and a Triplett 8035 (individual VFD tubes) may show up tomorrow.   |O |O

Nope, I have no problems,  I can quit any time.  No worries.   :o

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

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #153 on: August 11, 2016, 06:02:04 am »
No worries. We'll just have to get up to speed during our co-op restoration.

Yep!   :-+

-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 #154 on: August 11, 2016, 06:04:10 am »
Nope, I have no problems,  I can quit any time.  No worries.   :o

Yeah, those Panaplex displays. Gonna get me in trouble. I don't dare do a search now. Must...resist... :box:
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #155 on: August 11, 2016, 08:28:49 am »
Yeah, those Panaplex displays. Gonna get me in trouble. I don't dare do a search now. Must...resist... :box:

 >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D

Quick and dirty iPhone pics.

Meter front panel:


The HP supply feeding it (including a bit of parallax error):


Looking into the open top of the meter:


And finally a closer view of the display:


Gaze into the pretty digits...  You're getting sleepy...  ..sleepy...  ..now, when I snap my fingers, you will go to eBuy and search for old digital voltmeters that you really don't need...  <SNAP>

Yeah, I know, I'm awful, aren't I?   ;D

 :-DD

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

Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #156 on: August 11, 2016, 02:53:08 pm »
@Cubdriver:

Yes, HP used standard TTL and their own chips with different pinouts.  I'm sure you and bitseeker should be able to come up with any HP IC to get them up
and running .  The piece of equipment that has RTL logic is the Eldorado 1820A. I have a few dozen RTL's in DIP packages, but none are counter or decoders.
My 5221A has the 74XX and HP TTL mix.  Sphere has a partial TTL cross reference and there are others out there that I have come across.

You partly blame me for your current addiction for Panaplex display equipment ?   Get serious. Gimme a break.
I take full responsibility. Why do you think I posted those pix ?  Planting the seed... Gettin' ya hooked...  ;D

Disclaimer:
As you search for more Panaplex gear you will be assimilated and all your beloved HP Nixie equipment will be taken to my location in Canada.  Resistance is futile...
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #157 on: August 11, 2016, 09:10:33 pm »
Dual hypnotic suggestion. I'm doomed! :-DD
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #158 on: August 11, 2016, 10:14:49 pm »
Dual hypnotic suggestion. I'm doomed! :-DD

Open your wallet.  Feel the burn.  Embrace it.  Become one with it.   >:D

-Pat
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #159 on: August 11, 2016, 10:20:44 pm »
Oh, and E-Man - the panaplex stuff will AUGMENT, not replace the nixie gear!  My beloved HP anchors will not be needing passports or Canadian visas any time soon if I have anything to say about it!   

Resistance is voltage over current!  :P   :P

 ;D

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

Offline guido

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #160 on: August 11, 2016, 11:16:23 pm »
I have two of those (see page 4 :)). I see you have the original caps (Illinois brand). I had to replace them as they leaked, a few badly. No wonder if you put them next to the cooling fins.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #161 on: August 12, 2016, 01:05:41 am »
I have two of those (see page 4 :)). I see you have the original caps (Illinois brand). I had to replace them as they leaked, a few badly. No wonder if you put them next to the cooling fins.

Ahh - that means that yours were probably the first ones I saw.  I have another bought a while ago (shortly after your post on P. 4) that has a bad display driver chip.  I got a replacement chip, but never got to replacing it.  Thanks for the tip regarding the filter caps.  Right next to what I'm guessing is the toasty voltage regulator pass transistor wasn't exactly the ideal spot for them, was it?  The ones in this one appear to be in good shape for the moment, but I'll put getting some 105*C spares for them on my list of things to do.

I think at this point I need to get a semi trailer load of round tuits.   ::)

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

Offline Martin.M

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #162 on: August 12, 2016, 04:23:54 pm »
a grandpa of nixie  :)
the 3 tubes count self and display that directly
http://www.wellenkino.de/fer/fer-1.AVI
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 04:30:02 pm by Martin.M »
 
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Offline Gyro

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #163 on: August 12, 2016, 05:31:07 pm »
When you look at the internal structure diagrams of those tubes the operation is really clever. Real ingenuity!
Chris

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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #164 on: August 12, 2016, 08:20:25 pm »
Very nice as always, Martin!   :-+

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

Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #165 on: August 13, 2016, 03:25:11 am »
I saw some pictures of the BN4721 at radiomuseum.org. 
That one is pretty old with nine vacuum tubes in it.
Good to that it survived.
 

