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whoop-john
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Nixie tubes in slot machines

Postby whoop-john » Tue Jun 21, 2005 2:42 pm

Nixie tubes are glass neon tubes which glow an orange colour and light at about 180 volts. They usually contain the numbers 0-9 as separate cathodes which can be lit independently. They were in use from the early 1950s until 1972 when the numerical LED killed them off.

I spoke to someone who remembers a machine with nixies in a wooden cabinet on South Pier Blackpool. It hung on the left hand wall on the lower-ground level floor. Can anyone shed any light on this or any other machines that had nixies in them? I know the 60s French Rally pinballs had them.

Dave Geeson, do you have a fruit machine with nixies?

Hopefully I can attach a picture of me testing a nixie tube on top of a plasma ball. No wires attached and it lights!
nixie.jpg
Nixie tube lit on plasma ball
nixie.jpg (7.36 KiB) Viewed 9825 times

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daveslot
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Postby daveslot » Wed Jun 22, 2005 1:11 pm

Yes, I have had one of these in the past, a very quirky machine. I sold it at one of the Madness shows, I think. I will see if I have a pic of it and post it.

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whoop-john
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Postby whoop-john » Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:49 pm

That would be very cool if you have a picture, I would love to see it.

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daveslot
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Postby daveslot » Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:29 pm

I thought it was a great machine but nobody else thought so! I think it had a spare nixie tube with it.
img010.jpg

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whoop-john
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Postby whoop-john » Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:24 pm

That is a cool machine! Kind of quirky. I know nixie tube collectors who might pay a lot for that.

Many thanks for that picture, now if only I could find the machine in an oak cabinet my friend remembered. Trouble is he cannot even remember the theme.

John
forbeswatch_fullon2.jpg
My nixie tube wristwatch! 170 volts on your arm, cool!

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daveslot
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Postby daveslot » Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:47 pm

Just found the spare nixie tube, now if I can find my plasma ball I will test it. Do you touch the ball with it or hold it at a distance?

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whoop-john
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Postby whoop-john » Wed Jun 22, 2005 8:28 pm

Dave, you just touch the tube against the glass. Your nixie might have leads or it might have pins, just touch one against the glass and it should light! I used a coin on top of the ball to concentrate the field and touched that, it was more reliable and brighter. You might feel a tingle but it won't kill you. It's a neat party trick!

Normally you would need to use at least a diode to rectify the AC mains and a dropper resistor like you get in a mains socket neon. Nixies have a common positive anode and multiple negative cathodes. Nixies are low current devices, typically they take 2 milliamps to light. But they fire around 170/180 volts. Voltage isn't critical, but the current is.

Nixies were first made by Burroughs, in the UK, and called provisionally 'Numerical Indicator eXperimental 1'. It looked like NIXI. By the time they hit the streets in the early 1950s they were already known as nixies and the name stuck.

Can you tell me what tube it is you have? They usually have printing on them but it might have rubbed off.

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pennymachines
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Postby pennymachines » Fri Jun 24, 2005 4:48 pm

Here's the NIXIE tube display on a Crompton's Star Soccer game (late 1960s). There's one both sides of the machine of course.
nixie-digits.jpg
nixie-digits.jpg (11.15 KiB) Viewed 9733 times

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whoop-john
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Postby whoop-john » Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:15 pm

Excellent! Well done that man.

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whoop-john
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Postby whoop-john » Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:17 pm

Any pictures of the Star Soccer so I can see what the game is like?

John


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