Talking Nixie Clock

I’ve just assembled both PCB boards of my talking nixie clock together and went ‘whoa, this thing IS really beautiful!’.  Check it out below, electronics porn at its best!




The first two pictures were taken with a flash to get good details, the last one without, hence a poorer picture quality. But you at least get the idea how those nixie puppies shine!

Later I’ll get my documentation together and create a proper project page with all schematics, pcbs, source codes, better pictures etc etc.

And finally an obligatory youtube video:


Talking Clock Prototype

I am working on a talking clock with a remote IR control. The idea is that when I awake at night I don’t have my  glasses on, hence I cannot recognize digits on a clock display. So I figured out that what I need is a talking clock that could tell me the time aloud. The audible announcement is triggered by a button press on a standard infrared remote, normally used to control my hi-fi equipment.

So this is the current state of the prototype (turn volume up!):

As you can see in the video the display board (using six nixies, of course!) is finished but the ‘mainboard’ is still being in the works.

The specification is as follows:

  • Display: Six nixies
  • Time control: Radio DCF77 module (automatically synchronizes to the German time), backed up by a precision 32.768kHz crystal.
  • Remote control: infrared (IR) sensor, software decoder for the Sony remote I’ve got
  • Processor: AVR ATmega32 (8-bit, 32kB FLASH, 2kB RAM)
  • Voice samples storage: SD card (e.g. 1GB) with FAT16/32 filesystem
  • Sound converter: 12-bit DAC over SPI (MCP4921)
  • Amplifier: 1.5W (TDA7233)
  • Debug: UART/RS232, AVR ISP interface

The picture shows layout on my breadboard: rcclock-breadboard-marked