If you have been following this blog, you will know we have this thing for all-thing Nixie tube and so naturally, when we stumble upon this DIY Nixie Tube Clock/Bluetooth Stereo on Reddit, posted by Redditor u/the_gentlemanloser AKA Cole Bryson, we know we have to reach out to him for the juicy details. The thing about this beauty here is, not only the Nixie tubes are dope serving as the clock display, but a lot of the components used to create this electronic work of art were salvaged from Soviet-era military fighter aircraft called Yakovlev Yak-52.
Seriously, I can’t imagine what could be more dope than the coming together of Nixie tubes and Soviet-era aviation components straight out of an actual Soviet-era aircraft. That said, this beautiful gadget does boasts some aerospace components in it, including the unmissable VHF comms selector panel pulled from the said Soviet aircraft. No surprise here at all because, u/the_gentlemanloser happens to be an aircraft mechanic in Philadelphia area who specializes in maintaining and modifying Experimental category Russian aerobatics airplanes which, during his course of work, he developed a fascination for Eastern Bloc Cold War tech.
Here are the details of this awesome build:
“The comm panel purely cosmetic, as there wouldn’t be much use on the ground for a VHF radio, except to jam up air chatter and get yourself in trouble with the FCC. However the switches and buttons do have functionality, in that there are individual toggle switches for powering each Dekatron on and off, as well as selecting their individual modes (scrolling, EQ), a toggle switch to turn the clock display off, and one for the internal Bluetooth stereo I incorporated, just because I wanted to give it some audio functionality and give the Dekatrons something to dance to.
There are four push button momentary switches on the face for setting the time, managing the alarm, switching to DST, and those buttons also operate various internal clock functions, such as setting the LED color to the hour (they will change to any color of the spectrum, with the ability to set an individual color for each hour of the day.) You can also control whether the clock is set to 12 or 24 hr time, how often the display “roulette” to mitigate cathode-poisoning. It also has a date display that scrolls across once a minute, as seen in my first picture there.”
Originally, Bryson’s Nixie Tube Clock Bluetooth Speaker was to use IN-14 Nixies, but the resulting look wasn’t to his liking and he eventually upgraded it to ZM5600 Nixie tubes. I must say, it’s a wise choice as the IN-14 wouldn’t be as striking as the ZM5600. Bryson built his Nixie Tube Clock Bluetooth Speaker purely out of passion and never thought that it going viral. Since Bryson posted it on Reddit, it has garnered nearly 60,000 upvotes and over 800 comments, with many wanting know how it is build (yours truly, was one of them).
Unfortunately, though, as Bryson weren’t expecting it to be this well received, he did not quite document the build process. As a consolation, we do have part of the process in pictures as well as some videos of it the final product in action. You can find the images posted here, along with a video of the sound test. So, enjoy and try to keep your drool to yourself.
Check out the build process photos below (click on individual photo for larger view). As you can see in photo 3 and 4, the IN-14 weren’t as impressive as the Zm5600.
And finally, here’s the sound test of the final product:
A huge shout out to u/the_gentlemanloser for offering up the details and also all the dope images plus videos. Words couldn’t describe how we appreciate them.