Nixie Clock #3 Mini details

Mini retired, out of production

"My compliments to you for capturing the history of the cold war era so well with this wonderful work of electonic art." -satisfied customer

Nixie Clock #3 Mini

Nixie Tube Clock #3 Mini is based on the standard #3 clock design. It is a smaller, more compact version. Perfect for offices and desks.

The Glass Clock #3 Mini's case is designed to mirror and complement the Nixie tube's vacuum tube shape and construction - from the round tubes used in the case to the round shapes used in the acrylic pieces.

Nixie Clock #3 Mini combo view

This view shows the different displays on the clock. Time, date, and room temperature can be displayed on the clock.

The different displays alternate, with time first, followed by date then temperature.

All three can be selected, or Time/Date or Time/Temperature.

Nixie Clock right side view


  • Optically pure Simax brand glass tubes for the case
  • Time can be displayed in either 12 or 24-hour, leading zero or blanking
  • Temperature can optionally be displayed in either Deg F, C
  • Nixie tube anti-cathode protection software
  • Temperature compensated Quartz Crystal controlled time base
  • Atomic clock calibrated for high accuracy
  • Auto display brightness settings, plus programmable ON and OFF times
  • Display special effects: digit crossfade, slot machine effect, and slide in effect

Nixie Clock #3 Large Images (click to enlarge)

Nixie Clock Mini side view 1
Nixie Clock Mini front view 1
Nixie Clock Mini internal view
Nixie Clock Mini front view 2
Nixie Clock Mini bottom view
Nixie Clock Mini side view 2
Nixie Clock Mini back view
Nixie Clock Mini side view 3
Nixie Clock Mini display options view

Nixie Clock Mini circuit card

The heart of the clock is a single circuit board that contains the high voltage power supply, processor, temperature & light sensors, and the Nixie tubes themselves.

The processor is a very low power RISC based AVR chip. Surface mount components are also used to save space.

A watch crystal is used to generate the timing frequency for the clock. It is temperature compensated for higher accuracy.

Soviet Nixie IN-16
Soviet Nixie IN-16

The tubes used in this clock are Russian (Soviet) military tubes. The Soviets, seeing the Western Nixie, came up with their own versions with similar sizes and shapes. Unlike the U.S. Tubes they were manufactured well into the 1980's.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, these tubes became available on the surplus market. This clock contains the IN-16 series of tubes. These tubes, unlike most Soviet tubes, display the '5' as a unique digit, not an upside down and backwards '2'.

CAD circuit card

How it works

The Nixie tube anodes are supplied with 180v from a switching power supply. The tubes are multiplexed 2x3 (2 are on at anytime, with 3 groups of 2), using a pair of MPSA42/MPSA92 transistors. The cathodes are driven with a HV5812 Supertex chip normally used for fluorescent displays.

The AVR ATMega168A processor runs at 8 Mhz with a 32khz watch crystal for the timebase. A 4.096V voltage reference and a LM335 temperature sensor are used to temperature compensate the timebase in software.

Also, a light sensor is included for the auto brightness feature.