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Old 02-22-2012, 09:20 AM   #1
NCCheesehead
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Default Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

I'm in the process of tearing down an old grocery store and have come across some old neons. 2 have broken tubes and one is just plain dead. Can I fix these or is it something only a sign shop can handle. They don't need to be perfect just light up for the garage wall.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

Unless you can blow glass and have access to different mixes of Noble Gases, I would say it's not a DIY thing!
What are the signs?
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:26 AM   #3
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Older beer signs, nothing special a PBR, Heineken, and a Tecate. I was hoping for a hose type repair kit. I know it wouldn't light up in that area but would hold gas.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

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Originally Posted by NCCheesehead View Post
Older beer signs, nothing special a PBR, Heineken, and a Tecate. I was hoping for a hose type repair kit. I know it wouldn't light up in that area but would hold gas.
Some of the gases get the glass tubing pretty hot, not sure the rubber hose would hold up. I'd love a PBR sign, nice find!

The dead one may have an issue with the transformer, that one might be an easy fix.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:40 AM   #5
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The dead one unfortunately is the heineken, it was working last week when I bid this job. Might be a supplied power issue. So are the broken ones junk? Anyone have an idea on the cost to repair the ones with broken tubes?
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

I had a Matilda Bay given to me years ago that was broken in two places. I took it to the local sign shop, and it cost me just over $60 for them to repair the two breaks and recharge the gas. In '08, as I was moving to a new house, I inadvertantly broke the glass again in too many places to be repaired. I'm sure the cost is higher now.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

I had a broken COORS neon. The beer distributor gave Me a new tube which I installed Myself, it took about 15 minutes. You might check with the distributors to see if they will give/sell you new tubes. Mine was free becuase I owned the Liquor store.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

i have replaced the tubes on a bunch of neon beer signs over the last few years. This is the only DIY thing you can try. Best bet is to try to contact the manufacturer and see if the tube you need is available. The tubes come pre-charged with the gas and it the wires are just twisted together under the plastic caps.

The newer signs use neon power supplies, those are pretty well sealed up with no user serviceable parts inside and can't be repaired easily; but they can be replaced easily. Just make sure you keep the voltage and current of the replacement supply close to original, they are usually spec'd to the total length and diameter of tubing in the sign.

Another thing i've done before too is to bypass the damaged tube to test the light and make sure the power supply and other tubes are good before spending money on the new tube.

Post up some pics of the signs you got, and if you are interested i might have some stuff here if it's something you want to get into.

I know for a fact, i've got a Yeungling wall clock that works, had 1 damaged neon tube that i bypassed. the tube is available but the last time i contacted the company about a replacement they were unable to ship it due to the possiblity that it can get damaged in transit . The company was located in PA somewhere.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

also, replacement tubes i bought from sign manufacturers have run in the 60 to 100 range.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

If you guys have any interest in learning more about neon signs, or perhaps in getting one repaired, I STRONGLY suggest you talk to my good friend, Neon John. He's into a lot of different things, including Neon signs (of course.)
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

Can a neon section be bypassed and the electrodes connected in series to allow the remaining sections to work? I have one with a broken section.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

Can a broken section of neon be removed, and the electrodes reconnected in series, without that section?
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

If nothing else, you can make some great jacobs ladders. Here's one that I did with a 12K volt transformer.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

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Can a broken section of neon be removed, and the electrodes reconnected in series, without that section?
Yes you can but as previously stated the transformers are spec'd for the tubing diameter & length. I would just have a sign shop make a new tube unless they can repair the old one. Call around for best price. Not as much as you would think.

Caution. Some tubes will contain a drop of mercury (depends on color). Nothing you want to interact with. A sign shop will recycle providing they can reclaim it.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

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Originally Posted by NCCheesehead View Post
The dead one unfortunately is the heineken, it was working last week when I bid this job. Might be a supplied power issue. So are the broken ones junk? Anyone have an idea on the cost to repair the ones with broken tubes?
Transformers are recyclable, no need to throw it away.
Glass tube repair cost varies by length of tube & amount of bends ( time) to reproduce. Its difficult to "quote" a price sight unseen. Small repair small bill.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

We had this one made to go above our bar at the lake. Somehow, one end of the AJ got cracked and it quit working - maybe was a defect, dunno? Anyway, we just had the end repaired - he did not need to remake any tube, but repaired the end with a new electrode or whatever is in the end of the tube and refilled with the appropriate gas. It was $60 about two months ago.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:10 PM   #17
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nephronracing View Post
If nothing else, you can make some great jacobs ladders. Here's one that I did with a 12K volt transformer.
I am preparing to build and install a Jacobs Ladder inside the GB Visible Gas Pump in My shop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzFdu...yer_detailpage
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:35 PM   #18
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

i had a few fixed
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:35 PM   #19
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

i meant i have a few
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: Broken neon signs, can I fix these myself?

Thanks. Very helpful
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