SPECTRUM 18 Nixie Clock Kit


The Spectrum 18 is a worthy addition to my collection of Nixie clocks. This is the first kit that I have ordered from PV and I found the kit and design to be excellent! The clock has a very wide variety of settings available, which cover most of the settings that a user would want to control. Some of the features that are particularly nice are the one button adjustment for Daylight Saving Time and the optional Motion Sensor that powers down the high voltage to extend the life of the tubes. The motion sensor is a unique feature and it works really well. The GPS unit is responsive and overall, the features available for setting up the Spectrum 18 are impressive. I found PV Electronics to be very responsive to the couple questions that I had during the assembly and Pete is easy to communicate with.

I ordered this kit with the VISIO acrylic case and it displays very nicely in this housing. Really dresses it up!

The most critical part of the overall assembly is the tube sockets and it is important to follow the instructions carefully in order to prevent solder from getting into the pins and the tube insertions need to be very gentle and straight in order to prevent stress cracks in the acrylic pin holders. Also, as mentioned in the kit instructions, be careful to check the resistor values as the kit contains a mix of 4 and 5 band resistor markings. Double check the values with a meter before soldering.

I would prefer a dark colored circuit board as opposed to the red board that was supplied. I came from a world where a red circuit board was always the method to identify a prototype from a production board. The circuit board was very nice quality with a very good solder mask and silk screening. Very good quality.

The clock is fairly efficient and runs cool. The colon towers are glass tubes which allow some adjustment of the neon tubes in the glass to make the colons taller or close together. There is a built-in temp sensor that works OK but is probably too close in proximity to the clock for a fair ambient temperature reading. It does have offset adjustments to attempt to compensate but is sensitive to when the clock has been running at full brightness vs turning on after the display has been off and not consuming much power.

The tube backlighting is very versatile if you want to have color beneath the tubes. It uses an RGB LED that offers 10 steps for each primary light color intensity and is settable for different values every hour of the day. This allows a dim setting for overnight use or if you use the motion sensor, the backlighting will turn off with the tubes.

The IN-18 is a beautiful tube with nice large digits and is one of my favorites. This Spectrum 18 clock shows them off very nicely and is a good value for the price.
Date Added: 03/31/2015 by Jeff Walton