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What is the difference between Neon and Flourescent ?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Dion, Jan 8, 2004.

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  1. Dion

    Dion Guest

    I have a kit circuit for two lights which go on and of alternately.
    The problem that I am having is that I am not sure what sort of
    lights I require. They for for sure mains voltage, i.e. 230V AC
    and I think they are Neon because they are marked N1 and
    N2 in the circuit diagram. I have purchased two lights but they
    are Flourescent, or Flourescent Neon, not sure how I should
    say it exactly, but I also noticed in the catalog where I got them
    that there are also lights which are Neon and *not* Flourescent.
    If anyone can help here is the circuit.

    BTW at the moment only
    one light lights up, and it doesn't blink. I am pritty sure I assembled
    the rest of the circuit correctly.
  2. Don Bruder

    Don Bruder Guest

    What's the difference?

    Neon (or argon or various other "-ons", depending on the color desired)
    lights are gas-discharge bulbs that directly produce visible light. You
    might think of them as "single-stage" lights.

    Flourescent lights are gas-discharge lights that produce their visible
    light indirectly - They operate in a manner similar to neons to produce
    ultraviolet, which then strikes a coating on the inside of the tube
    which glows in the visible spectrum. These guys would be "two-stage"

    I'm uncertain on the electrical differences between them, but I know
    that they are substantial - substantial enough that a circuit designed
    around a neon bulb is almost certainly not going to be able to fire up a
    flourescent, or vice-versa.

    Interestingly enough, a large number of flourescent fixtures use a neon
    as part of the "fire up the flourescent tube" starter circuitry.
  3. Dion

    Dion Guest

    Despite saying that I was pritty sure the circuit was correct, I have
    to find a cold soldering, so now the situation is that both lights are on.
    I tried increasing the 1.5m resistors to 10m and now they are
    blinking, however, they are quite faint. The funny thing is that they seem
    to sort of go on in stages rather than in one clean go (they seem to sort
    of vibrate like in normal house flourescents). I have a feeling I should
    have ordered the Neon type. Interestingly, the Neon ones come in red
    and amber, whereas the flourescent ones which I have are green.
    However, I clearly remember that when I build this circuit before the
    lights were green, so I believe green neons do exist somewhere.
  4. Neon is ONLY orange.

    Argon glows green.
    | __O Thomas C. Sefranek
    |_-\<,_ Amateur Radio Operator: WA1RHP
    (*)/ (*) Bicycle mobile on 145.41, 448.625 MHz
  5. Dion

    Dion Guest

    maybe it was the coloured top which changed the color
  6. Dion,

    The circuit shown is apparently designed to work with small neon bulbs. The
    ones that strike at about 90V and burn until the voltage falls below 60V.
    Their light is normally orange/yellow. However I also had green neons. AFAIK
    they were fluorescent as you saw a white looking coating on the inside of
    the bulbs when they were off. These ones were sold by Farnell.

  7. Dion

    Dion Guest

    The circuit shown is apparently designed to work with small neon bulbs.
    Yes, the neon is yellow, like it the test screwdrivers, but you can then
    put it in a coloured plastic housing of any translucent colour, so it can
    be green/red/orange. Never seen any other colors. My flourescent ones
    are indeed white, which is nice, but they are not good for this circuit
    they don't switch on in an instant. I shall be ordering some neon lights
    farnell, and will update you with the result.
  8. Neon lamps have a very limited range of colors based just on

    Argon lamps have some short wavelengths that are good at exciting
    florescence in other materials (usually rare earth oxides) to produce
    a wide range of color.
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