How much power does a 120v 15A lighted switch use anyway?

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On Tue, 18 May 2010 02:20:05 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

I got my number from the 1 meg ohm resistor your typical neon has in series with the bulb. Consider an ionized neon as a dead short.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I don't think so. IIRC an ionized neon bulb requires about 60 volts across it, close to half of a 120 volt line voltage.
And I don't think the "typical" series resistor is 1 meg. 50K to 100K is more like it.
Jeff
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Where do you get 1 megohm being typical? I have heard of and seen mostly anywhere from 220K to 100K for NE-2 (a "standard intensity" neon lamp), and both heard of and seen 33K and sometimes seen 22K for NE-2H.
Here is some sort of spec sheet for common neon lamps, by CML Technologies, formerly Chicago Miniature Lamp Works:
http://www.cml-it.com/pdf/5-4.pdf
Design current of NE-2H is 1.9 milliamps.
They do say A1C design current is 1.2 milliamps, but I have seen those usually getting more. They do say that design current of NE-2 is .6 milliamp.
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Glenda Copeland wrote

Not enough to worry about.
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Glenda Copeland wrote:

Hi, It is negligible regardless what's in there, neon or LED. I'prefer LED, neon emits electric noise.
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You are correct. And if I am not mistaken you get more lumen/watt from led then neon.
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On Tue, 18 May 2010 04:57:45 -0700 (PDT), Jack Hammer wrote:

It looks like it's costing 25/month for the dozen neon-lit switches.
What noise would I be worried about? I have the normal stuff (phones, computer, router, etc.) Which would the neon affect and how?
BTW, I didn't see ANY LED illuminated switches at ACE or OSH in town! :(
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wrote in message

Interesting observation. I know that when a single lead from a neon light touches a hot wire, the neon light will glow if there is almost anything touching the other lead. Was used as a voltage checker long before the IC devices were available. If the neon's lead was touching a hot wire and the other a ground/neutral, then the lamp glowed brightly, otherwise, there was a lesser glow.
This leads me to the conclusion that neon lighted switches take advantage of this ability and do NOT require a lead to ground or neutral to achieve the low level glow seen in a lighted switch. Perhaps an LED lighted switch would require a grounded/neutral other lead to work, together with diode to convert the AC to DC.
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Nonny wrote:

If the switch is lighted when off, the neon lamp (and series resistor) are connected across the switch. The small current through the neon lamp flows through the load on the switch. For a 3-way switch, the lamp is connected across the travelers.
For a switch that is lighted (neon) when the switch is on, the switch probably has a neutral connection. There is a resistor from each side of the switch to the neon lamp, with the other side the lamp connected to the neutral.
LEDs could operate essentially the same, probably with an extra diode.
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I noticed something funny about the neon light on my Dad's basement light switch. When I put my finger anywhere even NEAR the tip of the switch, the neon light appears to *JUMP* away from the end back towards the base of the switch. I assume there is something of a charge on my hand, and that is causing the neon gas 'plasma' or whatever you call it to move away? I never really investigated this, but found it very interesting.
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Ohioguy wrote:

Most likely it isnt connected properly and thats not a problem because the very low current gets thru the small capacitace fine.

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It is common for neon lamps to be operated with the cathode/negative glow not completely covering an electrode. In any given glow discharge lamp, this glow layer has some sort of natural current density in mA per square centimeter. If the current is low enough to incompletely cover the electrodes at that current density "rate", then the electrodes are incompletely covered by glow.
And, it is easy to cause the glow to move around. In some neon lamps operated with glow incompletely covering their eectrodes, the cathode/negative glow layer even jumps around on its own. The best example of this is "flicker flame" neon lamps.
With AC, some trace of current can flow through insulators (such as the glass bulb) due to "capacitive coupling". Each electrode has to re-fire 60 times per second with usual AC in North America (50 times per second in Europe). It sounds to me plausible for touching some neon lamps to cause their glow pattern to shift.
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On May 18, 12:14pm, Glenda Copeland <gscopel...@Use-Author-Supplied- Address.invalid> wrote:

AM radio, close to the lamp tuned to a very weak station, maybe.

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there is NO significant RF noise radiated or conducted at all from a tiny NE-2 neon lamp.. Note, we are NOT talking about neon store window signs that operate at 25kV.
Mark
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There *is* noise caused by the neon firing. Whether you think it is significant or not is simply a judgment.
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Mark wrote:

Although I agree with your point, I would like to nit-pick that the highest common voltage for a neon sign transformer is 15 KV and most are 12KV or less, and less still when loaded down by the neon sign.
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Don.. ok point taken...thanks :-) Mark
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On May 17, 8:53pm, Glenda Copeland <gscopel...@Use-Author-Supplied- Address.invalid> wrote:

It's likely either an NE2 or an NE2H, which a quick web search shows are rated for .03W and .09W, respectively. The right answer is "fagetabooutit".
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The energy used reading and responding to this post now equals more than the lifetime energy used by this switches lamp............
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

In the unlikekly event an NE-2H lamp conks out and stops conducting after 25,000 hours at its design current of 1.9 milliamps, this amounts to 5.7 KWH for the NE-2H and its dropping resistor in 120V use. That is equal to 1 horsepower for about 7.5 hours - I would call that at least an order of magnitude more than reading and responding to this whole thread so far.
The electricity consumed by the neon lamp and its dropping resistor over the life of the neon lamp may cost under a dollar, may cost a couple to a few dollars, depending on your electricity rates, actual life of the neon lamp, and inflation of electricity cost. (Is that how much more you are willing to pay on top of up-front cost for having a light in the switch? As long as you are aware and willing to pay it...)
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