I have been design some years ago a clock and thermometer (inside-outside) with Nixie tubes, selling from Etsy:
2 months ago, a Youtuber from UK contacted me to ask if I could adapt my Nixie device to display the number of his subscribers on his channel:
The original device is displaying time and temperature with 2 times 2 digits plus the sign. So, first I need to replace the sign tube by numeri display (and change the layout of the PCB).
The biggest problem was to get the number of subscribers. At begiining, I plan to use a simple Wifi modem to read from the main Nixie CPU (PIC 18F2420) but the internet link was too complex to put on that CPU. So, I moved to another solution, using an ESP32 with Arduino in C to connect to his channel and get the number of subscribers. Looks easy to say but complex to implement. After days of testing different libraries, I found one way to get the right numbers.
On the top, the ESP can read the time from an NTP server. The data are sent to the PIC by simple serial link. To avoid to overload the Wifi, the frequency of pulling the website can be adjust from 10 sec to 20 min (by the end user via web portal). The number of subscribers will be send to the PIC only if it is new number. However, as the display is on 6 digits max, it cannot be more than 1million...
For the Wifi setting, I used the Wifiserver library for the user to input his own credentials.
The main software of the Nixie device was modified to display the youtube counter and the time. It can be in alternance, with the choice of the frequency (10-20-30-40-60 sec) or fix display (time or counter). The function to switch off the tubes during the night is kept.
In this version, I removed the temperature display and sensors, also remove the RFM12C for RF communication.
The device still has 2 PCBA, one with all the logics and HT, the other with the tubes. I put all of them on a bamboo case as usual. The power is through a 12V charger. There are 2 buttons on the back, one for the display change and one for the parameter for pullling website.
To adapt to another Youtube channel, it is easy. Each channel has their own reference, It must be put as constant in the ESP32 SW and recompile. I didn t implement (yet) a version to enter this identification through a website as parameter.
Another version with 7 digits can be plan but it will need new PCB lot of change in the SW
Youtube subscribers counter and clock on Nixie Display:
10. Februar 2019