Offline Martin.M

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #166 on: August 13, 2016, 02:10:41 pm »
FER have including the gas stabilizer 11 tubes,

there are 3 pcs E1T counting tubes, a 150-OB2, the input amplifier is a EF800, and 6 pcs E90CC.
in rmorg are 2 FER registered, the one is from my friend Harald, and the second is this one. They are very rare today.
I think they was in use to do long time countings from geiger mueller tubes in nuclear plants (radiation related to a longer time).
Also there is a input for a light sensitivity sensor, for shure they mean a tube in that time, I will build one, 90 CG or like that  :)

greetings
Martin
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 02:15:02 pm by Martin.M »
 

Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #167 on: August 15, 2016, 08:39:16 pm »
AC/DC Voltmeter only. Other functions not included. IC A/D converter, Diode-transistor logic controller. Open-air zener reference (still needs warm-up time).
*BZZZZZZAAAAAP*
Voltamort strikes again!
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #168 on: September 08, 2016, 01:43:05 am »
No worries. We'll just have to get up to speed during our co-op restoration.

Yep!   :-+

So, Pat, did you receive your 5216? How's it looking?
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #169 on: September 08, 2016, 03:31:50 am »
No worries. We'll just have to get up to speed during our co-op restoration.

Yep!   :-+

So, Pat, did you receive your 5216? How's it looking?

Yes, it arrived a few weeks ago.  I haven't had a chance to dig into it yet, but popped off a few pictures tonight goofing around with it.  It powers up, and the tubes light, but no counting.  It will take some digging; hopefully in the not too distant future.  I ordered the shock mounts I need for the stepping relays in the Electro Instruments DVM that presently occupies the bench; I'd like to at least get those mounted again before doing anything else.

HP 5216A Electronic Counter:




And lastly what it actually looks like from a normal perspective:


A few more with the fisheye are at: https://pmanning.smugmug.com/Electronics/HP-5216A-Electronic-Counter

-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 #170 on: September 08, 2016, 04:48:06 am »
Yeah, no rush on diving into it. Was just curious if it had arrived and what its present state of being was. Looks good overall and all the tubes still light up. If all else fails, that's enough to make it an operational nixie counter even if the circuitry has to be replaced.
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #171 on: September 08, 2016, 11:41:39 am »
Looks lovely, ++++.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #172 on: September 21, 2016, 05:05:11 am »
HP 5340A 10Hz-18GHz frequency counter.


VE7FM
 
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Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #173 on: September 21, 2016, 05:33:26 am »
 Alright... You win this round of awesomeness... Man, that is a beautiful beast! :-+ ;D :clap:
18 GHz feels like it must been just screamin' back in the era of nixie tubes!
Geez, is that mostly RF stuff, or were there applications I'm not even aware of?
 

Online TheSteve

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #174 on: September 21, 2016, 05:40:12 am »
Alright... You win this round of awesomeness... Man, that is a beautiful beast! :-+ ;D :clap:
18 GHz feels like it must been just screamin' back in the era of nixie tubes!
Geez, is that mostly RF stuff, or were there applications I'm not even aware of?

Not sure how many industries would have needed an 18 GHz counter back when mine was made(1977). It must have been for RF use - I am thinking maybe satellite. The highest frequency I can generate is 8.4 GHz, now I need a signal gen that can go higher just to play with the counter. The inside is glorious - all gold, all the time, a total work of art.
VE7FM
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #175 on: September 21, 2016, 09:48:16 pm »
Steve, I was hoping you were going to post that here. It sure is a beauty and still plenty fast almost 40 years later.
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Online TheSteve

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #176 on: September 21, 2016, 09:53:02 pm »
Steve, I was hoping you were going to post that here. It sure is a beauty and still plenty fast almost 40 years later.

Buying it had an added bonus - my wife thinks it is beautiful and approves of further "vintage" Nixie purchases.

And here is a picture of my Keithley 160 with red nixies

« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 09:56:49 pm by TheSteve »
VE7FM
 
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Offline richfiles

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #177 on: September 21, 2016, 11:41:07 pm »
my wife thinks it is beautiful and approves of further "vintage" Nixie purchases.

This man has found the holy grail.
We all know that he has chosen wisely! ^-^
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #178 on: September 22, 2016, 03:08:46 am »
Buying it had an added bonus - my wife thinks it is beautiful and approves of further "vintage" Nixie purchases.

 :o :clap:
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #179 on: September 22, 2016, 03:40:57 am »
Buying it had an added bonus - my wife thinks it is beautiful and approves of further "vintage" Nixie purchases.

 :-+ :-+ :-+. Sweet!!  You definitely have a keeper!  A perusal of this thread should certainly give you some ideas and inspiration with regard to additional acquisitions!  Lord knows it and the old HP catalogs have conspired to cause my credit card a good bit of pain...  Oh, and panaplex displays are pretty cool, too.  >:D

(BTW, does she have a sister?   :-DD)

-Pat
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Online TheSteve

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #180 on: September 22, 2016, 06:25:17 am »
Buying it had an added bonus - my wife thinks it is beautiful and approves of further "vintage" Nixie purchases.

