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New Nixie watch

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cobra007

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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 10:51

charger105 wrote:I definitely prefer the wider strap (i.e. 26mm).
I also prefer the black strap to the olive drab one.

I quite like having the circuitry visible in these watches, but I reckon having the battery right in between the Nixies is a bit distracting. Have you considered putting the battery in a black plastic sleeve or something ?

Rgds,
Andrew.


Hi Andrew, ok so far it's 2 x 22mm, 1 x 24mm and 1 x 26mm :-) Going to be interesting to please everyone.

About the battery, you're absolutely right. You suggested black, I actually wanted to make it the same colour as the watch enclosure. The reason why I put it in the center is because the human mind likes things to be symmetrical think about trees, animals, insects, the left hand and right hand side are always symmetrical. When I saw the Cathode Corner nixie watch, it was immediately apparent that the face was not symmetrical, so to me, it was a bad design right from the start.

If you think about it, on a mechanical watch with roman numbers, the main reason why the 4 is displayed as IIII rather than the correct IV is because it looks more symmetrical to the 7 (VII) on the opposite side. Symmetry is very important for our minds.

Michel
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cobra007

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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 11:04

bucko170 wrote:I agree with charger regarding the battery position and like the idea of having the batteries at the bottom as in Cesar's post, would it be possible to used a series of stacked 357 button cell batteries instead of the CR2 battery in order to facilitate this? I also think using LED's in the display makes a nice marriage of different technologies.

I love the idea of the display being motion activated and my vote would be for the 26mm strap.


The first idea I had was to use 3 button cells but the only ones that are powerful enough are the zinc-air batteries (used in hearing aids), they are widely available and cheap so it sounds like a good choice. The drawback however is that you can't use them in an enclosure because they depend on air to operate. You need at least 750mAh @ a minimum of 3V, and there is not much choice.

I have tested the motion activation, it works but there is a drawback. You can't really cover the watch with anything (like a sleeve) as it may unknowingly trigger the watch to display the time (and drain your battery). What I am going to use are tip touch buttons, you don't really press them, just slightly touch them. I use the same system in my domino watches, and that really works very well and is extremely battery friendly. I may end up using both systems, and de-activate the motion detector if it triggers more than x times per hour or something like that (ideas welcome).

OK, one more for 26mm :-).

Michel
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: New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 11:21

A quick web search shows a few companies offering bespoke batteries could that be an option?
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cobra007

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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 11:36

bucko170 wrote:A quick web search shows a few companies offering bespoke batteries could that be an option?


These are common batteries in a series and/or parallel array. It's not a way to make a smaller battery with higher capacity rather than using small batteries to make a large (higher capacity) one.

Another problem is the surge current. The battery should be able to supply the 3V @ say 200mA for at least a couple seconds. Not all batteries can do this, some go no further than say 30mA. So really, the available options are very limited. I was lucky enough to find this one which is smaller than the Cathode Corner's battery but has the same capacity.
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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 12:45

kasper wrote:nice cesar..yes..i like those 2 straps to..maybe even a rectangular case.

so the battery is the culprit to make the watch smaller? Maybe a smaller battery a slimmer watch? 1 to 10 years is long. Who needs that with such a special watch..it's a conversation piece so putting new batts in it is always a fun day. :-D


I missed this post.....

I really think a battery should last for at least 1 year with daily use. For occasional use, it must be much longer otherwise you find yourself changing the battery on the occasional day you wanted to wear it (which prevents you from wearing it). Honestly, you don't want to change the battery 3 to 4 times per year, right?
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Sully008

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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 18:31

cobra, if you want to try this strap on your Nixie project, let me know. I have a few of these cases kicking around doing nothing.

kasper wrote:this is a 37 mm strap...hey why not :-D

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Cesar

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: New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 20:16

Ever since the David Forbes Nixie watch i have been thinking if i would design a Nixie watch why not put the batteries inside the strap, kind of like the way the Junghans Mega 1 has its antenna inside the strap.:idea:
I have seen paper thin batteries or printable batteries are still very much in development and are probably not really an option yet.
But a couple thin buttoncells in series inside the strap and maybe even USB rechargeable ?...just a thought.:roll:

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: New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 21:58

I wondered if it would be possible to place the battery in the hinge mechanism on the exterior of the case leaving the case to house only the nixie tubes and the circuitry, I would do a mock up......if only I knew how :lol:
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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post11 Jan 2012, 23:06

cobra007 wrote:...The first idea I had was to use 3 button cells but the only ones that are powerful enough are the zinc-air batteries (used in hearing aids), they are widely available and cheap so it sounds like a good choice. The drawback however is that you can't use them in an enclosure because they depend on air to operate. You need at least 750mAh @ a minimum of 3V, and there is not much choice.
Zinc-air batteries can't deliver the current needed for the tubes, so they're not an option.
Also the pictured SAFT LS14250 LiSOCl2 (3.6V) is a low current battery that won't work.
A CR2 can do the job.
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: New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 00:54

I came across this YouTube clip of another nixie tube watch: the maker also had the idea of placing the battery on the exterior of the case, it's not exactly small though!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM6Dt-GS2CI




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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 05:30

rewolf wrote:Zinc-air batteries can't deliver the current needed for the tubes, so they're not an option.
Also the pictured SAFT LS14250 LiSOCl2 (3.6V) is a low current battery that won't work.
A CR2 can do the job.


