No matter the type, Nixie Tube projects always look fantastic, and Mark Smith’s ETA Nixie Tube Clock is no exception. As the name suggests, this clock doesn’t show current , but rather how much you have left before you’re late for work, school or other appointments.

Mark Smith’s ETA Nixie Tube Clock uses a Raspberry Pi Zero W to count down how much time is left before it becomes too late. (📷: Mark Smith)

Smith’s build uses six IN-4 Nixie tubes for the ETA display, which require 165v with a sustained current of 2.5mA. A Raspberry Pi Zero W controls the display and connects to the over Wi-Fi to provide current time as well as the ETA for any number of destinations. For the ETA portion, Smith tasked the Google Directions API, which includes -time traffic for a host of local, state and national destinations.

As a power-saving feature, Smith incorporated an IR motion sensor that turns off the display when no motion has been detected, which helps tube life as well. His entire design- schematics, PCB layout, and BOM were done using KiCAD, while the Pi coding was done using Python.

The ETA Nixie Clock PCB shows Nixie tube placement with pinout for the Raspberry Pi Zero W. (📷: Mark Smith)

The ETA clock is coded to display both the local time (in any area) and can show up to 10 different ETA time. They display is programmed to switch between local and ETA times between five and three-seconds respectively. The Great thing about Smith’s ETA Nixie Tube Clock is that both the hardware design and software are open-source, which can be found on the SurfnCircuits website along with a complete build walkthrough.

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