Russian nixie, VFD and numitron overview

A lot of nixie tubes have been made in Russia, or more accurate, the USSR. These are still fairly easy to find and in some cases, quite affordable and just a few euro’s per nixie. Sadly I couldn’t find a nice overview of all the nixies made by the USSR. Some other popular displays are the VFD and numitron displays, both are also vacuum glass tubes and also used for DIY clock projects. This page will try to be a complete overview of all the nixie, VFD and numitron tubes in the popular IN and IV series.

Nixie tubes

Nixie tubes are vacuum tubes filled with neon for an orange glow. They need around 180V to operate and where used as indicator or display before newer technology like LEDs where invented. The following table lists all the IN nixies from the USSR. The prices are an indication and sampled on Ebay in the start of 2018. Some nixies can be soldered to a PCB directly, but some use sockets. When a socket is needed, special female pinheaders, nixie pins, can be used as well and can be cheaper and smaller. Some info on these pins can be found here. They can be found online at several stores and on Ebay.

NamePhotoDescriptionPropertiesPrice indication (jan 2021)
IN-1A round nixie, about 3cm in size. It's front viewing and needs a socket. Some more info and photo's can be found here.
No dot, front viewing, 5 is a reversed 2. about 3 to 5 euro's, needs a socket which is 8 euro's
IN-2A small round nixie, fully glass, about 2cm in size. It's front viewing and needs a socket or nixie pins, although the pins can be soldered.
Some more info can be found here.
No dot, front viewing, 5 is a reversed 2. about 2 to 3 euro's, needs a socket, about 2 euro's, or nixie pins, about 3 euro's per 100 pins.
IN-3An indicator tube with leads, no socket needed.Indicator tubeLess then 1 euro.
IN-4A round nixie, about 3cm in size. It's a front viewing nixie and needs a socket or nixie pins. It is available with a course grid or fine grid, the photo is a course grid one. No dot, front viewing, 5 is a reversed 2. about 4 euro's for a course grid, 10 euro's for a fine grid one. A socket is about 5 euro's or 100 nixie pins for 10 euro's
IN-5A / IN-5B Identical in size to the IN-2. 2 versions exist, the A and B version.
These are symbol tubes, the A can show an Y, X and Z. The B version shows S, y and Y
Symbol tubeDifficult to get, 15 to 30 euro's
IN-6An indicator tube with leads, no socket needed.Indicator tubeAbout 1 euro
IN-7Symbol tube, same size as the IN-4. Front viewing, it can show: m, А, V, К, М, П, +, -, ~, Ω. An A and B version exist with different synbols.
More info here.
Symbol tubeAbout 4 euro's, socket is the same as IN-4
IN-8 / IN-8-2A standing, side view nixie. There are 2 versions, the IN-8 needs a socket, the IN-8-2 has leads.
It has a dot, a real 5 and is about 6cm tall. More info found here.
Single dot, side view, real 5. About 10 to 20 euro's, IN-8 needs nixie pins or a socket, same ones as the IN-2. IN-8-2 has leads. Fine grid exist, hard to get.
IN-9A bargraph nixie, about 12cm high. 2 versions exist, a normal orange one filled with neon, and a argon filled one that glows red.bargraph display10 to 12 euro's
IN-12A rectangular nixie, about 3cm in size. It's front viewing and requires a socket of nixie pins. The 2 variants 12A and 12B are very similar and only differ if on the dot position. Some more info is found here.Dot, 5 is is a reversed 2. 10 to 15 euro's, socket (2 euro's) or nixie pins (100 for 4 euro's) needed.
IN-13Another bar graph, slightly larger (14cm) and only available with neon gas filling. Some info about how they work can be found here.bargraph displayAround 15 euro's
IN-14A side viewing nixie, similar to the IN-8-2. It has a reversed 2 as a 5 though.2 dots, left and right, 5 is a reversed 2. leadsAround 15 euro's, no socket needed. fine grid ones exist for double the price.
IN-15A / IN-15BA nixie with symbols, side viewing and identical to the IN-12 for size. Meant for multimeters and measuring gear.
The 15A displays +, –, %, M, k, m, µ, n, P, П and the 15B A, F, H, Hz, Ω, S, V, W.
More info found here.
Symbol tubeAbout 2 to 5 euro's, socket identical to IN-12
IN-16Small side viewing tube, about 4.5cm high. More info found here.left and right dot, side view, real 5Around 10 euro's, fine grid ones exist for about double that.
IN-17Tiny rectangular nixie tube. Front view and about 2 * 1.5cm in size. More info here.No dot, front view, real 5Around 5 euro's
IN-18The big one. side viewing tube with a 7cm height and 3cm width. Very pretty tube, but expensive. More info here.No dot, side view, real 5Around 100 euro's, socket, around 10 euro's or nixie pins, 100 for 4 euro's needed.
IN-19A / IN-19BAnother symbol tube. This one can show the Celcius symbol :) The 19A displays К, М, Р, m, µ, n, %, °С and the 16B H, A, Ω, Hz, S, F, T, V.
In size similar to the IN-14. More info found here.
symbol tube3 euro's
IN-21An indicator tube with a screw mount. About 1cm in sizeIndicator tubeLess then 1 euro
IN-23Weird and rare tube, it's a 14 segment display. Make a clock with these for big internet points. More info here.14 segment displayHard to get, 100 euro range.
IN-28A big indicator tube. same size as the IN-4 but different in pins. Some more info here.Indicator tube5 euro's
IN-30Another 14 segment display, bigger and with straight segments. Info here.14 segment displayUnknown, very hard to get.

