Western Electric 6167 Dekatron Tube  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2007-08-12  



The Western Electric 6167 is a very unusual counting tube. Instead of having pins or bent cathodes like most other dekatrons, the 6167 uses tiny springs for its cathodes. Each spring has a small finger, which exits the top of the spring and hangs over the center of the adjacent cathode. It requires less maintaining voltage to hold a glow discharge within a tube-shaped cathode than upon the surface of rod-shaped cathode, and the 6167 is designed to take full advantage of this phenomenon. During operation the glow will rest in the center of each spring, jumping to the finger only during glow transfer. The 6167's unusual cathode construction makes it a unidirectional tube, with ten output cathodes and ten guide cathodes. The guide cathodes are spit into two groups of five, to allow for base five or base ten counting. The tube actually has 21 cathodes: a single "zeroing" cathode sits outside the counting ring and feeds into the first count position at an angle. The tube can be reset to the zero position by pulling the zeroing cathode to ground without interrupting the counting loop. The tube also has a supplemental anode, which sits between the normal anode and the final output cathode in the counting loop. This anode is used to provide a carry without interrupting the counting loop - the supplemental anode is pulled low as the glow transfer passes by it.

It should be noted that even though this tube uses an unusual 16-pin base, it can be used with normal Cinch 13-pin nixie tube sockets due to the cylindrical void located in their center. The 6167 will also fit 20-pin sockets like those used for the MO-10R beam switching tube.

Western Electric 6167 Datasheet (PDF)


Western Electric 6167 Dekatron Tube
Western Electric 6167 dekatron. The yellow line indicates the location of the supplemental anode.

Western Electric 6167 Counting Tube
6167 counting ring. Note the unusual spring shaped cathodes.

Western Electric 439A Dekatron Tube
The 6167 is quite a bear to get spinning, but in operation it produces a glow discharge unlike any other dekatron.

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