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Testing the efficiency of Nixie power supplies

Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 in project logs by DP

Gelbanana tested 3 HV SMPS Nixie power supplies for their efficiency. The tested ICs were the always popular NE555 timer, the MC34063 buck/boost controller, and the MAX1771 boost controller. The MAX1771 was the most efficient, but it also costs 10x more than the other two ICs tested.  Table with the results of the test can be found below the fold.

Today I’ve decided to test the efficiency of the different design of HV SMPS that I’ve built a while back. I used a 240v neon bulb which I salvaged from a panel mount light indicator. The bulb draws about 1.5mA and I’ve used 2 pieces. MAX1771 have the best efficiency but comes with a pricey price tag.

Via the forum.

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8 Responses to “Testing the efficiency of Nixie power supplies”

  1. Ian says:

    I’d like to compare this to the simple microcontroller-based SMPS I used in my first nixie projects.

  2. vimark says:

    Thanks for posting this one

  3. Gel Banana says:

    Wasn’t expecting this to be posted. Anyways just to point out, the poor efficiency might be due to the wrong inductor value used. Will update the table once the new coil arrives.

  4. Gel Banana says:

    Wasn’t expecting this to be posted. Anyways just to point out, the poor efficiency might be due to the wrong inductor value used as pointed out by fellow members. Will update the table once the new coil arrives.

  5. Kevin says:

    I used a small LCD EL driver to drive 6 nixie tubes. It worked well. Cost next to nothing. I don’t know about efficiency though.

  6. I just use a PWM off of the microcontroller.. Always gets you the minimal parts count.

  7. David Floren says:

    Try the low ESR caps, and your efficiencies will jump!

  8. The poor efficiencies here really stem from the problems of building SMPS supplies on perfboard – its extremely difficult to get high efficiency and to prevent parasitic oscillation in a perfboard layout due to stray capacitances and other issues.

    See my page at http://desmith.net/NMdS/Electronics/NixiePSU.html for a detailed discussion of MAX1771 designs – I get over 88% in some cases and typically 85% or 86% efficiency by careful selection of components, understandig the basic physics, and taking care of the physical layout.

    HTH

    Nick

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