A little over a year ago, I created the Anytime platform as a way of keeping track of the time of day for various friends, family, and colleagues. It’s especially useful now Junko and I are living on different sides of the Atlantic.

The Anytime iOS app and widget are great when on-the-go, but they don’t provide the same immediacy as a physical clock. So, after some encouragement by a colleague, I started work on a Nixie tube Anytime clock.

First digit working

Pictures do not do Nixie tubes justice; they have a beautiful blue glow when seen in the flesh.

Being one of my more complex electronics projects in a while, I decided to start simple, using the ‘Smart Nixie tube’ kit from Switchmode Design. I’m glad I did—even remembering how to read resistors presented a challenge:

Learning how to read resistors

Much to my surprise, everything worked first time—more a comment on fantastic instructions than on my soldering skills.

Completed circuit board

The board can be controlled over serial, and supports chaining of up to six digits. I plan to purchase a further three kits to produce a four digit clock. Control will ultimately be performed by a Raspberry Pi (most likely a Zero), for which I’ve already produced a small Python Anytime client:

Raspberry Pi control board