REPOST: Dekatron Spinner – Fun Gizmo from the Past

*** A friend had asked for copies of the Dekatron & Nixie Tube Posts***

***which seems a good excuse to repost them ***

Dekatron Spinner

Dekatron Spinner

US Mail brought a parcel from Germany with a Dekatron Spinner I had ordered.

What is a Dekatron? From The Free Dictionary:

A Dekatron (or Decatron, or generically three-phase gas counting tube or glow-transfer counting tube) is a gas-filled decade counting tube. Dekatrons were used in computers, calculators and other counting-related devices during the 1940s to 1970s. “Dekatron” was the trademarked brand name used by Ericsson Telephone.

The dekatron was useful for computing, calculating and frequency-dividing purposes because one complete revolution of the neon dot in a dekatron means 10 pulses on the guide electrode(s), and a signal can be derived from one of the ten cathodes in a dekatron to send a pulse, possibly for another counting stage.

What is a Dekatron spinner?

From Dieter’s Website:

A Dekatron spinner displays a spinning dot by using a vintage ‘Dekatron’ style glow-transfer counting tube.
The colour of the dot depends to the gas the tube is filled.
Neon filled tubes display a red-orange dot.
Argon filled tubes display a purple dot.
The spinning frequency depends to the mains voltage the spinner is connected to and to the counting steps of the Dekatron.
If the spinner is connected 50Hz and the Dekatron is a 10-way counter the dot spins with 5 turns per second.
If the spinner is connected to 60Hz the dot spins with 6 turns per second.
If the spinner is connected 50Hz and the Dekatron is a 12-way counter the dot spins with 4.17 turns per second.
If the spinner is connected to 60Hz the dot spins with 5 turns per second.

Quite a nifty looking device:

Dekatron Spinner

Dekatron Spinner

I have to be honest in that I haven’t 100% decided what I was going to do with it. I’d like to work it into a “Station on the Air” indicator outside of the room I use for my radio shack, though initial family take is that this Dekatron is too cool to use in a simple sign.

It is interesting enough that I might just have to get a couple more!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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