2 things here, first of all, you are correct about the pictured SAFT battery, but it was the only battery that was pictured from the correct angle to use in my photoshop composition :-).

Second, the VARTA - 4600210476 zinc-air batteries are 650mAh and with a trick (super cap) you could use them for a nixie watch to support the large currents for a while. It's not an ideal solution, but it would work.

To ease your mind, the battery that I will be using is the EVE ER14250M, it's 1/2AA which is smaller than the CR2, new type and very good battery.
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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 06:26

Cesar wrote:Ever since the David Forbes Nixie watch i have been thinking if i would design a Nixie watch why not put the batteries inside the strap, kind of like the way the Junghans Mega 1 has its antenna inside the strap.:idea:
I have seen paper thin batteries or printable batteries are still very much in development and are probably not really an option yet.
But a couple thin buttoncells in series inside the strap and maybe even USB rechargeable ?...just a thought.:roll:

Image


It's somewhat a futuristic approach and maybe one day widely available.

It makes the design more complicated because the more custom made items you need for the watch, the higher the development costs. It's not a mass production product and you don't want to come on the market with a nixie watch that is much more expensive than already available watches.
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cobra007

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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 06:30

Sully008 wrote:cobra, if you want to try this strap on your Nixie project, let me know. I have a few of these cases kicking around doing nothing.

kasper wrote:this is a 37 mm strap...hey why not :-D

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Image


It looks nice on that watch but as you can see, the watch case needs to be bigger to make room for the screws where the strap is attached to. On a small watch, this is not so much an issue, but on a watch that has reached it's size limit, it will be an issue.
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cobra007

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: New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 10:46

Had some time to measure the I-V curve of the nixie tubes. It's great because I can get at least 20dB brightness adjustment. Just like the domino watches, I will adjust the brightness of the nixie tubes according to the amount of daylight. This means they draw less power in a darker environment than in bright daylight. I can get at least 40dB with my domino watch, but the nixies as measured today at least 20dB which is still not bad (say battery current 200mA bright daylight and 20mA evening).
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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 14:25

cobra007 wrote:Had some time to measure the I-V curve of the nixie tubes. It's great because I can get at least 20dB brightness adjustment. Just like the domino watches, I will adjust the brightness of the nixie tubes according to the amount of daylight. This means they draw less power in a darker environment than in bright daylight. I can get at least 40dB with my domino watch, but the nixies as measured today at least 20dB which is still not bad (say battery current 200mA bright daylight and 20mA evening).

That sounds like a good design aspect. USB charging would be a good addition, if feasible.
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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 14:37

ronaldheld wrote:That sounds like a good design aspect. USB charging would be a good addition, if feasible.


I can think about that, but are you happy to charge it on a weekly basis?
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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 14:44

cobra007 wrote:
ronaldheld wrote:That sounds like a good design aspect. USB charging would be a good addition, if feasible.


I can think about that, but are you happy to charge it on a weekly basis?

I should ask versus replacing the batteries at what interval?
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Re: : New Nixie watch

Post12 Jan 2012, 22:57

ronaldheld wrote:I should ask versus replacing the batteries at what interval?


It will be the most efficient nixie watch ever built. This means a normal battery will last between 1 and 1.5 years when the watch is used on a daily basis (50 reading/day) and up to 10 years if used occasionally (say 1 day per week). So yeah, I don't think a rechargeable battery is a better option.

Michel
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: New Nixie watch

Post13 Jan 2012, 02:00

I should take back my request for charging with those figures.
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: New Nixie watch

Post13 Jan 2012, 11:23

Well, the electronic design is finished! Next step is to make a concept watch to test how everything works together. The concept watch will just be a rectangular PCB that has all the parts. It will work as the official watch, just won't look like it :-). There will be 10 concept watches to check the consistency in performance. If they work well, 8 of them will be for sale. Aspects as battery life expectancy and tube brightness are going to play an important role.
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: New Nixie watch

Post19 Jan 2012, 05:45

PCB design for the Kopriso Concept Nixie Watch is ready.
It's got a few features that may or may not be included in the official version. This depends on available PCB space and functionality of the feature.
The 2 large leds are in fact 1 IR emitter and 1 IR photo diode, together they form a motion detector. The watch should be activated when a motion has been detected. This has only been roughly tested, so we'll see.
The other (optional) feature are the 3 small blue LEDs that form the backlight for the nixie tube to give it an extra wow factor.
The third feature is the use of the dots available in the nixie tube, left hand dot to indicate hours, right hand dot to indicate minutes.
The forth feature is a daylight sensor (represensted by the smaller red led). This has been tested already in the Kopriso domino watch and works fine.
The Concept boards should be ready in a few weeks.

Michel

(see facebook for picture of the concept nixie watch)
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nixie-Watch/146174782160870
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: New Nixie watch

Post19 Jan 2012, 23:09

Awesome watch! I wouldn't hide the battery ;)

(google pic)

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