Searching For Nixies

Now that things have settled down a bit up here on the hill I’ve had a little spare time to pursue some of my geeky tech related hobbies. Today I was sitting at my desk web surfing for Nixie Tubes and I stumbled across a gem of a website. There’s a Canadian company that sells new old stock vintage Nixies of all kinds and manufactures plus they also refurbish our old test and measurement equipment. From the site’s photos it’s obvious the restorations they perform on our classic obsolete instruments is top-notch. Whoever is putting those old workhorses back together is making them appear like they are factory brand new. They should be working here in our vintage instrument department because their workmanship is that good.

I’m thinking of placing an order for a set of a half dozen large Nixies from this site so I can try to home brew and build my own Nixie clock design. Cathode Corner’s NC620 Nixie clock kit is badass but it only took me five hours from start to finish to build, solder, and wire the whole thing up. I feel like I need more of a challenge on the next one.

Funny thing that caught my eye on this Canadian company’s website was a remark the webmaster wrote about our company breakup that took place a couple years ago. When our computer division kicked out the core of our company and took Bill and Dave’s names it was a huge blunder. I didn’t support the company split then and I certainly don’t now, either. Someone on that Nixie website wrote that Bill and Dave’s company breakup was the biggest marketing mistake in the history of the electronics industry. No shit. I started to laugh when I read that. Later on today I’m going to shoot these guys an email inquiring about some tubes that I’d like to buy and mention their cynical comment which I completely agree with.

Engineering here has their own special online database for archiving part information. Since our first test instrument was produced in 1939 there’s got to be a wealth of information stored in that system concerning Nixie tubes that were used in our gear from the 1950s through the 1970s when they were eventually replaced by cheaper LEDs. I can’t access that database system unless my department gives me permission to have an Engineering account and then pays for it. The Bossman is one cool hombre so I’m thinking of asking him for an account just so I can research our Nixie related stuff in my spare time.

In other news… during the move up here someone careless decided to bounce a Power Meter off the floor. Really screwed it up, the bottom cover has a deep dent that is causing the whole unit to short out. Probably because the case metal is grounding out on the motherboard. I haven’t been able to open it up yet since the case is so thrashed I will have to cut it off the box with heavy tin snips. The sub-frame is also bent. I usually like to try to repair stuff like that when it’s slow around here rather than see it scrapped out and end up in the county landfill. That’s usually what happens. It’s so wasteful. Lately I’ve been fairly successful repairing old instruments that were damaged and ended up sparing them from the scrap bins. Sometimes they even let me take them home after I’ve fixed them. I really appreciate that.

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~ by factorypeasant on December 1, 2006.

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