How Does a Nixie Tube Work?
- Ron O’Donnell
I love Nixie tubes, they are so vintage and warm. Simply put, these are neon light bulbs filled with rarefied Neon. There are one common electrode and many additional electrodes. High voltage (about 180 volts) makes this bulb glow.
It’s important to know that Nixie tubes are different from Numitrons. Numitrons usually have 7-segment displays, and each segment has an ordinary filament. The middle of the filament is the brightest part, so they don’t look as good as nixies.
There is also another nice technology – edge-lit Plexiglas. You can engrave numbers on a piece of Plexiglas, attach LED or a light bulb at the edge, and the engraved parts will scatter the light. It looks cool but it’s hard to make a Plexiglas sheet that will be thin enough.