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
Mike's Electric Stuff
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
||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.
||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
||Several nixie types usually in stock, also clock kits
||Many Mullard ZM- series tubes stocked.
|Electron Tubes for
||Extremely expensive - only for those desperately looking for a specific
||A few nixies listed
||Possible source for 7441/74141 driver chips.
||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) email@example.com
||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)
||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
||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.
||No. of outputs (OD = open drain, PP = push/pull),
the most widely useful - about US$8)
||32 OD 300V
||32 OD 225V
||40 PP 240V
||34 PP 230V
||32 PP 200V
||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
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
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
Nixie Catalogue, includes application notes (slow to load - pinout summary below)
Info and data on many ZM series
Z568M tube data
Huge listing of ZM series data
More ZM and other
nixie data here
National NL5859 nixie pinout from Bob Gershey. View
dp 4 8 dp
National Electronics NL904 Nixie Tube Pinout
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:
Mike's Electric Stuff