Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 48

PHOTO BY LI CUEVAS

NEON FAQS
Many LED manufacturers give five years' warranty
and tell the LEDs will last 10,000 hours. What about
the life of a neon sign?
A well-made neon sign has a lifetime of 50,000-80,000
hours, and it has been confirmed that neon tubes have
been lit for more than 70 years running 24/7. So, neon is
really a long-life light source.
You can blink/flash LEDs quickly. Is it true that neon
lamps fail early when flashed?
This confuses fluorescent lamps with real neon tubes,
which can be flashed faster than the eye can see without
affecting the lifetime. A real neon tube does not have
heated filaments like a fluorescent tube or an incandescent
lamp, thus the number of switching cycles does not
influence the lifetime of neon tubes.
Neon is high voltage, but is it safe? I heard about fires.
Neon is completely safe when installed according to the
rules. Thus, without any exception, neon must be installed
and serviced by professionals only. Seek a licensed shop
with experienced sign electricians. National electrical rules
prescribe safety devices that shut off the power faster
than someone can get hurt, if something should happen.
Can neon be installed in my home?
That depends on local regulations. While small, portable
neon signs (with cord and plug) are usually permitted in
family dwellings, fixed neon installations might be illegal.
If neon fails, can you repair it and/or can you recycle it?
In most cases, a defective neon tube can be repaired in
the neon glass shop and all materials used to make neon
tubes are recyclable.
What is the smallest radius you can bend the neon tube?
Approximately the tube diameter.
What is the maximum length of a neon tube?
The length is mainly limited by the risk of transport and
installation. Common lengths range from 1 in. to 10-20 ft.,
though I have seen a 45-ft. tube in one piece.

48

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

OCTOBER 2017

LEDs can have difficulties operating in high heat
outdoors. What about neon?
Neon tubes are not affected by heat and can operate
without derating at more than 205° F. No thermal cutout
switch is necessary.
Outdoor LEDs must be waterproof to avoid electrolytic
corrosion. What about neon?
In contrast to LEDs, neon operates on alternating current,
so electrolytic corrosion effects are negligible.
Can you make neon dimmable?
Yes, with low-power factor transformers equipped with
dimmers designed for highly inductive loads. Some special
electronic neon-power supplies are dimmable, but they
are not recommended for outdoor use.
Can you design a single neon tube to change,
program or cycle colors like RGB LEDs?
Technically, this is possible in a very restricted manner
( from red to blue), but the special power supplies are no
longer available. What is possible is to place multiple neon
tubes of different colors close together and put each one
separately on a dimmer channel.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - October 2017

Signs of the Times - October 2017
Contents
From the Editor
St Update
At Large
Tech Review
Vehicles + Vinyl
Design Matters
Nuts + Bolts
Vital Signs
Can You Make That in Neon?
Fabricating Bannerisms
Strictly Electric: It’s Good to Bb King
New Products
Advertising Index
Last Look
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Intro
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - BB1
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - BB2
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Signs of the Times - October 2017
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - BD_L
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - BD
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Cover2
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 1
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Contents
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 3
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 4
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 5
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 6
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 7
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - From the Editor
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 9
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - St Update
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 11
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 12
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 13
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 14
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 15
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 16
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 17
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - At Large
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 19
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 20
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 21
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Tech Review
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 23
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Vehicles + Vinyl
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 25
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 26
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 27
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Design Matters
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 29
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Nuts + Bolts
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 31
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 32
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 33
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 34
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 35
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 36
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 37
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Vital Signs
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 39
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 40
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 41
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 42
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 43
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Can You Make That in Neon?
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 45
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 46
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 47
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 48
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 49
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Fabricating Bannerisms
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 51
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 52
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 53
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 54
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 55
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Strictly Electric: It’s Good to Bb King
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 57
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 58
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 59
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 60
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 61
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Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 64
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 65
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - New Products
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 67
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 68
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Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 94
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Advertising Index
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Last Look
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Cover3
Signs of the Times - October 2017 - Cover4
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