 :-+ :-+ :-+. Sweet!!  You definitely have a keeper!  A perusal of this thread should certainly give you some ideas and inspiration with regard to additional acquisitions!  Lord knows it and the old HP catalogs have conspired to cause my credit card a good bit of pain...  Oh, and panaplex displays are pretty cool, too.  >:D

(BTW, does she have a sister?   :-DD)

-Pat

Hah - she does have a sister, who is already married :(
Not a great loss though - she likely wouldn't approve of such toys. My wife went to Uni to be an EE and then got her amateur radio license to impress me. Then she lost interest in electronics for the most part and went into marketing and category management. She still appreciates "nice" stuff though so it's all good.
All of my test gear/toys are in ManLab(tm) but she has suggested something nixie based would look nice in the living room - a clock perhaps with a correct vintage look. So I am on the hunt for the perfect piece but suspect I'll need to build something custom. There is already a vintage Motorola portable tube based radio up there. Hmm, I am a huge Motorola fan, wonder if they made anything with a nixie in it.
VE7FM
 

Online TheSteve

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #181 on: September 27, 2016, 07:44:16 pm »
Someone needs to buy this and show it off(fix it too of course).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/201677894456
VE7FM
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #182 on: September 27, 2016, 07:56:07 pm »
Someone needs to buy this and show it off(fix it too of course).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/201677894456

 :-DD  I already have one of those in the queue.  I need to figure out a voltage reference substitute for it, among other things, as it used a mercury cell that is long dead and has been unavailable for many moons now.  Also need to figure out the connections - it originally used remote BNC boxes that plugged into oddball connectors on the front panel.

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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #183 on: September 27, 2016, 11:09:41 pm »
I already have one of those in the queue.

If it's got Nixies, I'd give a high probability that you've got one. :-+

It's interesting that they put the knobs in the opposite order of the displayed digits, unlike other voltage standards.
I TEA.
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #184 on: September 28, 2016, 10:12:57 am »
Notice how the guy only posts to USA, if he did post to Aust it would probably kill ht deal .  |O
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #185 on: September 28, 2016, 03:22:15 pm »
I shudder to think what shipping to Australia would cost  :o  it's about 17x18x7" and weighs nearly 50 lbs, before you put it in a box!  That'd be a big'un to post internationally.

-Pat
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #186 on: September 29, 2016, 07:30:48 am »
If I recall my 5245L cost about 80USD shipping, some guys will charge as much as 200USD for 10kg large type test equipment box. The only compensation ia that The price you can get for second hand test gear here is raised by about that much anyway.
As my Tek 545 is coming to a close, I bought another "Unique Fixer-Up" nixie opportunity,  a 3440A,  it comes with the 3443 high gain plug in, from flea bay so it will be a while!
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #187 on: September 29, 2016, 08:18:45 am »
A fine piece of kit!   :-+. If I recall correctly, the 3440A was the first piece of gear I restuffed a filter cap on.

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

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #188 on: September 29, 2016, 08:56:27 pm »
I've mentioned this guy previously on this thread, he has just put up a full length video on the making of a nixie tube.
Again extremely impressive craftmanship - but don't watch if you're not of a patient disposition!

 

Offline Johnny10

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #189 on: October 03, 2016, 12:49:36 pm »
My new HP5340A   1973   Option 001
Not fully functioning but I can get to approx. 320Mhz
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 01:16:08 pm by Johnny10 »
Tek TDS7104, DMM4050, HP 3561A, Tek 2465A, HP8903B, DSA602A, Tek 7854, 7834, HP3457A, Tek 575, 576, 577 Curve Tracers, Datron 4000, Datron 4000A, Fluke 181 Nanovoltmeter, Dos4Ever uTracer, HP5335A, EIP534B 20GHz Frequency Counter, TrueTime Rubidium, Sencore LC102, Tek TG506, TG501, SG503, 1062LS101
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #190 on: October 03, 2016, 07:38:32 pm »
That's a nice one, Johnny. Hopefully, it'll be pretty straightforward to bring it back to fully working condition.

All,

There's an HP 5221A counter on eBay.

  http://www.ebay.com/itm/201679287849

There are also a couple of HP 3430A voltmeters.

  http://www.ebay.com/itm/172360688160
  http://www.ebay.com/itm/331962002701
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #191 on: October 03, 2016, 10:58:08 pm »
The voltmeters are tempting, but still a bit too much $$.  Nearly $40 to ship the one is a bit much - they're not THAT heavy or difficult to pack.

