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Old 07-28-2011, 04:40 PM   #1
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


Hello! This is my first post of what I'm sure will turn into dozens, which will turn into hundreds or even thousands. Looking forward to learning and sharing.

I'm trying to make a neon light for light painting (see attached image of one I've done in the past). The lights I used for that were 12v accent neon lighting you get at the auto parts store that has a cigarette plug on it. I have a couple of these batteries that I used to plug the light into and it worked like a charm.

So today I bought one of these neon lights from the electronics store. It says 12v on there so I assumed I could cut the wires and attach a cigarette plug and it would be all good. But it's not working. I checked the battery with my other store-bought light and it worked, so I know there was enough juice in the battery.

I'm not very savvy when it comes to electrical like this but I assumed it would be a simple thing. Can anybody tell me what I'm doing wrong or point me in the right direction? Thanks so much!

-seth
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:20 PM   #2
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


There is no such thing as a 12v neon,
neons require thousands of volts,
Most of the 12v variety use a special step up power supply.
Where is yours ?

See the black box !

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Old 07-28-2011, 06:26 PM   #3
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


the one I have used successfully is like this one.

The one I just bought is like this one.

I'm guessing the black box you mentioned is what the blue box is on the what I just bought?

-seth
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:54 PM   #4
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


Are you sure you have the +12 volt and the 0 volt (ground) connected correctly to your cig. lighter plug?
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:22 PM   #5
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


yeah, i've tried both....i've tried a couple other things and for the life of me, i just can't understand why it's not working.....aside from the chance that BOTH units are bad (i bought 2 of the neon light kits). I guess I'm lost. I don't understand why a 12v device doesn't work on a 12v power source.

-seth
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:35 PM   #6
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


Have you tried the light on another known good power source ?
Such as a 12v power supply,
Or the battery in your car ?
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


i did try another belt pack 12v battery (which i thought was juiced). I also tried plugging it in directly to the cig lighter outlet on the car when it was wired to my cig plug. What's the box in this kit? The inverter? What does that do?

thanks for your help so far.

-seth
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:44 PM   #8
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


The invertor will step up the incoming 12vdc to the required high voltage
of the neon, which is typically around 3 to 5 thousand volts for the smaller
tubes like yours.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:52 PM   #9
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


what would happen if the inverter was gone? would there be too much power to the light and make it explode? or would there be not enough juice to power the light?

-seth
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:43 PM   #10
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


The unit you have was designed to be connected to a computer internal power supply. These types of P/S connections, the ones that would connect to a hard drive, have both 5V and 12V at the connector. You may need both voltages to get this to work. Obviously you cut the cable somehow so you could connect it to your cig. lighter receptacle.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:37 PM   #11
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


The box contains an inverter to step up the voltage and also a current limiter (possibly the same components as the inverter) to prevent an excessive current flow that would burn out the neon lamp. As a neon lamp (also several other kinds including mercury and fluorescent) warms up it has a tendency to draw more and more current so the limiter is necessary.

Without the inverter the 12 volts is not enough to get the neon lamp started (by jumping a gap anywhere from 1/32 inch to a few feet between two electrodes) so the lamp will sit there and do nothing.

Manufacture of small neon lamps (candle flame size) that start on 120 volts or even a little less has been going on for decades.
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:29 PM   #12
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Wiring A 12v Computer Neon Light...


Quote:
Originally Posted by dezandseth View Post
what would happen if the inverter was gone? would there be too much power to the light and make it explode? or would there be not enough juice to power the light?

-seth
No there would NOT be enough voltage to light the tube.
Basically nothing would happen.
No explosion, no damage, no light.

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