I have always liked nixie tube stuff.. I like the industrial/vintage (steampunk) look of them..
I also know these are HV (high voltage) projects and can potentially be dangerous.. so Id like to talk, discuss and get feedback from people who have been down this road before. :)
from what I gather the difficult part(s) of this project are the high voltage requirements..
is there a 'small' step-up/booster board/circuit out there? cheap retail? looking for something on the smaller side so it can be embedded into the base of the project..etc..etc.. ebay perhaps?
in the end either using a wall wart or plugging it into the wall are ok solutions.... or a battery/pack of some kind if not too big. (if any of these are applicable of course)
also.. one thing I was looking at seems to be VFD? http://www.ebay.com/itm/390384351024?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
and it only has these specs: Brightness: 400 kd/m2 Glow Current: 85 mA Grid Current: 11 mA Total segment Current (for one digit): 8 mA
but the other 'nixie' tube stuff was this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/150655466241?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649 & http://www.ebay.com/itm/IN-1-LARGE-END-VIEW-NIXIE-TUBE-LOT-6-NEW-TUBES-BOXES-/390388045843?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item5ae4f0d813 & http://www.ebay.com/itm/IN-16-IV-6-NOS-RUSSIAN-NIXIE-TUBES-/140685880326?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item20c1882c06
I have seen 'power supplies' like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NIXIE-TUBE-POWER-SUPPLY-MODULE-CLOCK-2-OUTPUTS-/260921320989?pt=UK_Consumer_VintageAudio_RL&hash=item3cc01f661d
Control: The second obstacle is 'controlling them'.. seems to be way too many wires for an Arduino to handle by itself.. (unless you were only using 1 nixie tube or something..LOL)
so some sort of 'driver' chip.... I am familiar with the MAX72XX chips.. and how they work to 'multiplex'.. and more importantly.. how a MATRIX set-up works and how individual leds (dig & segs) are targeted..etc..
but I see a MAX chip would not be able to be used here.. and it only runs off v5+...and you set the Iset resistor to set the mA each pin gives. while the mA is enough to drive the nixie tube.. the voltage falls 'way' short.
Is there another chip that supports up to 64 'leds' that is high voltage to handle a nixie tube set-up? or how does the Arduino then turn on/off each pin to control the number displayed on the tube?
any links or advice on starting to put things in order for this project is appreciated.