This is my first test driving a Burroughs B-5853ST Nixie tube using a 160 Volt boost converter salvaged from a disposable camera flash assembly. The digits are controlled via TLP627 opto-couplers (the off white colored squares in the lower center to right) which are, in turn, controlled by an Arduino Mini (upper right.) The Ardiuno is powered by 5 Volts from my breadboard power unit.
Next, my goal is to use this as the basis of a steampunk-style "digital" pocket watch using a more refined circuit.
To create the HV power supply, I started with a surplus flash circuit designed for a disposable camera. After tracing out the circuit, I salvaged the transformer, D965 transistor, 2.8K resistor and 1000 pf cap from the PCB and added in a UF4005 fast recovery recitifier and a 3.3 ufd 350V electrolytic cap (the 120 ufd cap that came with the original circuit held a larger, more dangerous change than needed to drive a Nixie tube.) My reconstructed circuit looks like this:
The circuit seems to work well enough for test purposes, but the output tends to droop below 140 V when the AAA battery voltage drains down under 1.3 volts which results in less than complete illumination of some digits. So, I may need to rework the circuit a bit.
Driving Nixie Digits with Optoisolators