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Power consumption of mains indicator neon?

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Lem, Dec 27, 2005.

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  1. Lem

    Lem Guest

    What is the typical power consumptions of one of those small neon
    bulbs which are often used to indicate "MAINS ON".

    (I realise that LEDs are getting more popular for this purpose but I
    would like to know about power consumption of a small mains neon.)
  2. They typically run at 1mA which is low enough just to use a single
    resistor to drop the current directly from the mains. The voltage
    across the neon is about 90V when it strikes and 60V when lit, so
    theoretically the power dissipation of the neon lamp is just 0.06W.
    However with the resistor loss included it's about 0.1W at 110V and
    0.25W at 240V. Virtually nothing in other words.

    They also have a very long life which can be extended further by
    deliberately running them at a lower current like 0.5mA. When run in
    this manner the arc may become unstable after a time and start
    flickering up and down the electrodes. (Which is quite a nice effect
  3. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    All of the meters that I have taken apart all of the indication, i.e. lights
    or motors are taken off BEFORE the meter.
    You are not paying for the light most likely.
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