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August 16, 2011


Cor van de Water

I actually built this neon blinker, worked pretty well and you can even test the quality of neon lamps with it. If a lamp is bad it will still light but not blink

Jerry Meyerhoff

I too built such a blinker as a young technologist & was facinated that a combination of "passive" 2 terminal devices could create a dynamic action. The saw-tooth signal was usable as a crude signal generator using various R & C values. It was also good to detect leaky or open capacitors. The 2 bulb multivibrator version worked in a toy making alternate blinking eyes. JDM LABS

John Dunn

Hi, Jerry.

The neon lamp has a breakdown characteristic that goes through a step when the gas ionizes. Gas villed voltage regulator tubes, OA2 and the like, also have that trait and can go into relaxation oscillations if paralleled with a capacitor.

Even some early zener diodes would do this same thing although what the part numbers of thse early devices were has long since escaped me.

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