Neon Light Problems

By Dianne Christensen

A neon light is made up of a luminous tube and is commonly used for lighting signs. Typically, a neon light consists of a glass tube with an electrode at one end. The tube is then filled with an inert gas, which in this case, is neon. After a high voltage power source is affixed to the light, it will glow. When the voltage causes the gas molecules to gain electrons, it results in neon light. There are a few problems that can result when using neon lights.

Low Power

One of the problems that can result with neon lights is a blinking or flickering neon light. If this happens, the voltage supply to the light should be inspected for any loose connections. A tool such as a multimeter can check the voltage in all of the electrical locations. This is an instrument that measures electric voltage, current and sometimes resistance. If the voltage to the light is not high enough, a step-up transformer may need to be used instead to provide adequate voltage.

Broken or Shorted Wires

If the neon light is not working at all, it should be inspected for shorted or broken wires, a defective tube section within the light or extremely low voltage. If this is the case, shorts or broken wires will not pass any voltage to the light. If there is a series of neon lights and one is broken or damaged, it will cause none of the lights to operate. It is important to inspect the wires and replace the defective section.

Tube Leaks.

If the light is dimly lit, the glass tube should be inspected for any leaks along the tube. If neon gas is seeping out of the tube, air going into the bulb will put out any light since the neon will no longer form ions. This problem can be quite difficult to repair. Some light repair stores will be able to break and refill the tube. However, it may be less expensive and easier to toss out the leaky tube and replace it with a new one.

Defective Transformer

A faulty transformer can cause all or one of the above mentioned problems such as dim or blinking light or not working at all. This problem can be difficult to diagnose, since it mimics many of the other issues. The transformer should be inspected to verify if it is still working properly, but the simplest way to remedy this problem is to replace the defective transformer. The new transformer needs to meet the proper output voltage necessary to power the neon light. This amount of voltage necessary should be verified before purchasing a new transformer.