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Nixie Tube Thermometer

Retro temperature display

Nixie Tube Thermometer
In this article we describe the union of a modern microcontroller with a classic display technology to create a novel temperature indicator. In its transparent enclosure the device will set off any mantelpiece to advantage and what’s more, the unit even doubles up as a night light. An external sensor allows the temperature at any desired location to be displayed.
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Gerber file

CAM/CAD data for the PCB referred to in this article is available as a Gerber file. Elektor GREEN and GOLD members can exclusively download these files for free as part of their membership. Gerber files allow a PCB to be produced on an appropriate device available locally, or through an online PCB manufacturing service.

Elektor recommends its business partner Eurocircuits as the company of choice for its own prototypes and volume production in selected cases.

Extra info / Update


Display range: 00 to 99 (Celcius or Fahrenheit)
Temperature sensor: Maxim-Dallas DS1820, accuracy 0.5 K
Power supply: AC power adaptor, 12 V to 15 V DC
Current consumption: 170 mA at 12 V
Tubes: Russian IN-16, 13-way solder connections
Microcontroller: Atmel AT89C2051 (available ready-programmed)
Firmware: BASCOM (source and hex files available for free download)
- choice of Celsius or Fahrenheit display
- tube illumination
- LED trend (warmer/colder) indicators

Download the BOM list
The BOM (Bill of Materials) is the technically exhaustive listing of parts and other hardware items used to produce the working and tested prototype of any Elektor Labs project. The BOM file contains deeper information than the Component List published for the same project in Elektor Magazine. If required the BOM gets updated directly by our lab engineers. As a reader, you can download the list here.
Want to learn more about our BOM list? Read the BOM list article for extra information.
Component list
R1 = 4.7kOhm
R2,R3 = 220Ohm
R4,R5 = 22kOhm
R6 = 10kOhm
R7 = 1kOhm
R8 = 150Ohm
R9 = 820kOhm
R10 = 5.6kOhm
C1 = 10µF 63V, radial, 0.1 in. lead pitch
C2,C3,C5,C7,C8 = 100nF ceramic, 0.2.in. lead pitch
C4 = 10µF 250V, radial, 0.2 in. lead pitch
C6 = 470pF, 0.2 in. lead pitch
C9,C10 = 100µF 25V, radial, 0.1 in. lead pitch
L1 = 330µH, 1A, axial, DxL = 11x32.5 mm max., e.g. Epcos B82500CA8 or Fastron 77 A-331 M-00
D1,D3,D4 = LED, 3mm, blue
D2 = LED, 3 mm, red
D5 = 1N4004
D6 = BYV26 (e.g. Vishay)
T1 = IRF820 (Vishay, International Rectifier IRF820PBF)
IC1 = AT89C2051-24PU, programmed, Elektor # 090784-41*
IC4 = DS18S20 (Maxim/Dallas)
IC5 = MC34063
IC6 = 7805 (TO220)
X1 = 12MHz resonator, 3-pin, e.g. AEL Crystals type C12M000000L003
JP1 = 2-pin pinheader, 0.1 in. lead pitch (optional jumper, see text)
K1 = 2-way PCB screw terminal, lead pitch 5mm
PCB # 090784-1

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