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Blinking Neon Tube with Arduino

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Hi, I'm kohanii.

Our shop makes high voltage DCDC converters for Nixie tubes.

You can find it at ↓

This DCDC converter can boost a 5V power supply to about 175V.
The voltage can be adjusted up to about 220 V by turning the volume on the PCB.

For more details, please refer to previous articles.

This DCDC converter is designed for Nixie tubes, but it can also light ordinary small neon tubes.

The power supply can be boosted from 5V, so I tried to control it with Arduino Nano.

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Making it light up

I plugged it into a bullet board and connected it.

I adjusted the output voltage to 220V.

The circuit looks like this

The Nixie tube seems to light up at about 1mA.

It's still beautiful.
When the neon tube is DC, the electrode on the GND side seems to light up.

We can control this with a microcontroller.

Blinking Neon Tube

MPSA42" transistor is used for high voltage switching.

Since the collector-base voltage can flow up to 300V, it can switch high voltage of 220V.

Here is the circuit diagram

Connect the sw to the I/O of the Arduino.

And here is the program for Arduino.

void setup() {
  pinMode(13, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
  digitalWrite(13, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(13, LOW);

This turns the 13 pin (LED pin) on and off every 200ms.

I actually ran it.

It's blinking well.
And the LED on the Arduino Nano is also blinking.

The neon tube is really beautiful, isn't it?
Here's a zoom shot.

Only the left side (GND) electrode is glowing because it is DC.

I wish I could make a neon tube dot matrix someday!

The End

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