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EZ-B + Arduinix Nixie Tube Driver

Updated on 10/6/2013 - Go to end of thread for more...
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Introducing the ArduiNIX Nixie Tube Driver. I recently finishing putting this little piece of hardware together and am extremely impressed with everything from the PCB design to the online assembly instructions. There's even a tricked out R2 unit that helps with the soldering!

The ArduiNIX is a 4x20 multiplexed driver (4 Anodes/20 Cathodes) which essentially allows you to control up to 8 Nixie tubes or 80 neon bulbs (or some combination of the two). I haven't quite decided what I'm going to use it for yet but I was thinking that one of the openings on the front of the Omnibot shell would house a few Nixie tubes nicely...

Only thing I've done so far is connect it to the EZ-B and dial in the outputs at 170 volts. That's right kids, we're driving tubes here so we're dealing with potentially lethal voltages - notice the high voltage warnings on either side of the 4-pin Anode connector. So long as contact is momentary and you don't have a heart condition you should be fine, but you will get an adreniline rush for sure. I remember my grandfather telling me to only use one hand when working with LIVE tube cicuits. The last thing you want is for high voltage current to flow from one hand to the other, zapping your heart along the way. Well, zapping your brain isn't a very good idea either - trust me, that really hurts too...

I have yet to hook up any tubes but will update the post with more pics when I do...


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#1  
Hmmm, on second thought, I may want to relocate the 4-pin Anode connector to the underside of the ArduiNIX to make it a tad safer...
#2  
Quick test of a single IN-4 Nixie Tube driven by an ArduiNIX Nixe Tube Driver controlled by an EZ-B Robot Controller powered by a 7.4V EZ-Battery!

All Wired and Ready

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Flip the switch Leon!

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All Fired Up

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#3  
This is a pair of Russian IN-4 Nixie tubes mounted sideways in my Omnibot's eye sockets. I'm waiting on bare socket boards from KOSBO (thank you Konstantin!) to complete the initial design and add color-changing LED back-lighting for mood indication. Check out the video to see it in action...


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#5  
WOW! I didnt know the EZ-B could drive Nixie Tubes! Nice work, I cant wait to see your full robot!
#6  
The ArduiNIX Arduino shield mounted atop the EZ-B (see last two pics) provides the magic to drive the tubes. That's the beauty of the EZ-B being Arduino pin-compatible!
Synthiam
#7  
radmeck that is all kinds of WIN!!! Nice work man, you've inspired me to start sharing more of my sub-projects as well.
Synthiam
#8  
Wow!!! Thumbs up. Your omnibot will be ultra cool
#9  
Thanks guys - the positive feedback helps keep me going!

skater_j10, you should definitely share your sub-projects - I'd love to see more of what others are working on. We need more pics and videos to keep the inspiration fueled!
#10  
I LOVE IT! Love the use of 6's and 9's! What gave you the idea?
#11  
Nixies are too cool to be relegated to the domain of fancy time-pieces for aging hipsters... But I think it was Paul who come up with the idea!


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#12  
Seriously, I had been trying to figure out what to do for my Omnibot's eyes for quite some time. Then a few weeks back I was playing around with a loose IN-4 Nixie tube when I noticed how nicely it fit into the Omnibot's eye sockets. I'm pretty sure my son then said something like "Yeah, that would be cool!" when he saw what I was doing - which I wasn't actually seriously considering until I heard his enthusiasm for the idea!

After wiring everything up I found through trial and error that 9's and 6's worked well as sideways glances. Some of the other numbers (like 7's) could be useful as well once I come up with a solution to rotate the tubes.

Anybody have any ideas on how to mount the tube socket board to the back of the Omnibot eye socket to allow it to freely rotate? Miniature Lazy Susan bearings? Some sort of plastic ring fitting?


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#13  
I think in addition to random blinking and random eye movement that you could make him look in the direction he is turning.:)
#14  
Quick test of Vanilla's fancy new IN-4 Nixie Tube Eyes, installed in his recently restored Omnibot head/body!

Also installed and functioning are the 7 light pipes and LEDs that comprise his brain and are connected to an internal, WiFi, 7-antenna array by Ruckus Wireless - the LEDs visually represent the activity occurring on each antenna. And yes, this means he's an autonomous roaming WiFi access point!


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#16  
Upgraded Vanilla's eyes from standard-size IN-4 Nixies to the larger and quite rare National Electronics NL-7153 Super Nixies. Digit height is now 20.5 mm vs 17 mm for the IN-4's.

Also added a BlinkM MinM I2C-Controlled RGB LED to each eye for dynamic back-lighting. The BlinkM's are running the Thunderstorm script throughout the video but will eventually be controlled and scripted for emotive effect...


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Sattelite
#18  
Ok, I see how the eyes open and close. Very cool.

But, what is making the blue rings around the eyes? That is a very nice effect. It looks like a circle of LEDS. Is that what they are? and where do you get them? and Exactly what size are they around?

ultracool!
#19  
Just a quick eye test after replacing and rewiring the MiniM LED back-lights. An intermittent short in the old wiring harness ultimately got the first pair perished...

Running a short wake-up & sleep script coordinating the NL-7153 Nixie Tube eyes with the BlinkM MinM eye socket back-lighting...



Surgery and post-op pics:


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Netherlands
#20  
Oh how I have missed your creepy videos:D
#21  
Vanilla's now 3-layer brain has been successfully transplanted into his head! We still need to shorten and clean up his wiring a bit before making a video of the finished product...

For now, here are a few more surgery and post-op pics:


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