Monday, October 26, 2009
As is known to many, neon signs are nothing more than some colorful display made of gas-filled glass tubes and bent into the shape of letters or decorative designs of one's choice. If a high-voltage electrical current is passed through the gas, the tubes emit glow and brightens the place. Several different types of gases are used in neon tubes. Neon Signs have become tremendously popular ranging from a small advertising sign to massive displays outside huge shopping complexes - particularly bars, restaurants and casinos.
Although neon gas was originally used in neon signs, today usage of neon gas is restricted to producing reds and orange hues only. The latest process involves using either argon, or an argon-neon mixture, for making neon signs. To increase the intensity of the light or to produce a concentrated blue light, some people add a small amount of mercury to argon and the effect is truly brilliant. Experts suggest that optical tints in various colors may also be used and Xenon, krypton, and helium gases can be used for special color effects.
The glass tubing used in neon signs is made of soft lead glass, so that it is capable of bending easily for making different designs. The electrodes used in each end of a section of illuminated tubing are made of virgin iron surrounded by a cylindrical glass jacket with one end open. A wire is then attached to the metal electrode and made to pass through the closed end of the glass jacket. The closed end is sealed into the end of the sign tubing while the open end is left protruding into the tube.
High voltage electricity required to power the Neon Sign comes from a transformer, which converts the 120 volts from the electrical lines to as much as 15,000 volts for the sign... The wire is connected to the transformer through an insulated housing made of borosilicate glass with a spring connection on one end. The transformer and wires needed for neon signs are available in the market.
Manufacturing neon sign is both an art and a technical process. Imaginative designing is necessary to make each sign unique and look different and to suit the desired display. Neon signs must be made to exact size keeping in mind the available installation space. Manufacturing neon signs, simply stated, consists of bending the tubing and attaching the electrodes, removing any impurities from within the tubing, then evacuating the air and adding the gas. High quality raw materials and meticulous manufacturing processes are required to produce a colorful and truly appealing neon sign. Please note that all neon signs must meet the requirements of the Underwriters Laboratories to obtain a UL listing. They will be required to undergo a series of tests by independent testing agencies. Neon Signs must also meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code and outdoor signs must particularly comply with local building codes in their construction and wiring.
The latest Neon Sign designs include small, electronic transformers that eliminate the annoying audible hum of older designs. Neon signs that blink or neon signs that deceptively appear to move are regulated through programmable electronic controls.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Fixing of neon light repairs is a thankless job although it appears simple involving nothing more than a couple of bends, a few welds and a tube re-pump. But people who have actually fixed neon light repairs know that the actual task is quite complex entailing dissembling, cleaning, scraping, glass cracking and chipping, reeking smoke and lot more. There is no denying that Neon Sign have a unique appeal, and serve as items of marvel in homes, retail outlets and business establishments all over the world. You may be aware that neon signs are of high voltage - running on between 5,000 and 12,000 volts of electricity. In view of this, neon repairs should only be undertaken only by those comfortable working with high-power electrical wiring. Due to wide usage of both new and vintage neon signage, there should be no difficulty in procuring replacement parts.
The tools you will require to conduct neon sign repairs include needle nose pliers, replacement neon tubing, thin flexible metal wire and cutter and transformer replacement unit.
Ascertain if the neon tubing is broken by gently jiggling the tubing. If you notice breaks or even hairline cracks, remove that particular affected section of tubing This can be done by slowly unwinding the mounting wires either manually using your fingers or the needle nose pliers. Replace the damaged section with a new length of tubing made to match with the old one.
Quite often, Neon Light repairs may be because of failed transformer unit. Test the transformer unit to find out if current is passing through the transformer and is reaching the tubing. Disconnect the transformer wire leads from the tubing mount by removing the outer rubber casing, and unwinding the wires that are twisted together to make the connection. Hook the transformer to a piece of good tubing and if it does not illumine, then a failed transformer is the cause. Buy a replacement transformer.
You must check the cord for any signs of wear, breaks or other types of damage. Cords can be obtained easily from neon supply companies and they are quite inexpensive. Replace the damaged cord to freely carry the voltage that your sign requires.
Whenever you feel like brightening the neon sign, have a neon repair shop cut and then refill the neon tube with fresh neon gas and reseal the tubing. This is an economical way of giving fresh life to your neon sign than casting away a dimmed sign as useless.
Here is a bit of general advice - in order to render Neon Light repairs more trouble-free, make a pattern using the remaining tube. Because quite often, the original pattern or design may not be available and if you break the only remaining section of a sign, you will regret not having made a pattern.
Please note that no neon sign repair is complete unless you thoroughly inspect all the associated components - insulators and wiring, transformer and tube supports and electrode housings, chains, nuts and bolts, amongst others. It is essential you patiently check every sign item for rust, electrical arcing, even blocked air vents and plugged water drain holes wherever applicable. This complete item-by-item checking alone will assure you that the neon repair work undertaken is purposeful and lasting.