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

Offline Johnny10

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #192 on: October 03, 2016, 11:23:51 pm »
The blanking of the second digit on 5221 and no decimal.
Makes me wonder about circuitry.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 11:32:18 pm by Johnny10 »
Tek TDS7104, DMM4050, HP 3561A, Tek 2465A, HP8903B, DSA602A, Tek 7854, 7834, HP3457A, Tek 575, 576, 577 Curve Tracers, Datron 4000, Datron 4000A, Fluke 181 Nanovoltmeter, Dos4Ever uTracer, HP5335A, EIP534B 20GHz Frequency Counter, TrueTime Rubidium, Sencore LC102, Tek TG506, TG501, SG503, 1062LS101
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #193 on: October 03, 2016, 11:34:40 pm »
I concur, but figured I'd post 'em since I ran across them. One could try messaging the seller. That's worked for me a couple of times.
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Offline Johnny10

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #194 on: October 03, 2016, 11:48:35 pm »
Still 75 dollars for a parts machine.
How much are those nixies really worth??
I made two offers.   :palm:
Tek TDS7104, DMM4050, HP 3561A, Tek 2465A, HP8903B, DSA602A, Tek 7854, 7834, HP3457A, Tek 575, 576, 577 Curve Tracers, Datron 4000, Datron 4000A, Fluke 181 Nanovoltmeter, Dos4Ever uTracer, HP5335A, EIP534B 20GHz Frequency Counter, TrueTime Rubidium, Sencore LC102, Tek TG506, TG501, SG503, 1062LS101
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #195 on: October 04, 2016, 12:18:01 am »
When it's too much, it's too much. Can't save them all. ^-^
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #196 on: November 01, 2016, 10:13:43 pm »
Here's another one that went for big money, in auction format no less:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/381826570384

I like the form factor of the 5321B, but $69 + shipping for one in unknown functional condition and not even including the sixth digit (from what I could tell), has me :o
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #197 on: December 21, 2016, 04:08:12 am »
OK, its not really a Nixie but pretty close. And Tubes! 22 I read somewhere. Original manual on the way as well.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #198 on: December 21, 2016, 05:26:15 am »
You snagged that one, Rob?!?   :-+ :-+  Congrats!!  That's a cool old beast.  I now have a pretty basket-case looking 522B on its way to me.

I look forward to seeing pics of your 521!

-Pat
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #199 on: December 21, 2016, 09:37:37 am »
Hi Pat,  I was happy to get this 521, she looks in good condition. Well done re the 522!  My wife thought they looked quaint -  I am working on her!
Regards Rob
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #200 on: December 21, 2016, 07:54:32 pm »
You snagged that one, Rob?!?   :-+ :-+  Congrats!!  That's a cool old beast.  I now have a pretty basket-case looking 522B on its way to me.

I look forward to seeing pics of your 521!

-Pat

Congrats, Rob. I, too, look forward to seeing more of the 521.
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #201 on: December 30, 2016, 06:16:49 pm »
Long time no see.
Today's show and tell is a General Radio Model 1192-B six digit frequency counter.  The specs say it will measure up to 32MHz, but this one topped out at 60MHz.
The front panel shows 50MHz max.  The manual is for the first version 1192 model from 1969.  The parts and layout are identical.  Perhaps hand picked 7490's were used to make the claim
of 50Mhz.  Not bad for a forty-four year old with 7400 series chips.   The way you see it is the way I got it.  My buddy was hunting for something and found this in a sealed plastic bag.
He said, "Here, Den... Take this frequency counter..."   After much arm twisting, kicking, screaming and fitted with a cast due to the relentless arm twisting, I gave in.
Almost as pristene as the HP counter I showed you a few months back.  It was repaired somewhere along the line by someone who knew what he or she was doing.  No
PC board damage and solder flux cleaned up.  A true sign of someone who takes care in what they do.  Anyway, it powered up okay and zeroed out.  There is a 100KHz test
button on the front panel.  It read exactly that when on the 10 sec gate time.  One picture shows the display on the 1 sec gate time.
Originally it had six digits.  After opening it up, I saw standard 7490 counters and other TTL devices.  I had a display driver and storage IC, but not the miniature Nixie that were
inside.  I compared a standard Burroughs Nixie to the mini one and found the two to be identical except for the glass envelope.  I unsoldered  the socket for digit seven and seated
the one I had on hand.  You cannot tell the difference. In future if one of the mini ones craps out, a standard one can be subbed once the socket is removed.  Maybe not 100% original
but what would one do if you could not find a mini one ?  Eventually all Nixies will die...
The other minor repair was the filter cap for the 5 Volt line.  It is mounted with screws and you cannot slap anything in there.  It had to be the right height.  Shorter is okay, taller is not.
I had only one which fit the bill.  10,000uF at 25 volts.  The original was a 15 Volt, but so what ?
The other mod was removing underrated diodes that had started to burn the pc board.  I put in a 5 Amp bridge and used the chassis as a heat sink.
The time base is a bit odd.  A 5MHz crystal is used along with a frequency doubler, then divided down to get your various timebase values.  It would be very easy
to put in a 10.0000 MHz oscillator module along with a 74LS390 dual decade counter if and when the timebase fails.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 07:08:50 pm by Enigma-man »
 

Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #202 on: December 30, 2016, 06:17:58 pm »
Not exactly a Nixie device, but still a cold cathode device are the Dekatrons (GC10B/S) 4KHz maximum frequency rate decade counter tubes.  These are the grandfathers
of display devices.  I downloaded the Ericsson design manual from Deiter's site.  The extensive manual shows how to make actual frequency dividers.  I hope to make a frequency
counter out of the tubes.  Some have blown away zero cathodes from displaying zero all the time, but those can be used as reverse Dekatron spinners spinning counter clockwise.
Aussies will enjoy this because water going down the drain goes in reverse compared to us Northern Hemisphere people.
The tubes need 450 Volts DC. Hooking up to a computer such as an Arduino, Raspberry or any other computer is a piece of cake.  All timing is done in software and no big deal.
My counter will use discrete components and interfaced by optoelectric means.  There is a section in the manual that touched on this using photodiodes/transistors.  Six or eight pin
optoisolators are everywhere and should not be a problem.  4KHz is not high frequency, but a hybrid could use the four tubes on the left displaying the KhZ or MHz value with the other
tubes used as indicators driven by high speed TTL or ECL.
Lastly there are two Japanese edge lit displays.  There are ten etched glass wafers inside; each driven by a 48 Volt miniature bulb.  It is possible to use high intensity LEDs instead of
the bulbs to make it easier to interface to logic chips/drivers but would require one to make a pc board instead of what is there now.  Not a big deal for the determined.
I must say that a blue led display looks really cool.  Any colour LED could be used.  High intensity white and blue are what I have on hand.  The white looks good too.
I suppose mulicoloured LEDs could be used.  An ever changing display with all the colours of the rainbow... Hmmmm....
The two digits I have were used in some sort of time measurement device, probably a clock or time event counter.  The left digit is wired from zero to five while the other is from
zero to nine.  All of the bulbs work but interfacing 48V to CMOS or TTL requires more parts either as discrete transistors or a few high voltage driver chips.  Also, miniature 48V bulbs
are not common any longer.

Dang typo errors... Never see 'em in the preview before posting.  Always after when everybody can see the typos... :scared:
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 06:21:54 pm by Enigma-man »
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #203 on: December 30, 2016, 06:31:09 pm »
Welcome back, Enigma-man! That Gen Rad counter looks to be a great condition. Nice power supply upgrade and Nixie mod. For the power cord, it appears that a regular extension cord would work. It's good that the connector isn't recessed like I've seen with some full-width rack-mounted equipment of the era.

Looking forward to seeing your Dekatron-based counter project. RGB LEDs for those edge lit glass displays would be interesting as an additional output channel. As the count goes toward a particular limit, the color could change accordingly, for example.
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Offline Enigma-man

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #204 on: December 30, 2016, 06:46:01 pm »
Yes, a three wire extension cord could work as well.  I used the adapter because it never got used for anything and was lounging around in a box with other cables doing nothing.
Also, the fit from the adapter is very tight and you have to work at it to get it to fit properly.  I didn't want to crack the connector by removing the adapter.  It's easier to unplug the
power cable from the adapter when you have to go inside.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #205 on: December 30, 2016, 06:52:53 pm »
Yeah, I remember those adapters for attaching a CRT monitor with a regular plug to a PC power supply. That was a looong time ago. :D Hmm, I may still have an amber monitor with the correct plug somewhere.
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Offline ben_r_

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #206 on: January 05, 2017, 11:14:25 pm »
Ha! Man there is some cool Nixie tube gear out there! I had no idea there was so much!
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #207 on: January 06, 2017, 02:56:17 am »
Ha! Man there is some cool Nixie tube gear out there! I had no idea there was so much!

Oh yeah, there's plenty of it out there!  Trust me, do NOT look through old HP catalogs.   |O

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

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #208 on: January 06, 2017, 07:17:56 am »
Just a bit of a teaser, like a low cut dress, see enough to raise interest!
My 521C , OK not a real Nixie but of similar vintage/design. A couple of gassy tubes on quick inspection - one rectifier . I will give it it's own post a bit later.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 
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Online TheSteve

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #209 on: February 16, 2017, 07:02:11 am »
The Nixie's in the HP 5340A are the sweetest ones I have come across. I'd like to build a clock using them but can't possibly sacrifice my beautiful working 5340A. Does any other HP gear use same really small nixies? I suspect I'll likely be shopping my favorite auction site for another 5340A to rob the nixies from...
VE7FM
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #210 on: February 16, 2017, 07:45:16 am »
The Nixie's in the HP 5340A are the sweetest ones I have come across. I'd like to build a clock using them but can't possibly sacrifice my beautiful working 5340A. Does any other HP gear use same really small nixies? I suspect I'll likely be shopping my favorite auction site for another 5340A to rob the nixies from...

