Author Topic: Neon NE-2 christmas lights  (Read 925 times)
Laurens
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Neon NE-2 christmas lights « on: December 26, 2023, 05:03:08 PM » Author: Laurens
Technically still on time since it's 2nd christmas day here for another hour or so :)

Last year i turned a string of very sketchy Aliexpress incandescent christmas lights into a string of slightly less sketchy (only slightly) neon NE2 lights, using standard, green and blue NE-2 indicators. Turns out, the little indicator bulbs fit into the standard lamp sockets just fine.
Sadly the green ones are of terrible quality - within weeks of use they lose most of their light output.

If you're gonna build this yourself, be aware that those little lamp sockets are not meant to carry 1kV or so. The current is low, the danger of the shock you could get is very small, but any arcing could turn a christmas tree into a bonfire with ease!
If you have parallel style christmas lights (simply not a thing here), it's safer to give each bulb its own resistor and run them straight from mains.

https://youtu.be/MTaQ96BH5q8
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RRK
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Re: Neon NE-2 christmas lights « Reply #1 on: December 28, 2023, 12:12:46 AM » Author: RRK
CCFL inverter typically drives the tube at ~5 milliamps. NE-2 lamps are typically rated at 0.5-1ma, so you are overdriving them almost a magnitude! No wonder the life is poor. Nice idea though!

It is possible to find a parallel string of small flicker neons with some insistence, but colored lamps have own fun.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2023, 12:23:39 AM by RRK » Logged
Laurens
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Re: Neon NE-2 christmas lights « Reply #2 on: December 29, 2023, 11:30:23 AM » Author: Laurens
The green ones also last pretty short if you run them from mains at 0,5-1mA - that's very clear if you read the reviews on Aliexpress about those green bulbs.

The blue and clear ones have no issues driven at the CCFL driver current. They show no signs of deterioration even after about a year of use and don't heat up. Only when i doubled the current by hooking up both hot wires to the string, i got discoloration of the clear ones.

I will try to figure out if i can measure the current somehow. When i run them from mains, i always use a 470k resistor so it runs at about 0,5mA.
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