New Driver Board Source Doc Now Available

I’ve completed the documentation updates for the new revision B hardware. Briefly, changes from the Rev A board include:

  • The Real-Time Clock that used to be made up of the Maxim DS1302 real-time clock and Maxim DS32khz battery-backed, temperature compensated crystal oscillator has been replaced with a single-chip Maxim DS3232 which which combines the functionality of the two and provides even more accurate time-keeping.
  • An N-channel MOSFET capable of driving 1.7A has been added to drive LEDs. Positions for 8 LEDs underneath the on-board IN17 tube sockets are provided
  • Serial Data arriving from the Bluetooth module is logically ORd with the USB Serial data before it is sent to the the ATMega microcontroller, allowing the board to be controlled simultaneously from either source.
  • Several minor changes to layout.

Please visit /projects/nixie-system/nixie-driver-board/nixie-driver-board-rev-b/ for the full info. You will find a link to all the CAD files at the bottom of the page.

OTHER NEWS

FIRMWARE

  •  Updated to support the new real-time clock hardware
  • Source code for the two different firmware releases for the IN17 and B7971 versions have been merged back. Now one source code tree will build firmware for all 4 versions (IN17x7 RevA/RevB, B7971 RevA/RevB). This will make things much more sensible when the source code is made available.
  • Added command to control the backlight LEDS.

STORE

  • I will be rolling out a new Zencart-based store which will allow me to maintain more accurate control of inventory
  • Items that have been sold out will be available for sale in the store hopefully within the next week. Thanks for your patience.
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New Driver Board Will Have Blue LEDs

I have finished building and checking out the new driver board. Here it is showing off the blue LEDs I added underneath each IN17x7. In addition this line is brought out to the connector so all future display boards can also have LEDs

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Nixie Driver Board Rev B First Article Back

Arrived back from vacation to find the first article Rev B board in the mail. Now I am waiting for a few parts and some fresh solder paste. Plus I bought a used solder paste dispenser on ebay which should speed the assembly process.

 

 

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Rev B Driver Board Status

The new driver board is about to get sent out to batchpcb.com for one-off fabrication. I will get it back in a few weeks and hand-build one before I order them in quanity.

The more changes made, the greater the risk of a mistake, so only the most needful changes where made; Because there is allot of time invested in the enclosure designs, no changes where made to the dimensions of the board, mounting hole locations, etc.

One change is to the Real Time Clock; The Rev A board was laid out with the intention of providing the super-accurate TXCO as an option, consequently, there was a separate DS1302 Real-Time Clock could work with just an lower-cost, external 32khz crystal, *or* be driven by the DS32KHZ TXCO. As it turns out, the TXCO was used always. So the Rev B boards will replace the separate RTC and TXCO with a unified part, the DS3232.

Another change is that I am adding a N-Channel MOSFET to drive one of the LED lines, and I am adding LEDs underneath each IN17 tube. The Rev A boards also had LED driver lines which were never used. External boards can also be fitted with LEDS and be driven with this line.

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Driver Boards Out of Stock

I am all out of assembled Nixie Driver boards which means that the following items will not be available in the store

  • Nixie Driver Board
  • B7971x8 Board Set
  • IN17x7 Nixie Clock - All Versions

New boards will not be available any time sooner than late September. If you want to be notified when they are back in stock, go to the store and follow the links.

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Serial Communication Perl Script For the B7971x8

B7971x8 Perl Script

I’ve posted the  Perl script that was used to test the B7971x8 during development. While bare bones, it does illustrate how to get the job done. If you are not familiar with Perl, it is an extremely versatile scripting language. Modules can be downloaded from www.cspan.org to make it do or communicate with just about anything; For instance, Your B7971x8 could display stock prices with the Finance::Quote module, or weather reports using one of the Weather:: modules.  It has been tested under Windows XP. For more info see the page /projects/nixie-system/serial-communication-with-pcs/

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IN17x7 Now available in Leather

The IN17x7 is now available in the store with a laser-etched leather face.

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