That there kinda talk might earn ya a beatin' in these here parts...   :-/O

  :P

Off the top of my head I don't know what else uses them, though I'm fairly certain other things do.  I think the 5360A computing counter might use the same ones.  I'm not suggesting that you kill one of those, either, mind you!  I'll try to find the part number of the tube, perhaps you could find some spares on the credit card killing auction site...

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

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #211 on: February 16, 2017, 08:08:33 am »
Rat Shack used to sell a small nixie (think it was a Burroughs part) - RS part number 276-048.  They occasionally show up on the auction site.  That might be something to look for.  Smaller than those in the 5340A, but still nice little display tubes.

What makes my want to cry is that when they were new they were $2.50 each.  Wish I'd bought every one I saw!

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

Online TheSteve

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #212 on: February 16, 2017, 07:11:16 pm »

That there kinda talk might earn ya a beatin' in these here parts...   :-/O

  :P


I hear ya! I don't think I'd sacrifice a fully working unit but there are lots out there with some dead parts that are near impossible to replace. And then I'd have a parts unit to help others.
VE7FM
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #213 on: February 16, 2017, 07:12:03 pm »
The Nixie's in the HP 5340A are the sweetest ones I have come across. I'd like to build a clock using them but can't possibly sacrifice my beautiful working 5340A. Does any other HP gear use same really small nixies?

Yeah, don't sacrifice your 5340. Sell it to me before you do that. Meanwhile, if you haven't already, check out this site for a variety of Nixies. http://www.sphere.bc.ca/test/nixies.html
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Offline edpalmer42

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #214 on: February 16, 2017, 08:14:41 pm »
Just a bit of a teaser, like a low cut dress, see enough to raise interest!
My 521C , OK not a real Nixie but of similar vintage/design. A couple of gassy tubes on quick inspection - one rectifier . I will give it it's own post a bit later.

I had a similar unit.  It was a Beckman/Berkley 7360A EPUT (Event per Unit Time) meter that was spec'ed to go up to 2 MHz.  It worked, but only made it to about 1.5 MHz due to a tube substitution on the LSD (Least Significant Digit).  Four tubes per digit, seven digits.  The digit modules are all socketed.  Remove the screw from the front panel and the digit unplugs.  The LSD unit and maybe the Most Significant were different, but the rest were identical.

I found a recent message thread, with pictures, here:  http://www.antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=306292

Unfortunately, it was just too big (19" rackmount, 10.25" high x 16" deep, 65 pounds) and I just didn't have the space for it, so it had to go.  :(

 

Offline worsthorse

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #215 on: February 16, 2017, 08:29:30 pm »
I just picked up a Monsanto 100C nixie tube counter which appears to be working, though I haven't tested it yet. Will post photos later today. Wondering if anyone else has one of these... I am looking for a manual or spec sheet and would like to avoid spending 30 bucks on ebay to get one. thanks - bill
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #216 on: February 17, 2017, 12:56:37 am »
I hear ya! I don't think I'd sacrifice a fully working unit but there are lots out there with some dead parts that are near impossible to replace. And then I'd have a parts unit to help others.

Very true.  There is a custom IC in the signal path that seems inclined to crap out (I have one with that failure).  I ordered what was supposedly a working replacement board about a year ago, but haven't gotten to revisit the counter to install it since then.  The few times that particular IC has appeared on the 'bay, the sellers wanted as much or more for it than I paid for the counter.  My fingers are crossed that the replacement board (when I finally get to it) brings things back to life.

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

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #217 on: February 17, 2017, 05:08:49 am »
A new addition - just needed a little cleaning. Works at full speed and sensitivity 12MHz 10mV input :-+
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #218 on: February 17, 2017, 05:11:39 am »
Well, well. That certainly looks familiar. Cleaned up nicely!
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #219 on: February 17, 2017, 05:18:44 am »
It was the 5216 from Poland, I was outbid on the other recent 5216 - if I recall the other one was from the USA.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #220 on: February 17, 2017, 06:19:40 am »
Looks nice, Rob!

I finally got mine cleaned up and working, and have been meaning to post a tear down thread but am being lazy.  Perhaps I'll get my butt in gear and do it this week.



