Strange Neon Night Light

I got one of those orange colored neon night lights in my bathroom. When the bathroom light is off, this neon light flickers all the time (which usually means the neon bulb is getting weak). However, when I turn on the bathroom ceiling light, the night light stops flickering. WHAT THE HECK?????? This makes no sense at all.
Note: (There is not any photo cell on the night light).
Gerry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gerry Atrick wrote:

ionization potential of the neon just enough to allow it to go ahead and break down. It isn't enough to actually ionize the neon, it just adds that tiny bit of energy to make it ready to go.
Don't ask me to explain that fully, it has been a long time since I studied that in physics class.
Bill Gill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bill Gill wrote:

are sensitive devices.
--
The e-mail address in our reply-to line is reversed in an attempt to
minimize spam. Our true address is of the form snipped-for-privacy@prodigy.net.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bill Gill wrote:

Great answer!
And it reminded me that back in the '50s, during the "duck and cover" cold war daze I follewd plans in a copy of Radio & Electronics magazine and built a psuedo Geiger counter out of an NE51 neon bulb, some "B" batteries, headphones and a couple of other components.
The bulb was shielded from light and biased just below ionization potential. Energetic particles from radioactivity were supposed to make it fire and create a "click" in the headphones.
Thanks for the mammaries,
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Shine a flashlight on it and see if you get the same effect. Gerry Atrick wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You are correct. Even one of those small LED flashlights or the light from a bic lighter make it stop flashing. WEIRD !!!!
Mark
----------
On 25 Jun 2006 07:37:23 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It is common for aging "high intensity" neon glow lamps to do this - flicker and work better with light.
("High intensity" ones are ones with pure neon rather than the "standard intensity" with the dimmer neon-argon mixture and lower current design electrodes. Night lights with neon glow lamps usually have a "high intensity" type such as C2A/"NE-2H" or A1C/"mini NE-2H".)
What you see is the photoelectric effect. Light helps electrons leave the electrode surface and enter the neon. When a "high intensity" neon glow lamp gets old, the coating on the electrodes gets worn out and the photoelectric effect makes a noticeable difference in performance.
"Standard Intensity" neon glow lamps (like A1A/"NE-2" and A1B/"NE-2H" and NE-51) tend to just fade from the bulb being blackened and are less likely to flicker.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don Klipstein wrote:

Same theory used on the "neon on a stick" microwave oven leakage detector.
If you can get to the resistor that's in series with the neon lamp, try this trick. Bypass (parallel) the existing resistor with a 1K 2-5W resistor. Apply power for a few seconds, everything will get hot, you will see the electrodes seem to "burn off the impurities" and glow solid, top to bottom. Remove power, remove 1K resistor, should give you another 5yrs.
Danger! You are working with live AC line, a bulb that can burst, and bulb and resistor that will be hot. Take all safety precautions for shock, flying glass, and burns! A long extension cord, lamp one end, you at other is good.
A new lamp is a $1 ;-)
-larry/dallas
DON - thanks for your great reference on gaseous illuminators, use it all the time!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Not many people can tell you what Albert Einstein got his Nobel prize for
Don Klipstein wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Had exactly the same thing on a neon pilot light on a chest freezer. When the room light was on it glowed solid, in the dark the neon flickered. This pilot light had run for about 20 years continuous before this started, then finally the freezer quit and had to be replaced.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.