Want to learn and understand how neon lights and signs work? Look no further this post will answer your questions.
Materials Used for Neon Signs
A Neon sign consists of a glass tube, filled with a small amount of low-pressure Neon gas. Neon is the gas of choice as it is a Noble gas.
Characteristically having a full electron shell, means that atoms don't react with other atoms and it takes large amounts of energy to remove an electron.
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How is Neon Light Produced
So, how does a neon tube work to create light? Let's discover how a neon light works.
Generally, an electrode at either end of the glass tube passes an Alternating Current through.
If enough energy is supplied to the terminals, approximately 15,000 volts, an outer electron is removed from the neon atoms.
The resulting positively charged neon atoms are attracted to the negative terminal and the free electrons are attracted to the positive terminal.
Known as plasma these charged particles complete an electric circuit within the lamp.
Neon atoms moving around in the tube hit each other transferring energy. and producing heat.
Some electrons become excited by gaining energy in this way. his means that some electrons contained in the glass tube have a higher energy state.
These electrons can return to their original energy state (ground state) by releasing this additional energy as Photon light.
Each excited noble gas releases a characteristic color of light. For neon, this is a reddish-orange light.
BTW - You also like to read about what are LEDs or this one which is all about how are neon signs made).
How Are Other Colors Produced in Neon Lights?
You will have probably seen that there are many different colors of neon lights out there, so how are these different colors produced?
Well, as previously mentioned each of the noble gases releases a different color of light.
Krypton releases green light, Argon blue light and Helium glows pink. Mixing these gases can result in various other color shades.
The color of the light emitted from the neon tube can also be altered by treating the glass of the tube with certain chemicals such as a phosphor coating, which glow a specific color when energized.
How Long Does a Neon Sign Last?
The luminous tubes in a traditional neon sign typically last 8-15 years.
This time depends on how well maintained the signs have been and also environmental factors such as weather.
Repair of Neon Lights and Signs
You can get more years of life from your traditional neon sign by the repair or re-coating of your neon sign tubing.
You can also add more gas and replace the transformer.
Do Neon Signs Burn Out?
Neon signs can burn out, this is where all or part of the sign will stop glowing. There are various causes of this burnout.
Bad transformers:- Neon signs glass tubes are illuminated by the use of transformers. If the transformer fails, the sign will not light up.
Electrical wire burnout:- 80% of all neon sign failures are due to electrical wire burnout.
Due to the high voltage required to power a neon sign and the high temperatures involved, electrical wires can fail. This electrical wire burnout can result in all or part of the sign to stop illuminating.
Gas tube failure:- The glass tubes of a neon sign contain an inert gas and a droplet of mercury, the mercury vapor produced gives off Ultraviolet light.If the Neon gas tube fails part of the tube can lose its brightness.
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Do Glass and Gas Neon Signs Use a Lot of Electricity?
Neon signs are fairly efficient. The reason they look so bright is that all of the output is focused within a small wavelength band of light.
If you continuously run a sign for 12 hours, a foot of red neon sign would typically use about 15.33 to 17.52-kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
Fluorescent lights would by comparison use approximately 50% more energy.
Based on the above, It would cost about $350 to run a fluorescent light sign for a year and about $220 for a neon light sign.
A Better Way - LED Neon Lighting
If you are always having to send your traditional neon sign back to the manufacturers due to burnout problems you are going to not only be paying for the repairs but also could be losing business by not effectively advertising and drawing custom in whilst your sign is out of order.
You should definitely consider changing your traditional glass tube neon lamps with an LED neon lighting solution.
These new-age modern neon lamps use the latest in LED technology to provide you with a much brighter light output than traditional neon lights do.
These LED neon signs are also vastly more efficient than traditional neon lighting signs.
They have little wasted energy as they give off little heat and therefore are safer in terms of burns and accidental fires.
Traditional neon, constructed with a glass neon tube also presents a breakage risk.
This is not true of LED Neon. LED neon signs also don’t contain dangerous mercury or inert gases in glass tubes.
These signs will significantly reduce operational costs will providing a better light source for your signs.
Final Thoughts On How Neon Signs Work
Neon lighting is fairly old technology now, neon tubes have been used for many years.
That familiar neon glow is commonplace and illuminating the night sky in the Las Vegas strip, New York City, and throughout the cities of the United States.
The various colors of light make people feel nostalgic, neon is of historical importance in the US.
Neon lamps work by stimulating the inert gas atoms in a sealed gas tube with a high voltage electrical current.
This current is input via the electrical terminals at either end of the tube.
Free Electrons are attracted to the positive terminal of the neon tubes whilst positively charged neon atoms are drawn to the negative terminal.
This circuit completion results in a photon light output from the plasma, due to the atoms in the tube transferring energy to one another.
This technology has paved the way for the development of new-age LED neon.
Available from Neon Mama, our neon lights work to give you a consistently super bright light of many different colors.
Neon lights work in your space to set the mood and create ambiance in the home, and also to draw the eye in a commercial setting.
Ok, thats pretty much it for this post answering the question - how do neon sings work.
We hope it has covered everything you need to know, and thanks for stopping by our blog.
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