More pics at: https://pmanning.smugmug.com/Electronics/HP-5216A-Electronic-Counter

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

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #221 on: February 17, 2017, 06:28:43 am »
Hi Pat, I did appreciate the fact you connected yours to the correct era of HP gear :-+, mine unfortunately was connected to some of this modern rubbish - with silly colour displays. In my mind a REAL display is monochrome orange or red or possibly blue/green at a pinch.
Yours looks in great nick, mine is missing the front foot - it has the metal part but not the plastic foot. It is times like this I think about 3D printing - if only there was a linked 3D laser scanner! If someone was able to scan one in - then we could 3D print to our hearts' content. I certainly am not up to that.
The teardown/repair/clean would be interesting+++
Rob
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #222 on: February 17, 2017, 06:33:08 am »
And I replaced the missing tubes in the 522B (cousin to your 521) and tried firing it up the other night.  It works to some extent at least, counting in manual gate mode.  I haven't tried putting an actual signal into it yet as I turned it on on a whim and it's in the living room and not near a signal source.  I still need to do some serious scrubbing to pretty it up, but it shows signs of life despite its age. 

Here's a crappy iPhone photo of it as it came, and at the smugmug link there's a short video of it counting in the timing mode.  The knobs don't seem to be original, but I'm happy that the old beast lights up and seems to function.

As it arrived:


A few other iPhone pics, and the video are here:
https://pmanning.smugmug.com/Electronics/HP-522B-Electronic-Counter

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

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #223 on: February 17, 2017, 06:47:00 am »
The feet are an issue all to often.  Either they broke off down through the years (though they are pretty tough!), or more likely were removed and tossed when instruments were rack mounted.  That or people poach them and sell them separately for stupid $$.  The newer all plastic ones are readily available at barely tolerable cost, but the old black ones usually used on the nixie era gear are not so easily had, and the few I see on the bay are often crazily priced.  It's to the point where I'll bid at least somewhat higher for gear that still has the old black feet.  The one piece type on these smaller instruments are even harder to find.  Ugh!

I must say that it's nice to see that both yours and mine both have their HP emblems intact.  I'd love to stumble upon a box of NOS HP emblems somewhere!  I don't understand why THOSE seem to go missing from so many things.

-Pat
If it jams, force it.  If it breaks, you needed a new one anyway...
 
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Offline Johnny10

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #224 on: February 17, 2017, 12:49:09 pm »

I still have 4 cosmetic/mechanical issues with my 5216A.
The plastic screen has a brush mark which needs to be removed. (Some sort of abrasive plastic polish or find another colored plastic sheet ?)
I do not have the proper power plug. ( IEC? File out a new opening?)
The aluminum frame needs to be polished. Tried running a bit of 800 grit sandpaper but still a corroded and dull.
The HZ, KHZ, MHZ screened designators are distorted and missing bits of coating. The lights work fine. (Make stencil and respray?)
Tek TDS7104, DMM4050, HP 3561A, Tek 2465A, HP8903B, DSA602A, Tek 7854, 7834, HP3457A, Tek 575, 576, 577 Curve Tracers, Datron 4000, Datron 4000A, Fluke 181 Nanovoltmeter, Dos4Ever uTracer, HP5335A, EIP534B 20GHz Frequency Counter, TrueTime Rubidium, Sencore LC102, Tek TG506, TG501, SG503, 1062LS101
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #225 on: February 17, 2017, 06:38:02 pm »
It was the 5216 from Poland, I was outbid on the other recent 5216 - if I recall the other one was from the USA.

Yep, I was watching those too. They don't come up often so it's fun to see. There was a 5221A recently, too.
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #226 on: February 17, 2017, 06:40:28 pm »
I finally got mine cleaned up and working, and have been meaning to post a tear down thread but am being lazy.  Perhaps I'll get my butt in gear and do it this week.

I still have to tear into mine. It'll probably be next after I wrap up the power supplies that have consumed my bench.
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #227 on: February 17, 2017, 06:46:34 pm »
The plastic screen has a brush mark which needs to be removed. (Some sort of abrasive plastic polish or find another colored plastic sheet ?)

That should just polish out if it's not deep. I'd try that before replacing.

Quote
I do not have the proper power plug. ( IEC? File out a new opening?)

Is it the oval-shaped connector? You can get the correct cable, though they're not cheap. One of my 5216 has it, too. The other is the more modern IEC.

This one is a bit more rectangular than I've seen before, but might work:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/142280298717

These are "normal" looking:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/111978547722
http://www.ebay.com/itm/122312916577
http://www.ebay.com/itm/371848014001
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #228 on: February 17, 2017, 07:18:36 pm »
Johnny -

As far as the filter for the display goes, I'd first try plastic polish - Novus is one kind, and a plastic headlight restoration kit from an auto parts store might be another option.  I haven't found a readily available source for amber tinted Plexiglas or Lexan that's thin enough to replace it (though I also haven't really looked beyond McMaster-Carr and a cursory Amazon search - a plastic supplier would likely have something though minimum quantities may be an issue there).  I think I recently read in an HP blurb somewhere that at least some of those filters are polarized, too, but haven't checked that out so don't know for certain.  It doesn't appear to me to be dark enough to be polarized, so I'm not sure I believe that.

