Neon under the influence of a high-voltage electric field begins to glow, which gave many ideas in the field of lighting. In particular, neon signs for home and advertising have gained the most popularity. Let’s figure out what neon is and where it is used.
Pure neon gave off a luscious red light. Obtaining other colors became possible thanks to the addition of mercury or phosphorus to neon. Mixing it with other gases (argon, helium, xenon, krypton) gave a bright glow with low electrical resistance.
To date, the most common is a mixture of argon and mercury. The quality of the glow is also affected by the diameter of the tube, it can be from 8 to 18 mm – the thinner the tube, the more light. Therefore, 8-12 mm lamps are used for internal lights, and 12-18 mm for distant lights. Neon lamps are more durable than ordinary lamps due to the absence of filaments. The device of the gaslight tube:
- inside, the vacuum is filled with an inert, highly purified gas;
- for chroma, phosphor is sprayed inside the glass or colored glass is used;
- metal terminals-electrodes are installed on the edges of the lamp.
High color saturation is determined by the light filter and the color of the gas glow – this is possible only in neon lamps and is called neon special effects.
Scope of application
Neon lighting allows you to create a unique atmosphere due to the play of light and shadow and is used in the interior of living spaces to emphasize their design. At the same time, in entertainment establishments (night clubs, bars, cafes, etc.), neon lighting creates a festive mood.
In shopping centers where there are plenty of stores, using neon lighting will be the brightest way to attract attention.
Neon is perfect for lighting in the interior, having a comfortable light, silent operation, and fire safety. Also, it does not heat up, which allows you to install it in any planned place. Neon lighting is mainly used on the ceiling.
In outdoor advertising, neon lighting is widely used, thanks to its features such as:
- intense glow, which exceeds even a powerful LED, is noticeable even in the daytime;
- juiciness and uniformity of light, spots, breaks or darkening are completely absent;
- the possibility of creating a three-dimensional glow and complex shapes;
- a large range of colors – up to 70 shades;
- low energy consumption of the neon installation;
- wide possibilities of light control;
- a service life of 10-15 years pays off considerable costs.
You can control the neon light using programmable controllers:
- setting of on-off series;
- changing the brightness of the glow by adjusting the current;
- creating overflows in various elements.
Neon signs can look like letters, boxes, visors, three-dimensional letters and shapes. They are used for:
- names of non-residential facilities (bars, restaurants, shopping and entertainment centers, galleries);
- brand names (company logos and symbols on buildings);
- promotions (boards with descriptions of products, prices, discounts);
- architectural lighting, for example, the entrance to a casino or night club;
- interior lighting;
- special effects
Construction and production of neon signs
- to start the lamp, a high voltage from 3 to 12 thousand volts is needed, which can be created by bulky and heavy transformers.
- according to the technology, transformers should be placed as close as possible to the lamps themselves, which complicates the entire design;
- the use of several transformers of lower power instead of one increases the service life of the sign, which also affects the cost;
- to maintain the glow, less voltage is needed than for starting, so it is advisable to use transformers with automatic adjustment;
- maintenance of such signs requires specialists.
Structure of a neon sign:
- lamp made of special glass or neon wire for a sign;
- to increase durability, safety glasses are used at the entrances of the lamp to the housing. The tubes are installed on special holders, and silicone insulating caps are put on the electrodes to protect them from the weather.
- frame and bases, color films;
- electrical component – transformers, wires, animators.
Stages of making a neon sign
- creating a three-dimensional digital sketch, selecting a font for a neon sign
- calculation of optimal power to create maximum lamp efficiency and protection against premature wear. Calculation of the center of gravity and the method of installation depending on the wind during outdoor installation
- creating a colored base for mounting on walls or a frame for mounting on walls, fences, posts, and one
- vinyl applications or full printing are applied if necessary;
- flexible lamp in thermal stability in the room – the lamp is heated and bent in the necessary places with a gas burner;
- assembly – installation of lamps on the base;
- installation at a given height.
The small sign looks like a finished device, where the neon image is attached to a base with a transformer – its location is easy to change.
For large signs, when the running length of the lamp in each letter is quite large, or if you want to achieve such an effect as sequential lighting – a separate transformer is used for each letter. So-called flexible neon can also be used in the creation of neon signs.
Types of neon signs
Open neon signs perform the function of not only advertising and attracting the attention of potential customers, but also lighting the place where they are located, especially large multi-lamp ones. A neon sign at night is visible at great distances, while the letters and other elements remain visible, if, of course, the design is properly designed. It is usually installed on the front part and thus gives the maximum possible glow.
Neon lamps are the best choice for the creation of dimensional three-dimensional and/or advertising objects with dynamic light.
Open neon has been used in outdoor signs for so long that it has already become a classic. His specific world cannot be confused with anything. Therefore, it is in the open form that it creates a “neon” image of the institution. It is always associated with a celebration in the evening and causes visual interest. Using it in the interior and lighting of the living room will also add a “neon” highlight to the room and advantageously emphasize the classic forms. In addition, the repair of a neon sign is relatively easy.
Neon is placed in closed advertising signs to create a bright and uniform glow of its elements. Neon tubes can easily be changed in shape, therefore, in a closed form, neon is used as a filling to create objects that are several times larger than the maximum possible neon elements. Illuminated neon signs of the closed type can provide for the use of neon lamps in the case when the installation of others is impossible – for example, with complex box shapes, when three-dimensional letters or when it is necessary to create a light-dynamic object.
In closed boxes, neon lasts longer, as it is less exposed to the environment, the material of the boxes is usually acrylic, because it transmits light well.
Neon also makes it possible to make very thin three-dimensional letters – the tube can be as close as possible to acrylic, since the lamp does not heat up above 40 degrees, and at the same time the uniformity of the color will be preserved. Neither incandescent nor LED lamps will be able to achieve such uniformity. The advantage over fluorescent lamps is that neon is not afraid of frequent switching on and off.
Contouring, another type of application of neon lamps, is budget-friendly for creating small signs, both flat and three-dimensional:
- only a neon lamp can create a uniform lighting circuit;
- bright neon light emphasizes the necessary area inside the contour or box and partially replaces the main lighting of the area;
- for opaque elements, for example, letters, lamps are installed behind them and create a halo of light.
To illuminate the letters, one lamp is usually used in the center, but if the thickness of the line of the letter exceeds 120 mm – 2-3 levels of lamps.