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Possible nixie sources - please let me know if you know of any others, or have found that any of the sources below no longer have stock.

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Nixie tubes are not too hard to find, but the trick is finding them at the right price! For standard size (0.6" digit) tubes, expect to pay anywhere from nothing (scrap equipment) to US$10 per tube. Subminiature (<0.5") and large (1" and over digit height) tubes are rare nowadays, and usually command a high price unless you get really lucky.

Sphere Research Usually have a wide variety of nixies, also data on several tubes. A little on the expensive side but a good selection of types available, as well as a few sockets. 7441 driver chips also available.
Crowthorne Tubes (UK) List a few nixies at reasonable prices including a large quantity of NL5853 and some large ZM1040s (May '02). Note the NL1032's they list are bi-quinary types and not suitable for most nixie clock designs. Quantity discount for UK Neonixie discussion group members.
Vacuum Tubes Inc A few nixies in their collectables section
Ask Jan First (Germany) Several nixie types usually in stock, also clock kits
Micronetics (Switzerland) Many Mullard ZM- series tubes stocked.
Electron Tubes for Industry Extremely expensive - only for those desperately looking for a specific type!
audiotubes A few nixies listed
Donberg Possible source for 7441/74141 driver chips.
ebay Nixies are frequently listed on this auction site, as well as test equipment and calculators containing them. Just do a search for "Nixie". Standard size tubes typically go for US$2-5 each.
One note of caution - I've often seen items listed in Ebay as containing nixies, which are actually vacuum-fluorescent,  filament or neon 7-segment display tubes, due to ignorance on the part of the seller. This seems to apply most often to calculators using individual digit vacuum-fluourescent tubes, so make sure you see a picture before bidding.
Display Electronics (UK) Have some nixies available
PM Components (UK) Have a large range of ZM-series tubes and STC GN4's
Dan Doherty (USA) Has a large quantity of B7971 alphanumeric tubes with sockets and 5870S numeric tubes. (Ebay name fiber2001)
Recycle! You can often buy old (60s-70s) nixie equipment such as frequency counters, digital voltmeters, weighscale / machine tool readouts or calculators for next to nothing at radio rallies/hamfests or electronic 'junk' stores. UK radio rally listing
Supertex Manufacturer of modern high voltage serial-input driver chips. These are designed for things like thermal print heads and fluorescent displays but would also be ideal for driving nixies and alphanumeric tubes from a PC parallel port or microcontroller (PIC, AVR etc.). Free development samples appear to be available from their website (don't tell them what it's for, unless you plan to go into production!).

Below is a list of all the parts that look suitable from their selection guide - I've omitted ones which don't have enough current capability, <32 outputs or  ratinged <180V. The Push/Pull ones would be useful for driving multiplexed displays and bi-quinary tubes as they can drive anodes as well as cathodes.

Part number(s) No. of outputs (OD = open drain, PP = push/pull), voltage
HV5530,HV5630 (probably the most widely useful - about US$8) 32 OD 300V
HV5122,HV5222,HV5522,HV5622 32 OD 225V
HV7724 40 PP 240V
HV7022 34 PP 230V
HV7620 32 PP 200V
HV3418 64 PP 180V

Gerard Geurts in the UK has some HV5522's available in small quantities.

Nixie data and pinouts

Please let me know if you have any pinout data not available from the sources below

Bi-Quinary tubes are not suitable for the nixie clock project - these are fairly rare and you are unlikely to come across them. They can easily be identified as they have fewer than 11 pins, usually 7 or 9.

ITT GN-17A and Hivac XN-11's nixies will fit directly on the current PCB layout.

The Hivac XN3 has a pinout very close to the ones that the PCB was designed for - only the zero pin is different - it is in the position marked 'P' on the PCB layout and there is no pin at the '0' position. You could either bend this pin over, or mount the tubes directly to the current PCB footprint, and link the 'P' and '0' pads on the underside of the PCB.

Lots of nixie data including pinouts and equivalents here 

Lots of nixie data including dimensions, parameters and equivalnts
Mullard ZM1000 Nixie data
Mullard ZM1162 Nixie data
Mullard ZM1174/5/6/7 Nixies
Burroughs Nixie Catalogue, includes application notes (slow to load - pinout summary below)
Info and data on many ZM series European nixies
Z568M tube data

Huge listing of ZM series data

More ZM and other nixie data here

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bnixtab.gif (18020 bytes)

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ittgn4.gif (4015 bytes)ittgn5.gif (3938 bytes)ittgn6.gif (2537 bytes)gnp7.gif (2884 bytes)rsnt.gif (4220 bytes)xn11.gif (2410 bytes)wpe36.jpg (4129 bytes)wpeB.jpg (19372 bytes)


National NL5859 nixie pinout from Bob Gershey. View from bottom


  1  0

  2  9

  3  NC

dp 4   8 dp

  5  7

  6  A




National Electronics NL904 Nixie Tube Pinout

nl904.gif (2329 bytes)These Nixie tubes are of an "upside down" construction, where the pins are uppermost for correct viewing. They have the full 0 - 9 digits, but no decimal point. There are 13 pins in total, including two commoned anodes, the 10 cathodes and a special "primer" electrode which is apparently used to keep the glow discharge active in multiplexed situations. The tube pinout is as follows, viewed from the base:

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