Recently, I purchased a Nixie clock online and was looking for an alternative method to sync the time of the clock. The method provided by the clock supplier, Gra-Afch, was to use a GPS dongle. However, I did not like an additional dongle sticking out. The clock is powered by an Arduino Mega2560, and I had a hunch that there were alternative boards with internet capabilities somewhere online. Searching on Aliexpress, I found a Mega2560 board with an ESP8226 built into it.
- Nixie Tubes + Arduino Shield: Gra-Afch
- Mega 2560 + ESP8266 Board: AliExpress
- Arduino Sketch & Libraries: GitHub
- ESP8266 has been flashed with a AT-Command firmware (Make sure you follow the DIP Switch table)
- Arduino IDE installed
Step 1: Adding Libraries to Arduino IDE
Additional libraries added are:
- EasyNTPClient: To retrieve the current time from a NTP server.
- WiFiEsp: To allow the Arduino board to connect to internet and serve as a server for incoming local HTTP request. The server is user to switch the nixie tubes on and off.
- The other libraries are provided by Gra-Afch.
Drag and drop the library folders provided with the sketch to Arduino IDE libraries folder.
Libraries folder is located at:
- macOS: /Users/Documents/Arduino/libraries
- Windows: C:\Users\Documents\Arduino\libraries
*Note that I have removed Tone and IRRemote libraries
Step 2: Editing WiFi Credentials & Flashing
- Open NixieClockShield_NCS314.ino with Arduino IDE
- Edit ssid and pass with your WiFi credentials.
- Flash your board with the updated firmware and you’re done!
HTTP Server Details
This firmware also includes a HTTP Server that allows you to switch the nixie tubes on and off remotely.
/ (Returns 1 when the tubes are On and 0 when its Off)