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What is a neon sign and how does it work?

Neon Transformers and Power Supplies

These are the high voltage devices or boxes that power the neon tubing. It takes thousands of volts of electricity to illuminate a neon tube. The voltage that comes out of a wall socket is either 120 or 220 volts. The transformer or power supply is used to step-up these volts, and transform it into anything from 2,000 volts up to 9,000 volts or even up to 15,000 volts in some outdoor applications.

Core and Coil Transformers

These are the old conventional power sources weighing about 10 pounds. They put out a specific amount of voltage, such as 6,000, 7,500 or 9,000 volts. The transformer voltage required is based on the overall length of the glass tubing and tube diameter.

Electronic Power Supplies

These are light weight plastic power sources which have small coils and function off of electronic componentry. Weighing only one pound, this power supply can put out a variable range of voltage, from 1,000 volts to 10,000 volts depending on the sign requirements.

Standard Components of a Neon Sign

Components of a Neon Sign
  1. Electronic Power Supply
  2. Neon Tube
  3. Non-permanent Wall or Ceiling Hanging Chain
  4. Bar Stock Frame With Window Bumpers
  5. Electrode to Electrode Connection
  6. Electrode to Transformer Connection
  7. Neon Tube Support
  8. Neon Tube "Bend Backs"
  9. Three-prong Grounded Wall Plug
  10. On / Off Switch

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