VFD and numitron tubes

VFD tubes use a phosphor coating that emits light when hit by electrons. It needs a low voltage for the grid, generally a few volts, and a higher voltage for the anode, generally 30 to 50 volts. These emit a blue/green color although other colors are possible. Numitron are very different and are basically glowing wires in a vacuum tube and need just a few volt to glow.

NamePhotoDescriptionPropertiesPrice indication (jan 2021)
IV-1A VFD indicator that can show a point and a dashIndicator, leads, side view1 to 2 euro's
IV-3A side viewing VFD. The IV-3A looks similar but has a different pinout.Leads, side view. dot1 to 2 euro's.
IV-4A side viewing 16 segment VFDLeads, side view, 16 segmentaround 5 euro's
IV-6A side viewing VFD, similar to the IV-3ALeads, side view, dot2 to 3 euro's
IV-8A side viewing VFD with leadsLeads, side view, dot2 to 3 euro's
IV-9A side viewing numitron with leads.Leads, side view, dotAbout 10 euro's
IV-11A bigger VFD, side viewing with leadsLeads, side view, dotAbout 10 euro's
IV-12A bigger VFD, needs a socketSocket needed, side view, dot2 to 3 euro's, needs a socket, about 2 euro's, or nixie pins, 100 for 4 euro's
IV-13A bigger numitron, pink background and 8 segment so it can display a +. Needs a socketSocket needed, side view, dot. 8 segmentHard to get, 40 euro range. needs a socket, about 2 euro's, or nixie pins, 100 for 4 euro's
IV-15Small indicator VFDIndicator, leads, side view10 to 20 euro's
IV-16Small numitron.Leads, side view, no dotabout 10 euro's
IV-1716 segment VFDLeads, side view, 16 segment5 euro's
IV-188 digit display tubeLeads, side view, 8 digit 7 segment tube6 euro's
IV-218 digit display tubeLeads, side view, 8 digit 7 segment display with dot5 euro's
IV-22A front viewing VFDSocket needed, front view, with dot2 to 3 euro, needs a socket, 1 to 2 euro's
IV-25A VFD tube with 7 dots, used to make matrixesLeads, side view, 7 dot tube display2 to 4 euro's
IV-26Another 7 dot VFD tubeLeads, side view, 7 dot tube display2 to 4 euro's
IV-27A 13 digit VFD display.Leads, side view, 13 digits 7 segment with dotAbout 5 euro's
IV-28Almost modern looking, a 9 digit VFD displayLeads, front view, 9 digit 7 segment with dot6 to 8 euro's
IV-29A single dot indicator, big dot and similar to the IN-28 nixie dot display. More info here.Leads, single dot indicator.Hard to get, 25 euro range.


  • Reply WimWalther |

    Great article, very helpful though the prices are quickly becoming dated.

    But do you have any info on the bar graph side-view VFD tubes? There are Chinese kits that use these as colon separators, but I’ve been unable to locate any on eBay or AliExpress.

    • Reply riktw |

      Thanks. I will see if I can update the prices, that’s of course the downside of an article that is written and ages. I haven’t used those bar graphs before I’m afraid

  • Reply MacDoktor |

    Just stumbled across this post…

    Note that the IN-6 is a thyratron so it can be triggered by a low voltage like a triac. The INS-1 is physically identical to the IN-6 except that it is a simple neon lamp with only a cathode and anode.

    The IN-5s you have are actually the dash-one versions, IN5A-1 and IN5B-1. The IN5A/B have five cathodes. Some of the letters are Cyrillic. “Ч” is the first letter of the Russian word for “hour”.

    Many of these devices were manufactured in Ukraine during the Soviet era, not Russia, although all of the data books are in Russian. This may explain why so many of the Nixies et al on eBay are from Ukrainian sellers. Also, argon-filled IN-9s are now extremely rare and I’ve never seen an IN-5x with five cathodes at any price. 8/

So, what do you think ?