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How does a neon flicker flame bulb work?

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  • How does a neon flicker flame bulb work?

    When one accidentally broke, something inside smelled like ammonia!
    The flame-shaped electrodes lightened (oxidized?) from black to grey.

    The bulb flickers the same way even if upside down, so it's not due to gas convection.
    Thank you.
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

  • #2
    Re: How does a neon flicker flame bulb work?

    a small amount of ammonia is added to these bulbs for keeping the arc from covering the entire anode and cathode.
    the arc is smaller than the anode or cathode so it tends to jump all over the surfaces making the flicker you see
    shooting the s*** is a lot more fun when you use hollow points (much more splatter)

    coffee hell gimme booze!!!

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    • #3
      Re: How does a neon flicker flame bulb work?

      Originally posted by gnuuser View Post
      a small amount of ammonia is added to these bulbs for keeping the arc from covering the entire anode and cathode.
      the arc is smaller than the anode or cathode so it tends to jump all over the surfaces making the flicker you see
      Interesting. I think there wouldn't be much actual arcing at 120v. Also, the anode and cathode terms throw me a bit, knowing this is an AC circuit.
      Isnt this "arc" a tiny gap in the lower portion of the filament that causes it to jump back and forth (at the top) from the reversing polarity?

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      • #4
        Re: How does a neon flicker flame bulb work?

        Originally posted by johncameron View Post
        Interesting. I think there wouldn't be much actual arcing at 120v. Also, the anode and cathode terms throw me a bit, knowing this is an AC circuit.
        Isnt this "arc" a tiny gap in the lower portion of the filament that causes it to jump back and forth (at the top) from the reversing polarity?
        The neon, in a partial vacuum, begins conducting at around 88 volts, I recall.
        The flame-shaped electrodes are parallel. I do not understand why the neon arc moves from one part of the electrodes to another.
        Does "heat" produced by the arc increase surface resistance on that area of the electrodes and cause the arc to move to "cooler" areas?

        (Your description reminds of the bulb containing a magnet which causes its long loose filament above to swing due to magnetic attraction and repellation.)
        Last edited by Robert Gift; 12-16-2013, 05:15 AM.
        I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
        It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
        "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How does a neon flicker flame bulb work?

          the flicker of the neon bulb is called a coronal discharge
          but heres a wiki that may help explain it better

          Neon lamp - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          shooting the s*** is a lot more fun when you use hollow points (much more splatter)

          coffee hell gimme booze!!!

          Comment

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