Nixie Tube Energy Meter

Having recently bought a house, project time has been a bit thin on the ground. As a standard terrace house, the consumer unit and electricity meter were in the entrance hallway, exposed and looking a bit naff. I liked the look of the meter so I quickly created a box that allowed the meter to poke through and leave access to the fuses.

Nixie Tube Energy Meter

The box covering did the job but felt a bit cumbersome with all that spare space; it needed something else to give it more purpose. An energy meter was the obvious thing but I didn’t want a garish LCD or 7 segment display, it need to match the blown glass electricity meter… …nixie tubes!

The Nixie Module runs off 5V and SPI making the project quick to get off the ground


I’ve wanted to use nixie tubes in a project for a long time – almost tempted by the bog-standard clock – so once I had the vision on this one I set about it in zero time! I’m afraid I didn’t design the driving circuit myself, instead I went for this very tidy Nixie Module. Working off 5V and SPI it is nice and quick to get a project off the ground. It is expensive but the build quality and time saved designing something else made it a worthy investment. An Arduino would be the microcontroller but I wanted the meter to provide some form of data stream for a web based energy history. To make it an IoT, I a paired ESP8266 with it. I used both together because the Arduino ADC has a better resolution and has been tried and tested.


An OpenSCAD box meant an OpenSCAD panel. I also modelled the nixie tube for verification.

Considering the expense of the Nixie module and the irony of a high energy impact energy meter not lost on me (the tubes draw around 300mA each), I opted to use only two tubes; I was going to require SI notification anyway for full scale display. Handily, the tubes have colon points on the right-hand side (for clock use), which I designed as indicators for x10 and x1. With both SI units and x10 x1 decimals, one can display from 0 to 100MW – albeit with only 2 significant figures (considering the accuracy of a current transformer system like this, that isn’t a problem).

Read more: Nixie Tube Energy Meter

Leave a Comment

= 5 + 4

(Spamcheck Enabled)

Read previous post:
DIY a Simple Automatic Humidifier
DIY a Simple Automatic Humidifier

Let's see the video first. In today’s society, more and more attention to the quality of life, pursue the healthy...

Scroll to top