For the scuffed side castings, when I did my 3460B, I took them off completely and wet sanded the scuffs out in the kitchen sink.  Do them one at a time, and the opposite one that's still in place will keep the instrument mostly intact.  I likely started with 180 or 200 grit, then went to 400, 600 and finally 800 or 1200.  The 5216A castings would be much easier to do - they'd fit in the sink!  I wrapped the sandpaper around a small whetstone to keep it flat and prevent rounding off the sharp edges where the side and outer flats meet.  The 3460 ones were too long and a PITA to do without getting water splashed everywhere.  I think the results were worth the effort, though.

Before wet sanding:


The same area after wet sanding:


-Pat
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 07:33:56 pm by Cubdriver »
If it jams, force it.  If it breaks, you needed a new one anyway...
 
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #229 on: February 17, 2017, 07:31:30 pm »
The oval AC Mains connector HP used is a PH163.  The HP ones are 'odd' in that the line and neutral conductors are swapped from other, similar versions of that connector.

http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~hilpert/e/powerConn/index.html

Has some info on them. 

I try to keep an eye out for the cords, and grab them when I get a chance as I have a ton of gear that uses that connector.  Unfortunately they are few and far between, or $$$.  Replacing the mains input with an IEC320 connector is always an option if surgery on the chassis doesn't bother you.  I've occasionally found cords with Euro CEE 7/7 plugs on them; if you get the opportunity grab those and cut off & replace the original plug with a NEMA 5-15P and you're good to go.

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

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #230 on: February 17, 2017, 07:58:03 pm »
Appreciate all the advice !
Tek TDS7104, DMM4050, HP 3561A, Tek 2465A, HP8903B, DSA602A, Tek 7854, 7834, HP3457A, Tek 575, 576, 577 Curve Tracers, Datron 4000, Datron 4000A, Fluke 181 Nanovoltmeter, Dos4Ever uTracer, HP5335A, EIP534B 20GHz Frequency Counter, TrueTime Rubidium, Sencore LC102, Tek TG506, TG501, SG503, 1062LS101
 
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #231 on: March 12, 2017, 07:54:14 am »
Hi guys, I have finally got around to finishing testing all the 521Cs tubes, well the ones I could anyway. I ended up replacing 5 tubes eventually, quite a large number really - most of the failing tubes had gone gassy. Main caps OK, fan works, transformer ok.
I used my uTracer- (after I broke it :palm: ,  then repaired that as well!)
This is one of HP not good designs I think. The frequency divider circuit styled after a phantastron, to me , looks like a charge pump, and with differences in loading of each divide by ten circuit (whether it is in 1/10, 1 or 10sec count mode) results in different divisors (9,10 or 11) , you can adjust each stage to divide correctly. The different range selections obviously load the divisors inconsistently, so if you count in the 'wrong' range the answer can be out by 10% or so.  I am sure when it came out of the factory all the caps were in value etc and it didn't do this but now it does. I think I am going to leave it. Otherwise it works well.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #232 on: March 13, 2017, 05:25:07 am »
Congrats on getting the 521 running, Rob. That must be fun to watch with an FM signal. A stable CW would be boring. ;D
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #233 on: March 13, 2017, 05:43:21 am »
Mmmmm.  Very pretty glow!   ;D  Nice to hear that it's up and running, at least most of the way.  Very cool old piece of gear!   :-+

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

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #234 on: March 24, 2017, 09:02:19 pm »
Pulled the trigger on another HP 5340A - this one was sold for parts, the >250 MHz input is dead. If it is an easy fix I'll preserve it, if not the nixie's get a new home.

btw the same seller has a Heathkit IB-1103 frequency counter that has 8 nixie's in it that looks pretty interesting. A low best offer might just take it.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/232282084251
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 04:30:09 am by TheSteve »
VE7FM
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #235 on: March 25, 2017, 08:56:23 am »
OK not Nixie gear but often related to it. PINOUT of LL14847
I am in the process of making some US LL14847 cables into AUS cables - I am now confused - two premade cables have different pinouts!
In my 'scrap piece of paper' , God knows where I got the pinouts from,  to remind me of mains cables (Also US, AUS, IEC) etc
In the below photo the
                                 TOP socket is Neutral
                                 CENTRE  Ground
                                 BOTTOM is Active/Line
Is this correct??????
Thanks guys
Robert
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline Cubdriver

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Re: Lets see your Nixie Tube equipment
« Reply #236 on: March 25, 2017, 03:22